Monday, March 2, 2009

My Friend's Art

The things we put on the walls of our house is part of what makes it home. Family photographs tell of history and continuity and artwork gives personality and familiarity to our space.

In my town we have an annual event called the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. It's a wonderful 4 days in July with hundreds of artists booths displaying all manner of art and craft as well as constant musical performances. We always check it out and have three or four prints on our walls that were purchased there.

But the art that has the most meaning for me is the work that is done by my friends. Not only is this work pleasing to the eye but comes with a story, a wave of memories of the maker and how the work was done and how it came to me.

Click to enlarge images.

Jill Powers - Cast paper has been Jill's primary medium for many years. She has work in galleries and exhibits in shows. She is a wonderful teacher and does freelance workshops and artist mentoring. I am forever grateful to Jill for the encouragement she gave me in the making my own art.
Her website:

cast paper - each 8" x 12"

Joan Blasko - raised 6 children and got her MFA later in life. She did a lot of print making - abstract natural images. She now makes beautiful hooked rug hangings. A founding member of the artist's group to which I belong.

A rainbow of X's for Dylan
A rainbow of sunshine for Robin
Each 8" x 10"

D.R. Stanley - my brother in law. David has a MFA and teaches art at a small Quaker boarding school in southeastern Ohio. He does sculpture, and painting and photography and music. He does it for fun or just because. This was done with ink and one of those cheap wide foam brushes.

"The Rookery" - ink, 15" x 24"

Bridget Oleary - Bridget gave us this as a gift before Robin's birth. As subtly as she could she made sure of what we were going to name our daughter. Then at the shower we started talking about how we might change our mind and give her Margy's last name. She must have been dying. When we opened this gift we laughed and said "All right this settles it".

woodcut, hand painted - 12" x 16"
Jerry Shue - a long time friend. Jerry is a tripod man so his work is generally carefully composed and razor sharp and always an interesting point of view. This was an old one I admired and later it showed up as a gift.

photograph - 8" x 10"

Comely Richie - my mother's cousin, a white-bearded man with a Kris Kringle smile and the ladies' favorite I understand. He made this in his eighties while living in an old folks home. They had given him a little space in the basement with a bench and band saw, poor light and low hanging water pipes. I had always admired his work - my sister has a smaller one in a blond wood. When I built my high ceilinged living room I pictured a mobile there and contacted him and gave him the wood from which this is made.
I love the idea of this artwork being infinitely variable and in fact it has probably never looked exactly the same twice. Sometimes it is perfectly lined up as if it was a board again but it's pointing at something.

mobile - walnut, 72" x 20" x ?

ink - 10" x 20"
Jean Giddings - another member of the artist's group. Jean did the art festival circuit for years with wall hung weavings. She has done a lot of multi media work and recently turned to oil painting. I love the way Jean talks about making her work with no pretense or great expectations, just matter of fact trying this or that. But she fearlessly keeps trying new things and making interesting pieces. This one is poured acrylic ink on dampened and rumpled silk tissue, ironed flat after it dries. I love its subterranean feel, like what might be beneath the artic ice.
Jack Troy - lives in nearby Huntingdon where he taught ceramics for many years at Juniata College. He is very well known in the world of wood fired ceramics having written two books and given workshops internationally. I have several of Jack's pieces- cups, and bowls and a large urn that anchors a corner of my dining room and holds the cat's food. Jack also writes wonderful poetry.
His website:

ceramic 15" x 12"
Mazette Stover - Mazette was known as the butterfly lady. She lived at the same retirement community as my folks. She would do talks with a slideshow on the life span of the Monarch. She went through a tough time losing her partner in an automobile accident and turned to art as therapy. Her work was energetic and colorful with images of dragons, butterflies, and phoenix. But this painting was my favorite and when she died and her estate was being divided up it came to me because others thought it was too sad.

acrylic painting - 18" x 18"

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