"There was nothing but pie."

The author and illustrator known as Crockett Johnson for his Purple Crayon Books, with the inventive young Harold, was actually David Johnson Leisk (1906-1975). He studied art at Cooper Union and New York University. There is a well-written biography by Philip Nel on the Crockett Johnson homepage which largely focuses on his earlier achievements as a comic strip writer and author/illustrator of children's books. While Harold and the Purple Crayon remains very dear to my heart for its simplicity and purpleness, what I found interesting was his hobby of painting that became his third career of sorts at age 58 until his death ten years later. During the ten years, he painted approximately one hundred large canvases based on geometric shapes. According to his homepage, he often used a computer to plan the shapes, which he called, "non-objective, mathematic and geometric." To see some of his works, go to this National Museum of American History page. My personal favorites, both aesthetically and because of the descriptions would have to be:

Biblical Squared Circles
"Each of the six sides of the two equilateral triangles equaled the square root of the area of the outer circle and the square root of the circumference of the inner circle; together the altitudes of the male and female triangles equaled the area of the outer circle and the circumference of the inner circle. Of course both of these circular dimensions are pi, but ecclesiastically pi equaled 3."

Doubled Cube (Newton)

Law of Orbiting Velocities

Square Root of Pi - 0.00001

Velocities and Right Triangles (Galileo)

"But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best."


(beginning and ending quotes from Harold and the Purple Crayon)

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