Thursday, December 20, 2012

My December Nibblefest Art Contest Entry: 'The Mushroom...', by Emily Dickinson

It's the 20th of the month today!  And so, the Nibblefest Art Contest is upon us once again, with  the theme this month being 'Mushrooms'....:

My December Nibblefest entry entitled, 'The Mushroom", a tribute to Emily Dickinson

I do believe this "Mushrooms" theme was actually my own idea, from back in the Spring when the Nibblefest mods were requesting up and coming monthly theme suggestions for voting.  'Mushrooms' ended up winning the popular vote for December '12 in an online poll -- pretty cool.  So, it might have been reasonable to  assume, that with my suggestion of such a thing, I likely had at least SOME concept in my head at the time how I might want to approach it.  But you would be wrong, because I ended up JUST as stumped as usual this month, scratching my head with what had originally been my own suggestion in the first place....!  And so, as I've blogged about before, I reverted to my most favorite of all defaults in such situations: the looking to Music and Literature for my personal artistic inspiration (with Literature winning out this time around -- because really, just how many songs about mushrooms do you know, lol...?).

Contemplating 'mushrooms' in Literature, the first thing to pop into my head was, naturally, "Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland".  And indeed I was all set to go for that, maybe even as a little companion piece to my 'Cheshire Cat' from several months ago -- except a second idea 'sprang up' (pun intended) that I really couldn't resist.  A little poem, by that most prolific of writers of 19th century American verse, the venerable Emily Dickinson (with the fact that it was actually even her birthday a mere 10 days ago, her 182nd, seeming an especially good omen....): 

 A portrait of Emily Dickinson, 5" x 8.5"

The mushroom is the elf of plants,
At evening it is not;
At morning in a truffled hut
It stops upon a spot

As if it tarried always;
And yet its whole career
Is shorter than a snake’s delay,
And fleeter than a tare.

‘Tis vegetation’s juggler,
The germ of alibi;
Doth like a bubble antedate,
And like a bubble hie.

I feel as if the grass were pleased
To have it intermit;
The surreptitious scion
Of summer’s circumspect.

Had nature any outcast face,
Could she a son contemn,
Had nature an Iscariot,
That mushroom, 
– it is him.

--By Emily Dickinson


I love this playful little poem by Miss Emily DIt's wonderful to recite aloud (try it!), with its rhythm and cadence, and tongue-twisty wording -- all of which she was such a master of.  And no, I'm not going to pretend that I understand completely every word of it (I mean, please: "Tare"...?  "Hie"...?), but I surely get the gist.  A nature lover, it's her own wee ode to Nature's little 'elf', the mushroom -- with its sneaky and surprising way of popping up right up out of the ground, like it owns the place, seemingly from nowhere, and seemingly overnight.....
 My auction description: 

Miss Dickinson was herself as much an enigma as the mushroom she so poetically describes.  An expressive composer of over 1700 poems, she never actually received wide recognition within her lifetime.  An intensely private person, she instead became known more for her reclusiveness and penchant for wearing all white than she ever did for her writing.  It was only after her death, when her secret stash of poetry was discovered by a relative that the astonishing scope of her work was finally revealed.

Emily Dickinson never married nor had children, but she gave birth to a legacy of another kind:  an incredible body of poetic verse, that continues to speak to us today nearly two centuries later.  Thus I portray Miss Dickinson in this, my tribute portrait, in a dress of white, and cradling a mushroom, my own symbol for her vast poetic talent and productivity, as one might hold a child (with the first several lines of her lovely untitled 'Mushroom' poem handwritten above).....


To see ALL the great 'Mushroom'-themed Nibblefest Art Contest entries this month
(with each starting at just .99 cents!),
just click here....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Belated 'Fall' Update....

A gorgeous Fall in the Midwest this year (the view down my street a few short months ago)

Time for an 'Art of Patience' Fall update (never mind that it's actually winter now, ahem) -- as usual I'm a little overdue for an update of any kind, but, no time like the present, as they say.  And so, because it's the most easy, if not the most fun (and probably the most interesting besides) let me do so by way of a few select random photographs.....

