Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday Night: I Creep Out Kadir Nelson

Our local art council arranges some pretty amazing exhibits, but I was really looking forward to well-known children's book illustrator, Kadir Nelson's visit last night. We're an army family so I have been to many libraries now, and this man's books have been in all of them. Mr. Nelson's illustrations are life-like and hint at a great empathy for humanity. My seven year old is also a fan.She had a copy of one of his books, and was ready for him to scribble his name on it. This was her to be her first book signing, after all. I was so tired after going out of town and then, taking my daughter to a dance class, and I had only had one biscotti for sustenance all day, and it was cold and rainy, and a 20 minute drive away, and there was a bottle of wine at home, waiting for me, and.... well, there's always an excuse not do something. But the kid wouldn't let me out of it, so I threw my loud, clunky boots back on and marched to the car. 

For those of you who don't know me personally, I do a good deed a day before my birthday. Or many good deeds, if I can. I give donations, help, compliments. When my daughter was getting her book signed by the very dignified illustrator, I figured I should compliment him or his work. I could check another act of kindness off my list. Besides, I am a genuine admirer, but I didn't want to just say, "We love your books."

 Kadir was sitting at a desk on a little stand. He looked like a visited diplomat, very regal. "You look like a work of art sitting on that pedestal," I said as he signed my daughter's picture book. Good one! I told myself. But he gave an awkward little small, and I swear, he gave me just a tiny bit of a "crazy lady" look. I wanted to jump back in line and say, "I'm not hitting on you, you know." But I have learned from age and experience that doesn't generally help matters. In the end, I just shrugged it off. Meh. I've said worse. 

And the exhibit was stunning. There were paintings of boxers, civil rights leaders, presidents and a whole room dedicated to the soft, evening-set paintings from the successful children's book, Baby Bear.

When my daughter and I reached my car, I flipped down my mirror, and saw what the poor Mr. Nelson had to look at. My hair was wet and stringy from the storm outside. My much-too-dark-for-me lipstick was smudged. I looked like Hatchet Face from Cry Baby. I shrugged. Meh.. I've looked worse.

If you want to see Words and Pictures: Illustrated Works by Kadir Nelson exhibit,  in person, visit the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council before February 28th.

That was my Friday night. What are you doing this weekend?

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