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Hardie Gramatky

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Memories of Hardie Gramatky by his daughter, Linda Gramatky Smith

My mother, Dorothea Cooke Gramatky, recalled her first encounter with my father, Hardie Gramatky:

\"Hardie arrived at Chouinard in 1928 after two years at Stanford. This handsome man with the nicest smile stormed into our life class, leaped over the sawhorses that we were using and started drawing fast and furiously. I really should have had blinders on because it was very hard to concentrate! He was so peppy!\"

If her comments don't sound particularly objective, the reader will have to forgive her ... and me. My mother and I really enjoyed being a part of Hardie Gramatky's life, and we loved him very much. On this website, I would like to share some of our personal memories. I always called my father \"Dad,\" but to keep it simple, I will refer to him as \"Hardie\" in this narrative. (And a side note is that sometimes people refer to him as Hardy Gramatky, misspelling his first name. That is understandable, since apparently the use of Y is usual for a masculine name and IE for a feminine name. My mother's nickname was Doppy, so both of them got the “rules” reversed!)"; break; case 2: $text = "

The Early Years

Hardie was born in Dallas, Texas, on April 12, 1907, and he died of cancer of the ileum on April 29, 1979. In between, he lived a life that was full of creative work and play. His family's roots were in Germany and Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire, and perhaps the Ukraine as well. His paternal grandparents immigrated to Texas in 1872. His maternal grandfather, General Rudolph Gunner, had had a fascinating life as a personal confidante of Maximilian, and he escorted Queen Carlotta from Mexico back to Austria in 1867 after Emperor Maximilian was killed. Hardie's maternal grandparents and his mother moved to Texas in 1885. When Hardie was ten, his father, Bernhard Gramatky, died of tuberculosis, and his mother, Blanche Gunner Gramatky, moved with her three sons (Hardie was in the middle) to live with her sister in California, settling in South San Gabriel near Los Angeles. My father's real name was Bernard August Gramatky, but in the 1950s he had it legally changed to Hardie Gramatky because that was always how he had been known. And no, it was never spelled Hardy!

The pronunciation of Gramatky sometimes throws readers, but as a young child I made a word picture out of my last name and no one had trouble with it after that. I'd just say, “It's like a gray mat on the floor, and under the mat is a key. Gray-mat-key.” Oh well, at least it prevented pronunciations like Gray-mat-ski.

Out in South San Gabriel, California, Hardie's aunt cooked nutritious foods for the three boys - raising squabs and vegetables in the backyard - and my mother said that \"when they were little, Aunt Mimi wanted to keep them all very healthy (because of their father's TB) so she added a screen porch to the house and the boys slept out there.\" Money was scarce in their family, so Hardie's aunt would send Hardie to Alhambra High School with a lunch of carrots and raisins. I can remember his describing how he would see a vendor with a tamale cart outside the school, and as he ate his homemade lunch, he'd imagine that those carrots and raisins tasted like the best tamale ever. Later in his life he would create Little Toot, the story of a small tugboat who used imagination to great advantage. Hardie probably got the idea from the way he'd always appreciated what his imagination could do."; break; case 3: $text = "

Hardie demonstrates precocious early talent in art

My mother actually heard about Hardie long before she met him. About 1923 or 1924, she noticed his name as the leading artist in the Los Angeles Times young folks section, edited for several years by an \"Aunt Polly\". Hardie, my mother and her best friend (Dorothy Feldman) sent in contributions that were accepted on a regular basis, but Doppy and Dorothy would lament that “Oh no, that Hardie Gramatky's art was on another cover this week!” He also drew \"Captain Kidd Jr.,\" a weekly comic strip on outer space. It had rocket ships and all sorts of strange creatures, and he was really `way ahead of his time. Hardie once told a reporter [Paul Vandeventer in the Pasadena Star News April 20, 1979, published nine days before Hardie's death], \"I always wanted to be an artist and a writer from the time I was in the fifth grade, I'd go out with a friend at 6 a.m. to sketch.\"

Hardie attended Stanford for two years (from 1926-1928) and worked his way through college with a variety of jobs: he worked in a logging camp near Hoquiam, Washington, was a teller in a local bank and ghosted \"Ella Cinders,\" a well-known comic strip. At Stanford, he majored in English, but after one assignment in an art class where he finished his painting, went to get lunch and came back to find the others in the class hadn't gotten started, one of his professors said to him, “Hardie, there is really nothing more the Stanford art department can teach you.” He encouraged him to go down to Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles, but since he had noticed Dad's writing abilities, the professor encouraged him to keep working on his writing skills on his own time. [Hardie was a lifelong learner and omnivorously devoured classic books until the last days of his life. His journals in preparation for each children's book he would write in later years were filled with quotes of things he was reading, as well as offbeat observations about his life and of quotes from his grandchildren.] In later years, he would use his writing talent as a pictorial reporter and as an author-illustrator of fourteen children's books. In 1979, he described the way he used both abilities: \"Writing is very difficult and sometimes I get stuck. So, instead, I'll just do a watercolor of the mood I want to create, and soon the words are there. My visual mind and writer's mind work hand in hand.\"\" [Another quote from the Paul Vandeventer article.]"; break; case 4: $text = "

