Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anchored in the Past - 03

This photo shows us leaving my grandparents' home in Moosup,
Connecticut.  My grandmother and my uncle, who was driving
us to the airport, are in the picture with me, my Mom, and my
sister, Lynn, whose head shows just behind me.  (This is also the
photograph from which I "extracted" myself to put me on the
ship next to Ed.  See last post)

I started my traveling life at an early age. Around the time Ed was visiting the Ile de France in New York, I was, at the age of four, preparing for my first Atlantic crossing! What that means is - I was probably picking out my favorite stuffed toys to take with me when we moved to England. My Dad made his career in the U.S. Air Force, and in 1951 he was transferred from Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to an American base in England. His squadron was sent ahead, with spouses and children following later, traveling by military plane.

Once in England, our family lived off-base in a nearby town. I attended kindergarten and first grade at a local Catholic school. Our school uniforms included a necktie, which I learned to tie on my own - one of those inconsequential skills that you pick up and then never have reason to use again. A young boy and I traveled to school together on a bright-red, double-decker bus.

Heading off to school, first grade (September 1953)

After 2-1/2 years in England, we learned that my grandfather was very ill, and we were flown home to the States. While my Dad returned to England to complete his tour of duty, Mom, Lynn and I again settled into my grandparents' home in Moosup. Lynn and I went to the Catholic school in town. After England, Dad was reassigned to Westover AFB. He lived there during the week, commuting home to Moosup on weekends.
Two more photos from our time in England:

Enjoying the water


Dressed for Christmas

Friday, September 23, 2011

Anchored in the Past - 02

Ed on the deck of the Ile de France, January 1952

One day I was looking through old photo albums from Ed's family, and was taken aback to find a photo of a young Ed standing on what looked like the deck of a ship. He was alone in one photo and standing with his mother in a second picture. What really blew my mind was the caption for the photos that said that they were celebrating Ed's 7th birthday (January 1952) and that they were standing on the deck of the Ile de France. This was the actual ship pictured on the postcard that had so terrified me in my youth. How could this be? Ed had never told me he'd been on the Ile de France, and I could only assume that he'd forgotten.

When Ed got home, I showed him the pictures.  You don't know Ed, but it's pretty accurate to say that not much fazes him.  He responded with something like, "So?"  He then explained that, back in the 1950's, steamships were making regular runs between New York City and Europe, and people could go aboard and visit a ship while it was in port.  I asked him if he'd forgotten that the ship he had visited was the Ile de France.  No, he hadn't forgotten.  Then how was it, knowing that this ship was one of my childhood terrors, he had never mentioned that he'd been aboard the Ile de France?  Ed replied that he really didn't see any connection between the two things....

A large lifeboat is visible behind Grace and Ed

When Ed was growing up on Long Island, his family would occasionally drive into the city to see which ships were in port.  Schedules for these transatlantic travelers were listed in the local newspaper.  Sometimes his family would go to Jones Beach, on the south shore of Long Island, and watch the parade of steamships as they left the port of New York City to head for Europe.  I found it hard to believe that while I was growing up in Connecticut with my fear of ships, Ed was not that many miles south of me, living in a place where these ships were considered a normal part of everyday life.

Okay, so I had a little fun in Photoshop.  Ed still gets that same look on his face! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anchored in the Past - 01

A Google image search for "Ile de France, ship, postcard"
yielded the picture I remember from my childhood.

One of my earliest memories is of the nightmare that haunted my childhood. In the dream I would be out in the middle of the ocean on a very dark night.  There would be the towering black bow of an overwhelmingly huge ship bearing down on me, white waves frothing around the hull. I would wake up screaming and my mother would come in to comfort me.

I know the dream was in my earliest years because when I was seven years old, my maternal grandmother went on a pilgrimage to Europe and traveled by ocean liner. When she returned, she gave me all the postcards that she had collected on her trip. Among them was a black and white postcard of one of the ocean liners she had traveled on. The picture was an aerial view of the Ile de France set against the ocean. I don't remember much that filled me with more terror than that picture. Being a child, I didn't realize that I could have thrown away the postcard and no one would have noticed. Instead, I kept it hidden so that I wouldn't come on it by accident.

