Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Thursday Picture and Poem

Photoshopped photo taken in Colorado last summer

Summer seems to have arrived early here in southern Wisconsin, and I have been working outside digging in the flower beds and borders, and scrubbing  a year's gunk off the deck.  A word of advice - never build your deck around a maple tree.  Between the staining from rotting leaves in the fall, to all the little red flower-bud-thingys in spring, to the little brown seed helicopters that litter everywhere and sprout in the eves, it's just once darn mass after another.  I am whupped.  Tired.  Sore.  And I still need to get a flat of pink and white impatiens planted before they die in their little black plastic six-packs.  I'm headed to Door County tomorrow to see if I can get a watercolor juried into the Hardy Gallery, and to visit my aunt and sister-in-law.  So, I need to plant this afternoon.

But - I have been wanting to share a poem that a member of the Thursday painting studio gave me.  Here it is:

Monet Refuses the Operation
by Lisel Mueller

Doctor, you say there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, and affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as an-
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I call the horizon
does not exist in sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of be-
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors; fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
The Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
a fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were lot the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touch-
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists of passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that is would take long streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor with-
   out end.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looking For Lace

Lace maker, Burano Italy, March 2010

Although I am not a person who especially likes or wears lace, I admire it.  I was fascinated by the women in Italy who make handmade lace, toiling for a year to create a table cloth, or maybe a bedspread.  Cat people like me don't have lace bedspreads.  Anyway, our local library has started a contemporary fiction book discussion group, and the first title I read for it was The Lace Reader, by Bruonia Barry.  Set in contemporary Salem, the novel features a circle of women who make lace, and who learn to "read" it - much as one might read tea leaves, or palms.  There's more to it of course, an unreliable narrator who returns to Salem after the death of her aunt, and discovers there are many questions to be answered about her own life.  Each chapter is introduced with a selection from the fictional "Lace Reader's Guide."  This one at the beginning of Part Two appealed to me:

There is lace in every living thing: the bare branches of winter, the patterns of clouds, the surface of water as it ripples in the breeze . . . . Even the wild dog's matted fur shows a lace pattern if you look at it closely enough. 

That little idea sent me out to my spring garden to look for lace.

Mementos, 1
by W.D. Snodgrass

Sorting out letters and piles of my old
    Canceled checks, old clippings, and yellow note cards   
That meant something once, I happened to find
    Your picture. That picture. I stopped there cold,   
Like a man raking piles of dead leaves in his yard
             Who has turned up a severed hand.

Still, that first second, I was glad: you stand
    Just as you stood—shy, delicate, slender,
In that long gown of green lace netting and daisies
    That you wore to our first dance. The sight of you stunned   
Us all. Well, our needs were different, then,
             And our ideals came easy.

Then through the war and those two long years
    Overseas, the Japanese dead in their shacks   
Among dishes, dolls, and lost shoes; I carried
    This glimpse of you, there, to choke down my fear,   
Prove it had been, that it might come back.
             That was before we got married.

—Before we drained out one another’s force   
    With lies, self-denial, unspoken regret
And the sick eyes that blame; before the divorce
    And the treachery. Say it: before we met. Still,   
I put back your picture. Someday, in due course,
             I will find that it’s still there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John Alexander Pierce

Family history concerns grab me every now and then and take up all my available brain space and time.  When I found the old ledger of my great great grandfather, John Alexander Pierce, with records of his flour mills in Troy and Genoa, I spent a couple days reading, thinking, and then taking the old book to a bindery in Madison to have a new spine attached.  

The accounts are written in a couple hands, begin in 1880 and continue to 1910, though those are clearly written by his son, George Edmund, my great grandfather.  There are egg and butter accounts that have nothing to go with the mills.  There were loose papers inside too - tax receipts, and hand written treasurer's reports from the Sugar Creek School District #4.  All are destined for the historical documents collection at UW Whitewater.

