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Jane Marinsky's Book Illustrations at Daemen College

Jane Marinsky's newest book: "Just Perfect."

Just Perfect

Jane Marinsky’s works currently on show at the Daemen College ICEA center in the Tri-Main Building are illustrations for her latest children’s book, Just Perfect. She wrote the book and did the charming and imaginative artwork. It’s a story about a happy little family of mommy and daddy and little boy, but from the little boy’s perspective—he’s the narrator—something seems wanting. A pet seems to be the solution, and they try out a series of them including some more or less ordinary examples—a dog, a turtle, a chameleon—and some out-of-the-ordinary—a dolphin, a rooster, an owl, even an octopus. None of them quite hits the mark. The dog sheds prodigiously. On a family hike in the country, the turtle constantly lags behind. Keeping a dolphin requires flooding the living room. The owl turns out to be extremely annoying, always asking questions, in fact, always the same question: “Who?” In the end, the narrator says, “Nothing seemed to fit just right.” The picture is of the roof of the house, with the head and part of the neck of a giraffe protruding from the chimney.

What turns out to fit just right, the perfect addition for this family—clearly the narrator didn’t see this coming—is a new baby, a little sister. Mommy and daddy and big brother dote on her. The last illustration is of a family visit to the zoo. Family of four now, and all the previous pets crowd into the picture, too.

The finished illustrations are oils on gessoboard, and each is accompanied by a preliminary conceptual sketch. Also on view are preliminary artwork and verbal content for two more books in progress. One about a cranky and self-centered little girl who just wants to be alone and unbothered, when she wanders into a cave, where she encounters some other creatures who also want to be unbothered, two bears. No harm occurs. The little girl escapes, but into further mishaps, it looks like. We don’t get the end of the story.

The third set of sketches—very preliminary—are about a toddler and his toys. The Jane Marinsky exhibit continues through December 15.

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