If you’re an Oz fan and a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, you’ve already received this latest issue of their magazine, which is a treat for art lovers, Oz and otherwise. The front cover features this charming watercolor by John R. Neill, the artist most associated with the Oz books, having illustrated all but one of the original L. Frank Baum series, and many of the ones by other authors. The accompanying article is about his granddaughter Jory Mason and her project to put many unpublished or long unseen pieces of his art online, and eventually (she hopes) into a book, one which is long overdue in my opinion. Have a look at her website to enjoy lots of wonderful Neill art.
Also in this issue is an article about and by book cover painter Michael Herring. Herring dropped out of the cover art scene some years ago at the top of his game to follow a new path toward more personal work, and he’s currently living and painting in Australia. You might know his work from covers for science fiction and fantasy novels for Star Wars, and Tolkien’s books, among many others. He also painted the paperback covers for the Oz books published by Del Rey. Michael describes his workaholic life as a cover painter, and why he decided to quit, but since you can only get the magazine if you’re a club member, I’ll summarize: he really enjoyed the actual painting, but the market was going more and more into the computer world, which he didn’t like as much. So, he and his wife decided to give it all up and moved to a small village in Australia. Sounds pretty cool to me, and they had enough saved to live on, so that made it work for them. Michael doesn’t seem to have any online presence, but there are two of his Oz paintings for sale here.
I’ve been an Oz Club member for decades, and just when I think every possible Oz subject has been covered in the magazine, they come up with new ones. Well done.