The internet, besides being a black hole of time, is also a gold mine of otherwise hard-to-find information.  I found an e-text of the 1882 History of Walworth County, and this biographical sketch of J.A. Pierce:

J.A. Pierce. farmer and mill owner, resides on section 9; has land on sections 2,3,9,10, 16 and 21, Sugar Creek, and other tracts in LaGrange, Troy, an Bloomfield, of this county, aggregating 1,000 acres.  He has two flouring mills, one in Genoa, with four run of stone; capacity, fifty barrels per day.  The subject of this sketch was born in Williamsburg, near the River St. Lawrence, in Canada West, Dec. 11, 1816; is the son of John and Maria A. (McFarling) Pierce.  He came to Wisconsin in 1845, and settled on Sec. 9, Sugar Creek, Walworth Co., where he  still resides.  He commenced in a small way , with limited means, and has since accumulated a large property.  In 1857, he bought the mill at Genoa Junction, and in 1869, bought the mill in Troy, situated one and one-half miles from East Troy, and three miles from Troy Center.  He was married in 1847 to Miss Mary Chambers, daughter of William Chambers of Geneva, Wis.  They had five children -- J. Albert, Eliza, George E., William Austin and Guy R.  The oldest, J.A., married Anna High, and lives in Eden Dakota.  Eliza died in childhood.  Mrs. Pierce died in January 1870.  Mr. Pierce was married in Geneva, April, 1871, to Hannah Morehouse, his present wife, daughter of Henry and Mary Morehouse.  Mrs. Pierce was born in England.  Though not an office-seeker, Mr. Pierce served his time as town clerk several terms, two terms as assessor, and has been Clerk of his School District, No. 5, six years, was president of the Elkhorn Bank, Elkhorn, Wis., from 1857-1861.  Mr. Pierce, in 1853, imported from Canada the first wheat that was sown in Walworth County, viz., Scotch, Fyfe, Canada Club, and China Pearl.  He also, in the same year, introduced and successfully used the first automatic self-raking reaper ever used in Wisconsin.  He also introduced the first grain sowing drill in Walworth County, and from its continued use he attributes much of his profitable success in raising wheat.  Mr. Pierce feels keenly his disappointment of the Air Line Railroad failing to come to time by not furnishing him the long promised railroad, which has been for many years graded through his farm in Sugar Creek, on which was to have been a railroad station and depot, which inevitably would have resulted much pro bon publico, although he does not despair of yet attaining in the near future the consummation of that desirable project. 

The railroad was never built. 

I was interested that great great Grandpa Pierce was an agricultural innovator, experimenting with the newest technology of the time, since my dad and brother both sold farm equipment.  I was also interested that JA Pierce grew wheat, since many of the German and Scandinavian settlers in the area were mainly interested in dairy - as were my grandfather and father.  At one time, Wisconsin was the sixth largest producer of wheat in the United States - but the crop depleted the land, and it fell from favor.   My maternal great great grandfather in Washington state also raised wheat.

Even Facebook is a source of family history information.  A former classmate grew up in the house that JA Pierce built in the 1840s.  The building is torn down now, but a quick request to my friend resulted in a photo of the old homestead for my files.  

How cool is that?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Figurative Painting: Week One

11x14 inches, oil on canvas board

Last summer I took a class in life drawing at UW Madison, something I had a great time doing, except for the drive.  The summer life drawing classes are on Thursday nights and get over after ten, and my aging eyes didn't like dealing with the constant road construction after dark.  Besides, I tired, and didn't very safe getting home at 10:30 or so.  

So this summer I signed up for a Sunday morning class called figurative painting.  The description didn't specify what sort of painting, and I had a plan to try watercolor, but when the materials list arrived it was clear most people would be working in oil.  So fine.  I'll try painting people with my water soluble oils. It's clear to me now that the person running the studio thinks we should all work large, and I'm sure the results would be more fun, but I am more or less limited to a size that fits into a large pizza box, since that's the only way I've figured to transport a wet painting.  Also, I have no large walls available for paintings that are no more than three hour exercises.  I was also surprised that the model was draped, since he wasn't in the other class, but the results of painting a draped model are easier to show people. So, this is what I accomplished today, this plus a warm up drawing.  The class, which has no instruction, runs eight weeks.  I hope to improve with more practice.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New "Common Thread" Collage: Flora

6x6 inches, vintage paper collage

This one has part of a Renaissance painting from a wrecked paperback book about the Uffizi Gallery, gas stamps, part of a dictionary page, a garden center receipt, a bit of an old Sierra Club calendar, an illustration from a 1950s science text  about flowers, and some hand painted tissue. I didn't pay attention to who painted the woman - does anyone recognize her?

