by Sarah Kaufman
Greenleaf Book Group, 2015
Artist Sarah Kaufman brings together 36 of her dreamlike and surreal oil paintings to create a beautiful book of fantasy for children. Entitled The Circus, she uses simple, clear words inviting readers into her fantasy. She encourages them to use their imaginations to interpret the illustrations through their own experience and wonder. Each painting a surprise and splashes of brilliant colors bring a feeling of magic to each scene.
To attend the show, animals and people travel in imaginative ways, arriving on flying houseboats and walking machines. The show begins, bringing in animals about to perform, then features several acts that sing to the reader’s imagination, including a pig who flies and a lion who trains a mouse to jump through a golden ring. She includes the usual circus acts of juggling and riding/standing on horseback, as well as unusual acts that feature rhinos and camels. In the final page, she reassures readers that the circus will return next year.
To create her paintings, Kaufman first lays down plaster on canvas and builds it up to create a texture. She then seals that with many layers of translucent acrylic colors before she begins painting with oils.
Her book is so beautiful, many display it on the coffee table for all to enjoy.