Sunday, October 28, 2012

Passing Time...

When I was a little kid I used to love going to spend the weekend with my granddaddy. We would go to the movies or the dollar store or to pick peaches; but the thing I remember doing most was going visiting. Usually we would visit lovely old ladies who would put me down for naps under crocheted blankets in sun rooms filled with spider plants and philodendrons. Or we would go see scrappy old men with howling bloodhounds tied to trees who would feed me Brunswick stew with saltines and ‘get’ my nose. One lady we would visit was a widow who lived a few doors down in a white painted brick house with magnolias in the yard so huge, nothing else could grow.  She didn’t put me down for naps- we would have sweet tea- and her walls were covered with paint by number landscapes, covered floor to ceiling. I didn’t think much about it then- if those were places she wanted to go, or why she painted so much- but I thought about her the other day and was inspired to do a paint by number for myself.
 Now I love being creative; and like most people I know, I want to be unique. But painting by numbers is a new way I’ve found to spend time that is surprisingly relaxing. I sat down to work on this 9x12 wolf and before I knew it three hours had passed.  I felt good. I’m sure many people would say that painting by numbers isn’t really art, but I respectfully disagree. If you remember the film Mona Lisa Smile, you may remember the scene where Julia Robert’s students each presented her with the exact same completed paint-by-number, no two were alike.  Because of this, I believe it is still art; we are all so unique that not even a mass produced project can make us the same!
I know that old lady died long ago. I wonder if she had kids and if so, did they keep any of her paintings?  Really I guess it doesn’t matter- I’m sure she did the paintings to pass the time. But I also believe she did them for herself- because she enjoyed it- and that’s why that little old widow, in her sunlight dappled sitting room, was the first real “artist” I ever met.

These little artworks are a fun and kitschy way to decorate, so have fun with it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cloudy Day Delights

It's been raining here so of course that means...mushrooms! I love hunting for unusual mushrooms, but the best ones are those I just stumble upon, like these!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vintage Record Wall Decor

Vintage album covers make great wall art, especially for a kid's room, where you might not want to invest a lot in catering to ever changing tastes. At under $5 each at most thrift stores and frames going for around $10 each, why not bring the kids along and let them make their own selections? Many album covers from the 60's and 70's feature beautiful artwork- here are a few examples from my collection:

When shopping for the rest of the house, you might like to choose a theme for your albums, such as movie soundtracks or Broadway musicals:

It doesn't matter if the albums themselves are in good shape or if you like the music or content itself (but if you do that's even better), just look for covers that inspire you and fit with your overall color scheme and/or decorating style. Here are a few more fun theme ideas: Girls with guitars, guys with beards, musical genres, nature sounds or images, fitness albums or books read by the author; get creative, the options are endless!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Vintage Book Love

I love books. I have spent countless hours in libraries, thrift stores, yard sales, and book stores looking at books- not looking for anything in particular, just marveling and how many stories have been told, all the imagination and experience there is to share.
I get the appeal of digital readers, I really do- an entire library at your fingertips anywhere you go, and more available for purchase in an instant-great, but I feel like something’s missing. The individuality of the books that comes from the texture of the paper, the chosen font, the cover- you don’t get that with digital readers. Maybe it’s not so important with magazines and periodicals, or throwaway ‘beach reads’, but when I read a novel I develop a relationship with the book that is as much tactile as it is intellectual. When I pick up a book I read years ago, I remember when I read it, I remember the feel of the book in my hands, and I even recall images of the book -in my house, when I read it on a train or in bed, laying on my nightstand.  
That’s why I have kept so many books that I know I’ll probably never read again- they remind me of my history; and that’s why I love collecting antique books. Torn and tattered, I wonder about the people who read them before me.
So, today I’ve decided to share some of my vintage books with you- enjoy!

Ever heard the term "Svengali"? Well, it came from this book-  George Du Maurier's "Trilby". My husband got me this copy for my birthday this weekend and it's lovely cover and illustrations inspired this post. This is an 1894 edition, same year the novel was first published:

These next few are from a 1925 lesson book on music history- a cut and paste book! The language in this book is amusing, note the word 'savages' in the fourth image, second paragraph. Excuse the lopsidedness, I tried to get them as straight as I could without adding any more creases to the bindings.

This is one of my favorites- well, they're all my favorites but I like children's books the best. "Water Babies" was written by Charles Kingsley for his youngest son in 1916 and illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith, one of my favorite artists:

I hope you have enjoyed some of these images as much as I have!
Last but not least I will share with you a 1905 edition of "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Anderson. I love fairy tales and the classics never get old. Here is a great website all about fairy tales if you want to dig deeper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Memoir" 2013

These are some examples of work I've done for The Sketchbook Project 2013. The theme I chose is 'Memoir" so I've decided to focus mainly on my tumultuous relationship with my mother and her relationship with my grandmother, who died when I was 3;  I have strong memories of my grandmother and the love she gave me, as well as the love my grandfather showed, so he is also included. My mother is bi-polar and this has made it very difficult to have a relationship with her. She is self-centered and doesn't have a very good memory of the past. There are painful events from my childhood that I remember vividly, but she claims to have no memory of (one of those events is pictured below- a terrifying day at Lake Lanier that took me years to get over!).
Thankfully, from all of my past I have learned that it's no use to wait for apologies- it's much better to find value in myself and not expect others to bestow value upon me. I've learned that being true to myself and doing what is right for me is the best path I can take. Sometimes this can make me seen harsh, but I believe it is best to follow my gut. 
I don't know if these images will translate well into digital format- most of my work is 3 dimensional- using natural objects, yarn, and fabric to create depth- you can't really see that from a scanned image but I hope you will be able to see the heart and soul I've put in to this book so far.
If you are participating in The Project this year please connect with me so I can make a point to view your book when the tour comes to town. If you haven't signed up, please consider doing so- this is a great project that connects people from all over the world and I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the past, and plan to do so in the years to come!
This is the face page; it represents my feelings of loneliness as a child; the stamps represent the distances I've traveled trying to find my true home.
 This image was made from a photo of my grandmother holding my mother on the beach, I glued alternate faces over theirs and taped down dried flowers to signify the passing of time; the butterfly wing (found on my property as is!) signifies broken dreams. The reflections you see are the tape holding things down. Normally, I wouldn't dream of using tape on my work, but the sketchbooks on tour will be handled by many fingers so they need to be made sturdy and secure!
This is an altered photograph of my Grandaddy fishing. He used to take me along sometimes when I was 3 or 4 (before my Granny died) and I would always cry when I saw the poor fish with hooks in their mouths languishing in his rusty bucket. He always threw them back, but we still ended up having fish for dinner-gutted and with their eyes turning opaque in the skillet- I guess he didn't throw them ALL back!

These last two are an image and an altered image of my worst memory. We were at Lake Lanier and I was lost- I couldn't find my mommy or brother and I was walking up to strangers and crying, asking for help, and I remember them all laughing- one guy gave me a Micky Mouse ice cream; suddenly my mom came up and snatched it away. I remember being so terrified that day, feeling abandoned and alone. Years later I discovered the above picture along with a stack of others like it. I confronted my mother and she laughed and said she had been watching me the whole time- I was infuriated! I can't even ignore the cries of my dog, and I couldn't imagine ignoring my own terrified child! I've run this event over so many times in my mind, thinking about the idea that memory is all about perception- and still I can't change my memory or the fear I felt that day. 
I covered the images with sand, feathers, and bits of old photos- the blurred child gets a crown to signify that all children are innocent.

“As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.”
C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections 

“Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age. The child is grown, and puts away childish things. Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay

-Bouguereau- one of my favorite artists.