I've been so wrapped up in old family papers and photos I haven't done much art this week.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Early Farm Transportation - a Few More Photos

I already had this photo of my grandfather, Earl Pierce.  I love the pose, with him tired on the wooden kitchen porch.  It was probably taken the the early 1930s. The other photos are new to me, found in the box of Mother's things I excavated from the basement this week.

Our farm had both a dairy and a horse barn, and I know they used horses for farm work up into the 1920s.

I had never seen this photo until now, and I am not sure what year it is.  I think this is a Ford truck from about 1919.  I know little about old cars and trucks, but I think this style was used for deliveries.  They had dairy cows, and Millard had a cheese factory.  Uncle Gene told me that Grandma Pierce sold eggs, so I suppose the vehicle could have been used for any of these.

If anyone knows for sure I'd love to know more about this car.  I'm guessing a 1919 Ford Model T touring car.  It must have been dusty and bumpy on that long gravel driveway.  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thinking Those Tractors Are...

Earl Pierce on 1929 (?) Farmall tractor

Included in the stash of photos I found this week were several of horses, farm equipment, and old cars and trucks.  I've had an interesting time reading about early tractors, and based on that I think this one was a 1929 Farmall Regular, battleship gray with red wheels.  The earliest tractors were mammoth, and needed crews of men to run them, but after World War I they scaled down in size and price, and became affordable for smaller operations. This first photo is of my grandfather and his tractor.

Ralph Pierce on his 1940's gray Ford tractor

My dad had several tractors when I was growing up, but I remember the little gray Ford best, perhaps because it was small enough to ride on comfortably.  Our farm was set far back from the county road, and had a gravel driveway that drifted shut after snowstorms on a regular basis.  He usually could plow it out with this tractor. I remember being allowed to drive it summers to rake alfalfa.  I loved driving round and round the field, thinking thoughts, watching for meadow larks and red-wing blackbirds.

Ralph on his Farmall, probably 1956 or so

Dad had a larger tractor too, for planting, cultivating (pre Roundup) and harvesting.  I liked to ride with him, standing on the bar in back, which was no doubt dangerous, but was lots of dusty fun. 

Dean Pierce on the Farmall, about 1961

I like this picture of my brother Dean.  It's funny because now he sells John Deere equipment.  The picture appeals to me also because it shows the old milk house and the barn, both of which burned in 2008.

Do you have old family pictures featuring vintage farm equipment?  I'm interested in posting some here.  Maybe there is potential for some paintings!

The Poet at Seventeen

by Larry Levis

My youth? I hear it mostly in the long, volleying   
Echoes of billiards in the pool halls where   
I spent it all, extravagantly, believing
My delicate touch on a cue would last for years.

Outside the vineyards vanished under rain,
And the trees held still or seemed to hold their breath   
When the men I worked with, pruning orchards, sang   
Their lost songs: Amapola; La Paloma;

Jalisco, No Te Rajes—the corny tunes
Their sons would just as soon forget, at recess,
Where they lounged apart in small groups of their own.   
Still, even when they laughed, they laughed in Spanish.

I hated high school then, & on weekends drove
A tractor through the widowed fields. It was so boring   
I memorized poems above the engine’s monotone.   
Sometimes whole days slipped past without my noticing,

And birds of all kinds flew in front of me then.
I learned to tell them apart by their empty squabblings,   
The slightest change in plumage, or the inflection   
Of a call. And why not admit it? I was happy

Then. I believed in no one. I had the kind   
Of solitude the world usually allows   
Only to kings & criminals who are extinct,
Who disdain this world, & who rot, corrupt & shallow

As fields I disced: I turned up the same gray
Earth for years. Still, the land made a glum raisin   
Each autumn, & made that little hell of days—
The vines must have seemed like cages to the Mexicans

Who were paid seven cents a tray for the grapes
They picked. Inside the vines it was hot, & spiders   
Strummed their emptiness. Black Widow, Daddy Longlegs.   
The vine canes whipped our faces. None of us cared.

And the girls I tried to talk to after class
Sailed by, then each night lay enthroned in my bed,   
With nothing on but the jewels of their embarrassment.   
Eyes, lips, dreams. No one. The sky & the road.