Being terrified of pictures of ships turned out to be a life-long problem. One semester in college, I worked shelving books in the university library. The floor where I worked included the magazine section, and I would go around to the study tables to collect all the books and magazines before I shelved them. I was normally cautious, but this one day I picked up a magazine that was laying face down on a table.  I turned it over to read the title. The cover picture was a photograph of a large ship, and before I had a chance to think of what I was doing, I had thrown the magazine across the room.

I realized that this was a strange phobia and for many years kept it a secret. I never told my family or friends, or even the fellow I dated for three years in college. I felt that people would find this so hard to believe that they would show me pictures of ships just to see my reaction. Then, while working at my first job after college, I met Ed, my future husband, and on our second date I told him my story of the nightmare and the pictures of ships.

I now wonder why, after twenty-one years of silence, I told my secret to a man I hardly knew.  Or why I married this man who would eventually not only get the idea of living on a sailboat, but would be one of those relatively rare people capable of handling all the physical, emotional, and financial obstacles that keep most armchair sailors on land.  Someone who would actually take me sailing across oceans - and to the time and place where my nightmare would become reality.  Years later, looking back with hindsight, I would joke that I should have married an accountant in Kansas.  Still, at the time, a physicist in Michigan had seemed safe enough.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anchored in the Past

This is an art card (2.5"x3.5") that I purchased online.
"Ship At Night" ACEO by - Nov. 2010

One of my earliest memories is of the nightmare that haunted my childhood. In the dream I would be out in the middle of the ocean on a very dark night.  There would be the towering black bow of an overwhelmingly huge ship bearing down on me, white waves frothing around the hull.  I would wake up screaming and my mother would come in to comfort me.  

That's the first paragraph of the book I'm writing.  I'm calling it Anchored in the Past for a couple of reasons.  1)  We lived on a sailboat and we anchored the boat in many different bays and harbors.  2)  I've never quite gotten past the nightmare I describe, and the effect it's had on my life. 

I have newsletters from the 14 years we lived on Tropic Moon, slides from our travels, and lots of art that relates to that time.  I want to happily merge it all into a book, and use it to inspire other art as I go along with the writing and editing.

Would you like to sail along with me?  Be pleased to have you aboard!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Leap of Faith - on Canvas

I've been working on pieces mounted on canvas and Leap of Faith is one of them.  I described how I designed the original image in my post:  Saturday's Source:  Leap of Faith.  This time, I printed out the image on fabric and then made a mini-quilt with it.  I did the quilting on my new sewing machine, a Pfaff.

This is Princess.  No, that's not the model - it's what I named her.  I still have my old sewing machine that I've had since 1978, and it's a Viking.  So the two machines are known as the Viking and the Princess.

I was trying out one of Princess's fancy stitches around the edge of the quilt.  Once the quilting was done, I used glue to mount the mini-quilt onto an 8"x10" canvas.

I painted the edges of the canvas with black acrylic paint.  After the quilt was mounted, I coated it with Mod Podge (like white glue) to give it a protective finish.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Question of Memory

Me, St. Maarten

I can't remember.
Remember what?

Did I forget something?
How can I know if I forgot something?

Will anyone notice?
Does it matter anyway?

I can look it up!
What was it I wanted to look up?

It's a question of memory.
But what was the question?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Puzzled Pets

I'm pleased to introduce you to my Puzzled Parrot!  I had put together a jigsaw puzzle featuring tropical birds, and particularly liked this parrot.  I also had an 8"x10" canvas that I'd painted with acrylic paints.  The image was flowers, and though I'd worked on it several times, I wasn't totally happy with the painting.  So I got the idea to take the parrot from the jigsaw puzzle and mount it on my painted canvas.

This is what the whole canvas looks like.  This project was enough fun that I headed for the Salvation Army thrift store to look for more jigsaw puzzles.  And that's where I found Jake....

Isn't he a beautiful dog?  After I did the jigsaw puzzle, I painted on a 12"x16" canvas, and mounted Jake.  The next picture shows it from an angle so that you can see the canvas better, and how much of it is covered with the puzzle pieces.

A third small jigsaw puzzle contained a couple of horses.  Since I've been asked to do some art with horses, I decided to use these horses on an 8"x10" canvas.  I used two pieces of fabric for the background.  I also glued on a couple stray puzzle pieces to provide more balance on the canvas.

This is the straight-on view.

An angled view that shows the puzzle pieces.

