Monday, April 26, 2010

At home with Ralph

I'm home at last. Over the last 3 weeks, my kitchen became shipping and receiving, so I may take a few days to clear out the place and get back into collaging. My cats now have velcro paws and keep sticking all over me. They missed me! Last night I fell asleep on my giant recliner with fat Snuggles beside me and Fluffy stuck on my front. I had to peel them off to go to bed.

Saturday, I stopped at my favorite local junktique shop and found Vic, the owner, thumbing through an album. From the parking lot, I shouted, "postcards?"  He answered, "no, old photos." We looked it over for a while and I bought it.  I don't know about you, but I love old albums. They have so much to tell--about a time and a place and the people who lived there.

This album belonged to Ralph. Ralph took most of the pictures. He loved cars and there are many pre-1960 cars shown in all their finned and chromed glory. He also loved Dorothy, also called Dot. There are so many pictures of Dot, that there would be no album without her. I don't know if he married her or if she was his sister or a neighbor...there are no wedding pictures. Some of the last names are familiar to me as are some of the locales. They were of my parent's generation, and I didn't recognize anyone myself. Ralph must have ended his days in a rest home in my home town, as there are a lot of pictures of the place. Dear Ralph, what stories will we tell?

Whenever I make a collage, I start with a picture. I look for clues or I just start from scratch and make up my own story.  I picture Ralph as a bachelor who loved a good time and "the gals" and maybe drank and played cards often. He took some road trips in his beloved cars. Dot loved a good time too, and often accompanied him. Hmmm. Maybe a travel theme.

Vic threw this sweet vacation pamphlet in for free along with the album. Dated 1951, it should be right on the mark for a background piece.  Now for more travel themed pieces. Old postcards? Road maps?  But wait, this pamphlet has maps, pictures and advertising. This will be fun. I can't wait to begin!

I love traveling! Last year at this time I was deep into my plans for the Dream Vacation. Now, my 15-year-old niece thinks the world is boring and messed up. She has never really been anywhere but here, where she was born and grew up. This summer she and her Dad (my brother Jim) and I are going to Colorado and New Mexico to visit our cousins. I've been telling her about my favorite places since she was little. She is excited, but afraid it won't happen, so she doesn't have much to say about the whole thing. I can't wait to see her reactions to all the new sights, the beauty of the mountains and the desert--the country, the cultures and the city life. I hope she will be my future traveling partner and learn to love it as much as I do.

Where does your art take you? Though we're not all artists, we can imagine anything we want. Art, as well as travel, opens the doors to our minds and our imaginations. With an open mind, we continue to grow and keep a youthful excitement in life. The more I age, the more I feel that youthful spirit. And how wonderful to see it through the eyes of a 15-year-old!

I hope to have a new collage about this for you by next week. I'm pretty busy this week, but I have to create something soon. My brain is itching and my fingers twitching to get into another art project. Thanks for all of your encouraging words about my art and my often-daft ramblings!

As Ralph probably sang along with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, "Happy Trails to You!"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Their Fairy Petmother

Whoa, just when I start to get on a roll artistically speaking, my second job picks up. Yes, I am a fairy petmother to many cats and dogs, bunnies, guinea pigs, chickens, fish, and even an aquatic frog in my local area. It's something I happened into just as I lost my full-time status at the small non-profit where I work. I love my 4-day a week schedule, but it doesn't pay the bills. I was glad to pick up an overnight stay here and there. It got bigger and bigger. People with swimming pools & hot tubs--lovely old and new homes. Some of them became like health spas to me! Normally considered a "cat person," I met many sweet dogs and found that I "have a way with them." I never advertised and I don't have set prices.

Right now I'm on the last few days of a 3-week session in a nearby town with two dogs.  While there, I also picked up two catsits in the same area, so now my mornings and evenings I make the rounds to feed the cats, then settle in with the dogs for the evening and overnight.