A life like that? It seemed to go on forever—
Reading poems in school, then driving a stuttering tractor   
Warm afternoons, then billiards on blue October   
Nights. The thick stars. But mostly now I remember

The trees, wearing their mysterious yellow sullenness   
Like party dresses. And parties I didn’t attend.   
And then the first ice hung like spider lattices   
Or the embroideries of Great Aunt No One,

And then the first dark entering the trees—
And inside, the adults with their cocktails before dinner,   
The way they always seemed afraid of something,   
And sat so rigidly, although the land was theirs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Found - Millard School Photos

Millard School in the 1930s

It has been a while since I've posted any family history, but yesterday I was digging around in the basement and I struck gold.  There was the tub I had stuffed with items we took from Mother's apartment after she passed away, not that full.  My thought was I could find a better home for what was in the tub and then use it to store the empty frames I've been tripping over up in the studio.  The frames are still all over upstairs, and I have been immersed in old pictures.

I grew up on a farm in Sugar Creek township in Walworth County, and like my father, paternal grandparents, and uncle, I attended Millard Elementary School.  Mother's notes say that my great aunt Dorothy Pierce taught at the school in 1910 and 1911.  Anyway, this photo was from grandpa Earl Pierce's album.  The school looked pretty much the same when I went there for grades 1-4 in the 1950s. 

These must have been the students in the Little Room, grades 1-4, about 1939 or 1940.  My dad, Ralph Pierce, is standing second from the left with his cap on.  The only other person I recognize is standing next to him, Barb Newman.  She was good friends with both my parents for years.  That's probably Hallie Moore to Dad's left, another lifelong friend. I suspect at least one of the girls is an Olivas, because they lived next to the school.  They had lots of children, a couple of whom were at Millard with me.  The third grade class of 1938-39 (taught by Elsie  Newman) included:  George Archamsault, Ralph Pierce, Hallie Moorie, Junior Rowe, Emily Sawn, Barbara Newman, Mary Helen Weaver, Marion Schumacher, and Jean McKinney.

Little Room (grades 1-4) photo in 1959.  Mrs. Dorothy Barker taught us all.  I'm in the back row, left corner, in the green sweater.  My best friend at school, Marianne Tripp stands next to me, and Juan Manchacas, the first boy who ever gave me a ring, wears a blue jacket.  The school population fluctuated seasonally as some of the Mexican children traveled with their families back and forth to Texas for agricultural work.

Dorothy Barker, me, and Ronald Stevens who taught the Big Room (grades 5-8) at a 2994 Millard Community Picnic.

I also found a pamphlet Mother saved from the 1994 picnic.  Someone (maybe Jim Pollard) had dug around in files at UW Whitewater documents room and found some old records about the Town of Sugar Creek School District #4.  Here is a sampling of old minutes and treasurer's reports from the school board.

September 24, 1866
 A.E. Green, Chmn.
T.P. Barker, clerk
Allen Loomer, Treas.
The meeting voted to have 4 months winter and 4 months summer school.
Voted to raise $160.00 for teacher wages.
Voted to have eight cords of stove wood -- let the job to the lowest bidder. ($23.10)

September 30, 1867
Voted to have four months winter school by a male teacher and four months summer school by a female teacher.
Voted to raise $170.00 for teacher wages.
Voted to raise $10.00 for the contingency fund.
Voted to raise $21.20 for wood.

November 21, 1868
To the Dist. Clerk of School Dist. NO. 4 of the Town of Sugar Creek,
Having attached all that part of Joint School Dist. #10 laying in the Town of Sugar Creek to School Dist. #4 of Said Town, We have ascertained and determined the proportion of the proceeds of the Sale of the School House and other property of such Joint School District due to School District #4 of Said Town to be $55.31.
Signed by:
Thomas David - Supervisor of the Town of Sugar Creek
Herman Taylor
Elisha (?)
Henry Stone

Sugar Creek - January 19, 1869
You are hearby notified that Marcus D. Barker has been this day suspended from the school on charge of Disorderly Conduct, imprudent language and for breaking into my desk and taking whips out and burning them. - C.M. Brighs - teacher

February 19, 1869
The following motion was offered and unanimously carried - Moved that a vote of censure be passed against Allen Loomer, clerk of Dist. #4 in Town of Sugar Creek for the manner in which he discharged or failed to discharge the duties of said office.

Resolved that it is the wish of this district that the use of the School House be let to the Debating Society for a debate.

Resolved that when this meeting adjourns to the 27th of February there will be a vote taken to raise a tax of ($600) six hundred dollars with which to commence to build a new school house.

