This substantive autobiography concentrates on the evolution of painter Close’s massive portraits. In interview form, with children’s questions written atop the pages (“How do you make your pictures look so real?”), Close describes his work with candor and insight (“Inspiration is for amateurs. Artists just show up and get to work”). He explains how he coped first with a global learning deficit (“I still add and subtract by using the spots on dominos”), then with a collapsed artery in adulthood that left him a quadriplegic (“I had to figure out some way to be able to get back to work and make some money”). Yet it’s clear that he considers these setbacks of little significance compared to the shaping of his identity as an artist and the excitement of creating paintings. The high quality printing and lush colors of the reproductions make it easy for readers to share that excitement. A nifty mix-and-match section lets readers compare the methods used in 14 of the artist’s self-portraits, but Close’s examination of his own work provides more than enough gratification on its own. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2012 Release date: 04/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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