I am working on writing an article on spec for a children’s magazine about a friend who is a phenomenal artist and writer. Her name is Rachel Dillon. She has a spectacular book of her paintings and poetry already published and another will be published next year. Her subject is endangered species and her passion shows in every bit of her work. Her book, Through Endangered Eyes: A Poetic Journey into the Wild, has been out for about two years. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s quite wonderful.
Rachel has a style of painting unlike any I’ve ever seen. She calls it “dot painting.” I thought for a long time it was pointillism, and that I would be researching Seurat for background and influence. Imagine my surprise when Rachel said she had been launched on her artistic journey when she visited Australia and saw the dot painting done by the Aboriginal artists. She explained to me that pointillism is really about color – the juxtapositioning of primary colors to fool the eye into seeing another color entirely. Dot painting is just what it says – one uses dots of paint to make a picture.
The Aboriginal dot paintings are rather simple, flat, and straightforward. Rachel’s paintings are extremely elegant and have tremendous texture. You can get a sense of it on her web page, but when you see them close up and hold them in your hand, as I did, they are stunningly alive and three dimensional. I will post here when Rachel has a showing so you can experience what I have.
When Rachel was in middle school, an uncle gave her a book about endangered species. A later trip to a zoo where she noticed the signs indicating which animals were endangered (lots of them!), had a profound effect on her. When she had her first child, she wasn’t able to find any books on endangered species she would want to read to her own children. There you go. The old adage: Find a need and fill it. Rachel created a book of amazing pictures and charming poems that tell a story of the tremendous losses we all face if we don’t pay attention to the needs of the planet. Unfortunately, the number of endangered species cannot be covered in one slender, beautiful book. Fortunately, there is a second book on its way, equally beautiful and important.