Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thoughts on My Dear Friend Helen

My Elder Friend, Helen, passed away recently.  She had an emergency surgery in June, which she surprisingly recovered from, but she didn't actually recover and after a long six months, with her life filled with shifts and changes, she passed away quite soon after a last visit with her son.  Her spirit is dancing in the Cosmos and today we released her last earthly essence from the Blue Ridge Parkway into the valley that drew her to Virginia almost 20 years ago.  

Helen was such a close friend, confidant and ally; a treasure in my life.  The 20 years difference between us didn't matter at all, except she had many stories to share from those years.  We traveled together, shared our issues, our ups and downs, spiritual views and most specially, shared art together.

We had many years working in the studio together, creating assemblages to express, expunge, transform and shift, and at times resolve, our inner dynamics and our outer challenges.  We even coined a term for our work - Aspect Art - art that reflects 'aspects' of one's self. 

We collaborated on pieces together, made pieces as gifts for each other and really found that both of us in the studio at one time, added a special, vitalized dynamic to our individual creativity.

 And after a few years, we also wrote a small book about our way of working 'from the inner to the outer', called - naturally - Aspect Art - Art As the Soul's Journey.

2016 begins an era in my life without Helen, but all we shared lives vibrantly on.


Looking into the Valley from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holidays! The Time of Little Art

Holidays have a way of capturing your time, even if you celebrate in a lackadaisical way.  I've fashioned my own way of celebrating this time of year, but I do like to send hellos and thinking of you at this traditional greeting cards time.  And thus, holiday cards become the art of this month as mini collages.

Octo Friends

Lights, Socks & Fish

House Joy

Apartment Joy

Santa Boy

Wishing You All Good Things In All Ways!

Monster Joy

These little 'monsters', sans the Santa Hat's, are the work of  Junker Jane! Check out her work at her blog.  She has an Etsy store too.  You can have a doll of your very own.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oh So Fine on Fine Art America

My latest venture is becoming a member of Fine Art America.

Besides being a great gallery to show your work, it is also a great on-demand marketplace.  One can by a print, a note card, a tote bag, a cell-phone case, even a quilt and shower curtain with great images on them. Love the idea that my eclectic collages might be gracing someone's shower.  It's a hoot.  

I actually had fun describing my work.  And in my key-words you'll always find "vintage, retro funky, pop art, surrealism, altered.  and fun".

Check out my profile page here!  Join the fun with you work too. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

In the Gift Shop...

I'm a happy Art Girl.  My Waynesboro collages are on display in the gift shop-docent room for the month of November at the gallery I belong to - Shenandoah Valley Art Center -SVAC .  I  really like seeing the collages at this size, 16x20.  The details pop.  Go big and take one home!  If not, got some 8x10 prints and note cards of them on offer too.

My Art Buddy Deb Booth went with me to get things on the walls.  We had a bit of a search for a hammer & nails, and  Mz Deb managed the tall ladder for the piece hung from up high, but actually, all went smoothly.  We began the day with our usual weekly breakfast at Weasie's Kitchen and yes, there is definitely a Weasie's Kitchen collage in the Waynesboro series.

If you're in town, there is an opening this Saturday of lovely paintings by Joy E Tartter in the main gallery.  Check out Joy and the gallery, with me in the docent room here.

At the Gift Shop - Art Buddies

I featured Deb many a time here, but now she is exploring a new medium - Quilling!  Elements and embellishments made from curled paper to form and enhance images. The 3-dimensional enhancement really catches your eye.   It's just cool. Here are three from her Tiny Dancer series   Check it out  at DifferentLightStudio.com and Deb Booth on Facebook.  And soon, you'll be able to find them at CvilleArts, a great gallery right on the downtown walking mall in Charlottesville, VA.




Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Ooky Pookiy & Day of the Dead

I have an affinity to these two holidays and there was a time that I went all out.  These days noodling around with collage is how I celebrate.  I had planned to do a series of such collages, but Life had other things I needed to attend to, so just these two got to 'come to life.'  A special nod to Mischief Circus for some of the Halloween images.  Boo.

Oooky Pooky - All Hallowed Ween 

These Dead Are Made For Walking

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Around the town

I'm continuing in my Waynesboro series.  This thematic project has been fun and will probably be ongoing.  

I was away for a bit, so didn't get to mention here the wonderful annual Fall Art Festival that the Shenandoah Valley Art Center - SVAC - sponsors every October.  It's a 2-day event, where art takes over the streets of downtown Waynesboro.  This year good weather was an added blessing and it seemed like a successful show.

In November, I'll be the featured artist in the gift shop at SVAC and will display large prints of these collages.  In fact, my current favorite is the KitKat art girl in the SVAC collage.  

