Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekly Quick Collage: Life

collage, 7 x 7 inches

She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short.
~ author unknown

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. 
~ Danny Kaye 

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
~ Crowfoot

Monday, July 18, 2016

Out in the Country

Yesterday we were out at Shabo-Mekaw, sanding and staining. I did get some time to go walking about by the creek, however, so I thought I'd share a few bits of what I saw. By the way, if you're not familiar with our beautiful country get-away, you can find out more by going here and following the links at the bottom of the post.

 The two cabins - one we renovated, one (the log cabin) we built from scratch.

 Little orange funnel-shaped mushrooms...


Horse Nettle

 Smooth phlox

I have no idea what this; I can't find it in any of my tree or flower books. It's a very large bush or shrub. If you can identify it, please let me know!

To my great surprise, I found this rhododendron down by the creek, hidden by some rocks near the bank. I don't know how I missed seeing it all these years. 

As always, though always changing, the Kinniconick.

And of course, wherever I go, there they are - my boys, Arlo and Sunny.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Small Accordion Book No. 2

I had so much fun making the first one, I decided to do another accordion (or concertina) book. I guess I will have to come up with names for them at some point. This one is the same size as the first, each page measuring about 6 by 3 3/4 inches, containing 8 pages on each side. The paper is Rives BFK.

I like doing these because it's fun to consider how make the images connect, even as they're changing from page to page. They may be connected by color, shape and form of design elements, or theme; this uses all three of those, though not necessarily the same ones on every page. The shifting and changes of this format remind me of meandering down a river or creek, where some features remain the same while others differ gradually as you move along. While most artistic forms contain movement (leading the eye from one place to the next), the movement generally leads to some sort of focal point. This is not necessarily true of the concertina book, where each page may be as important as the next.  It's a different thought process, and I like the challenge.

Accordion Book 2, side 1
ingredients: acrylic ink, relief print on rice paper, vintage book pages, magazine cut-outs, joss paper, decorative paper, image transfer, vintage stamp, vintage dress pattern, map fragment, stitching

pages 1-3

pages 4-6

pages 7-8

Accordion Book 2, side 2
ingredients: acrylic ink, relief print on rice paper, vintage book pages, vintage ephemera,  magazine cut-outs, joss paper, decorative paper, image transfers, vintage stamps, vintage maps, stitching

pages 1-3

pages 4-6

pages 7-8

I used everything in this but the kitchen sink, as they say. Really more of an experiment than anything, making this was lots of fun!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Outhouse Humor - with addendum

This post is not what you probably thought it would be from the connotations of the title. Out at our country retreat, Shabo-Mekaw, we do not have indoor plumbing. (The link takes you to a post that has several more links to posts about Shabo-Mekaw, if you're interested.) The outhouse is actually quite pretty, as far as outhouses go, and was even decorated with charming cartoon drawings to amuse you while there.

These drawings were done by Ken Lobitz, the man who built the original cabin back in 1960. They were matted, covered with acetate, and well-secured to the wall. Because they had been there so long, and their condition was beginning to deteriorate, I decided to take them down in order to preserve them. I thought it would be nice to share them here, and that Ken might get a kick out of it!

I don't know where he got these, but I'm guessing he came up with them on his own. I'll have to ask him.

This one looks like the inside of the cabin, except for the chair. I wonder if there was a chair there that he had made, and if so, where is it? And was it really that uncomfortable?

This one is so silly, it just cracks me up!

So does this one!  The expression on his face is great.

This one might be my favorite.

The text was on the mat of this one, but I believe it said something like, "From time to time, a real man just has to get out and rough it."  Love these guys!

These have provided me with amusement for many years, so I thought I'd share them here. I don't think Ken will mind. Also, please check out Ken's beautiful blog (which contains no cartoons), Kinniconick Reverie. He shares many wonderful stories about his time and adventures at Shabo-Mekaw and elsewhere, along with poems, philosophy, and lots more. Thanks, Ken, for making the outhouse a more pleasant place to be!

Ken has contacted me with some further history and insights about these cartoons. Here's what he said:
"What a “hoot”.  Bob and I are still laughing about those crazy sketches.  I’m still amazed that they survived and that you have been able to reproduce them so perfectly.  PLEASE keep them at Shabo because they belong to the place.

Yeah, I must confess that most of them were inspired by cartoons in Field and Stream magazine, but I took some liberties of course.  The last drawing, without caption, should read:  “Does a feller good to git out and rough it once in a while”.  The chair in cabin was one of my own, however.  There was a real chair, with a story behind it.  I designed it and Dad and I built it in my folks basement, in their house in Mt. Airy.  When finished we sat in it and though I thought it not bad, my Dad (a perfectionist) insisted that it wasn’t right.  We took it apart and rebuilt it.  The cartoon was his favorite.

That silly one about getting a patent on outhouse holes also had some history.  One of my nieces was about two years old and would have fallen thru the hole, so Dad built a special seat that fit over the big seat."
Thank you for the additional information, Ken, and for building and caring for such a magical place all those years!

Ken's blog: Kinniconick Reverie

Friday, July 1, 2016

Weekly Quick Collage: Let Me Know

I have to confess that this collage was not all that "quick." Originally, it was done rather quickly, but I decided I wasn't satisfied with it, so I continued to work on it, adding more layers until the part that said "Let me know" was covered up. This in keeping with my resolution to push myself farther, to experiment and learn new things about making art. More and more, I'm employing my "throw away your first five (or ten) ideas" strategy, and beginning to break new ground, as they say.

Let Me Know
mixed media collage, 5 x 7 inches 

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.         -Picasso

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.         -Crowfoot

Let me keep my mind on what
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and
learning to be
- Mary Oliver