But first, just to get a little business out of the way....our next round of the The Nibblefest Art Contest begins in less than two days....!  The theme for December is 'Mushrooms', and I'm pleased to say I already have my entry all set and ready to go, w00t.  None of that last minute crunch time for me this go round.  Plus I'll be blogging about it too of course (and in a very calm and relaxed way, ahhh), so be sure to check back here on the 20th.  In the meantime, I put together and curated a fun little entry for the Nibblefest Blog introducing this month's 'Mushrooms' theme, featuring a number of pieces by Nibblefest Artists (including a wee something of mine), which can be read by clicking this.....

In any case, despite our terrible drought this past summer (or maybe because of it....?) I just found our Fall colors this year to be exceptionally gorgeous -- such a delight to step out my door to scenes like this:

Canopy of fall colors on my street

And this:

Striking red and green

So while it's all looong gone by now of course, it was lovely while it lasted (though once the fall color party was over, naturally we did have to RAKE it all)....

Halloween this year was pleasant and fun, and, since it has long been my tradition to make goofy, spooky-themed food in honor of the event, even though my kids are well into their teens by now (with one even out of the house), I can't resist sharing my 'ghostly' Shepherd's Pie (whereby the whipped potatoes were molded into little 'ghosts' (complete with carrot eyes and green pea mouths) rather than spread evenly in a layer over the top) -- tee hee....:

Happy Halloween!

It was a hit.... :-)

In other foodie news, this fall I made my first ever batch of this....:

This photo doesn't really do justice to the great quantity of Kraut here -- but trust me it's a lot! (3 large heads worth)

Homemade sauerkraut, people....!   

Heck, it turned out to be so darn easy (and yummy) to make I can't imagine whatever took so long to finally build up the courage to give it a whirl (and this despite my past successful experimental forays into making homemade Kim-Chi).  Well, needless to say it was (and is -- we are still eating on this batch) quite delicious, and, as a naturally fermented food, chock-full of super healthy pro-biotics and nutritious enzymes.  Good stuff...!

Other happenings going on lately Chez Patience include the private art classes I'm teaching, which have been going really well this semester.  Really enjoying my wonderful young students, and they've been producing some truly lovely work....

Including more Still Life....:

Still-Life Paintings of Pears

A Pretty Painted Green Pear

....some fun with Jackson Pollock style 'Splatter-and-Drip' paintings...,

'Splatter and Drip' Paintings

A slightly somewhat messy, but otherwise very fun, technique.... well as Self Portraits, our current ongoing student painting project:

Sketching the portraits....

....with mirrors for self-reference.

The sketching completed, they are now currently painting them.  Don't they look terrific so far....?

My art students' Self Portraits-in-Progress

In regards to my own children and their art, this update finds my son (of whom I've written about before here) continuing his studies at his ballet school, all the way across the country....:

My son in Arabesque

He's been working hard this semester and learning lots (and we're looking forward to a visit from him soon for his (all too brief) winter break)....

And because I can't very well post a picture one child without also posting a picture of the other, here's a snapshot of my daughter from a fun family kayaking excursion earlier this fall...:

Beautiful day/beautiful setting.  And as you can see we had the lake practically to ourselves!

Speaking of my daughter, she had a birthday this fall, which was celebrated by going to our favorite Mexican restaurant in town, during which she was forced to wear the requisite Birthday Sombrero, all while being serenaded by the wait staff (AS WELL AS enduring the smearing of a bit of her free birthday dessert onto her face).  Fun tradition, no...?  (can't say she was thrilled exactly, but happily she's a pretty good sport overall, lol)....

Birthday Girl

In still other kid news, we had the chance this fall to finally meet my adorable three-year-old niece, for the first time ever, when she came all the way over to the States with her folks for a visit from Hong Kong, where she and her parents live...:

Meet JunJun...!

 What a charmer!  Such a pleasure spending time with and getting to know her -- far too short a stay to be sure, but very sweet indeed (and we're still waiting for the chance to meet her one year old brother one day, who stayed behind for this trip (being such a long plane ride and all) -- hopefully next time!)....

Now, just a mention, since this IS an art blog, that my Nibblefest Art Contest entry from last month, "Mother Nature's Son" (the theme for Nov being 'Nature') received 2nd Place:

Yay!  A Big Thanks to all my bidders!