SVAC - Shenandoah Art Center 


Weasie's Kitchen

where my art-pal bestie  Deb Booth and I meet for breakfast every week.

On Main Street

Basic City Luncheonette

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mexicali Inspired

Sometimes one image sends you into a creative stream and you're off.  Sometimes you're in an emotional place and one image echoes the feeling.

I was feeling rather tender-hearted and decided to 'work it through' in a collage.  I began with a simple Google search on 'heart'. When the powerful images of the arrow-through-the-heart Mexican Loteria cards showed up, I knew I found the right symbolism.

I've always loved the Loteria images and collected several sets while in Mexico and many more images on-line..  Loteria is a bingo-type game using images, but I've noticed some people are using the images for a Tarot-type reading and creating interpretations, such as in this blog, The Quest. There is, of course, an overview of the game Loteria, at Wikipedia.  I also liked this piece from MOLAA, the Museum of Latin American Art, in Long Beach, CA.

I was drawn to El Corazon, the heart, because it was powerful.  Interestingly, today while writing this blog, I learned that one version of El Corazon, means that although you are missing the beloved, they will return.  So the image of pain is embedded with hope for renewal.

El Corazon

I found another powerful image in my google-quest, a wonderful Loteria tattoo.  It features one of my favorite cards, El Sirena, a mermaid.  So she inspired the next card in the stream.

Blind Loteria

Then I was scanning through my own collection of Mexican images and looked into my Frida Kahlo file.  And so the stream ebbed with this Frida with Frida collage.

Frida Con Frida

Monday, September 7, 2015

MARWENCOL! Soul Saving Art

Some years ago I learned about Marwencol and I'm posting today because a wonderful photo art book is now available for pre-order.  When I discovered Marwencol, an earlier book on Mark and his work was out of print and I was so taken with the world of Marwencol that I had created my own photo book of Marwencol.

On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked by five men and left for dead outside of a bar in Kingston, NY. After nine days in a coma, he awoke to find he had no memory of his previous adult life. He had to relearn how to eat, walk and write.

When his state-sponsored rehabilitative therapies ran out, Mark took his recovery into his own hands. In his backyard, he created a new world entirely within his control - a 1:6 scale World War II town he named Marwencol. Using doll alter-egos of his friends and family, his attackers and himself, Mark enacted epic battles and recreated memories, which he captured in strikingly realistic photographs. Those photos eventually caught the eye of the art world, which lead to a series of gallery exhibitions, an award-winning documentary, a book, and a new identity for a man once ridiculed for playing with dolls.

There is also a wonderful documentary about Marwencol and Mark

And now you can preorder "Welcome to Marwencol"-   a 278-page hardcover art + storybook about Mark Hogancamp and his imaginary World War IIera town of Marwencol.  The book features nearly 600 full-color images by Mark Hogancamp and covers Mark's story, an inside look at his town and process, and eight photo stories. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, the book is now available for pre-order here and wherever books are sold. I've ordered my copy!  And don't forget to check out the special Mark-designed t-shirt from the Marwencol bar, the Catfight Club.

Like Mark on Facebook too  What's not to like!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Anonymous Content - Free Form Collages

It's been a very stressful couple of months.  A dear Elder friend had a emergency hospitalization, which turned her life upside-down, ending up with her moving into assisted living.   My husband and I have had to step in and manage all the changes.  In all this, down-time was devoted to just 'chilling' and energy for creativity waned.

But through the stress, I collected images.  I liked to sit with my tablet in various waiting rooms and in the evening and check out Pinterest, FaceBook and other sources for images, saving them to my tablet gallery.  After awhile I occurred to me that I had all these images and I could do a focused free-form collage.

In the past, when I was creatively stuck or without a definite theme, I would use the creative device of taking magazines and using images only from that source to make a collage.  It is a freeing way to work, although different from an inner-theme driven piece.

So I proceeded to use only the collected Gallery photos for these collages.  I was inspired to call them 'Anonymous Content ' collages by the oddling tv show, Mr Robot.  'Anonymous Content' is their production company and one night the title just caught my eye and felt so apropos for this type of collage work.  

Creativity finds a way.

Anonymous Content

Anonymous Content 2

Anonymous Content 3

Anonymous Content 4

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Urban 'Boro series

I've been 'off-the-grid' in my art world.  A couple weeks ago a dear friend had emergency surgery and we've been very focused in her recovery and the resulting many changes to her life.  But my 'Urban 'Boro' series that I began a few weeks back, has been rattling around in the back of my head. and I look forward to the next batch of collages.

Every day I walk on a greenway by the river here in town. The greenway is part of a reclamation project.  For decades this was an industrial area and there is still active use, but it is a small percentage from its heyday.  In its decline this urban part of our town is filled with many eroding, changing, decaying buildings - an urban landscape that always has appealed to me.  

