By Elisa Gutiérrez
Published by Simply Read Books
Picturescape, a beautifully illustrated wordless picture book, was inspired by Gutiérrez’s time as a school tour volunteer at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The plot follows a boy on a school field trip as he experiences the art of twelve renowned Canadian artists. However, the boy is not simply looking at the art; he is drawn into the art. As he views each landscape, the boy imagines himself flying on the back of Emily Carr’s Big Raven, leaping into a boat from J.E.H. MacDonald’s The Solemn Land, floating with the help of a red balloon above William Kurelek’s Ukrainian Pioneer, and galloping on the horse of Alex Colville’s Horse and Train. The obvious visual changes to the boy’s bedroom from the introduction (a dismal grey hued bedroom and personal possessions) to the conclusion (the bedroom and possessions are lit by sparks of colour), signify his altered and improved perspective brought on by his experience with art.
The boy’s explorations visually investigate the details of each painting, but they also cover the varied regions of the Canadian landscape, giving Picturescape’s viewers a snapshot of Canada from coast to coast. This book is the ideal companion to any art assignment on Canadian artists, and it provides a perfect introduction to an art gallery field trip. Students will be inspired to learn more about these twelve artists and Canadian art in general. This inspiration will bring about their own ideas on art and will encourage students to connect with art on an imaginative level. Picturescape is appropriate for a classroom of any age level, and the associated website, (www.picturescape.ca) offers an interactive feature for teachers to submit ideas for ways they have used the book with their students. Picturescape is a beautiful picturebook with a true sense of national identity.
Check out Gutiérrez’s blog at: http://elisadesign.com/
And go to: http://www.picturescape.ca/ for links to children’s programs at art galleries and a beautiful animated version of Picturescape.
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