Plus, lastly, for fun I'll share here one of my latest ongoing art-related projects that I've been enjoying lately.   It's a horse head of all things, and of papier mache no less, though not actually one of my own.....:

An antique Papier Mache Horse Head -- how cool is that...?

No indeed.  Rather, I was contacted online by the owner of this gorgeous antique, which had unfortunately sustained some pretty serious damage over the years, including large cracks and even chunks of it falling off.....

Like, for instance, its ears....:

Both ears were completely off by the time it arrived to me

Plus plenty of cracks, as well as damage about its mouth and its base....


 'Would I be willing to restore it?', I was asked...

But of course.....!

Here his right ear is once more completely and securely reattached (with the left ear soon to follow)

 She sent it off to me, and I got to work....:

Stabilizing the loose, damaged areas, and filling in the many cracks....

I've been working on and off on it for several weeks now -- the days on end of overcast mist and rain that we've been getting here intermittently making for slow going at times (when the papier mache I'm applying to fix his damaged bits just simply will not dry).  Besides, no reason to do a rush job of it -- best to approach it with thought and care, and I have.  In any case, as soon as I have his damaged base all addressed (which should be soon), and all his various patches repainted and touched up to match his handsome patina, I'll take  'after' pictures.....

So that's my update for now -- check back here in a few days to see and read my Nibblefest Art Contest concept for 'Mushrooms'.....!

Friday, November 23, 2012

My NIbblefest Art Contest Entry: November's 'Nature' Theme:

"Mother Nature's Son" (5" x 10.5")


Nibblefest Art Contest time rolls around, once again.  This month's contest began on the 20th, as usual -- and as usual I did come up with an original entry, though with the Thanksgiving hubbub tucked in there I am only now getting around to blogging about it.  Better late than never right? 

I did find this month's "Nature" theme, nature lover that I am, pretty irresistible.  I adore nature, revering it in all its forms.  It never fails to be an endless source of wonder and fascination for me, as it has my whole life long.  I often incorporate elements of the natural in my artwork as a matter of course anyway -- so why should it have been any sort of challenge coming up with my entry concept this month?  I guess because as a theme it may have been a little TOO broad perhaps....?   Too many ideas, crowding my thoughts and conflicting with each other.  And so I turned to my two trusty inspirational defaults so handy in such situations:  Music, and Literature.  Music trumped this month, when the vintage Beatles tune "Mother Nature's Son" popped into my head (my older siblings played the heck out of the 'White Album' in my early years, spinning it as they did via the one family stereo system we all shared in our living room -- the result of which being those songs forever etched into my brain, lol)....

The following is my auction description:

"...Mother Nature's Son..."

   My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFC) (~the theme for November being 'Nature') is an original acrylic painting on vellum mounted permanently onto a thin, 5"x10.5" section of old, found wood.  'Mother Nature's Son' is signed on the front, and ready to hang...


The art I make often incorporates natural subject matter, so it might be 'natural' to assume my entry for this month's contest, with its 'Nature' theme,  was a no-brainer.  It's wasn't, but only because of my fetish of always trying to capture personal meaning in whatever I decide to tackle.  It really must speak to me.  This month was no exception, as I found myself turning to music for my inspiration -- when an old Beatles song popped into my head as I ruminated upon "Nature".   I well remember my older brothers and sister playing the Beatles' "White Album" around the house as I was growing up.  I so loved the song, "Mother Nature's Son", with its simple lyrics and sweet, understated melody (plus I  also recall my enthusiastic joining in of the "Doo doo doooooo" chorus!).  But how best to interpret this old song...?

Born a poor young country boy,
Mother Nature's son.
All day long I'm sitting singing songs for everyone.

Sit beside a mountain stream.  See her waters rise.
Listen to the pretty sound of music
as she flies.

Find me in my field of grass,
Mother Nature's son.
Swaying daisies sing a lazy song beneath the sun,

Mother Nature's son....


I finally decided to paint my very own version of a Mother Nature's Son, a true product of his environment, soaking up the sun and fresh air as he entertains an audience of assorted wild critters (noting of course that I *had* to include a Blackbird in the assemble -- a nod to yet another  favorite tune off the same album). 


To see ALL the great 'Fantasy'-themed Nibblefest Art Contest entries this month
(with each starting at just .99 cents!),
click here....