Back to Los Angeles: a time of art and love

In 1928, Hardie enrolled at Chouinard, a highly respected art school at the time. After that first vivid impression of him, my mother saw him in other classes, and they began dating. She said: \"Hardie had bought an old Model T for $10 up in Palo Alto, and he and I would go out sketching or he'd take me home. 'Bout every time we'd go out, we'd have a blowout. Hardie never even bothered to open the door, but he would just jump over the door, reach down, pull out the inner tube, put a patch of something on it, slap it back in and leap in the seat ... and off we'd go. It was so funny.\"

My father's enormous energy was a characteristic that people noticed throughout his seventy-two years. Susan E. Meyer later described Hardie in American Artist, July 1972: \"An artist enjoying the free manipulation of paint - such as Hardie Gramatky - seems to plunge into his painting from a standing position.\"

My mother recalled details about some of the teachers she and Hardie had:

\"Clarence Hinkle was a wonderful teacher. He taught us a way of underpainting, using a palette knife to spread white oil paint on the canvas and then work into it with pure color. Pruett Carter arrived about 1930 and that was a big lift. He was a wonderful, established illustrator and it was a great feather in Nelbert Chouinard's cap to get him. The high point was going over to Pruett and Teresa's home after class and talking late into the night about New York. Also, Pruett had a way with words - he made up such colorful words and even loved Hardie's puns.

\"F. Tolles Chamberlin? Oh, he was a dear man. He'd be hovering behind us, humming, and then he'd take the charcoal and add boxes to show the relation between the rib cage and the pelvis. Hardie and Millard [Sheets] and Phil [Dike] and a bunch of the guys would go over to his studio in Pasadena and take a special life class. I was too tired after a day of classes, but Hardie worked all day and he still would go on over there. Lawrence Murphy was a delightful man who lived alone down on Bunker Hill or some place like that. He had an air about him - a jaunty tilt to the brim of his hat. He was a great artist, and he had forgotten more about drawing than we'd ever know!

\"Arthur Millier taught us etching at Chouinard and he was also the art critic for the Los Angeles Times. One time Hardie took me out to Mr. Millier's home to print some etchings. Hardie was turning the press for me and somehow I got my finger in the way and the heavy old roller went right over and squashed my finger. Didn't break it, but Hardie felt terrible. He didn't do it on purpose.\"

Hardie told a story about a high school friend Clyde (Vic) Forsythe. One day in 1929, Vic called him up and said, \"Hardie, guess what? I have Norman Rockwell in my studio, and he's painting Gary Cooper!\" My father rushed over there and watched in fascination as work on the Saturday Evening Post cover progressed. In the background he could hear Vic calling other friends with the same message. Each time there would be a long pause, and then Vic would hang up. Apparently, no one else believed him!

In later years, Hardie and Norman Rockwell knew each other in the Westport Artists group in Connecticut, and around the early 1950s, Hardie was invited to be one of the original twelve artists in the Famous Artist School that Al Dorne and Norman Rockwell were starting, but his life was so full with writing and illustrating children's books and painting fine art watercolors that he declined. However, in the 1970s he helped the Institute of Children's Literature.

While at Chouinard, Hardie would often go on sketching tours for several days, driving wherever the notion led him and painting numerous pictures. Later he would recall:

\"In my art student days I was tremendously influenced by that sunlight painter, Van Gogh. So much so that I spent most of my days outdoors, painting everything from the seacoast to the desert. I painted like mad. On one count over a period of three years I found I had painted on an average of five watercolors a day ... Sometimes I went on trips with that great California painter Phil Dike. Then we would literally knock ourselves out with palette and brush, getting up at five in the morning and painting until after dark.

\"My theory was a simple one. I figured that the more you painted the more of a master of your medium you became; so that when you really had something to say you said it directly without having to consider the medium. My idea was to play my palette like a pianist plays a keyboard: never conscious of reaching for color or tone, but getting the most subtle shades and harmony with the greatest of confidence.\" [Quoted in “The Watercolor Series”, American Artist, March 1947.]"; break; case 5: $text = "

The Years with Walt Disney

Hardie began working at the Walt Disney Studio in 1929, two years after the Studio began. He went to Chouinard art school at night and to the Studio during the day. His first job was to do a Disney comic book, but he finished six months of drawings in three days when Walt asked him, “Gee, Hardie, what would you like to do now?” Dad told Walt that he'd like to try animation. There were only fourteen animators there when he arrived (and 250 when he left for New York in 1936). In an interview in 1972, my father recalled, \"In those days, there was a very small group. We would do the story at night with Walt clowning around, acting like crazy, and in the daytime we did the animation.\" He described how exciting it was and how Walt was such a master at inspiring others. Often the animators would be discouraged, not knowing how to translate an idea into animation, and Walt would start to act out what he could see in his mind. He could demonstrate in slow motion the body language for the emotion they wanted to draw. \"Working with Disney opened the world for me. Walt sat next to me and taught me animation. I think that the movement and action in my watercolors stem primarily from that early work with animation." During that first year, Hardie would go out and paint watercolors or sketch every day at noon. One day Walt saw him coming back to the Studio and asked, \"What were you doing?\" Hardie said he was out painting, and Walt asked, \"What do you do that for?\" Soon afterwards, Walt arranged for his animators to study drawing with Don Graham -- a good artist who knew anatomy very well -- at Chouinard."; break; case 6: $text = "