September 27, 1869
Marcus Gray, Chmn.
Resolved that we have four months winter and four months summer school both terms taught by a female teacher.

Resolved that the District pay not over twenty dollars per month  and board for the ensuing year.

Voted that the District is willing that the Board Open House for religious services and for the Debating Society.

September 25, 1870
$15 dollar voted to purchase a new stove for the school house - the old stove sold at auction for $1.20.

December 27, 1870
Mr. J.B. Barker made a motion that the District build a new School House - carried by unanimous vote.

February 17, 1871
Motion was made by Hiram Taylor that the District pay Harmon Gray fifty dollars for an addition to the present site and sufficient to make the Whole and acre by the United States Survey - said land to be used for school purposes only.  

March 4, 1871 -
Committee on proposals called on to report. J.B. Barker reported bid of $1500 for Brick house - $1225 for wooden building.  Voted for brick.  Note to include outhouse.

September 25, 1871
Motion made and carried that the old School House be sold to the highest bidder (sold to J.B. Kinney for $30.00).  The old Privy was then sold for $4.40 to H.L. Graves.

October 16, 1871
...that the School Board purchase lumber and build a fence from the School House to the Doctor's fence - said fence to be eight feet high and picketed.
...that we raise $16.00 for the purpose of getting seven inch Rusia (sic) stove pipe for the stove.
...we raise $6.00 for locks to the privies, hooks and wire for stove pipe and teacher's table.

March 2, 1872
Gave Mr. Davey a complimentary note for teaching our school this winter.

September 30, 1872
...we raise $153.50 to pay Dr. Gray hid demands against the District.
Voted that we have nine months school during the year, four months winter and five months summer school with a vacation. ($200 for teacher wages)

October 10, 1872
Discussion and votes relative to fencing school house lot - voted to raise $100 for purpose of building and painting the fence on two sides of the school lot.
Teacher for year - Lyman Earle.

August 31, 1874
Voted that we instruct the Board not to have any branch of mathematics higher than arithmetic taught in this school for the ensuing year - the smaller schollers (sic) to be taught by the teacher in person.  If any schollers have to be neglected, they must be taught by the larger ones.

This may be hard to see unless you click on it, but it is a loose sheet inserted in a ledger I found from g-g grandfather, John Alexander Pierce,  who homesteaded in the 1840s.  It's a handwritten treasury report for school district no. 4 in Sugar Creek.  The ledger itself is the account book for two flour mills and a creamery the family operated.  Looks like I'd better investigate donating papers to the state historical society.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Common Thread

6x6 inches, vintage paper collage

My series of small collages continues with a detail of St. John from an alter piece painted for John Donne by Memling.  I'm interested in the pieces that call to me in these, portraits, vintage miscellaneous papers found in a cigar box in my attic, images of plants and animals, sheet music, and that little bit of red thread.  About the thread, it took me a while to realize where the idea came from for that, and it occurred to me that I borrowed it from illustrations by Suana Verlest.  You might like to check out her blog.

Efforts to jazz up this blog's general appearance continue.  I added an altered picture of sunflowers (taken at the local farmers market), and a search box that makes it easy for me to find specific archived posts.  I like both these new features.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Collage Series, Waking

6x6 collage, vintage paper on Bristol board

I have a little series going, all with vintage papers and illustrations from a little paperback book I have filled with medieval portraits by Hans Memling.  I was interested in the way the man holds the arrow, like a pen - or perhaps it is a pen. I choose the background papers   just because I like the way they look, but I find the words that are included by chance to be interesting too.  This one has bits of someone's geometry notes, a scrap of a Victorian children's book featuring a wild boar, part of a sewing pattern, a receipt, and a part of an farm account book.  Then there is the red thread tying it together.


by Carol Frost

It was dusk, the light hesitating
and a murmer in the wind, when the deer, exhausted,
turned to look at me, an arrow in its side.

Though I pity dreamers, taking a thread
and weaving it upon the loom of Self—the secret,
gaudy, wonderful new cloth—, I will tell the end of the story.

His shoulder was torn, the joint held by one sinew,
which I severed with the blade of the arrow,
so when he ran there were no impediments.

The black dogs that followed were swifter,
their barking ancient, despicable.

As he fell, his chest turned to breastplate,
his one powerful arm covered with pagan signs.

