New Art Show Opens at Valentino

New Art Show Opens at Valentino

Show focuses on children’s book illustrations.

Looking at a children’s book, one is often struck by the depth of the illustrations. They make the characters come alive and literally leap from the pages.

Such is the case with Patrick O’Brien’s books. The illustrations in “Steam, Smoke and Steel,” “The Big Ships,” “The Making of a Knight” and “Gigantic” are almost priceless. Yet, some of those illustrations and others can be purchased right here in Mount Vernon, starting this weekend.

Art & Framing by Valentino’s new show, “The Wonderful World of Children’s Book Illustration,” will open with a reception on Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6. The show itself will run through the end of December. Featured at the receptions will be the illustrator and author himself, Patrick O’Brien. He will be autographing and selling several of his books, as well as some of his original artwork. His agent, Elizabeth Stone, will also be there, with artwork from several other artists. Local artist Robert Murray, ‘rfm,’ will be there as well; he is well known for his line of whimsical and fanciful art called “The Waterexpressions.”

Owners Rose Valentino and Bonnie Rabichow said, “The three of us wanted to do a show together. We thought it would be nice to break families into the world of fine art — and nice for the kids.”

WITH THAT IN MIND, they fully expect and welcome children to the Saturday reception. They are hoping that parents will find artwork suitable for their children’s rooms. Stone will have works from 30-40 illustrators and said, “We will have artwork with a wide variety of prices — some prints, some limited editions and some original artwork.”

Stone has had shows in other parts of the country, but this is the first one in this area. She moved here last year and has been looking for the right place. When she came into Valentino for some framing, she thought that the owner was very good and liked her a lot. She also likes Patrick O’Brien’s works and said, “He’s a fabulous artist. He is a wonderful painter of ships. It [the show] is going to be such fun,” Stone said.

Stone said that this type of artwork appeals not only to families, but to schools, libraries and hospitals as well. Her gallery, Elizabeth Stone Gallery, recently furnished the children’s unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Stone has been in the business for 16 years and knows most of the popular illustrators. Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of “Where the Wild Things Are,” does not usually sell his artwork but did donate one of his pieces to a fund-raiser Stone held in Michigan, where it garnered a considerable sum.

When Chris Van Allsburg completed the illustrations for “Polar Express,” he sold the originals. He was a young artist, and the works brought in a modest sum. Fast forward many years, when the book is a household name and the movie is soon to be released. Those illustrations are worth many times more than what they sold for. Stone said that he is in the process of trying to gather those original illustrations. She will have “Polar Express” posters for sale at the show.

MURRAY IS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHOW and said that a lot of his work lends itself to the world of children because it includes animals and other whimsical characters. He said that he has sold many pieces for use in children’s rooms and is planning to bring over 50 pieces to the show.

“I'm happy to be able to show my children's-book artwork in a gallery setting, since it allows people to see the artwork in a whole new way,” O’Brien said. “When one looks at a piece of original artwork on the wall instead printed as one of many pages, one can appreciate it on a different level. It becomes a piece of art on its own, rather than a picture that serves to advance the story in the book.”

Valentino has been in the business of framing for over 20 years. She opened her shop in Hollin Hall seven years ago and has found a niche in the community. In addition to providing quality framing, she displays the work of several artists, many of whom are local, like Kathleen Spagnolo, Don Barnes and Mona Royer. She also brings in artists like Ron Picuo from New Orleans from other parts of the country.

“Wherever we go, we pick up artists [to display],” Valentino said.