As you can imagine, half of what I need at any given time is at an alternate house. When I'm home, I don't have this and that, then I get "there" and have forgotten a critical item at home. Luckily home is near the office, so I stop there morning and evening too. The first week at this place left me baffled. I drink decaf coffee in the morning with soy creamer. So I packed up the commuter cup, the creamer and coffee and moved in. The first morning I looked and looked-no coffee filters. I thought I had packed them. This is a tea drinker's home, no coffee filters! So I folded up a paper towel to fit in the cone. No cone! I tried holding the paper towel and passing the water thru, it broke and flooded the sink with grounds. I tried a paper towel in a colander. Well-try getting that into a cup. I should have used a big bowl. (Not to mention all the volatile chemicals in the paper towels!)

So I packed up my creamer and went to work. Drank regular coffee there. The next day, you can be sure I had my filters, but I still forgot the cone. I used a funnel with passable results. You just have to keep lifting it and checking it. It's really slow. If you are not careful the bottom of the filter splits open. Finally, after two tries, a cup full & NO CREAMER!! About the 4th day I managed to actually have the real thing. On the fifth day I brought my small coffee can back home to refill and forgot it. I had hot water, filter, cone, creamer and no coffee.  This is how it is to live as a fairy petmother on the edge of daft...

I'm seriously looking forward to next week in my own home. I am reading Somerset mags like crazy to keep my artistic brain working. I want to create! I don't dare start bringing all my art things to these places, I can't imagine how many days one piece would take when the scissors are here and the glue is there, the clippings here and the pictures there, etc. (Not to mention how long it takes to move out!)

I'm trying to come up with an idea to keep the coffee hot longer. The cup is insulated stainless steel, but the top is just a plastic lid with a hole. I cut a nice circle from a soup box-one of those tetra boxes- and it fit right in and kept the coffee hot. But I couldn't get it out. I had to stop the car and pry it out with a key. Now I've stuck a piece of tape on it for a handle, but this is really a temporary fix. I'll keep working on it. Now I see a project with recycled tetra packs, buttons, stitching--maybe a cozy made from an old sock? HMMM. (Did I mention daft?)

OH NO, not Brutus! (more pics of Brutus on the Dream Vacation 2 slideshow) Though someone did ask me to come and milk his goats. I was appalled--He said it was fun! Well, maybe for a goat farmer, but not something I can imagine myself doing before going off to the office-I'm not even a morning person!

Hopefully I'll have my sanity back next week! Y'all have a lovely one and "Ramble on..."


Friday, April 9, 2010

Art Hangups or Slap Together School of Art

Happy Spring Y'all!  It's been an unseasonably warm week and is now cool and gray outside. But things are blooming and Summer seems once again possible.

I have been taking a clue from you and trying to create more art. My collage art sometimes gets too tight and too "perfectionistic," in which case it ceases to be fun and I don't make anything for long periods. My time after Christmas is usually a dry, non productive time. But I want to create and I want to keep up the momentum when I do! When this happens, I revert to the Slap Together School of Art. I created the "school of art" to help a hung-up-on-perfection friend, and it works for me too.

Cleaning out my studio in January, I kept kicking around a piece of cardboard that seemed like a perfect junky tag. I looked at it for a couple of months. I watched Diane Knott making those lovely tags every day and actually won a runner-up gift on her give-away. It was filled with sweet tagable scraps and clips, pieces of lace, and ribbon. I started with a small piece of background paper, a magazine card rose picture, printed out a sweet sepia girl and the piece started to come together. My idea here is to stop obsessing and just glue it down. So I did. It came out pretty cute. I call it "The Key to a Pretty Girl's Heart.

The next two were fun--little birds you gave me were cut out and placed over sheet music with feathers and flowers, On a roll~

I realized that the point of Slap Together is to not measure and cut too much, but to tear and distress everything I could. I like the wallpaper-type prints over the distressed cardboard. It reminds me of old lath and plaster under crumbling wallpaper. That brought me to make The Traveling Salesman using clip art from my blogger friends and an old picture from my family album. I found a train ticket and postcard picture in my ephemera and hung it from a Tim Holtz chained clip. As you can see, I make up little stories about them as I go along.

But my favorite so far are Sophie's Choice and Dear Edward. Don't you think they were made for each other?  The flowers are a little modern but I like the contrast to the distressed background.

Art is evolution. I think I will keep this up for a while. I like the raggedy ones the best. What do you think? Shall I keep slapping them together?  My goal for April is to open my own Esty shop. You will be the first to know when.  Stay tuned, dear friends!