Marriage and an odd honeymoon in New Orleans

On April Fool's Day, 1932, Hardie asked my mother to marry him (she wasn't sure if he was serious), after warning her that he wanted to travel. They got married on August 20th of that year and planned to drive to New Orleans on their honeymoon. The morning of the wedding my father stopped at Pruett Carter's house to borrow a gun for the trip since he and Mom would be crossing the Badlands. Well, the Carters didn't know why he wanted the gun, so they stalled and stalled him ... and Hardie was late for his own wedding!

My parents had a wonderful experience when they got to New Orleans. In a bookshop they met someone who offered to introduce them to Weeks Hall, an artist and teacher who had been featured in Vanity Fair and who owned this marvelous old plantation in New Iberia called Shadows on the Teche. My mother told the story to me:

\"When we arrived, the servants invited Hardie upstairs to meet Weeks Hall first. He was so colorful. He took us up in an old attic that had all these trunks filled with beautiful Mardi Gras costumes from all those years. Little satin slippers and all these things. He was proud of how he could throw a ball out the window, 'way out into the darkness, and his Springer spaniel would dash downstairs and outside and would bring the ball back to him.

“During the evening, Weeks Hall kept ordering drinks from his servant, three at a time, but I didn't drink much at that time. Hardie had two or three, but our host kept drinking what we didn't! By then it was about three in the morning and we finally said that we had to get back to our hotel. He responded, 'Wait till you see a favorite trick of mine.' He ordered his servant, Tenine, to get his straw hat and proceeded to pour Tabasco sauce all over it. Then he really was eating it, chomp, chomp! As we left, he got four servants to stand out in the driveway and sing, 'Look down, look down, that lonesome road.' Oh, it was really terrific. As we drove off, we could hear the voices faintly in the dark. Poor people, they were probably so tired.

\"What made this story one of Hardie's favorites is that we later heard that Weeks Hall had told someone that 'Mr. Gramatky, like all artists, had his lady traveling companion with him.' And we were on our honeymoon!\"

My mother described times shared with two of their best friends, Phil and Betty Dike, in the 1930's in California:

\"They lived nearby and would come over for dinner. In the Depression, we'd just get together on the spur of the moment and have dinners. Betty was such a love and Phil was crazy about her ... I remember one time when Hardie and I went on a sketching trip with the Dikes. We were already married by then, and Hardie, to tease me, woke up in the hotel room that morning and said, 'Well, how are we this morning, Miss Cooke?' Just nice and loud so the people in the next room would hear. I could have killed him.\" "; break; case 7: $text = "

The move to New York City

Hardie and Doppy (my mother's nickname since childhood, given her by her older sister, Hellen, who later said that the name sounded like a wet dishrag, but I've never heard of another person with the nickname Doppy) continued working, painting and saving so they could go to New York City. At that time – and inspired by Pruett Carter's descriptions of life there -- New York City was the Mecca for all illustrators. When Hardie's six-year Disney contract was up in 1936 (he was making a good salary of $150 a week during the Depression, an amount that was the equivalent of an annual salary of $100,000 plus in today's market), my parents had $3,000 saved up. In June, 1936, they made the break. After a drive across the country, they found an apartment to sublet for a few months. Hardie was determined to see if he could make it on his own, so he left two letters of recommendation from Walt Disney tucked away in a trunk.

Life in New York was invigorating and challenging. The $3,000 they had saved seemed like a fortune, but it went fast when they didn't have much coming in. In the apartment, my parents had separate little drawing tables, and they would get one job here and another there. By January, 1937, things started looking up when Hardie got an assignment from Fortune magazine as a pictorial reporter to cover the Mississippi flood (\"Expenses paid!!!\" Hardie wrote in his diary), and then Doppy showed King Features her drawings and they sent her along as well. Hardie would talk to people and get one letter of introduction after another that permitted them to get into the flooded areas to paint. My father, always the optimist, wrote about it for the March 1947 American Artist magazine:

\"I remember how cold it was even for the South. Outside of Paducah, I stood in water up to my waist painting with my board on a floating barrel. It was fun. I even had to break the ice to dip my brush in the water.”