Sunday, October 21, 2012

My October '12 Nibblefest Entry: "Titania and Bottom".....

"Titania and Bottom" (8 x 10), as inspired by Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'......

With a theme like 'Fantasy', how could I resist?  It had to be Shakespeare.  HAD to be (because anyone reading this who knows me, knows how MUCH I adore my literary influences....!).  And so I painted a tribute portrait inspired by what must surely be one of literature's most (in)famous and entertaining of odd couples, the lovely and proud Titania, Queen of the Fairies..., and Bottom, the hapless mortal wage-slave caught between the cross-fire of the magical forest folks' tricksy antics.

I really enjoyed painting this one, once I got my act together and firmly decided exactly which direction I was going in.  And for once it's painted on a regular gallery-wrapped canvas (8 x 10) that I've been hoarding forever -- as opposed to my usual reclaimed wood or second hand frame finds (since I am still practicing my personal moratorium against purchasing unnecessary new art supplies)....

Love At First Sight.  Bottoms Up!

The following is my auction description:

My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC) (~the theme for October being 'Fantasy') is an original acrylic painting on an 8 x 10 gallery wrapped canvas, featuring a tribute portrait of the characters 'Titania' and 'Bottom' from the classic Shakespeare comedy, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream".  'Titania and Bottom' is signed on the front, with painted sides so it's ready to hang with no framing necessary.....

"Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

~As quoted by Puck, in Will Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

I adore the Bard and often find myself looking toward his works for inspiration, therefore I saw this month's theme as the perfect excuse to indulge my Shakespeare fetish.  His comedy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", is for me ultimate Fantasy -- set in a mysterious woods at night, complete with fairy spirits and forest sprites, it is a hilarious tale of madcap mix-ups, miscalculations and mischievous mayhem.   One example is when the sweetly foolish character named "Bottom", a laborer from the nearby town, has the misfortune of having his head magically turned into that of a donkey's, thanks to the sprite, Puck, after Puck surreptitiously overhears Bottom pontificating pompously to a group of friends.  Another example is when the Fairy King, 'Oberon', seeking revenge after quarreling with his Queen, 'Titania', applies magical drops to her eyes while she sleeps, casting a spell on her.  The first living thing she is to lay her eyes on upon waking will become her romantic obsession.  And who it is that the proud and beautiful Fairy Queen's eye first spies...?  The hapless, donkey-headed "Bottom" but of course!   So now Titania has fallen hopelessly head-over-heels in love with the buffoon, Bottom, while much hilarity ensues....


To see ALL the great 'Fantasy'-themed Nibblefest Art Contest entries this month
(and each starting at just .99 cents!),
click here....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nibblefest Art Contest: October's Theme: 'FANTASY'....

"Harvest Moon", by Art of Patience

“I like nonsense,  it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” 

~Dr. Seuss 

For fun, just sharing here the link to a post I guest wrote for the Nibblefest Art Contest blog, introducing this month's "Fantasy" theme:

(Hard to believe Nibblefest already starts in less than two weeks...!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My September Nibblefest Art Contest Entry: "The Cheshire Cat"

"The Cheshire Cat", a painted 8" x 9" oval wood plaque......

It's Nibblefest Art Contest Week....!    And as per each and every month, it began on the 20th, with the theme this month being 'Cats'....

(Click to see my 'Cheshire Cat' auction link)

I'd been anticipating this particular theme for a while now.  Though sadly, not because I can call myself a Cat Lover.  Or at least to say, not a practicing one.  On the contrary, I grew up with cats in the house, having always adored my pet felines.  Yet despite being raised with cats, I suffered an adult-onset allergy to them by my early 20's, when I realized I'd mysteriously become highly allergic to my own kitty.  Tragedy!  At the time it felt like a cruel joke indeed.  Still, what could I do but accept it?   Consequently I've spent the many long years since fastidiously avoiding their company, like the PLAGUE, lest I suffer (and badly!)......

The closest to a cat I can ever get...!

