Warning, this is going to get a little sappy. For those uninterested in excessive sappiness this is Jennie, main character of Maurice Sendak's, "Higglety Pigglety, Pop! Or there must be more to life." Mr. Sendak placed Jennie in not only this book but as a background character in many other books. Jennie was a beloved pet. OK, that's about as far as I can go without being sappy so for those of you uninterested, punch out now. The drawing is graphite and colored pencil on toned paper, thanks for checking it out. If you don't have the book handy to read here's some lovely British people to read it to you.
I had not intended to draw this character when we decided to do a Sendak tribute week. My mind went straight to "The Night Kitchen" with it's strong Windsor McKay influence or, "Really Rosie" the animated short that introduced me to Sendak's work when I was a boy. I stumbled upon Jennie when I was getting ready to put pencil to paper. I knew she was Mr. Sendak's actual pet, I knew he drew her in the background in much of his work and I knew he had lost her far too soon to sickness but I didn't remember much of this book. "Higglety Pigglety, Pop!" was the book he wrote to cope with the death of his beloved friend, Jennie. I didn't get that when I was a kid, I think cause death hadn't effected me yet. The real purpose of the book washed right over me and what stuck was a fun book about the adventure of a dog.
A couple of years ago, in May, I was fortunate enough to help my Mom and Brother care for my Father who was dying of cancer. Hardest thing I've ever done and the memory of it, although I am happy to have been able to take the time off and spend a month helping where I could and just to be with my Dad when it crosses my mind it still hurts. SO May tends to not be a great month for me but I am glad that this May I rediscovered this book. It's like a hug. Sendak doesn't share his grief from having lost his friend he share the love he has for Jennie. Sure, in reality his dog couldn't talk, didn't go on adventures but he loads the book with her personality. He loved her and you can experience it with this book. I think that's his genius or maybe his bravery that we are lucky to still have around. He shared what most would have kept to themselves and the act of sharing helps us to be better and sometimes helps us cope with difficult things.
So this one I dedicate to Maurice Sendak and also to my Father, Mason Worrell. The world is a better place for having had the both of you in it.