Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Birthdays

 My grandson, Teddy, was born by caesarian section.  When he was really little, well, bigger than this,  

 he asked his mom for some details about his birth. 

Where did they cut you so I could get out of your tummy?

She pointed to her side.

Didn't that hurt? he asked.

No, they give you medicine so it doesn't hurt.

And when did that happen?

October 16th.

On My Birthday?!

A birthday is always cause for celebration and this month we have many celebrations.

Eleanor Roosevelt, for one; First Lady of the world, born October 11, 1884.  Here is her statue, standing in Riverside Park at 72nd Street.  She, that is her statue,  was spotted a while ago wearing a mask.  Well, of course, she would have worn a mask. What did she say?  

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

And..."The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

My cousin Tom was born on October 31, Hallowe'en.  I imagine when he was little he thought everyone gave out candy in honor of him! Also born in October--Picasso, John Lennon, and Chuck Berry.

AND, my brother Rob, October 22. He started out as a press photographer, and I'm sure you've seen his shot of Bernie Sanders celebrating his victory as Mayor of Burlington, VT.

But now Rob shoots birds.  

He's good, isn't he?  I've saved a lot of his images with a thought of copying them--rather, using his images as inspiration and incorporating them into my own work.  Should I ask him first or surprise him? I've also studied John James Audubon; I think Rob is an Audubon for our time. I'm sure the birds themselves much prefer Rob's technique, as Audubon killed his models and pinned them into "lifelike" poses.

Both of these pelicans are taken from Audubon.  What word should I use here--copied?   borrowed? inspired by?  You tell me.

I'd say I'm a shameless thief. But Frank Mason, revered teacher at the Art Students League said, "If you take from another artist be sure to steal it. If you borrow you have to give it back."

  This is what Rob says.  

"Mother Nature is an extraordinary artist.  I am honored to plagiarize her."

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Take up the Collection

You know how people say, "If you love something let it go"?  I say if you love something get a whole lot of things like it and make a collection.

I wrote about Aunt Connie and her collections and she was a great inspiration to me but there are many collectors in my life.  My Dad collected coins, stamps, and owls because he liked to say he was a wise old bird.  Mom collected giraffes and castiron Boston terriers.  

I adopted her pack.

My brother, Alan, collects pigs, my sister-in-law, Donna, collects china pitchers shaped like fruit, my Aunt Jan collected elephants, Aunt Mary Gae, bells.  My friend, Bill, collects snow globes, lead soldiers, books and clocks. It makes it easy to find presents for them.

I collect collections. You may not believe this but I hate clutter.  I  live by William Morris's golden rule; 

"Never have anything in your home that you do not find useful or believe to be beautiful."

Here are my ducks; I built another shelf in the bathroom so that they can practice social distancing.

China tomatoes and corn in honor of my favorite summer meal.

White pitchers because they look so nice on my kitchen shelf.

Sugar Bowls; I love their cheerful, chubby shapes.

My children's shoes.  They were too shabby to give away and too adorable and evocative to part with. Bronzing was expensive and didn't quite show them off so I took a page from Joseph Cornell and made boxes.

Rubberband Balls; most of these come wrapped around the NY Times every morning and Peter, the doorman, saves them for me so as to keep them out of the landfill.



Bears.  I started this collection for Arthur, because of a story my nephew Danny told me.
"When I was really little, I saw Arthur in his bathing suit and I said,
"Arthur, how come you have so much hair on your chest?" And he didn't even look up from his book--he just said,
'Because, Danny, I used to be a bear.'  And I believed him for a long time."

China Poultry

This isn't everything but I don't want you to think I'm crazy.  Organizing my stuff into categories gives me a sense of order and I'm a pretty strict curator--not everything makes it into a collection.  Also, I love wandering around flea markets and junk shops--collecting gives me a purpose and a sense of quest. 

What do you collect?

Friday, October 2, 2020

Something I didn't know I love


 Zachary, the son of my friends, Lenesa and Frank, worked with earthmoving and construction equipment and when he and Lizzie got married the theme of the rehearsal dinner was 
Constructing a life together-all the flowers,Sunflowers and Batchelor buttons sat in toy trucks and bulldozers.  It was gorgeous. That got me thinking.

Then in the aisles of the toy store I was struck by the beauty of the cars and trucks-the detail, the colors, they were entrancing.  the dolls kind of creeped me out with their glassy stares but the trucks grabbed my interest and what else could I do but draw?

I raided the toy box for more models.  Each of these fills a whole 18 by 24 inch paper.  The boldness and simplicity gave me a rest from my obsessive texture and detail.

I had to give Sanitation a background so he'd stand out against the white paper. This one may be my favorite--what would we do without him?

I remember my brother Alan playing for hours with his friend Andy in a mud puddle in our back yard; the trucks talked to each other.
"Back 'er up, Joe,"
"Okay, Joe,"
They were always named Joe. 

Thank you, Boys, for the inspiration and the fun.  I named this series Big Boy.

October Birthdays

 My grandson, Teddy, was born by caesarian section.  When he was really little, well, bigger than this,    he asked his mom for some details...