In December of that year, my father found a studio loft down in the Wall Street area (on the seventh floor of 130 Pearl Street) with \"a grand view and lots of room,\" all for only $15 a month! My mother recalled:

\"There was a young, unsophisticated boy who managed the building. Every time we would get a letter from the West Coast, this kid would run up the stairs shouting, 'You've got an airmail letter from California!' He probably had never been out of New York ... The studio was perfect - except for the outside smells. On one side was a cigar factory and on the other was a manufacturer of cheap perfume. It was too much. But at least we got the smell of fresh coffee from a shop down the street.\" "; break; case 8: $text = "

A mischievous tugboat comes into Hardie's life

Within a month, Hardie had an idea that would change his life. To rest his eyes when they grew tired, he liked to watch the boats on the East River out his window. One little tugboat seemed to have a personality of its own, never being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it would go out into the river and return without having done any work, or it would make a figure 8. A few times the other boats would be blowing their horns for this tugboat to get out of the way! On January 12, 1938, Hardie wrote in his diary, \"IDEA - do children's book on East River - little boats as characters. Sketch character in them each day -- chesty little tugs pulling a big load.\" Facetiously, we think, he noted that he could call the book \"The Little Tug That Wouldn't.\"

Doppy was working hard as an artist as well, and one day that January she thought up a way to encourage Hardie:

\"I'd done a whole textbook and I got what seemed the magnificent sum of $150. I had it cashed at the bank in $10's and $5's and hid them all around the apartment. I put together a treasure hunt with tags to 'Look under such and such.' Then I gave him the first one, and he started looking and 'Wheel' a $5 bill. Then a $10 bill and so on. That night we celebrated at Shima's in the Village where instead of the 65-cent meal, we splurged and got the complete 85-cent dinner! I think they added a little paper cup of sherbet between courses and one other extra, but we had a great time.\"

During 1938, my father did watercolors and sketches of tugboats and began to write a story to go with them. The story of the optimistic tugboat that was always getting into trouble (''I'm just like that little tugboat,\" Hardie once said) wrote itself naturally, and he entered the manuscript of Little Toot in a contest. It did not win the $5,000 award, but since it placed in the top ten of 1,500 entries, that gave encouragement for Hardie to persevere. He submitted it to one publisher who rejected it with the infamous line, \"Children aren't thinking that way this year\"! (Sixty-seven years later, the book the Library of Congress called one of the all-time classics in children's literature is still going strong, and in Spring 2007 a “restored classic edition” is being published by Penguin Putnam with art and colors back to the first edition of Little Toot with the delightful endpapers restored!)

In August, 1938, Hardie got lucky. He was having lunch with Charlie Murphy, a Fortune editor with whom he'd gone on assignment to Flin Flon mine in Canada earlier in the year. Murphy loved the Little Toot manuscript and said, \"Hardie, you should have this published!\" My father told him that that was the idea, so Murphy turned around to a G. P. Putnam's editor, Ken Rawson, sitting at the next table and said, \"Here, Ken, take a look at this.\" Putnam's loved the manuscript and drawings and published it in October 1939, during their early years publishing children's books.

At the publication party on board a Moran tugboat in New York harbor were many celebrities including Reginald Marsh (who had been on jury duty with Hardie and who did a sketch in the first copy of all the people assembled), Gordon Grant, Christopher Morley (who impulsively dipped his finger in printer's ink and drew an anchor on the front of the book) and Anne Carroll Moore, the famous librarian from the New York Public Library. It was a grand day and the new book became an immediate success.

Later, in the forties, Walt Disney came to New York and told Hardie that the only thing he wanted to do was to ride on a tugboat, so Hardie called Eugene Moran, who was delighted to oblige. Hardie had kept a good relationship with Walt. In 1938, Walt gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times that ended by his saying, \"There was a boy working for us who had a great future in our Studio. But his heart wasn't in his work and he decided to chuck it all and paint what he wanted to paint. We gave him a great send-off because we admired his spirit. He had a struggle, but he arrived. Even when he was struggling he was happy for he was doing what he wanted to do.\" "; break; case 9: $text = "

Enjoying the world of watercolors

And paint he did. Everything he saw was an inspiration -- Washington Square Park, the river, the rooftops, city life. He had two shows at the Ferargil Galleries in New York City in 1937 and 1938 and was kept busy with illustrations and posters as well. In later years, his fellow artists in the Fairfield Watercolor Group in Connecticut would kid him that while most of them had to travel far and wide to find something worthy to paint, Hardie would simply look around him for inspiration: the house across the street, the back fields, a neighbor's trees, the grape arbor. When we look at his early watercolors, we note the same artistic eye that could see form and direction wherever he painted.

