See the original paintings for Susan Schadler’s book, “Come Walk in the Flynbos With Me,” by Lynne and John M.T. Seitzer, on display in the upstairs Community Room at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library for the month of July.
What is the Fynbos? It is the smallest floral kingdom in the world. The southern tip of Africa is its home. From a distance this dry land appears quite unimpressive, its colors seem drab and lifeless. Upon closer inspection its true beauty is revealed. Over 9,000 indigenous species hail from this area which is about the size of Portugal.
For Schadler, the choice of the Seitzers was obvious: Lynne and John had spent almost all of the their time in South Africa exploring the fynbos (fayne-boss) and taking pictures. Exploring vast areas of this diverse ecosystem required feet on the ground. The artists traversed many miles of this hilly to mountainous scrub land with Schadler, often accompanied by a very knowledgeable guide, Frank Woodvine. They took reference photographs as they walked. Susan had a dream to write a picture book to allow people (ages 2 to 92) to explore this unique remote area vicariously.
The book is the result of a three-plus year collaboration combining her story and the Seitzer’s paintings. Creating paintings to suit the words and words to suit the paintings involved the sharing of ideas, finding compromise when necessary and remaining flexible. With thousands of beautiful paintable subjects and far too many for an introduction to the fynbos the selection process began. They spent weeks making decisions and editing them to hundreds and ultimately to just under 40. At this point a final list of illustrations was compiled.
Susan verified the names of the species, often consulting with the guide they had worked with in South Africa. The process of deciding who would paint which image began. Their collaborative efforts went well. Lynne and John each painted half of the chosen images. The challenging work of interpreting photo references together with visual memories began. Often several plant species were incorporated into each 18” x 24” oil painting allowing more of the Fynbos to be experienced. Twelve months later the paintings were complete and ready to be digitally recorded. Months later the beautiful book was in their hands.
Books are available at Joy To The Wind Gallery, 34 Atlantic Ave., Boothbay Harbor. For more information, call the gallery: 633-7025.
The artwork can be viewed during library hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Wednesday.
An Artist and Author Reception will be held at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, 4 Oak St. in Boothbay Harbor Friday, July 20 from 5.30-7 p.m. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served and the art and books will be available for purchase and signing.