Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Union Station

This picture is a bit of a lie. At the time I visited Union Station this occasion - which was years ago - there was some sort of construction drape over the east side walls, so I had to make them up, and the Capitol is nowhere near this close to Union Station. Which in a way makes this more truthful to the tourist's experience of the Mall. "No, that's not far. I can walk that far!" And three blisters and two overpriced bottles of water later, they have indeed reached their goal. Or the museum halfway there.

This one's for you, Mom.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Books I read. And re-read. And re-read.

Do you have books on your shelf that you read repeatedly? Of course you do! We've all got favorite books, friends in print, friends with whom you have had many great times, friends who challenge you or from whom you have received much comfort, from whom you've learned much and have much yet left to learn from...

This is the first in the series, actual title TBD, about the books I repeatedly read and suggest you give a whirl.

"The Dress Doctors: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish" is a toothsome terrine of reasons why American women from the Progressive Era through the late 1960s looked so beautifully dressed.   (It wasn't just the girdles as we all learned from watching Behind-the-Scenes from Mad Men!) We learn about the rise of Home Economics, the women who developed the field, and the part of its mission that brought the rules of beauty to the masses at whatever level of economy you could afford, and with appropriateness to each situation.

This glorious, gorgeous time had pretty nearly faded by my 1980s childhood, but vestiges of it clung to women who were there. My great aunts may have been wearing poly-cotton floral pantsuits, but they wore them with flair! They wore them with accessories, and they wore them with chic beyond their means. Why? Because they had learned an internalized these rules!

I cannot overstate the glass shattering effect of reading about the rules behind what makes an outfit work. I cannot overstate the harsh light that age- or situation-inappropriate dress and "killer" shoes now shine in. I cannot overstate the depressing realization that I (and most of America) am way under-thinking my wardrobe as a system. I cannot overstate the sense that I feel very gratified that my belief that our colors are all wrong seems justified.

Quibble: I still think acid green is gorgeous, and I will find a way to wear it!

Drawing above is my study of the cover.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"June 1972"

Fun fact: it used to be common, in agricultural areas, to have a long break between wedding ceremony and reception. Not for the usual modern reasons of poor planning or needing to get shnookered in order to enjoy your reception, but so that those with livestock could go home and tend to the animals. My mother told me this a few years ago, and I realized afresh that I am from a small town and an agricultural background.

This is not my parents' wedding, but my mother's bridesmaids did wear coral, and I drew Carl and Marie Quast in this picture. I think they were guests at my parents' wedding, albeit thirty years younger than I remember and drew them, and they were and are neighbors of my grandparents (so to speak).

The inspiration for this drawing was St. John's Lutheran Church in Goodhue, Minnesota and all the pictures of 1960s and 1970s weddings of my parents, aunts and uncles. It was a great time thinking of all these times and people as I drew.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another lake house

This is actually the lake house that I know best - but the last time I saw this house (Lake Pelican, Minnesota?) was twenty five years ago, so this house might be inaccurate. It was my mother's cousin Gloria's cabin and I loved it. From the dog Macaroni to the Ramen Noodle Salad (which, for non-Minnesotans is a thing, right up there with Snickers Salad).

Any who, it's tippy. Someday, someday I will straighten up my art. Let's blame it on my lazy eye.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

This was a piece I did maybe three years ago. It was an idea for a book (children's, obviously) I had then. This is a travel agent's office, a crazy office with tickets to crazy places, but you'd never be able to tell by the bland posters. And, it's set in the past. -Ish.

Inspired by a Facebook post by Camy Clough on Grandmother Gardens

Thinking of you, Camy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

De Gournay inspired

I love, love, love De Gournay wallpaper panels. Love them. They are beautiful in one of my favorite ways - genteel and old fashioned, almost borderline fusty. But De Gournay wallpaper panels are also very, very dear. And so I tried my hand at it.

Other than my poor choice of paper and the wonky bird wing, I rather like the effect. I believe De Gournay panels are quite a bit larger than this, which is around 18 inches by 3 feet, but this size of work is already well outside my usual scale.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Thanks, internet rando


...for saying my art is not a "work of art," with the implication that it is thus somehow unworthy. Though I have had art classes, I am not a trained artist, which means that my work could be called "outsider art." It could be less charitably said that it's complete crap, even though my friends and family rave over it, as well as the people who have purchased my work. So after I was politely insulted, I thought about the work I produce. I thought about it a lot as I started this drawing and I realized that even if my work is crap, gol dang, I enjoy the act of creation. And I like what I make. So thanks, whoever you are. I know you set out to cut me down for your own reasons, but I produce tangible work that brings me joy. This room is based off a twenty year old memory of a room in my Great Aunt Tootie and Great Uncle Bjarne Stengl's house. I believe the room actually had a television set instead of a record player, and while Aunt Tootie was a live wire, she would never have had such disparate furnishings.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

For a favorite family

My grandma and grandpa in their kitchen

With the exception of Grandma being far more plump than I ever remember her looking, this is pretty close to what the kitchen looked like, down to the "indoor window" so common on enlarged farmhouses (this one looked out to the summer kitchen) wainscoting, and pressed tin walls and ceiling. That's a yellow Formica table in the middle there.

Undepicted is the incredible warmth, both literal - the house didn't have air conditioning, so the summers were hot, and they heated the house with a corncob burning stove, so the winters were hotter - and figurative.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gift tag designed for a wonderful young man

It was an airplane party, so I thought "airmail," and I've always enjoyed the "Jenny" stamps, so this was a fun one to do.

Really ancient art

Well, from my perspective. I did these pieces, among several others, for my then boyfriend, now husband, of all the places we first talked. Piazza San Marco stands fine these sixteen years later, but now I can see the flaws in the Florentine picture very clearly now.

For the Winger Art Whirl

2013, I think. Time flies!

Twice we stayed with my relative Gloria at her awesome cabin and the experience stuck with me. I love the idea of cabins - and I have since done a commission of an actual cabin (and not one that I imagined).