Friday, January 29, 2010

Story Behind the Pictures: Urban Hymn Series

I grew up in a place where, on summer evenings, the lowing of cows and the chirping of crickets floated through our open windows. I later moved on to a place where endless stretches of green Civil War battlefields and uninterrupted sky were only minutes away.

From there, I moved on to cities, forever sleepless until I learned to tune out the chiming of bells, the roar of trains, the wailing of sirens. I learned that gazing upward at night brought not stars but the pink haze of light pollution to my eyes. I learned that before sunrise the river over which I silently skimmed in my rowing shell would still be lit by gently arching bridges and yellow sulphur street lights.

I learned to love the constant noise, the gentle rocking motion of the train as it picked up speed and carried me home, and the ever-present lights. I learned to love that I could walk in the cool shade of the buildings or cross the street to stroll in the warmth of the sun. I learned to love that, in the city, I could purchase ice cream at all hours of the day or night.

I love the worn and warm stone buildings built in the years my grandparents were born. I love the gentle decay, the patina, the detail. I love the eclectic mix of styles, assembled by generations, graffitied by the next. These images are my urban hymn, my song that celebrates city life.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Story Behind the Picture: You and Me

I woke up one morning with this little phrase in my head:

"You, and me, and the moon make three."

I thought surely someone else had written this, and my mind was only just remembering a long-lost nursery rhyme. I asked around. I Googled.


It would seem this little phrase was my very own.

I walked around with it. I sat down to lunch with it. I let weeks go by with it lightly floating beneath the more pressing matters of the day. Two days ago, the picture to accompany it finally came to me as well. Each piece is a photograph I've been keeping for no apparent reason, until now. After I finished, I thought the moon, which I've also used in another collage, needed a little personality...I made my first foray into painting and soon his cheerful, peaceful face emerged.

Sometimes it's nice to just stand quietly, in the peaceful moonlight, with someone special.

"You, and me, and the moon make three..."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Story Behind the Picture: V is for Valentine

While the story of the original series can be read here, "Alphabet Soup" is still a work in progress as I search to complete the perfect series for both boys and girls. One such search was for another letter "V."

Danny: "But I love the van."
Me: "I know, sweetie, me too. But a little girl named Vanessa might not. Or her mommy, who is buying the print for her room, might not.
Danny: "Well, that's just silly. Who doesn't love vans?"

I happened to be in the basement later that afternoon, looking for something on an entirely different subject, when I rediscovered my great-grandmother's sewing basket. I lifted the woven lid and saw this pincushion sitting quietly amidst the wooden darning egg (which I still don't understand how to use), a myriad of beautiful buttons, and a jumble of colorful wooden spools. I hadn't remembered this little stuffed heart, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I found my new "V."

I took out all the pins with their colorful glass tops and brought it upstairs to my studio. Danny watched me quietly as I worked.
Danny: "I still like the van."
Me: "I know, sweetie, and that's the one that will stay in the book. But do you like this one as well?"

He walked over and picked it up, examining it in the light. I wondered when my great-grandmother made it, and imagined her smiling as she watched my child holding it in his hands.
"I do like it," he finally decided, a sweet smile spreading across his face as he spoke.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Story Behind the Picture: A Girl's Best Friend

I'm not sure where Marilyn Monroe got the notion, but diamonds are not my best friend. I don't hate them, mind you, but I've never judged the depth and the breadth of love based upon their size. The diamond my grandfather bought for my grandmother? Minuscule. The number of second and third construction shifts he worked in order to propose to her with a ring? Epic.

My own husband popped the question with a 10-cent ring from a vending machine. He later upgraded to a lovely diamond, but truly, I would have been happy to wear the original.

Give me a promise made of stronger stuff than pressurized carbon, and you can keep the rest.

I will, however, take a stack of good books and a fabulous pair of heels (perhaps Marilyn really felt the same way, but it would have made for a rather unwieldy song title). I leave you with "A Girl's Best Friend," as seen through my eyes...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Story Behind the Picture: Corks

Happy new year, folks!

I thought it particularly appropriate to share this image today after many a bottle of champagne was shared last night. I created this image for a dear friend (and, if you have the time, you must take a few moments to read her sweet/hilarious/wonderful musings). She wanted something to represent her daughter's new wine consulting business, and this is the image I created. It was a true hardship collecting all those corks, but someone had to drink it, er, do it, that is.

Here's to a year of celebrations, of new-found success, and of creating and chasing down your own dreams!
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