Nearly stupid in my waiting for what would happen next,
each breath propelling me and him toward dust,
I woke, the sheets soaked, heart fluttering—:

When death comes into the sleeping room as through a tiny hole,
like a rent in the Covenant, it hurts.

eBay oil painting of a wee sparrow 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Theodore Robinson, Local Connections

Self Portrait, Theodore Robinson 1884-1887

Last week I attended a luncheon of the Janesville Art League and had expected only a nice salad, some chit chat with friends and a vote on next year's leadership.  I was also interested a presentation by Richard Krake, retired art educator and painter from nearby Evansville, about native son Theodore Robinson. I was well aware of another painter from Evansville, John Wilde, but I had never heard of Robinson, who lived much of his early life in Evansville and is buried there.

That led me to do a little searching for more about Robinson's life.  In brief, he was born in Vermont, but then his family moved to Evansville, a small town not far from here.  He had asthma, so his mother kept him inside much of the time, encouraging him to draw and learn piano.  He studied art in Chicago and New York, and also traveled to France and Italy.  In the 1880s he became friends with Claude Monet and other European Impressionists, and his style became looser and more impressionistic. He eventually returned to the United States, taught, and was part of the Cos Cob Art Colony.  He died of an asthma attack, and was buried in Evansville. Today his work is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Apparently there are some paintings in private collections in Evansville as well.

The Wedding March - shows Monet's daughter's wedding

I plan to read a book the speaker mentioned about Robinson's work entitled In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Still Playing With Scissors

6x6 inches, vintage paper collage

I'm still playing with my envelopes of vintage paper and the paperback book of medieval paintings.  All the men and women look very thoughtful, or perhaps sad.  This is the only illustration in the book that was reproduced in color.

I've been working on making the labels for this blog visible so that readers (and I) can search for topics of interest - an index of sorts.  I've been rather casual and inconsistent in labeling entries, which makes it very difficult to find specific topics.  So I'm consolidating, adding, deleting, and generally tinkering with that part of the blog.  I hope that makes it easier for people interested in challenges, watercolors, recipes, or whatever to find what they want.

This 11x14 oil painting is for sale on eBay here:  eBay auction

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Roses Are Blue

6x6 inches, vintage paper on Bristol Board

To be honest, the best I can do this week is cut and paste.  I suppose it happens to everyone, but lots of my older friends and mentors are passing away, and it has sent me to a gloomy place.  The dark and damp weather isn't helping much either.

I did enjoy putting this little collage together, though.  A few years ago I found a cigar box in our attic, full of old receipts and paperwork from the first owner of the house.  I've been cutting these up and using them as the background for these little assemblages.  The painting is from a decrepit paperback I bought at the local consignment shop.  The aqua color comes from tissue paper tinted with acrylic paint, and the rose came from a magazine.  I used red thread to repeat the red in the old receipt.  I'm not sure what it all means, but I rather like it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tulips for Mothers Day

11x14 inches, mixed media
for the Rookie Painter blog

It's a beautiful day here, bright and cool.  It's Mother's Day, though we stay home since (1) both our mothers have passed away, and (2) I'm not a mother, unless it is a foster mother to our cat.  Also, all the restaurants are packed with families who do have mothers to treat.

Mothers Day was always a big deal in our family, especially for our grandmother who loved cards, gifts and eating out.  When she was well into her nineties I remember getting a plate of food for her at one of the buffets that seem to be all restaurants offer around here on holidays, since she could maneuver the tray any more.  She loved it though, and enjoyed getting pots of flowering plants, or maybe hanging baskets for her porch.  When my sister and I were quite little it seems like we were always getting Mom milk glass knicknacks - little baskets, shoes, or open hands designed to hold candy.  There was a really ugly hobnail planter she kept until she died, and I hesitated just a minute before it was packed into the Goodwill box, remembering those long ago Mothers Days.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painting The Blues Away

8x10 inches, oil
The AC Tap, in Door County, WI

Yesterday and today have been cold and rainy, more like autumn than spring.  I've been gloomy too, thinking too much about my elders who are passing away more and more quickly all the time, and missing my mom.  I am too lazy to exercise, so I painted instead.  This is the sign for an old tavern near my brother and sister-in-law's house.  It's one of those places where a person can get cold beer and hot food, and there is a jar of pickled pigs' feet on the bar.  Since they always let me stay at their place, this will be a gift for next time I visit.