And, lastly, a closeup. 
I'll be keeping an eye out for more interesting jigsaw puzzles!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beaufort, North Carolina

Seagrass is a gift shop on Front Street in Beaufort.  A selection of my notecards are for sale in this shop.  The owner was interested in local photos, and I provided plenty from Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, but had only one from Beaufort.  Since that's the location of the shop, the owner asked me if I would do some notecards with Beaufort scenes. 

I spent a morning in Beaufort before Hurricane Irene came through, and took about 200 photos.  These are ten of my favorites.  This first one is kind of obvious - Clawson's Restaurant!

The Crystal Coast Lady - a local tour boat.  I played with the photos in Photoshop. 

Another shot of shops on Front Street.

The General Store - marvelous stop for ice cream!

Colorful kayaks.  That's the Crystal Coast Lady in the background.

One of the power boats moored at the town dock.  There weren't very many boats in the marina, what with Irene being on her way.

Some permanent residents at the town dock.

A wind vane at the top of a building called the Carteret Academy.

And, lastly, some yard decor that caught my eye.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Introducing The Chart

When I retired 2-1/2 years ago, I expected to spend the majority of my time doing artwork.  Actually, I had anticipated being absorbed for hours every day painting.  It didn't happen.  The problem, as I see it now, was that there were so many types of art I was interested in doing, so many supplies I owned, so many books with hundreds of ideas in them, that I was simply on overload every time I tried to decide what I was going to work on.  Though I never did get into the painting, I did start doing more art, and it mostly centered on photography and Photoshop, and developing work for my two Etsy shops. 
This past July I heard about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI), and that got me back into fiber art.  To participate in the AAQI, a person makes small art quilts to donate.  The AAQI sells or raffles off these mini-quilts (the largest they can be is 9"x12") and raises money for help fund Alzheimer's research.  The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has raised more than $576,000 for Alzheimer's research since January 2006!  Since I was into making art quilts for several years, this was a good fit for me.  So far, I've done eight of these small quilts.
Despite being involved in different art projects, I still felt "scattered" in what I was doing.  Then mid-July I woke up one morning with an idea for The Chart on my mind.  The idea was to list the different things I was interested in doing, and do at least five of them each month.  I would print out pictures of the final products, and glue the pictures to The Chart.  I was also trying to jumpstart my blogging (yet again...) and chose BLOG for one of the entries, anticipating doing 25 blog posts/month, and putting 5 hash marks in each of the five squares on that line.  July, I had 18 hash marks for blog posts.  August I had four.  What this said to me (yet again...) is that I really don't like to putting out the effort involved in blogging.  I considered eliminating BLOG from my chart.  Then new inspiration struck, and I realized I could do five blog posts per month - and put a picture from each post in the square on The Chart.  I knew, for sure, that I could manage five blog posts in a month, especially if it meant I could glue more pictures on my chart. 

One line on The Chart says "QUILT" and these are picture of the mini-quilts that I've made for AAQI.  Another interest of mine is loaning money through KIVA to help small business folks around the globe.  KIVA got its line on The Chart, and I plan to do five new loans each month, and add a picture of each of the new loan recipients.  (Kiva's slogan is "Empower people around the world with a $25 loan.")
One line on The Chart is ACEO.  These are the small art cards I make, and to get on the chart, the ACEO must be completed and listed online in my Etsy shop, House of Cards.  Then there's the line that says CARD, and that refers to the notecards I make, and that get listed in my other Etsy shop, Paper Press.
That leaves CLAY, which is making projects with polymer clay - something I love, but seldom get around to doing.  CANVAS - that's painting or clay or fiber art, or really anything that then gets mounted on a canvas.  There was one canvas in July and three in August, and, actually, it was being able to post pictures on The Chart that helped motivate me into doing them!  (You know - it was like gold stars when you were a kid.)  Three of the four canvases are 8"x10" and the fourth is somewhat bigger. 
One more category - BOOK.  This is the book I'm writing/intending to write, about our years of living on a sailboat.  In July I managed "Introduction."  I actually have a lot more written, and have scanned lots of slides, but it can only make it onto The Chart if it is a completed chapter.  At first it was going to be the title of the chapter, but now - if/when I complete other chapters - I'll post an image from the chapter, rather than the chapter title.  This means that all the squares could potentially be filled with pictures. 
Now, I can only wonder how September will go....

Stay tuned.