Friday Favorites 7/13/2012

When we decided to sell our house in Yorba Linda, CA and move across the freeway to Anaheim Hills, the consulting business was very good.   That allowed us to do something few couples get to do … completely refurnish our new house, from furniture and carpets to wall decor.  I suppose that sounds extravagant … and it was, for us … but we’d had much of our furniture from our first apartment in 1968 and we bought the rest of it when we moved into our first house in 1973.   We were due to buy some new furnishings … or, as my mother would have said, We deserved it. We worked hard.   One of the new furnishings was a signed and numbered print by Bob Byerley titled Secrits.

For years, we’d seen Byerley’s paintings in galleries, children in nostalgic (and sometimes imaginary) settings painted realistically in dark and muted tones.   Each picture tells a story and is often accompanied by a short paragraph that sets the scene.  For example, on the back of Secrits, a printed card says this: It was well into the third week of summer vacation and we had read all of Lester Carter’s comic books when Artie Dunbar said, “Lets start a club, we’ll do dangerous things and we’ll have meetings in Dubby’s tree house!” Carpenter added, “We’ll charge about a hundred dollars to get in, never let girls in, have secret rules and a secret handshake an a secret password and …”   Artie stopped him, “Carpenter, if your sister Charlene twists your arm behind you, I know you! You’d tell her everything!”  “No, I’d swear a clubs oath, I’d let her break my arm in about eighty places!”   In the painting, Carpenter has just discovered Charlene and her friends looking though the club’s secrets.  Apparently, he did indeed tell her everything.  Here are a few more of Byerley’s paintings of children.

Giggles and Whispers – “Here comes Artie Dunbar… when he and his buddies ride by, holler at him that your sister Charlene’s in love with him!”

A Long Wait Till Dark – “Sis planned her Trick-Or-Treat outfit for weeks; changed it, altered it and refined it until she was satisfied with the elegant result. Oh that long wait until dark when the ritual of Trick-Or-Treat could begin. Just one flaw, her mother said she was still too young to go by herself and assigned her big brother to accompany her.”

You can see more of his work on his website,  here.

Bob Byerley has been called the modern Norman Rockwell and our foremost painter of children.  I suppose that means that there are those who fancy themselves art aficionados and dismiss his work as corny or commercial.  Here’s what I know … every time I stop to look at Secrits hanging above the fireplace in our family room … and notice Carpenter’s indignation at finding his sister in their fort … or Charlene’s look of disdain … I smile.  That makes Bob Byerley a Friday Favorite.

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3 Comments on “Friday Favorites 7/13/2012”

  1. territerri Says:

    I LOVE these! I grew up surrounded by Norman Rockwell decor, so I guess that comes as no surprise. I was completely unaware of Bob Byerley prior to reading this post, so thank you for introducing him to me.


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