Who doesn’t remember this good girl? But you might not know that the glorious collie Lassie, star of a dozen films and a television series – and even a radio show – also has a brush with Bucks County history. The author of the first Lassie novel, (Lassie Come-Home, 1940) Eric Knight, lived in Springfield at Springhouse Farm in the 1940s, where he and his wife raised collies. The upcoming issue of Neshaminy Journal – produced jointly by the Bucks County Writers Workshop and the Bucks County Historical Society – has a long article about Knight and the famous collie, for which I painted this portrait in ink wash and pencil. This issue should be available in April at local book stores and through the website HERE.
Another celeb who has a connection to Bucks County, PA, is composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and his story is also featured in the upcoming issue of the Bucks County Historical Society and Bucks County Writers Workshop’s literary journal Neshaminy. Sondheim spent much of his youth on a farm in Doylestown, and eventually was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein II, who owned nearby Highland Farm, on how to write musicals. Sondheim has too many blockbuster musicals on his resume to name all of them, but I chose sheet music from one of his most recognizable numbers, Send in the Clowns, as a backdrop for a simple line sketch of him to illustrate the story for Neshaminy.
The Bucks County Historical Society together with the Bucks County Writers Workshop publishes a literary journal, called Neshaminy, twice a year and I contribute a few illustrations to each issue. All the articles deal somehow with events or places in this county, or with people who had a brush with Bucks County history.
In this issue there is an article about Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, whose home is located in Perkasie. She lived much of her youth in China as the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries, eventually writing richly detailed and moving novels of peasant life in rural China. When she moved to Perkasie she continued her prodigious writing and left a legacy of intercultural education and humanitarian aid, especially to orphans in Asia.
I drew the elegant Mrs. Buck seated at her writing desk. I used reference photos of her and the interior of her writing office to sketch out this original illustration.
I then drew it all in prisma pencil and used ink wash over the pencil for the finished art.
I’ll write about other pieces for this issue tomorrow.