Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Giving Thanks

Welcome to November, pretty much known for one pretty epic celebration -- Thanksgiving.

It's probably my favorite holiday, what with families gathered and turkeys, et al. consumed by the tonnage. Or at least it seems that way when I have to open another one, or two, notches on my belt upon finally pushing away the plate.

Thanksgiving, of course, means just that: giving thanks for our "bounty" -- as Americans who have, whether by the providential dint of being born here...or the self-achieved privilege of choosing to live here... enjoyed a quality of life virtually unmatched anywhere else on the planet.

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist from Caricatures by Joel.

According to Wikipedia, "Thanksgiving, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the founding fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving has traditionally been a celebration of the blessings of the (agricultural) year, including the harvest."

I try not to take that for granted.  I also try not to take for granted the "gift" I come by genetically -- that of being able to draw, and to draw caricatures in particular.

My father Sam was a professional illustrator, comic book artist and commercial art director; my mother Corinne was a skilled painter and sculptress. My two siblings were blessed as well -- my late sister Barbara was a gifted artist and art teacher, and my surviving sister Jean is very talented in her own right and likes to dabble on occasion.

Here, to pay homage to each, are samples of their work:

"Irv Wesley" was a pen name (literally), my father used on occasion when illustrating a series of comic book titles for Stan Lee and Marvel. Here, he was responsible for doing the initial pencil illustration...after which it would be inked and colored by two other individuals.

Here, my mother sculpted the literary figure "Don Quixote." She taught both sculpture and painting to adult students from her studio.

 Barbara's stylized painting of my mother.

Jeannie's rendering from an old photo of our Dad as a child riding a pony.

 I've joined the gallery here with a commissioned work of an engaged couple who enjoy tailgating (with images pertinent only to them).

This month of "Turkey Day" -- and every day of every month -- I give thanks to each member of my family for their support and the measure of their talents that have inspired me.

Happy Thanksgiving...and see you again the first Tuesday of next month for another tryptophan-free helping of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.