In 'American Picker's' parlance, I see these buildings as 'rusty gold' - rusted treasures just as they are, un-refurbished.  So my eye and my hand phone camera have been capturing quite a few shots and details.  

I also have always loved commercial signage and buildings and there are many retro and vintage options here in town as well.  So I have entered my 'urban' series, with backdrops from my town. Many of the additional elements are also from around town, such as the surveillance sign, the green door and the two trucks. Now me being me, these images are also collecting some odd flourishes - so far I haven't seen a Lion in the field or a Zebra-headed lady -  but the backgrounds are what drives the creativity.  

What does it all mean?  Only that all these things speak to me in some way and I hope they may speak to you for a moment as well.

Urban River


Garden Party

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More Glass from Perry Fitzhugh, This and That Collages

My friend J. Perry Fitzhugh has been making more of his wonderful found-object glass assemblage mixed-media sculptures and they are once again on display at the Barboursville Fine Arts Gallery, in Barboursville, VA, near Charlottesville.  Local? Or wanting a bit of travel?  Well, Perry will be in the gallery from 10:30 to 4:30  on Friday, May 29th for a meet and greet. Check it out.

Recently I  once again came across images from the famous Las Vegas Neon Boneyard. Vintage neon is high on my list of best images ever.  Stardust caught my eye. And apropos of Perry, I used one of his sculptures in the collage.  The piece has a very 50's space-age feel to it and aligns with the 50's era of the sign.



Another internet day, presented an article on Frida Kahlo's closet.  When she died in 1954,  her husband, the famed artist, Diego Rivera, ordered her clothes to be locked up for 15 years. When he died three years later, the caretaker of their homes and studios, kept the closet locked and it stayed so until 2004. There has now been a display and beautiful book. Her unique surreal style was like her art, a reflection of her reality of physical pain and discomfort from her near-fatal accident whens he was 18, which left her wearing a brace and a false leg.  Some of her bits and pieces spoke deeply to me.  One of my most treasured times is that I did get to visit her home and studio Blue House, in Mexico city.  She lived out loud.     

Frida's Closet
I came across some photos of my former studio at our house, which is now under contract.  One of the buyers is a graphic designer and I hope they make good use of the studio space.  This scene is a photo of a shelf where I had a 'set-up' of various bits and pieces that appeal to me.  When my son was young, we would create elaborate arrangements of his toys, which we called 'set-ups'.  We're both still at it.  

I amped the image and only added the bits of text and the cherry pie and of course, a spiral or two. Cherry pie just seemed the perfect addition.  I tried Lemon Meringue - my favorite pie - but it just didn't work.  Cherry popped!   The art wants what it wants.      

Lips, Dolly & Pie

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blast From The Past - Home Town Collages

I have a great affection for old-school diners and they have shown up in my art for many years.  In a recent conversation about diners one has known, I recalled the neighborhood diner where I grew up in Philadelphia.  It was a classic dining car place and I mostly remember hanging out with my teen-aged friends and ordering Cokes and French Fries and hot chocolate in the winter.  Occasionally my family had dinner there.  I also remember having to go on a 'cigarette run' for my mother and buy her Chesterfields from the cigarette machine in the lobby. Apparently one could do that in the 60's.

So I googled 'Wayne Junction Diner' and found a whole Facebook page with photos of the old place, sadly as a ruin.  But the images captured my eye.  When I extracted the menu from one of the images, it wasn't until the collage was finished that I noticed one of the items listed was a 'Taylor Pork Roll Sandwich.'  I never had it there but always loved it.  I always thought of TPR as a Philadelphia regional food, but google told me it originated in New Jersey.

Wayne Junction Diner

So with Memory Lane on a roll, I remembered that near our house there was an industrial water tower on a factory that was shaped and painted like a giant Vicks Vapo Rub jar.  A noticeable thing indeed.  It still exists in rust and patina and is used as a cell phone tower.  

Vicks Tower

Following the groove, I decided to listen to my favorite DJ of my youth, Jerry Blavat. His tag name was 'The Geater With The Heater.'  Back in the day, as they say - early to mid sixties for me, - he had a great radio show that played what were oldies then and current hits.  Music in the doo wop, Motown mode and more.  He also hosted dances.  Our crowd went on Sunday afternoons to the Wagners Ballroom. Friday nights he was at a place called Chez Vou.  These dances were a high point of my teen years and were known for the famous Philly line dances.  He is still going strong, on the radio and hosting oldies in clubs and dances at the Jersey Shore and so on.  You can check him out here streaming online  at Philadelphia's .WXPN.

Geater With The Heater