In 1972 Hardie and Dorothea were being interviewed on the radio station of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and he described why he loved to paint; and it's easy to be caught up in his enthusiasm for his medium:

\"I love doing watercolors. I love to go out on a nice sunny day and it's an amazing thing to me that you can do a painting and get it complete. A watercolor is a very fast medium anyway, and a completion of a painting seems to make all the difference in the world. You have an idea and it's completed and there's a satisfied feeling that you have done something. I have friends who are in professions where cases drag on unresolved for months, but they will come out and paint a picture in one day and there's a wholeness, a feeling that they are whole again in such a short time.\" "; break; case 10: $text = "

Life in New York City for two illustrators

Hardie used to love to tell a story on his wife, who illustrated under her maiden name of Dorothea Cooke and did many covers for Jack and Jill magazine in the 50s. In the late thirties, she had illustrated a textbook of Spanish grammar. One picture was of a woman in a frilly nightgown lying in bed. It was a low gown, certainly nothing to be censored, but the publisher called up to tell them that the book had been \"banned in Boston\" because of it! My father would tell friends the story and add with a chuckle, \"That will sell a lot of books elsewhere.\"

During the early forties, the City was populated with lots of characters. Hardie and Doppy would go to a place where old-time actors and actresses congregated and they would find people who loved to pose. One time, however, a Russian model, Mr. Magner, was posing in their apartment and decided that he would like to cook for them. He wouldn't take no for an answer. It was a very hot July day as he cooked a dozen cabbage-and-egg pies in their small kitchenette. The smell of the cabbage permeated everything, and it seemed as if the day would never end. When Magner finally left, my parents tossed the pies in the garbage and went out to dinner, ready to put the day behind them.

Doppy remembered the specific day when they both thought that, yes, they were going to make it. In 1940, Putnam's was sending Hardie by boat up the coast to be one of the speakers at a huge book fair at Boston Garden. While my parents were on board, Hardie received a telegram from his agent, Barry Stephens, saying that he'd gotten a job for Collier's magazine, his first."; break; case 11: $text = "

Moving back to California during the War Years

During World War II, my father wasn't accepted by the Armed Services because he had a curvature of the spine. His back had never given him any discomfort, but the Navy wasn't taking any chances. So my father moved back to Hollywood to supervise the production of training films for the U.S. Army Air Forces (under the command of a young Captain Ronald Reagan) from 1943-1945. My mother and I (their bundle of joy born that January) went to California with him, and we lived in the Silver Lake district. During the war years, Hardie, Pruett Carter and Mrs. Chouinard had the idea of sending artists to the Veteran's Hospital to sketch portraits of wounded servicemen, as Bob Perine recalled in 1985 in his book, Chouinard: An Art Vision Betrayed. Hardie recalled that the artists tried to minimize the boys' wounds in their drawings. They'd make the soldiers look as handsome as possible so that they would have something special to send home to their families. Doppy noted that he also taught a class at Chouinard, and she would often cook up meals for the students Hardie would bring home. At the end of the war, an art director at one of the studios hired Hardie to do sketches for the Ernie Pyle movie, \"G.I. Joe,\" and he enjoyed this new experience so much."; break; case 12: $text = "

Returning to the East Coast and moving to Connecticut

Our relatives (my Grandma Blanche Gramatky, Aunt Mimi Ott Gunner, and my maternal grandparents, Charles Prentice Cooke and Gertrude Edgerly Cooke) had a wonderful time with their \"East Coast family\" close by, but in May, 1945, we drove back to New York City and the apartment at 188 East End Avenue (just opposite the mayor's home) that had been sublet during the war. My father regretted one \"missed opportunity\" when General Dwight David Eisenhower returned from the war and came to meet with Mayor LaGuardia at Gracie Mansion. As \"Ike\" stood on the sidewalk in front of our brownstone, Hardie took his photograph. My father told me later that Ike had smiled his famous grin and waved right up at me, sitting on the windowsill. Imagine Dad's dismay when the photo shop told him that that roll of slides had been lost!

In 1946, my parents bought a house in Westport, Connecticut, from the estate of Joe Chapin, known as the “dean of American art directors” who had worked at Scribner's. We arrived in a huge snowstorm on the day after Christmas after a four-hour delay driving out from New York City. The movers had already left, after depositing my father's supplies in my tiny bedroom and my bed in his large studio. Those arrangements were changed by the next day. "; break; case 13: $text = "

Honors come Hardie's way

Hardie continued to paint watercolors, exhibit, do advertising art and illustrations for leading magazines like True, Collier's and Reader's Digest, write and illustrate children's books (he had completed thirteen by the end of his life), give \"chalk talks\" to schools and libraries, and enjoy life. In 1948, he was honored to be elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design (proposed by Fred Whitaker and Ted Kautsky) and he became a full Academician in 1950. The National Academy had begun accepting watercolorists only four years previously and has kept the number to twenty-five members in the watercolor category. When one sees “N.A.” after an artist's signature that indicates that they were a National Academician. [This information came in a letter written by Abigail Booth Gerdts, Archivist, National Academy of Design, March 1989.]