No, the real reason I was looking forward to this month's 'Cat' theme, is because I've been hoarding this unusual, 2-piece, cat-shaped wooden plaque for several years now.  Regular readers will recall that these days I use almost exclusively as my painting canvases the old wooden  frames, plaques and such like that I find in second hand shops, or rummage sales, etc (as written about here, and also here).  Years ago, I picked up this particular plaque at the tail-end (pun!) of a community garage sale.  I recall at the time almost leaving it behind myself, because standing there inspecting it, painted as it was in an extremely simplistic, amateur manner, in pastel hues no less, I just couldn't wrap my head around how I would ever go about using it for my own purposes.  Dated in appearance and not my style at all, for once my imagination was not over-riding my doubts.  But heck, free for the taking because the sale was over, and being unable to ever pass up a deal, I schlepped it home with me anyway (only to have it sit around here for an age, gathering dust (which I am ALSO allergic to -- fun times!)....).

And so it was a light bulb moment when I realized the 'Cat' Nibblefest theme was soon coming  and I had the perfect (purr-fect?) excuse to dig out and dust off my funny little, second-hand, cat-shaped plaque.....:

Side View showing off his 2-pieces, for a sort of 3-D effect (which I enhanced with painted sides)....

So now I had my painting support -- all good.  But what kind of cat to paint....?  Happily it didn't take long for the ever-grinning 'Cheshire Cat', from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', to come to mind.  Of course my followers will know I *love* my classic literary inspirations -- besides, I've always wanted to do an Alice-themed piece, and here was my chance!

Another View to the Side.....

My auction description as follows:

"The Cheshire Cat"  

My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC) (~the theme for September being 'Cats', is an original acrylic painting on a 2-piece, 8 x 9 wooden cat-shaped plaque (with the separate 'cat head' glued firmly in place).  'Cheshire Cat' is signed on the front, has painted sides, and is ready to hang.


"....I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat,  "We're all mad here.  I'm mad.  You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" asked Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here...."

...So says the infamous and much beloved character, The Cheshire Cat, via what must be one of his best known quotes from the treasured classic, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".   The Cheshire Cat, known for his mischievousness, often vexes Alice with his confusing conversation.  He both entertains and befuddles her, all while continuously flashing his highly distinctive, "ear-to-ear" smile.  Who can resist that tricksy, unnerving little grin....? :-D


(And finally, my usual little blurb about my use of old frames and plaques:

I have recently begun painting almost exclusively on supports I create myself utilizing the old, salvaged, wooden picture frames and plaques that cross my path from time to time (usually for free). I feel good about giving these unwanted homeless items a second life, not only because trees were cut down at some point to produce them, but also because by the time I get my hands on them they are usually destined for the landfil....)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Few Random Fall Updates....

"...Summer's over.  Now it's Fall. 
Just the nicest time of all..."

"Now It's Fall", by Lois Lenski, published in 1948

....or so read the first line in one of my favorite childhood tomes.  Did anyone else have this vintage classic lying around their house growing up?  I so adored it, pouring over the simple/sweet illustrations while reading it over and over -- so that even today, all these years later, I can still recite the thing pretty much verbatim.  Well in any case, it indeed IS Fall.  Shorter days and cooler temps can mean but one thing around here -- Midwestern autumn color is soon to bloom.  May it be good and showy this year. Plus, don't know about you, but I myself am looking very much forward to the imminent appearance of pumpkin-flavored Everything (yummm)....

In other news, my private, youth art classes have started up again this fall.   I do so enjoy working with children -- such a pleasure.  Here are two of my students experimenting with Still Life painting...:

I set up a vase of roses for each...

Working out their compositions...

Acrylic paint on stretched canvas....

This was after a couple of sessions.  Aren't they coming along beautifully...?

Now for some randomness...... 

Rock talk:  I was recently lucky enough to stumble across this pebble below.  Long time readers will understand how thrilled I always am to find special wee 'Rock People' (click to see Rock People gallery here) -- that is to say, little faces and characters in the bumps, cracks and crevices within a rock's natural shape.  Can you not spy the obvious profile in this one, along the left side...?  (with an eye, nose, mouth and nice strong chin?)

A Face in the Rock:  His Left Side....

And his Right Side (again, an Eye, Nose, Lips and Chin.  He's Perfect!

