Discover Frog Belly Rat Bone and Other Adventures – Acclaimed Children’s Lit Illustrator/Author Timothy Basil Ering at Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
The New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Timothy Basil Ering will appear at a reception in his honor at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) on Wednesday, October 11, 5:30 – 8 pm. The Adventures of Timothy Basil Ering is the seventh iteration of the LCVA’s annual Arts and Letters exhibition series showcasing the best in the art of children’s literature, which is proudly presented in conjunction with the Virginia Children’s Book Festival.
Ering, best known for his illustrations for Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Medal winning The Tale of Despereaux, is an expansively creative artist whose work has been described as equal parts Dr. Suess and Michelangelo. His exuberant picture book, The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone has been in print over a decade and was even adapted for stage in Los Angeles. The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegge and The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling are among his more popular children’s books.
Brimming with sincerity and whimsy, Ering creates worlds full of characters, wonder and adventure. “Though written for children, these stories are by no means only for them,” remarks LCVA curator of exhibitions Alex Grabiec. “Ering writes for children, but with grown-ups in mind.”
The artist is quite a character himself, and his journey to become a best-selling children’s author has been – as the exhibition title suggests – an incredible adventure. Many of his works reference the ocean, an ever-present influence in his life. Ering grew up on Cape Cod where he counted painting his family’s rental cottages among his chores. The layered, tactile surfaces of his work are heavily influenced by years of scraping and repainting wood trim worn by the salt air.
Later Ering went to sea while serving as a helmsman in the United States Navy on the USS Kitty Hawk. His first illustration commission – The Diary of Victor Frankenstein – was not a children’s book. His work for this classic horror novel was created at sea over five months while Ering was sailing from Florida to Guatemala with his father. “The works he created while at sea are mind boggling,” Rachel Talent Ivers, LCVA’s executive director said. “These drawings were created under challenging circumstances, challenges that are reflected in the raw and ominous atmosphere of the completed book.”
For Ering, the ability to reach thousands of people through his work is one of the most exciting parts of his development as an artist and author. “Most rewarding of all my adventures is having the opportunity to inspire people around the world with good, motivating messages contained in my picture books, that I found important while I was growing up,” Ering says.
The Adventures of Timothy Basil Ering is a quest for all ages. It is on view October 6, 2023 – February 18, 2024. A reception with the artist will take place Wednesday, October 11, 5:30 – 8 pm with early entry for LCVA Friends & Partners at 5 pm. The exhibition is curated by Alex Grabiec , and made possible in part by Nash and Mindy Osborn, North Street Press Club, and the Walter J. Payne Foundation.
The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts presents a rotating program of inspiring and conversation-starting exhibitions. Admission to LCVA and its programs is—and always has been—free for all. It is located at the intersection of Main and Third Streets (129 North Main Street) in Farmville, Virginia. For additional information on these exhibitions or other programs and events, contact LCVA at 434.395.2206 or visit LCVA’s website at https://lcva.longwood.edu/.
LCVA exhibitions and programs are made possible through the generous support of: Institute of Museum and Library Services, Estate of R. Keith Kissee, The Walter J. Payne Foundation, Dickie & Den Cralle + Green Front Furniture, Anne Carter & Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation, Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond, YakAttack + Lex on Main, Peachtree House Foundation, Helton House, Haley Automotive, Wilma Register Sharp ’66 & Marc B. Sharp, Mindy & Nash Osborn + North Street Press Club, Joe Hines + The Timmons Group, South Side Electric Cooperative, Navona & David Hart + Century 21 @ Home, Walmart, Lisa & Tim Tharpe, Rock Foundation, Hotel Weyanoke
Image Credit: THE ALMOST FEARLESS HAMILTON SQUIDLEGGER. Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Basil Ering. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.