In 1951, my father was invited to teach at the University of Oregon, Klamath Falls, for the summer. They'd told us that if we got there by July 4th, I could ride in the parade -- and that was fine. What they didn't mention is that I would be riding in a rodeo as well. I can remember my father's face as I tore into the arena amid all the dust and clamor, the rein of my horse being held by our host, “Bal” Ballentine. Hardie was so stunned that he never snapped one photograph. That summer, Johnny Gannam, a wonderful, well-known illustrator and friend of the family, decided that he would follow us out to Oregon in his new car. My mother says that \"he joined Hardie's sketch classes, and the other students loved him. Johnny did beautiful little sketches of the water because he could look at water with reflections and ripples and really analyze it.\"

Hardie was always volunteering his time and talent to help people, from the local blood bank to the Children's Book Council (his bookmark was given out to 320,000 children) to the American Watercolor Society (in 1953, Hardie, Dong Kingman and other artists went on the television show \"Sense and Nonsense\" and kept winning for a week, the money going for an AWS prize) to making posters for the Leukemia Society."; break; case 14: $text = "

A vignette of the daily life of Hardie and Dorothea Gramatky

What was my parents' daily life like? There were years when they would get up at 6:30 a.m. for \"Sunrise Semester,\" a television show with New York University professors who discussed literature (from Proust to Virginia Woolf to Camus), an interest of Hardie's that never waned. After breakfast, my father would work in his studio for the morning, coming downstairs for lunch, then upstairs again to work. Some days he would take the train into the City to deliver an illustrating job. Doppy recalled that occasionally she'd take his jobs in for him. \"Whichever it was, we'd be so glad to get home and compare notes on Our Day!\" And if he wanted to take a day off and it was a nice day, he would go out and do the fields with his tractor (it was fun to see him and our neighbor, Dr. David Beck, zipping around on their two tractors!) or put up some shelves or turn over the garden. In the evening, Hardie would come downstairs around 5:00, and they'd have a cocktail and talk in our kitchen. Then they'd take the dogs for a walk and Mom would make dinner. Of course, this schedule would change if an art director said, \"I want it the first thing Monday morning\" because then Hardie would be working late hours on the job.

Our house in Westport was a one-of-a-kind Dutch colonial farmhouse that was perched on top of a hill at 60 Roseville Road. In the winter, we could see the Long Island Sound through the trees at the back of the two-acre property. Hardie's studio on the second floor had a picture window letting in the north light and a funny, old-fashioned sink that was great for washing out paintbrushes. There were two ceramic vases, one filled with the \"not good brushes\" that a daughter or grandchild might head for, the other filled with the \"good ones\" that we left alone. [Happily, my husband, Kendall Smith, and I moved back into my childhood home in 1993 and love all the memories and views of living there in a town that still celebrates writers and artists from its long history as an “art town”. Ken uses Dad's drawing table as a desk and we both spend a lot of time in the “studio” working on the computer.]"; break; case 15: $text = "

Founder of the Fairfield Watercolor Group

One joy in his life was the Fairfield Watercolor Group, founded in 1948 by Walter DuBois Richards, Stevan Dohanos and Hardie. The three of them had been caught up in the battle of illustration deadlines, and painting for themselves was neglected. It occurred to Wally that if they got together with other artists and agreed to do a painting each month, it would give them all the needed discipline. The group of twelve met for 56 years on a Sunday afternoon each month in the studio of one of the members (rotating throughout the year) to discuss their work, methods, materials and points of view. Each member presented a painting for comment and criticism by the group. Susan Radel in an article in the Fairfield Citizen News, March 3, 1976, quoted Hardie as saying, \"There is no other group like this in America. Inquiries come from other parts of the country, but they don't seem to be successful in organizing a group. You get charged up going up against your peers - your jury is right here. It's magnificent - I love it!\" It helped that the spouses are invited to the meetings. When Fred and Eileen Monahan Whitaker lived in the next town, Norwalk, they were members as well as Ward Brackett and Dolli Tingle Brackett and Wally Richards' wife, Glenora, a well-known miniaturist. Members have been selected regardless of how they think or work, and contrasting styles and viewpoints are evident ... and mutual respect is high. Through the artists' involvement in this group, paintings that otherwise would not have been painted have won prizes and gone all over the world. [Information on the Fairfield Watercolor Group came from an article in North Light magazine, Summer 1969] "; break; case 16: $text = "

A couple of windows into how Hardie would paint

When my mother reread Hardie's diaries back in 1989, she made the following observation about one painting he'd done for his own \"enjoyment\":

\"Most times a watercolor would go smoothly and quickly. But as I look back, I remember that occasionally the process was slow-going. In his early '76 notes, I see that he was redoing part of what he then called 'Behind Allen's.' 'Wash out and redraw building.' In the next days he added windows and continued work on 'watercolor of Allen's Clam House. Never say die. Redraw and repaint.' The next day he repainted it with 'more verve and warmer color.' He was still working on the painting in February, and then he finally matted it and called it 'Old Mill Pond.' Even though it was matted, Hardie noted on February 5th that he was 'still repainting watercolor!' Then he submitted it to a show at the National Academy ... and won the Barse Miller Award, so I guess all that effort was worthwhile.\"

Art directors were a necessary part of my father's life. The painting \"Dead Rat\" was painted after a particularly trying day in New York. My mother recalled:

\"Hardie had come home mad at some art director, so he went for a walk out back to clear his mind. There he saw a huge dead rat out on our hill. Getting out his watercolors, he painted a wonderful Durer-looking watercolor of the rat. To him, it was the art director, and he worked off his anger in that way.\" [This painting was lost or stolen in the late 90s, but here's an image of what Hardie painted.]

