Friday, September 23, 2011

shorpy find - Cleon Throckmorton

Renowned artist Cleon "Throck" Throckmorton at work at Krazy Kat (circa 1921)

The weekend is finally here and I'm ready to rejuvenate! I trust I'll find time to escape to my tiny art studio to finish work on a few of my "art is my compass" drawings.

To jump start my creativity, I turned to one of my all-time favorite sources of inspiration: Shorpy, a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. I've blogged about my Shorpy crush here, here, here, and here.

Well, this morning I hit the jackpot! I found this incredible image of artist Cleon Throckmorton on the terrace of Krazy Kat painting a lovely lady rumored to be his wife. What's not to LOVE about this photograph?

Click on the photo above to view a high-res image and soak up all the beauty. Be sure to check out the blog's comments that tell more of the story behind "Throck" and the bohemians who frequented Krazy Kat. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the Mix Tape Lookbook is here!

The lookbook for Poppytalk Handmade's Mix Tape marketplace is here and it's a page turner! I highly recommend setting aside some time to check out all the incredible artists featured on these pages. Cheers, Mandy

Monday, September 19, 2011

winter wheat no. 1 + no. 2

Good morning!

I've added two new original acrylic paintings to my Etsy shop. Both remind me of the vivid ochres and rich caramel colors of wheat fields under the Colorado Summer skies. What added to the love affair was knowing that all those wheat stalks were once just seeds in the cold slumber of Winter.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers, Mandy

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yale database of Depression-era photographs

"Taking the Mother Road" - DUST BOWL GLIMPSES series

Today I learned something that literally gave me goosebumps! Thanks to a $50,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Yale Professor Laura Wexler and her team will "construct an innovative online archive of government-owned photographs taken during the Great Depression....with server capacity to support the 160,000 images in the archive of the United States Office of Digital Humanities." Simply extraordinary!

"The website will eventually benefit researchers, historians and students as young as middle-schoolers, Wexler said. The digital humanities widen what were previously areas of rarified scholarship, she said — rather than simply providing academics and students the raw photographs, tools such as the geographic overlay and corresponding census data kick-start engagement with the material."

As you know, this subject is near and dear to my heart. I spent the past year researching and working on my new Dust Bowl Glimpses paintings, scouring library shelves, Web sites, and more. My daughters joined me on this journey, and to think they will have access to an even-richer historical experience brings me great joy--I cannot wait.

For more on the Yale project, please follow this link to Eliza Brooke's story in today's Yale Daily News, Government Photos Take New Form Online .

Monday, September 12, 2011

poppytalk handmade Mix Tape + new oil paintings

Good morning!

I'm thrilled to be a participating artist in Poppytalk Handmade's Mix Tape curated marketplace that starts today. Poppytalk co-founders, Jan and Earl, quip, "Mix Tape is a compilation of all things handmade (and vintage). Like a mix tape of your favourite music, this is a mix tape of our favourite handmade goods." I'm honored to be included in this group of talented artists and collectors.

At my table you'll see original paintings and limited edition giclée prints from my DUST BOWL GLIMPSES series....and....NEW oil paintings on handcrafted eco-canvases (see below). They are a bit unconventional in that they are made from salvaged Mexican Chechen hardwood and eco-friendly textiles.

"Spring Snow, Melting" is an original oil painting of the tranquility following a surprise Spring snowstorm on the Colorado prairies. Having once lived there, I could always count on the warmth and light of the sun to restore harmony.

"Spring Snow, Melting" - original oil painting

Following traditional oil painting techniques, I sized, stretched, and gesso(ed) my organic fabric using museum-quality materials. I then used archival adhesive to adhere the fabric to exotic hardwood salvaged from a local furniture maker. I intentionally frayed the edges of the fabric to create a contrasting, unexpected frame for the painting -- I'm really pleased with the outcome. Lastly, I finished the wood with 100% natural tung oil for protection.

Both oil paintings weigh about a pound and can stand upright on any surface for easy displaying on a mantel, book shelf, or table -- I do hope you like -- thanks for looking!

"Midday Wheat" is an original oil painting that reminds me of the spectacular panoramic views of the Colorado wheat fields at midday...when the sun is high and the clouds lazily cross the sky.

"Midday Wheat" -- original oil painting

Saturday, September 3, 2011

faded clover - the sixth story

She never knew the likes of a store-bought dress. Neither did her three older sisters. Each migrant daughter wore clothes hand sewn by their mother, often times made from grain sacks. Her favorite was this clover-patterned number.

My mom's mom, Viola Davis, was born in 1926 in Hoxie, Kansas. Grandma was one of five children growing up in a small town on the northeastern plains Kansas during the Great Depression. She, like her siblings and so many children of that time, wore clothes beautifully hand sewn from flour and grain sacks--the inspiration for my painting.

Mom tells me how much my grandma adored the flour sack dresses her mom made. The clover-patterned number in my painting was a pattern I fell in love with during my research on the history of flour sack dresses. I like to believe that my grandma would approve of this painting.

Here is a photograph of my grandma, Viola Davis, in the early 1930s alongside two schoolmates. She is wearing one of the flour-sack dresses her mom made. I think she looks absolutely beautiful!

My grandma, Viola Davis, and schoolmates in the early 1930s - Hoxie, KS

Thank you for allowing me to share stories about my Dust Bowl Glimpses paintings. Working on this collection has truly been a labor of love.

Cheers, Mandy

Friday, September 2, 2011

ruthie's red -- the fifth story

The colors of young Ruthie Joad’s world ranged from faded denims and soiled flesh to endless hues of brown. But that all changed when the rains finally came. The landscape was now littered with lush greens and vivid wildflowers. Ruthie grew particularly fond of red geraniums. They were now known as "Ruthie’s Red".

The moment I read how Ruthie Joad from The Grapes of Wrath stuck a petal from a "scraggly geranium gone wild" to her forehead because it resembled a heart, I knew I had to try and capture her euphoria on canvas. To me, this moment was not just a reprieve but also an escape to absolute normalcy for a child her age.

"Ruthie's Red" - 8"x8" acrylic on cradled wood panel

Tomorrow I will share a story of "Faded Clover", my sixth and final painting in my Dust Bowl Glimpses series. In case you missed them, here are stories one, two, three, and four. As always, thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mandy

Thursday, September 1, 2011

fryin' pone -- the fourth story

This morning brought a welcome respite. The family awoke to the clattering of pans and the comforting aroma of ma’s homemade corn pone. Were they still dreaming, they wondered. Yesterday the men earned nearly a dollar pickin’ so ma could splurge on cornmeal and bacon at the camp store. Fryin’ pone made her feel decent again.

"Fyin' Pone" -- 8"x8" acrylic on cradled wood panel

Packing up and leaving everything you know must have been petrifying for so many families on the road, especially the parents. Just imagine the strength it took to for mothers to carry on as if everything was going to be fine when in fact the future was uncertain. Thankfully there were moments where life resembled a time before the dust storms came. Moments like this where a mother could provide for her family. A moment when she could feel useful once again.

Thank you for following along as I share stories of my Dust Bowl Glimpses paintings. Here are links to stories one, two, and three of six.

And, before I forget, I wanted to make special mention of the stunning frame pictured with my giclées. It is beautifully handcrafted from olde growth pine by Margaux + Walter Kent of Peg+Awl. I couldn't imagine a more perfect pairing.

Cheers, Mandy