As a book artist and illustrator, I am always impressed with those artists such as Gladiola Flowers who could immerse themselves in their vision and create an encompassing body of work in such a short period of time. For some it would be viewed as an obsession. For Glady Flowers, it was obviously a labor of love. The work seen in Camp Stories, Illustrated, including the journal, was created from memory in the span of one month in 1983. This marks the first time the work has been publically exhibited since their initial creation that year. Chronicling a special time in her life, Glady Flowers, who legally changed her name at the age of 83, chose to write and illustrate her family’s adventures of the family cabin, commonly known as the camp at Sunrise Beach at the height of the Great Depression. Drawn with an aging hand, but seen through the eyes of a young girl, Camp Stories, Illustrated was created with mostly a neutral palette reflecting the greyness of the times. Exhibiting her interpretive work alongside her mother’s in the exhibit, Jennifer Kennard had this to say about her mothers work: “Glad’s choice to work mostly in black, white and grey palette may or may not have been a conscious choice, however she mentioned several times about how dark and dismal the Camp was back then. This greyness evoked the Hard Times experienced by her family and others during the economic crash of the 1930’s. To myself, many of the images recall the WPA era and even the more refined work of Thomas Hart Benton and others. Far more, I think some of these images were considered to be just studies, so she could just get thoughts and recollections on paper before she painted them in oils as she hoped to do.” Glad would frequently work her images all the way to the edge of a sheet of paper. Not just continuing horizon lines, but she had action and details included up to the edge. This is far more unusual than you might believe, given that most unskilled artists tend to concentrate the action in the middle of a page…”
For a more comprehensive overview of the body of work, visit: letterology.blogspot.com
Camp Stories, Illustrated
An exhibition of drawings and true stories about one Northwest family living during the Hard Times of the 1930s. Narrative artwork by Gladiola Flowers, and daughter, Jennifer Kennard, on display November 6th through January 14th, 2014, at the University of Puget Sound Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma WA.