My father told a story about one particular art director. Hardie had gone into the City to make last-minute changes on a job. As he worked in the art director's office, he needed a ruler so he unknowingly reached for one on the man's desk that turned out to be a solid gold ruler. The director reacted with horror that someone had actually touched and used his \"Golden Rule!\" My father, who was so unpretentious, couldn't get over this Madison-Avenue hype. Other art directors, however, were close friends with whom Hardie would go on sketching trips. "; break; case 17: $text = "

The world opens up for the Gramatkys

After I went off to Bates College in 1960, my parents began to travel. Their first trip was to Greece, Italy, France, Amsterdam and London, and they were bitten by \"the bug.\" There would be a pattern to their trips. For two years before a trip, they would read up on what they might want to see, and for two years after a trip they would read everything they could on the delights they had experienced.

Not only did my parents travel during their last years together, but so did Little Toot. Twenty-five years after the original book was published (1964), Hardie came out with a sequel. First, Little Toot visited the Thames River, then the Grand Canal, the Mississippi, the Golden Gate Bridge and Loch Ness over the next few years. All in all, over seven million copies of my father's books have been sold in many languages: Thai, Japanese, Danish, Afrikaans and Dutch are some of them. Walt Disney made an animated movie of Little Toot as part of \"Melody Time\" in 1948 (and the video is still being sold almost sixty years later even though Dad never got any royalties), and the tugboat was a float in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses in 1949. When a 1958 New York Times crossword puzzle asked for an answer to the definition \"Tugboat in Gramatky tale for children,\" my father was on Cloud Nine.

In 1966, Hardie was one of the first artist-correspondents going to Viet Nam for the U.S. Air Force. The paintings he did on that trip hang in the Pentagon and the Air Force Academy. He traveled with his friend Wally Richards, who described one detail of the trip:

\"We flew home from Tokyo on a hospital plane, a giant plane loaded with boys twelve hours from the battlefield, four tiers deep on stretchers. Hardie was never too tired to go from bunk to bunk, comforting and talking with the men, some of whom had been put aboard less than half an hour after having been picked up on the battlefield. He spent the whole night from Tokyo to Travis Base walking around and talking with them. He had a personal sweetness as great as his talent.\" [These comments come from a eulogy at Hardie's memorial service at Green's Farms Congregational Church in Westport, CT, quoted by Ruth Lampland Ross in the Bridgeport Post, May 7, 1979.]"; break; case 18: $text = "

Grandchildren enrich Hardie's life

During the 1970's, an important dimension of Hardie's life was his two grandchildren. They represented the culmination of a life of loving and caring. He enjoyed phone calls and mail from them and would put aside professional obligations when we would come for a weekend visit. When we were in Connecticut, he would usually take them for a walk, and my husband, Ken, recalls the time they came back from one such outing:

\"Five-year-old Andrew ran on ahead, calling out excitedly, 'Daddy, Daddy, we had a wonderful adventure! Me and grandpa saved a turtle!' Then he proceeded to relate how they'd found a snapping turtle stranded upside down in a nearby stream and turned it over with a huge stick to send it on its way. Three-year-old Tina and Hardie, trailing behind, were deeply engrossed in a conversation that belied the sixty-two year gap in their ages.\"

After a walk, Hardie would take his grandchildren up to his studio to paint, and he would often write down a snatch of conversation, something he had heard them say. (Andrew became an art major at Bates College and went on to own Tenrec Inc., a web design firm in San Francisco, and Tina used art therapy in her career as a social worker before becoming a stay-at-home mom, so their grandfather and his influence and love continue to be very important to them.) "; break; case 19: $text = "

More traveling in the United States

My parents didn't limit their traveling to overseas trips. They loved seeing America. In 1973 they took a nostalgic trip back to California to see long-time friends. On that trip, Hardie painted \"Rocks at Carmel\" and wrote the following:

\"We wanted to bring back paintings filled with the charm of the Pacific. To be sure, the Big Sur coast is a dramatic place ... but there was nothing in the spectacular that was intimate and personal, nothing that intrigued me as a subject.

\"Then we stayed with a cousin in Carmel ... A trip along the 'Seventeen Mile Drive' changed our minds. Rounding a turn just above Pebble Beach we had our subject before us. There it was, and with all the excitement of the sea close enough at hand. Water moved in magnificent whirls around formidable looking rocks. The shape and design of masses in the foreground could be arranged only by Mother Nature herself. Cézanne himself couldn't ask for a more perfect composition, even to that beautiful reserve color of the sea flowers.\" [From comments written to son-in-law Kendall B. Smith in December 1988]

On that trip they stayed with old friends Betty and Phil Dike (another founder of the California Watercolor Movement) in their cabin in Cambria and had the most wonderful reunion, even with a bat flying around their bedroom in the middle of the night."; break; case 20: $text = "

Hardie's last two trips to Europe

After a trip to France, England and Ireland in 1976 with my mother, Hardie typed up a journal he'd kept during the trip. I would like to share the following excerpt about an Irish railroad station. I'm sure it will give the reader an idea of my father's enthusiasm, energy, zest for living, kindness and ability to see the humor in everyday situations:

\"Families with hardly less than a dozen children each plus baby carriages, dogs and refreshments popped in and out of railway carriage doors until it seemed that poor train could hold no more. [Hardie always personified inanimate objects, from his beloved tractor in Connecticut to the characters in his books to this 'poor train'!] We even had to get into the act. With my Breton cap on I must have had an official look, because a slightly inebriated gentleman asked me, 'Is this the night train?' I assumed so, it being already seven o'clock. I assured him it was. Then my conscience got the better of me. On inquiry I found it was the train to Limerick, so Dops and I rushed up and down the platform looking in windows until we spotted the old gentleman. I rushed in to him. 'I'm sorry. I'm afraid I've made a mistake and given you the wrong information.' Three men nearby quickly intervened. 'It's all right, sir. We've checked his destination. He is on the right train to be sure.' ... And [then there was] the disgusted look I got from another man when I told him I didn't know where the 'fir' was. 'Fir' (pronounced fire) is the Irish name for the men's room. After that I took off my Breton cap.\"

The following year, my parents would take their nine-year-old grandson, Andrew, to the coast of Normandy, England and Scotland, where the idea for Hardie's last book, Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster, would be born. The watercolor of Loch Ness that my father painted when he came home received the American Watercolor Society's High Winds Medal just two days before his death in 1979. And posthumously, his Loch Ness book was published in 1989 and a couple of years later it was made into an animated feature for actress Shelley Duvall's “Bedtime Stories” series on Showtime, for which it received an Emmy nomination.

The last few years of Hardie's life were full and fulfilling. He continued winning prizes in juried shows and writing children's books and reading omnivorously. His journals are full of thoughts on life, art, writing, things he'd seen or read. In fact, a few days before he died, my mother had just finished reading the last volume of Henry James' autobiography to Hardie, and they had started Eugenie Grandet by Balzac. His mind never stopped being full of wonder.

My mother lived for another 22 years without Hardie, moving in with us in Westport in 1998 and dying at age 92 in May 2001. She won awards for her paintings and kept the spirit of Hardie alive by finishing some of his drawings and adding two of her own illustrations so that Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster could be published. The biggest miracle was that this intelligent but shy woman found the courage to travel around the country with me, giving talks to schools and libraries on “the creativity of Hardie Gramatky” and passing along his philosophy that there is so much creativity in every child. His favorite question when he was giving a chalk talk would be to ask a child, “What are you going to put in your painting?” He never came across as an expert but as a fellow artist.

And new honors continue to come to Hardie Gramatky, even 27 years after his death. In American Artist's Fall 2006 issue of Watercolor magazine, Andrew Wyeth picked the 20 Great American Watercolorists (which was like Mick Jagger choosing the 20 greatest rock bands, our son mused). Along with Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O'Keeffe and Childe Hassam is Hardie Gramatky! Wouldn't he be proud? Yes, they did spell his name as “Hardy Gramatky”, but my father wouldn't have minded.

There are a hundred more stories, a million more things I would like to share with you all, but they will have to wait until another time. Did I tell you how my father often would instinctively add a touch of red in his paintings, something that enlivened the greens in a landscape? Or did I mention how he had a running joke with the children at his chalk talks, asking them to remind him if he forgot to add the pink cheeks to one of his characters? Or how he was so approachable that the children in his neighborhood never were hesitant to show him their artwork? Those stories will have to wait.

- Linda Gramatky Smith";"; break; } return $text; <% End Select If nextpage > 0 then response.write "

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  1. href=story.asp?n=1>Memories of Hardie Gramatky by his daughter, Linda Gramatky Smith
  2. href=story.asp?n=2>The Early Years
  3. href=story.asp?n=3>Hardie demonstrates precocious early talent in art
  4. href=story.asp?n=4>Back to Los Angeles: a time of art and love
  5. href=story.asp?n=5>The Years with Walt Disney
  6. href=story.asp?n=6>Marriage and an odd honeymoon in New Orleans
  7. href=story.asp?n=7>The move to New York City
  8. href=story.asp?n=8>A mischievous tugboat comes into Hardie's life
  9. href=story.asp?n=9>Enjoying the world of watercolors
  10. href=story.asp?n=10>Life in New York City for two illustrators
  11. href=story.asp?n=11>Moving back to California during the War Years
  12. href=story.asp?n=12>Returning to the East Coast and moving to Connecticut
  13. href=story.asp?n=13>Honors come Hardie's way
  14. href=story.asp?n=14>A vignette of the daily life of Hardie and Dorothea Gramatky
  15. href=story.asp?n=15>Founder of the Fairfield Watercolor Group
  16. href=story.asp?n=16>A couple of windows into how Hardie would paint
  17. href=story.asp?n=17>The world opens up for the Gramatkys
  18. href=story.asp?n=18>Grandchildren enrich Hardie's life
  19. href=story.asp?n=19>More traveling in the United States
  20. href=story.asp?n=20>Hardie's last two trips to Europe
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