I was thinking at first that he looked like another "Man in the Moon" (much like this little fellow) -- but just today, when taking these pics, I realized there is also an 'Abraham Lincoln' thing possibly going on here, of all things.  Hmmm, an Abraham Lincoln painted rock -- now that would be a challenge....!


One last tidbit for now.  I want to share with you a fabulous little surprise gift I received from a friend when we recently met for coffee.  She said she had a little something to give to me, but I couldn't imagine what it might be.  How I laughed when I unwrapped this little gem...!

Mini Statue of Liberty, in all her glory...!

Again, long time readers reading this will recall my epic project from a few years ago, back when I was commissioned to create a ten-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty, in papier mache, to be shipped 2,000 miles across the country....: 

For comparison purposes, here is my ten-foot Lady, once she was all finished)

While I welcomed the challenge of the Project (having blogged all about it here), and it was fun, I have to admit it was still intense at times, such that by the time she was finished and out the door, it did take some months before I could stand to see Statue of Liberty references and not freak out, if only a little, heh (shudders).  Because I promise you, once you become hypersensitive to the Statue of Liberty's image...?  She's popping up everywhere.  Via commercials.  Movies.  Magazines. Books. Videos.  Ads for the most random stuff imaginable (I swear she's used to sell anything and everything) -- it's clearly not called 'iconic' for nothing.  But while I once had to practically shield my eyes, lol..., the fact that I absolutely adore my Lilliputian Lady must mean I'm in full recovery...!

She really is wee, but nice and heavy for her size (given that she also happens to be a handy-dandy pencil sharpener) ...

It would have been fun to have taken a pic of my two Liberties together, for size reference.  Guesstimating, I figure the Mini might be about the length of my 10-footer's nose...?

As for the Real Deal...?  Gosh I dunno, maybe an eyelash...? 

The real Lady Liberty in her harbor home, in a photo I took from our speeding car on a trip through New York several years ago.  How excited I was to spy her!  (this was well before I had any inkling of The Project, mind)....

And lastly, here I am introducing Little Lady to my pet cockatiel 
(he's not so sure he cares for her very much):

"Hey, what is that thing...?!?"

Also let us not forget that the Nibblefest Art Contest starts in less than two days (on the 20th).  The theme for September is 'Cats' (read about it here) -- here's hoping you'll join us then for a look/see of all the great Cat entries (starting at just .99 cents!).   Note that I've been working on my entry -- check back soon for updates....

Happy Autumn, all (well, all those in the Northern Hemisphere that is)....!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Nibblefest Update: "Tom's Diner" Ties for First Place...!

NIbblefest Art Contest First Place Award

I was surprised and excited to discover my August Nibblefest Art Contest entry, "Tom's Diner", tied for First Place this month -- what a hoot....!  (Very happy to share the title with the lovely artist, Christine Striemer, AKA CES, who had a truly stunning 'Coffee' themed entry this month).   Thanks so much, Nibblefest....!

In all, I really enjoyed all the 'competition' this go round -- so many nice interpretations on the 'Coffee' theme upon which folks obviously puts lots of time, thought and effort into.  Now that it's over, here's looking forward to the next round of Nibblefest, in September, when the theme is to be 'Cats'.  Well, with a theme such as that, which must surely be one of the most popular subject matters around EVER, I'm hoping for lots of participation in the Contest next month.  I myself am already mulling over some 'Cat' inspired concepts -- which is almost unheard of for me, being the  procrastination Queen that I am, and here we're at least a three full weeks out from the next NFAC, heh.  But a theme like 'Cats' easily conjures up bevvy of ideas -- in any case we'll see how it goes.  (And lastly, a note for anyone reading this who might have a 'Cat'-themed piece he or she has been sitting on....consider throwing your hat in the Nibblefest ring in September -- it's fun (AND addicting)....!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Nibblefest Art Contest entry, a painting entitled "Tom's Diner" -- tribute to the old Suzanne Vega song....

My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest, an original entitled "Tom's Diner".....

Confession time.  So naturally, like most people, I have any manner of personal interests/pursuits, and favored methods of keeping myself entertained.  But by far my most favorite of all relaxing distractions has got to be the age-old activity....of People Watching.  People Watching, how I adore thee....!

