Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi: Love and Art at Shearwater
An intimate family memoir about the power of love in the face of adversity: the passionate pursuit of art-and the brave art of living simply-by four generations of a fiercely independent Southern family. Almost a century ago, a New Orleans society woman vowed that her three sons would become artists. Turning her back on bourgeois life and abetted by her skeptical husband-a grain merchant-she bought twenty-eight acres of woodland on the Mississippi Sound. Beside a sleepy bayou, in the shade of towering pines and magnolias, she opened an art colony, one of the first of its kind in the South. Her passion for art pulled the family through the hard times of the Depression and endured into the present. Her oldest son, Peter Anderson, founded Shearwater Pottery and, yearning "to make Shearwater synonymous with perfection," drew the entire family into his adventure. His brothers, "Mac" and Walter, made strange, wonderful pieces, though Walter Anderson eventually left his wife, his children, and the pottery to search for his own Nirvana and to capture, in writing and in watercolors, the wildlife of the Mississippi Coast. Drawn by the exquisite work of Shearwater Pottery, the authors discover that painting, poetry, and storytelling-much of it by strong, unforgettable women-are still an essential part of the family's daily life. Intimate diaries, letters, and poems lead the reader into a stormy, passionate, sometimes heartbreaking past. Meticulously researched and compassionately written, Dreaming in Clay gathers one family's eternal legacy of wisdom and beauty: the healing power of art, the consolations of writing and of memory, and the spiritual treasures given to us-if we care to receive them-by the natural world
Fortune's Favorite Child: The Uneasy Life of Walter Anderson
Christopher Maurer Walter Anderson (1903-1965) was a prolific, fiercely individual artist renowned for his matchless style, his lonely independence, and his astonishingly creative works of art. Devoted to the beauty of the natural world, Anderson emblazoned the events of his everyday life into art that expressed a unique and absorbing vision. This compelling biography, published in celebration of his centennial, draws on Anderson's voluminous journals and graphic works, the previously unpublished papers of family members and friends, and archival materials from several American museums. In his creative diversity he was both an artist and a naturalist who left the art world paintings, prints, murals, journals, wood carvings, ceramic works, poems, aphorisms, and pen-and-ink illustrations of literary works. Despite poverty and mental anguish, Anderson called himself "Fortune's favorite child." Few artists have been more grateful than Anderson for the moments of artistic truth extracted from adversity, isolation, and illness. He was the second of three sons of a good-natured grain merchant and a strong-willed New Orleans society woman who encouraged the children to devote their lives to art. After studying in New York, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in Europe, Anderson returned to the South and settled in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to live by his art. During the Depression he earned a meager living by decorating pottery and designing figurines for his family's pottery, Shearwater. Spending his life on the edge of the art world and the edge of society, Anderson fell into many intense adventures, for which his community regarded him as an eccentric. In 1937 he suffered a devastating attack of mental illness that foreshadowed a long battle with emotional turmoil. In an escape from a mental institution in Baltimore, he trekked a thousand miles homeward. Occasionally he lived in self-isolation on Horn Island. He sallied south to Costa Rica to hunt orchids. He rambled across China during the Maoist revolution. In tracing a life that the artist himself regarded with gratitude and wonder, this biography recounts the story of Anderson's marriage and fatherhood, his bouts with illness, his creative periods of astonishing work, and his spells as a solitary rover expressing his artistic vision and searching for spiritual fulfillment. Christopher Maurer, head of the department of Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is the author (with Maria Estrella Iglesias) of Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi: Love and Art at Shearwater. His work has appeared in the New Republic, the New York Times, Hispanic Review, and El País (Madrid).
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Enter the fascinating world of reclusive nature-lover Walter Anderson — perhaps the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of. Residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast thought Walter Anderson was odd, rowing across twelve miles of open water in a leaky skiff to reach Horn, an uninhabited island without running water or electricity. But this solitary artist didn’t much care what they thought as he spent weeks at a time on his personal paradise, sleeping under his boat, sometimes eating whatever washed ashore, sketching and painting the natural surroundings and the animals that became his friends. Here Walter created some of his most brilliant watercolors, work he kept hidden during his lifetime. In a beautifully crafted picture book biography, writer Hester Bass and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis pay homage to an uncompromising American artist. Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.
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By Walter Anderson
A magical story of a stray cat’s transformation into a prodigy who performs at Carnegie Hall. Includes block prints by the author. 72 pp., 32 two-color illustrations, ISBN 978-0-87805-948-5
Retold by Ellen Douglas; Illustrations by Walter Anderson
For all readers a spectacular book combining the arts of Walter Anderson's illustration and classic fairy tale narrative. 186 pages, 24 full-color illustrations, ISBN 978-0-87805-327-8
Form and Fantasy: The Block Prints of Walter Anderson
Edited by Mary Anderson Pickard and Patricia Pinson
A celebration of the phenomenal prints of a virtuoso artist. 224 pp., 60 color illustrations, 200 b&w illustrations, chronology, ISBN 978-1-934110-25-6