South Pacific Dreams is a publisher of artists’ biographies and paintings whose primary works are from the South Pacific. It will provide you with ideas and dreams in your quest to read and partake on your own South Pacific adventures.
Our first book is
Tyree: Artist of the South Pacific
We are dedicated to bringing to the public little known stories of 20th century artists who painted in or about the South Pacific.
Reviewed by Theo Servetas| Verified Purchaser | June 17, 2017
"TYREE: ARTIST OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC by C.J. Cook --- With thanks to the Author, I just received an advance copy. If you love South Pacific Island History and Culture, South Pacific Women, and the Marine Corps Combat Art Program, then this book is a "must have" and should be on your reading list for 2017. Superbly written and documented, this is a magnificently bound hard copy in glorious full color. For me it is a "keeper". Buy this book !!!"
Reviewed by Jeff Fleischer on forewordreviews.com
"...Tyree, Artist of the South Pacific includes dozens of well-produced examples of the artist’s work, from his early and unpublished pieces to his trademark velvet paintings. The book excels in delivering additional information, including interviews with Tyree’s adult children (whose own stories and artistic endeavors receive a short chapter near the end); their anecdotes and memories help flesh out the artist’s biography..." Read more here
Reviewed by Theresa Gallego | Verified Purchaser | June 28, 2017
"Very complete telling of the artist's life story. Beautifully illustrated with large scale, high quality photos of his work. A first class production all around. Like the author, I had come across one of Burke's paintings and was curious to know more. Info on the web was almost non-existent, but luckily a search on eBay turned up this gem. Includes a little history on other velvet painters for context. Enriched by the stories and mementos shared by the artist's wife and children, it is a much needed monograph on this highly talented velvet painter."
Reviewed by Tyler Ross | Verified Purchaser | June 28, 2017
"Great book! Beautiful paintings of the South Pacific and its indigenous inhabitants. Interesting to see how a Marine who was stationed in the South Pacific interprets their culture. The velvet paintings are remarkable. You will not be disappointed with purchasing this book."
About the Author
CJ Cook is an author and historian, who has a long interest in the history of South Pacific. He has written many articles including publishing biographical sketches on historical figures. Cook is a lifelong autograph and manuscript collector who has special interest in art, poetry, and the South Pacific. He is a board member of a prominent manuscript association, dedicated to preserving manuscripts, historical documents and the written word. He also is a collector of art and artists of the South Pacific including Ralph Burke Tyree, Edgar Leeteg, Edithe Beutler, Madge Tennent, Cece Rodriguez, and William Bloom. Some of the pieces illustrated in this biography are from the author’s collection.
And finally he has and continues to explore the South Pacific including: Guam, Pohnpei, Truk, Palau, Bali, Tahiti and its surrounding islands, New Zealand, Australia and its Great Barrier Reef, Taiwan, and the Hawaiian Islands. The latter paradise he visits multiple times a year.
Tyree: Artist of the South Pacific
Ralph Burke Tyree was an American artist who was the most prolific portrait artist of the South Pacific peoples of the 20th century. He was from central California, and his art education took place in San Francisco. Seven weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the Marines and was soon shipped off to Samoa. Private Tyree was befriended by his Commanding General and became the marine-base artist. His portrait career began with painting the officers’ and their loved ones, while corresponding with “10,000 word love letters” to his girlfriend Margo back home in Turlock, California. After the war, he began his professional career. He traveled back to the South Pacific to live for years in places such as Guam, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Often from there, he would travel to other island paradises: Palau, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands over his thirty-year career. Most of his first works were sensual island wahines in island beach and jungle settings. He painted primarily with oil on board but also occasionally on canvas and with pastels. To add depth and texture, he switched in mid-career to painting with oil on fine French silk, black velvet. This was in the midst of the 1960s' Tiki revolution and many of his demure nude pieces would be displayed in Tiki bars and restaurants. He was very prolific in his black velvet portraits of island women and men. In the 1970s, he started painting endangered animals to call attention to their limited numbers. He died suddenly of a heart attack at age fifty-seven in 1979.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Sensual South Pacific
Chapter 2 Athlete, Adventurer, Artist
Chapter 3 Private Tyree, Marine and Artist
Chapter 4 U.S. Marine Corps Artists of World War II
Chapter 5 Margo and Love Letters from the South Pacific
Chapter 6 Island Girls, Au Naturale
Chapter 7 Exotic Beauties on Black Velvet
Chapter 8 Tiki Bars and Other Black Velvet Artists
Chapter 9 Tyree’s Methods and Models
Chapter 10 Endangered Beasts: Board versus Velvet
Chapter 11 Tyree’s Legacy: His Wife, Children and Art
Quotes about the artist, Tyree:
"His (Tyree) unusual pencil technique is ideally suited to catch some of the softer qualities of South Pacific atmosphere, reminding us that these islands, now a bloody battlefield, were once the destinations of dreamers."
Aimée Crane, Editor of Marines at War
“Tyree came into his own financially with the Tiki Culture movement, finding, in the bars of Tiki restaurants, a lucrative market for his female nudes against exotic Pacific island settings." ...
“In black velvet Tyree found a medium that could support the richness of mahogany skin tones and oil black hair that he found in his subjects. He experimented for years with ways to use the nap to enhance the fabric's three dimensionality, settling on a laborious process of painting it in layers from the back of the fabric to the surface in stages. The result was a stunning Rembrandt-like highlighting of his subject, who seems to emerge out of inky depths."...
“Tyree was a master at capturing the tactile, sensuous nature of a place and its people, through his use of the medium of black velvet and his ability to paint light. He created paintings that were as unselfconsciously exotic as his subjects.”
Amy Ragsdale, Author
Crossing the River: A Life in Brazil
The second book is due out in 2018 and is a companion for
Tyree: Artist of the South Pacific
Its title is:
Tyree: Beauty in the Beast
Fauna and Flora of an Artist
By CJ Cook
A new era in Tyree's art began early in 1970. He began to focus on a different subject matter for his paintings—animals. He always had a deep love of animals and a desire to paint them. He painted the local Hawaiian creatures while on the Big Island and then branched out to endangered species—mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians from around the world. Tyree painted the animals using his usual technique of oil on board or velvet. The use of velvet accentuated the tactile reality of the animal’s fur or feathers. The three-dimensional aspect of his paintings created life-like fur or feathers by keeping the velvet soft and touchable.
Ralph Burke Tyree, Lemur Stalking a Butterfly., 1972, Oil on board, 16” x 20”
Please contact us at your convenience with any questions or comments you might have. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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