"I used to bea giraffe, now I'm an antelope," commented artist Saul Lambert ratherenigmatically during a discussion of turning points in one's life. "Orbetter still, a hind. Now there's a word you don't hear much."
Whatever he is atthe moment, Lambert remains constant to SI, where his work has appeared over 16years. In 1975 his illustration for a Rocky Bleier article (SI, June 9) wasaccepted for the prestigious Society of Illustrators' annual show, as wasanother last year for The Scout Is a Lonely Hunter (SI, Feb. 2). This week hiswatercolors enhance Bil Gilbert's story on winter camping (page 74). ThoughLambert says that he is game for anything and would have been willing to joinGilbert on his subzero odyssey, in fact he read the manuscript in the warmth ofhis Princeton, N.J. home and then addressed himself to the business ofpresenting literal content visually. "Luckily, [Art Director] Dick Gangelgives an artist his head," Lambert says, "and that unlimited freedomallows me to express my point of view with few restrictions. With wintercamping, I was interested in expressing the mood of the story, the imagery,rather than illustrating a given scene."
To capture themood, and the hostile environment described, Lambert, 49, used cold colors ofthe spectrum—blues and greens—and the Luma inks he works with added a specialbrilliance to the frosty hues. Warmth appears only in the small campfire in thepainting on page 77, but the fire is surrounded by a shivery chill thatheightens the impression there is no way of getting comfortable. Even theshafts of sunlight in the opening illustration seem more like shards of glassor ice than the warming rays of Old Sol.
As for Old Saul,he wards off the cold in various ways—for one, standing over a hot wok; Lambertis accomplished at Chinese cookery. Another means Lambert has of getting a glowis by attending sessions of something called the Thursday Group.
At 1 p.m. on manyThursdays the bar area of The Annex restaurant on Princeton's Nassau Street isenlivened by the arrival of Lambert and other illustrious SI regulars—MikeRamus, John Huehnergarth, Arnold Roth—and one or two other local artists. TheThursday Group has been in existence for about seven years, though it isperiodically decimated by its members' out-of-town assignments. Lunch takes along time; the talk is art talk, and, as John Huehnergarth, who illustratedBarry McDermott's article on the dunk shot (page 20), says, "You know howthe electrical sparks begin to fly when such creative types gather." Moreseriously, Huehnergarth says of his colleague's work, "Saul never offers atrite interpretation of the text. His illustrations lean toward fine art, aremore art than illustration."
That is inkeeping with the Lambert who had in mind for himself a career as a seriouspainter but, tired of being hungry, began to accept commercial work. Obviously,a man who can change from a giraffe to an antelope (or hind) would be thisflexible.
ANTELOPE LAMBERT, BY HUEHNERGARTH