Storybook: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams | A stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The boy plays with his other new presents and forgets the velveteen rabbit for a time. These presents are modern and mechanical, and snub the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit. The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, who was owned by the boy's uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming Real due to love from children. The rabbit is awed by this concept; however, his chances of achieving this wish are slight.
One night the boy's Nana gives the rabbit to the boy to sleep with, in place of a lost toy. The rabbit becomes the boy's favourite toy, enjoying picnics with him in the spring, and the boy regards the rabbit as 'REAL'. Time passes, and the rabbit becomes shabbier, but happy. He meets some real rabbits in the summer, and they learn that he cannot hop as they do, and say that he is not real.
One day, the boy becomes sick with scarlet fever, and the rabbit sits with him as he recovers. The doctor orders that the boy should be taken to the seaside, and that his room should be disinfected, and all his books and toys burnt - including the velveteen rabbit. The rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where he sadly reflects on his life with his boy. The toy rabbit cries and a real tear drops onto the ground, and a marvellous flower appears. A fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the velveteen rabbit, introducing herself as the nursery magic fairy. She says that because he is old and shabby and Real, she will take him away with her and "turn [him] into Real" - to everyone.
The fairy takes the rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the velveteen rabbit a kiss. The velveteen rabbit changes into a real rabbit, and joins the other rabbits in the forest. The next spring, the rabbit returns to look at the boy, and the boy sees a resemblance to his old velveteen rabbit.
Storybook: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl | James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl. The plot centres on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with six magically-altered garden bugs he meets. Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is "prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry."
Richard James Oliver
Born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1975.
Currently Paints and resides in Los Angeles CA.
Solo exhibitions include the Known Gallery, Hollywood, Los Angeles. Museum of Modern Art, Wales. Attic Gallery, Swansea and Rhondda Heritage park permanent Mural.
Mixed Exhibitions Worldwide including London, New York and most recently Los Angeles.
Paintings currently hang in Museums and public display throughout the UK and private clients are worldwide.
Richard J Oliver was born and raised in Wales, United Kingdom, studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England and undertook his Masters at UWIC in Wales. In his time between studies, Oliver built his reputation, beginning in Wales and later gaining recognition throughout the UK. His work has been included in numerous European group shows, which then segued into solo shows, including an exhibition at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Wales.
Oliver's early work focused on his homeland, particularly the struggle of its youth trying to find identity in the aftermath of the local mining industry's demise. His work often showcased the skeleton landscapes of mining villages in the Welsh valleys juxtaposed with contemporary youth.
His latest works explore more universal subjects, from environmental issues to humanitarian and social problems that are close to his heart.
Since becoming a parent, Oliver has explored the anxieties of raising a child in an environment on the brink of disaster. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves. He transforms the natural instincts of fatherhood and family protection into striking visuals. More recently, portraits have crossed into the dark, brooding world of Grimm's fairytales and surrealistic subjects that help convey the emotion and tragedy of our world's children. Oliver works closely with many charities, most recently donating proceeds to Dreamlovecure.org and City of Hope's Department of Paediatrics.
Storybook: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame | The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley.
Storybook: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon | A mother fruitbat loves her baby called Stellaluna very much and would never let anything happen to her. When the two are attacked by an owl, the predator knocks Stellaluna out of her mother's safe embrace. Soon the baby bat ends up in a bird's nest filled with three baby birds named Pip, Flitter and Flap. The mother bird will let Stellaluna be part of the family only if she eats bugs, does not hang by her feet and sleeps at night.
When all the baby animals grow, they learn to fly. When Stellaluna and the birds are out playing, it gets dark and the birds go home without her because they will not be able to see in the dark. Stellaluna keeps flying, but when Stellaluna's wings hurt, she stops to rest. When she does, she hangs by her thumbs. Soon another bat comes to ask why Stellaluna is hanging by her thumbs. She tells the bat the story of what had happened after she and her mother were attacked by the owl. Another bat interrupts the story. That bat is Stellaluna's mother. Stellaluna and her mother are happily reunited and Stellaluna finally understands why she is so different.
Excited about learning how to be a bat, Stellaluna returns to Pip, Flitter, and Flap in order to share her new experiences. They agree to join Stellaluna and the bats at night, but find they are unsuited to flying at night and nearly crash. Stellaluna rescues them and the four of them decide that while they may be very different, they are still friends and family.
Laurie Lee Brom grew up in the historical town of Charleston, South Carolina, the local ghost stories and folk tales of the swampy Low County, and rich Gullah culture stirring her imagination. She spent untold hours pursuing pixies and tree frogs in the hollow logs and Pluff Mud of her own backyard. Today she still pursues fairy folk along with all manner of curious ghosts and odd characters in her enchanting portraits and paintings.