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!"


  1. WElcome back! You were very missed (and not just by your furry friends!)

    I just adore old photos... I think sometimes they are overlooked, unwanted treasures. My gram has a whole steamer trunk just full of them, I can't wait to poke around them when I visit her in May. (She always lets me take a stack to be copied!)

  2. What a beautiful post. I particularly agree with the notion of art and the way it can take us anywhere. When I was a child and a teenager, I drew and painted anything I could imagine but could not have. With a few strokes of a pencil or a brush, I traveled the world, went shopping, built homes and castles and became anyone I wanted.
    Love all the photographs...

  3. Hi Sherry! Thanks for visiting my blog ( and for your kind comments on my quilts. If you do collage, you could easily do what I do with fabric. Much of my work is appliqued (shapes cut out and fused and sewn to fabric backings). Love your blog. You have some wonderful photographs and writing here. I'm bookmarking it to come back to later after my work day is done!

  4. Where does your art take you? I began to photograph, so I could use the photos to paint from. I would be a landscape painter. So, now was excuse enough to go to places in nature.
    I also go to Art Museums.
    My art takes me deep within myself, and far outside myself.
    My art takes me far back in time, and forward, especially when I am at the loom!
    My art connects me.

  5. Glad you're home. :)

    I sometimes worry that old pics of me will end up in a collage. I'll be wearing a funny hat and there will be a bubble coming out of my mouth saying something I wouldn't. Eeeeep!

    I think your neice will love Colorado & New Mexico - so much to discover, and perhaps a brighter view of life and traveling will be her bonus gift?

    So where does art take me? Anywhere I wish. I'm currently working on a digi-collage for a Sara Teasdale poem, and loving every minute of it.

    Wishing you a happy week, Sherry!

  6. You have been busy, here and there. I would think an old photo album could take you all kinds of places as you think about it all and put it in a collage. I sometimes wonder what to do with my grandmother's photo albums, they are all digitalized and the next generation isn't interested. I look forward to seeing what you make.

    What kind of glue do you use?

  7. I am catching up with your blog...I too, have been busy with Spring activities. I laughed when I read about your cats. In my yoga class last night we were doing a pose where you lay down basically on your back with your legs against a wall and my instructor was telling us that whenever she comes home from work with a stiff back she lays down into this pose and one cat curls around her head, another lays across her upper abdomen and the third circles her with a curious expression on his face - like what happened and why are you on the floor like that? Cats are wonderful companions.

    Loved the photo of you hiking and the photo album is a treasure. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Hugs - Julie

  8. Wow, your cats are beautiful. "Velcro paws", hahaha! Your niece will love New Mexico. It's haunting and beautiful. I've never been to Colorado but i know from pictures she won't be bored there, either. Enjoy your trip this summer, lucky lady.

  9. Oh my Sherry, what an interesting life you lead! I've just been through your past two posts. Thankfully I didn't miss more since you've been so busy trying to get your morning coffee and being a fairy petmother. HA! I do hope your niece realizes what a wonderful world we live in -- it's the goofy people surrounding us that make it boring and stupid and messed up. :) Hope you are having a fabulous day -- welcome home! Tammy

  10. Sherry,
    I'm behind on my blog hopping so I have to look at some earlier posts of yours to see what your up to. I love the album you got, the pictures are great. I also love to imagine the person's life & like to tell a story in my art. I can't wait to see your finished piece. Your vacation plans sound great. I love traveling with young people, to see things through their eyes. Lisa

  11. Hi Sherry,

    I totally love what you said about yourself...
    "The more I age, the more I feel that youthful spirit"...Good for you!!! You are such a positive soul :)

    As for Ralph, I wish I could have been his partner. I love to travel and I'm up for a good card game any time!
    I can't wait to see what you will come up with from his "story"'s amazing what an album can inspire.

    I love your blog and I just adore your positive spirit!!! I've so enjoyed my visit!!!!

  12. I love old photo albums too...and it looks like you picked up a great one.

  13. The cats are wonderful, I am a nut about cats.
    I hope your niece has a wonderful life long memory in the trip. I love the Rockies, especially the northern ends. How nice to look forward to it all.


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