Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thoughtsgiving 2015!

This is the 6th year anniversary of a holiday that I created with a couple colleague of mine (Brad Emmons and Jason Denman)! We celebrate with a couple of pints at one of my favorite local watering holes (The Green Onion in Utica, NY). Each year I have made commemorative lapel pins for the occasion. This year's pins (there are a total of 14 of them) were made from a vintage class photograph (I would guess circa 1920). I also wanted to acknowledge support for the French after the recent tragedies in Paris. I have entitled the "Meme Pensee" ("Same Thoughts").

Saturday, November 14, 2015

in shock

I feel compelled to post to honor and support a city I love. Wishing everyone in Paris the strength to face this day and peace as we continue our journey into the future...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Main Street Arts (Clifton Springs, NY)

I unapologetically am putting in a plug for this wonderful gallery in central New York State. The opening reception for the 2nd Annual Small Works Exhibit (juried) was this past Saturday. There were 148 works (culled from 600 entries) from folks from all over the United States. The works were WONDERFUL... not really a "dog" in the entire group! The juror was Rebecca Rafferty, artist and staff writer for Rochester CITY newspaper, and she chose a diverse body of work representing many media (including a number of collages!). Brad and Melissa did a great job hanging the works and hosting the reception (which was packed!). The show is up until the end of December and I would highly encourage anyone to stop by this quaint town in the Finger Lakes region of New York for a wonderful visual treat. There's a very nice restaurant called Warfield's, right across the street for your dining pleasure as well. The 2nd and 5th image are actually collages.

Monday, November 2, 2015

monkeybrain, oh monkeybrain

Ugh... most every night I wake up at around 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning with thoughts... thoughts racing in my brain. It's very difficult to "turn them off" (almost impossible, it seems) and it's mostly annoying. But SOMETIMES it results in something positive. I've been thinking A LOT lately (even during my waking hours) about the implications (legal and psychological) of using old yearbook photos in my collages. I will be presenting a paper at this year's Southern Humanities Conference (in Louisville, KY, USA) addressing these concerns. At this WONDERFUL conference, we also have an "open mike" night which usually involves poetry readings by members of the group. Last year, I was honored to be part of those readings. I have already posted one of the poems that I will read this year (entitled "Visage"), but am interested in developing two or three others. Last night when I was unable to get back to sleep, I worked on another poem in my head. I didn't want to "lose" some of the phrasing that was coming racing in my head, so I got up and actually started the writing process on this ekphrasic piece. I "reserve the right" to edit the poem, but am pretty pleased with what I have so far. I would prefer that you read the poem; and then re-read it once you have seen the collage below.


Across the miles of time,
we meet, by chance.
… or perhaps better than chance;
albeit petite probabilities

The children rummage;
themselves adults;
and remind their children,
that your name was Mary

We’re looking
at the same moon this evening
We’re wondering
what happened across time

The narrative has
inevitably been changed.
Seemingly surreal,
but still grounded in the real

Am I taking advantage
of your beauty?
Like plucking and pruning a rose?
An alternative to obscurity?

Your granddaughter
walks into the room,
surprised to see you…
with Phillipe!?

A black-and-white world
has turned to the color of the fall,
of the buildings,
of the miles of time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Moonflower" "secrets" revealed! ;-)

The substrate is Gainsborough's "The Honorable Frances Duncombe" (1777):
To which I added 4 elements:
But not before I painted the edges of each of the elements so that the "inner" white of the page did not "shine" from the edges of the elements. When you paint the edges first, it creates a much "flatter" and, more importantly, integrated composition:

And interestingly (at least I think), the "planet" was not really a planet image, but a cut out circular section of an image of a vintage bell. This was a serendipitous (and very fortunate) moment for me (and the composition). I've shown the cut here, replaced with a slight rotation (an idea for another composition?):

Then I made a slit along the edge of the finger on her left hand so that the black-and-white rose could be placed "into" her hand rather than being placed on top of it. It certainly gives it a more natural and integrated look:
Finally... all the minute experimentation with placement of the other flower and the two orbs so that the balance is JUST right (as well as the cropping with the mat. Viola! "Moonflower" 2015 (8" x 5"):

Monday, October 26, 2015

Alas, the bard will be cut!

I presume that perhaps I have written before on this blog about the dilemma I am now facing... again. But I contend that it is worth rewriting about. I am really struggling with an issue. I recently procured a set of three beautiful volumes of Shakespeare from 1858-1859 (i.e., The Comedies; The Tragedies; The Histories). I did include an image of these books on a short blog post on May 20th. The volumes are complete; but I would say are probably poor-to-fair quality (I think). I suspect that, as a set, the books might fetch $100-200 if I were to sell them on e-bay (although maybe not). But I am not interested in the money, per se. The beautiful etchings in the books are "worth" far more to me personally as elements for use in collage! So what is the "real" dilemma if not the conflict of the money vs. a set of beautiful collage elements? Well, part of it is the "intact" nature of this set of books. If I use the images for collage, these beautiful and historical books will be ruined. However, I have already decided that I am not going to sell them to anyone else for $100-200. I will use the images for collage! But I feel so badly about "destroying" the books. On the other hand, I know that probably more people will enjoy these beautiful etchings if I "re-purpose" them in various collages than if they remain "locked away" between the leather covers of these book. The books just seem "precious" to me (even if not very valuable in the monetary sense). Why not make photocopies of the images, you ask? Well... I pride myself on using only original images in my work (yes, a self-imposed and perhaps a silly restriction!). I recall with some vividness, the admonition by my mentor and collage master Jonathan Talbot, to beware of making any books too "sacred" to use in collage (I remember him tearing out a piece of a 17th Century book for a collage at one of his workshops). I will cut out these etchings. But I will do it will respect for the source. And hopefully, I will not be "paralyzed" by the respect for such unique and rare beauty as to avoid making the decision to finally "commit" to an image when I should be using it. I sometimes "save" a really striking image for fear that a composition won't be "good enough" for inclusion of a particular element. Can you sense the struggle that I am experiencing? It so real and so interesting to me. But it is actually another of the MANY reasons why I enjoy this medium SO much! Although somewhat reluctant... I look forward to using some of these elements in my upcoming collages...

Monday, October 19, 2015


Here's another short post. Is it weird to say I enjoy this photo? These are some elements I got last week (split 30 of these identical images with Toeny Morgan) at Farmersville auction in Lancaster Co. PA. You just never know what you're gonna find at that auction ;-)  I must say, I appreciate the fact that LBJ refused to run for President (or accept the nomination) because he was so upset about the Vietnam War and what it did to our country.