Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grant Wood - a Re-Disovered Appreciation

I recently read a NY Times book review of a new biography of Grant Wood, most famously known for [and perhaps limited by] his iconic portrait of a farm couple, American Gothic.

I was surprised to learn that in his own time he was denigrated as a 'regionalist' and a ' progragandist for conservative values.' He was, to me absurdly, 'accused of fostering a shrill nationalism that was actually compared to the unalloyed evil of the Third Reich. After the war, the art historian H. W. Janson asserted that “the Regionalist credo could be matched more or less verbatim from the writings of Nazi experts on art.” In 1962, when Janson published his now classic textbook on the history of Western art, he made no mention of Wood.'

In all this, I got book of Grant Wood from the library, [Grant Wood - The Regionalist Vision, Wanda Corn] and was astounded to discover many instances of art that, to me, moved far from the categories of 'regionalist' and 'representational' to a wonderfully skewed, and at times surreal touch. Some of which I'd like to share here.


Return from Bohemia - did the clan haunt him and call him home?

My favorite, Death on Ridge Road

Plaid Sweater - I love his truculent expression

His sister, NanWood - I love the Chicken & Egg touch

Woman with Plants

The reviewer quoted Grant Wood as saying,
'All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while was milking a cow.' The reviewer stated this as 'somewhat goofily, Wood's most famous statement.' I thought that the reviewer probably has never milked a cow, because I could readily see how in the rhythm and focus of milking, the 'back processor' is free to roam and yes, 'really good ideas' could easily emerge.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Mermaid Project....

My dear friend Perry Fitzhugh aka Folly Productions turned me on to the work of his great buddy, Russell Richards.

Russell is a most interesting artist and is now working on a feature film - an avante-garde 'horror' film around the dark side [the real side?] of Mermaids. Do check out the video on the sidebar. You can actually contribute to the film through the neat organization, which helps individuals and groups raise capital for projects. With Russell's project just $25 will reward you with a poster of the wonderful mermaid drawing you can see at the opening of the video. Lucky me - one will come my way.

Go directly to Russell's website at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So what have I been doing?

Rightfully, I'm not a very good blogger, as blogs are meant to be. It's been pointed out to me that months between postings isn't in the true spirit of blogging, but this seems to be my rhythm. So perhaps I shall call this my Altered E Art Bulletin Board or Postcard or Hey, Here I Am Again. In any event, if anyone is out there, I hope you enjoy my occasional postings.

Awhile ago I found some wonderful wire torsos that were meant for decor in and of themselves. Naturally, they called out to me to hang things on them, to festoon them, glue them and who knows what else.

Mimi in Metal was inspired by and was for my heart-daughter Mimi. It evokes things she is interested in, travel, sewing and things I just liked and hope she would do. She's does have her own metallic edge and I thought she's appreciate the whole things.

I liked her piece so much that I went torso-seeking again and found found one for myself. In the process of working on this piece I rediscovered an craft-thing from my childhood - Shrinky Dinks. Back in the day, you could draw on the special plastic, bake it and get little 'tokens' of your drawing. Today you can print images from your PC with your ink-jet printer, bake it and get an array of plastic images. I had a delightful time creating tokens from my vintage doll-head images. The ShrinkyDink really shrinks down and I found that 4" square images became 1" doll heads. But I love how they hang within and decorate this torso. Shrinky Dinks are now a new tool in the studio. Nice use of my collection of doll arms too.

And while I was having fun with these metal art items, I found
this wonderful cup, which presented itself as the perfect foil for a gift for my dear friend, Helen at her 81st birthday - A Cup of Possibilities.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travel and Tattoos

I've been traveling and planning to travel, so my attention has been elsewhere. But travel is a vital interest of mine and this suitcase assemblage is a tiny homage to travel. The piece is entitled 'She was often gripped with the desire to be elsewhere' which is the tag-line of the postcard that inspired this box.

Recently, I came across the post card which had been sent to me by my dear friend Francine in 1982. She knew it would speak to me and it has spoken to me again, 28 years later.

