TIFTON — The new children’s book, “A is for Azure: the alphabet in colors” takes young readers through the 26 letters of the alphabet while introducing them to a color for each letter.
It’s the first book for Tifton artist Donna Falcone, and while it’s not a story book, it still has a story behind it.
In many children’s books, the words come first and the pictures follow.
But for “A is for Azure,” the book was inspired by the paintings.
Falcone started painting about two and half years ago after a long bout of Lyme disease.
Her sister, Peggy Zukaitis, introduced her to alcohol-based paints and kept nudging her to try them.
Working on tile, alcohol-based paints can have a mind of their own. While painting on the tile, the paints can decide to go in their own direction.
“I was so excited to see where it would go,” said Falcone. “It was a real practice in letting go for me.”
Art is a family tradition for Falcone.
Her mom, Pat Zukaitis, painted nature and outdoor paintings.
When Pat was hospitalized in Rochester, New York earlier this year, painting was a way to bridge the 1,000-mile gap between Rochester and Tifton.
“I use my art for meditative kinds of things, prayerful kinds of things,” said Falcone.
Her mother died shortly after being hospitalized. Some of the paintings in the book, such as “T is for Tangerine,” were made during that time.
It was shortly after her mother’s funeral that her friend, L.L. Barkat, approached her with a proposal, sample pages of what would become the final book, marrying Falcone’s tile paintings with words.
Barkat runs T.S. Poetry Press and the website www.tweetspeakpoetry.com
They started work on it in the beginning of May.
The book utilizes many paintings that Falcone had already finished, which greatly contributed to the short turnaround time.
In the book, each letter is assigned a color—A is for azure, B is for brass—and there’s a short description for the accompanying painting: “an azure sky,” “a brass-petaled field.”
“Younger children tend to focus on finding the colors,” said Falcone. “Older children on the reading.
The colors range from the common—G is for green—to the more esoteric: X is for xanthic, Q is for quartz.
“It’s cool words, and kids love cool words,” said Falcone.
The book was released on July 25, just a few months after Falcone and Barat started work on it.
“It’s been a lot of fun to see people get excited about it.”
Currently, the book can be found at online book retailers: Amazon.com, Booksamillion, Barnes & Noble.
Falcone, who moved to Tifton about a year and a half ago when her husband, Joe Falcone, took a teaching position at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, plans to participate in The Artist’s Market on Love on Nov. 4.
There, she plans to give a demonstration on alcohol-based paints.
For more information on Falcone’s art or to contact her, visit www.donnazfalcone.com.
UPDATE: This article has bee updated to correct the spelling of L. L. Barkat's name and to reflect that in "A is for Azure" the letter "B" is for brass.