Written by John Bianchi
Illustrated by John Bianchi
Young Amelio studies art under the great impressionists of his day, dreaming of becoming a great landscape painter when he grows up. Until then he contents himself drawing for his friends and family. Upon graduation from art school, he marries the lovely Lemonjello and applies his artistic talents to commercial work so as to earn a decent living for his young family.
Amelio and Lemonjello hoped to have a large family, and when the little ones arrived, Amelio took an extra job working nights at the Provolone Sign Company.
Now the painting of great landscapes was nothing more than a distant memory that would sometimes visit Amelio while he was inscribing an especially ornate letter on one of his signs or changing a diaper on one of his puppies.
While children with an interest in art will enjoy this story, this is at heart a story of love and sacrifice for family and has proven to be popular with parents from all walks of life. Happily Amelio does find artistic satisfaction at the end of his life in an unusual way and he grows old realizing that parenthood has its own rewards.
“Please,” said Amelio, “do not cry for me. I have had a good, long life and have been able to watch you all grow up. I only wish I had had more time to spend with the beautiful Lemonjello and maybe a few more moments to paint pictures of this wonderful land.”
Of the several dozen books that John Bianchi illustrated, The Artist was his favourite. While he dedicated the story to the memory of his artist friend Jean Richard (1939-1991), he no doubt also saw himself in its pages. A devoted father and loving husband, he loved landscape painting but made a living as a cartoonist and illustrator, eventually carving a name for himself as a successful children’s book illustrator. Upon retirement in the early 2000s, he spent many contented years with his oil paints in a studio beside the beautiful Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona.
24 pages. Fully illustrated.
Reading level: Grade four to eight
Interest level by age: 8 to adult