I scanned in the original postcard and as you can see, I colorized and amped it up. The box uses a motif of vintage travel stamps, as well as a vintage toy car, a billboard, a cup & saucer for all those wonderful roadside diners and an enigmatic traveler. The postcard on the car is a copy of the writing on the original card. Words from Francine past to future.
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This Kat shoe was a serendipitous piece.
I found the doll in my local Goodwill and realized that she really looked like the extraordinary tattoo artist, Kat VonD. So this shoe was inspired by and a bit of a homage to Kat. The metal star under her left eye holds the energy of the star tattoos the real Kat has on her face, the beading on her shoulder does the same. The back of the shoe is decorated with a chain and beads, also echoing Kat VonD's metallic edge.

I often have pieces in the studio 'under construction' for periods of time. But in between pieces, I enjoy doing collages - old-school paper collage and digital collage. I especially like making -digital mini-collages as cards for friends. I find it interesting to hold that person in mind and create an image that holds elements of what they have shared with me. I always hope my sense of what I've understood will speak to them too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ART SHOW Memorial Day Weekend in Charlottesville, VA

My dear friend Perry Fitzhugh is offering a most interesting art showing this weekend. You'll find paintings, photography, pottery and more. All in the unique setting of a home.

315 10th Street NW
Charlottesville, VA
or by appointment

Art All The Time @

This is the last weekend of this one-time only event. If you're in the area, do check it out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winters travel to Florida

This has been such a long, intense Winter, I was really looking forward to a February trip to Florida. We like the Gulf Coast near St Petersburg, where we've visited once before. This time we were going to stay at the beach. We found a wonderful interesting unique cottage, Casa Des Gatos, in Madeira Beach, which has the lovely walkable little village of John's Pass a couple of blocks down the road and were set for sun and shore.

Alas, it wasn't a fully wonderful trip. An overnight and half a morning delay at the airport before we even left Virgina. Rain, radically cold Florida weather - never got even into the 50's! - gray days and end with my husband getting a flu-like virus which totally knocked him out for 2 days! Arrrgh.

Our little cottage was lovely, even if we barely got to appreciate the wonderful gardens, but we did appreciate the cottage cats. And we spent one of the few sunny days with my old friend Donna, sitting in our cottage, drinking a lovely wine, eating area delights like a fish pate and sharing and talking and talking.

Still, St Petersburg is the home of the Salvador Dali Art Museum and we got to spend a wonderful morning there. Downtown St Petersburg also hosts a fabulous Saturday Morning Market and is there I found a wonderful Mermaid tile, which I have used an element from in my Mermaid torso here. Naturally, all the shells I found are in the piece as well. So I now have a wonderful personal evocation of the trip and the sea.

You can see the original tile and much more at How to Be A Wild Woman. The website is a collaboration of three friends, Julie, Lore and E'Layne under the guise of 3HipChics. You can't go wrong with a website that says, " We believe in wonder, magic and the power of dreaming big."

As my usual, I did a small collage journal of the trip. I like the collecting and gleaning part of these travel journals and sometimes I include images just because they like them even if they are not reminders of any specific experience. My motto is 'If I find it there, it can go in the journal.' Of course, I am not opposed to including most anything I am drawn to in most anything I create. I hold very limited rules in art.
torso back

I'm still working have on the book design
for my friend, Jerry Boyd. Shift Happens - A Novel of Awakenings, is a tale of other worldly connections, meetings and understandings with a personal discovery embedded within it.

And lastly, my dear friend, Perry Fitzhugh has debuted his website of images, links and more at Folly, dedicated to encouraging the production of folly. Folly - that which is at first perceived as foolish but in time, is seen as valuable.

Perry shares his quirky photos and unique take on things with me regularly by email and I'm so pleased he's finally on the web. His links page has some good people to check out as well. His site is a work-in-progress, so it's worth checking back to see what's next.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It’s February, waaay too much snow, but I’ve been busy

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t been here for a whole month! But life definitely gets that way. I did have some fun at the Holidays, creating a few impromptu gifts for some special people and making a raft of mini-collage cards. Here’s a few. The tea cup is for my son and since he truly appreciated it, you can see it must be a family trait. His friend Rachel enjoyed her snake-accented jewelry torso as well, so good matching sensibility between them too.

My current project, which came about in a synchronistic way, is helping my dear friend Jerry Boyd, launch his website and get his wonderful but with that lovely touch of weird I treasure novel published. One of my other hat’s is Synchronicity Press, and I do enjoy the design element of publishing. Jerry’s cartoons are pun-filled, fantastical, whimsical and delightfully odd – all of which are great traits as far as I’m concerned.

Check out all of Jerry at And there’s more to come too.