Saturday, November 23, 2013

This and That

pencil, Melisa, for JKPP

It's working into the time of year I like least - the cold time.  The dark time.  The time with no flowers outside.  The time of incessant media clamoring about buying stuff. It does no good to worry or whine about it, so this is all I'm going to vent about it.
Ive been distracting myself by working on planning a little fund raiser for next spring, to help finance the restoration of an old gothic chapel at Oak Hill cemetery.  The city thinks the old stone building has deteriorated too much to sink any cash into restoring, and a "friends of" group formed to try and raise the needed funds.  I'm planning some guided walks, little hikes, for next spring that feature some of the early settlers of Janesville, some of the movers and shakers, and some monuments from ordinary folks that are interesting for one reason or another.  There are a couple that look like upright, full-sized trees!  The hope is that people might enjoy strolling through the old public cemetery, with all its hill, trees, and funky monuments, and might contribute a couple dollars to the fund to restore the chapel.  I'm enjoying hiking around and learning about my adopted hometown's history, though it is rapidly getting too cold to be up there among the tombstones for very long.
I also did a costumed presentation about a local woman, Nellie Tallman, the daughter-in-law of a wealthy early settler in Janesville.  I've done the talk before earlier this spring, and I've portrayed her in cemetery walks for the local historical society.  But I'd never done the talk in nursing homes. The first one went really well, but primarily because the people who attended could all hear well and seemed healthy.  They were fun, all smiles and nods and "stump the presenter" questions.  The other gig was more challenging. The audience members were all in wheelchairs, and half slept through the presentation.  One lady at the back talked to herself the entire time.    But there were a handful who seemed engaged, had comments and questions.  I am telling myself that if I entertained them, I should feel OK about the day. 

But I haven't been doing much art.  I have a painting that I started in October and abandoned for no good reason other than the urge to work on it just evaporated one day.  I should start working on getting papers ready for a collage demonstration, but I keep procrastinating.  So I decided today to just do something quick.  That's where this drawing came from - a little portrait for on online group on Flickr and Facebook - Julia Kay's Portrait party.  Sometimes all it takes to get going again is to just sit down and start drawing.  And it certainly is warmer here than up in Oak Hill.  SOmething to be thankful for.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Our Sled: Mixed Media Collage

11x14 mixed media collage: Our Sled

It's November, and even though there are still leaves on the trees here in southern Wisconsin, the sky is dim and cloudy, and it's apparent that we're headed in the direction of winter. 

That perhaps, is what may be driving my recent experiments in collage.  I want to send one to a local hospital for their winter show, and I decided to include some of the vintage photos I've collected the past couple years.  Something about this old snapshot, printed here on a paper grocery bag, spoke to me.  I simplified the image by going over part of it with gesso before I sealed the image with polymer gel medium.  The gray rectangle on the left is also a paper sack, spray painted with fallen leaves and then with some gold webbing spray over that.  I also added a real piece of birch bark toward the top, because I liked how the color went with the stenciled kraft paper.  There is also a bit of an old diary, and some bits of maps I washed with blue acrylic and gesso.

I'm enjoying this series.