If it sounds creepy, I promise it's really not.  Surely I'm not alone in finding the act of sitting back and passively observing the comings and goings of random humanity around me an endless source of fascination....?  I swear I can 'people watch' for hours and never get bored.  But just what is it about it that's so personally intriguing?  I do take casual mental note of folks -- what they are doing perhaps, what they are wearing.  But not in any judgmental way.  Instead it's as with an impartially neutral clinician's eye.  I simply find People, strangers or otherwise, highly interesting creatures..... 

Perhaps I find it so entertaining because I tend to be a visually-oriented thinker, so that all this mental observation might somehow convey for me reams of pertinent information to process, consciously or otherwise.  Perhaps as an artist, drawn to featuring people in my paintings, I'm subconsciously staking out future subject matter.  Or who knows, maybe I was an anthropologist in a former life, lol  -- whatever the case, I confess I'm a relentlessly avid (but discrete!) observer of my fellow humankind....

Which brings me to this month's Nibblefest Art Contest....  As mentioned in my last post, I missed the original August 20th deadline, but was able to make up for it last night, with a 5-Day auction for an original entry entitled "Tom's Diner" (click for auction link).   So who here might be familiar with that old song by the folk-inspired singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega....?  The following is my auction description:


..."Tom's Diner".....

My entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC), (~the theme for August being 'Coffee') is an original acrylic painting on a 8.5 x 7" found wooden plaque.  "Tom's Diner' is signed on the front, and ready to hang.....

When thinking about 'Coffee' as a theme this month, one of the first things to pop into my head was the song, "Tom's Diner", by the folk-inspired singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega.  I've always been partial to the song, written as it is in sort of a 'stream of consciousness' first person narrative, about a patron hanging out alone in a city diner, sipping coffee while making mental observations of the mundane goings-on around her.  One of these is a woman outside in the rain who spies her own reflection in the window, taking advantage of it to adjust her skirt and stockings.  My entry is my attempt to capture the moment of this little scenario:

"....There's a woman on the outside
Looking inside.
Does she see me?

No she does not
really see me
'Cause she sees
her own reflection....."
(from the lyrics of 'Tom's Diner', by Suzanne Vega)


While I myself don't have time much to hang around in cafes, on those rare occasions when I do I have found them PRIME people watching locales.  I mean seriously, what a hoot!  So perhaps that's why Suzanne Vega's song, which I first heard 20 years ago or more (and can be listened to on Youtube here), has always resonated with me.....

"Tom's Diner", as inspired by the Suzanne Vega tune, "Tom's Diner".....

One more note about this particular piece.  I used for my painting support an old, wooden plaque I'd picked up recently from a second-hand store.  It has an interesting little inscription on the back of it, which will likely prove to be a bit of curiosity to whomever wins it.  The following is a photo of the back of the wood plaque, with my title and signature but also the inscription I discovered written there: 

My title/name/date on the top, with the written inscription in the middle...

An close-up shot of the written inscription (can you read it?):

Love, from Grandma and Grandpa Scharlau :-)

Isn't that sweet....?!  The plaque as I found it was painted a flat canary yellow, with what amounted to a large sticker of a cartoon dog adhered to it.  Apparently a gift to a treasured grandson in the '70's -- but still, not being original art, or heck, even a print, after some pondering I came to the conclusion it would be okay to put the plaque to alternate use.  Though I'm making certain NOT to obscure this sweet little note on the back in any way -- it will remain a part of the piece's history.....

(To see ALL the great art entries in this month's Nibblefest Art Contest, click here)....

In any case, speaking of old artwork, just to reiterate here, in my quest to re-purpose the various second-hand frames and painting supports that I stumble across from time to time, I would be loathe to ever paint over original artwork (that is, unless whatever we are talking about really is TRULY questionable) -- nothing at all like the news I heard only last night on BBC radio.  Has anyone else read about this...???  Apparently a century-old fresco in Spain that had seen extensive deterioration over the years...was the recent object of an amateur 'restoration' by a go-getting elderly parishioner, who took it upon herself to personally  'fix' the damage (click for online article).  Oyyyyyy...!

A damaged fresco (left), damaged yet even further by a well-meaning parishioner! (right)

I mean in a way one has to admire her chutzpah and 'take charge' attitude..., but Ay Carumba!  So yeah, none of that -- I know my limits!