Posts Tagged ‘Le Artiste Boots’

Meaning of Friend

It is different to define friend from friendship. My friend would tell me to speak for myself. But, now that I am losing my friend, I speak for the two of us.

We met at an Intercollegiate Student YM-YW summer project. About thirty of us lived in the Hartford Seminary and worked in industry. We worked in different departmets of the Underwood Typewriter Factory. I had been active on campus (Spelman College), had attended regional conferences (my train was the only one going that way!), and had urged three others to attend.

Along the way, I had gained the name Boots. Whit came from an idyllic small town in MA with a waterfall in the yard, a river across the street and private school. She is two years older and had been a Danny Grad (Danforth Fellowship) and worked for the YWCA. Our friendship started with her pulling covers off each morning to get me out to the job. At night the group shared meals, high-jinks and serious seminars about labor.

Her giving nature recommended me for a Danny which had no diversity at that time. The president of my college was the main reference and she declined to support me. She had no knowledge of this program and would have preferred to submit a student of her choice. This was a deep disappointment to my friend. She went to Columbia to study religion and I was the only single woman in the Howard University School of Religion.

Our lives crisscrossed over the next many years. Short visits, quick notes, punctuated lives of marriage, children and family elders. She, the more understanding of her faith, used her quiet resolve to listen and act for justice in ways I never did.

Faced with the death of my in-laws and dissolution of a long marriage, her counsel gave me the ability to shape my days into productive years. When her husband and companion of more than fifty years died, she shared with me her fears. Fortunately, the telephone rates became manageable so that we could talk everyday.. We lived apart connecting through our friendship, concern for health and safety of the other.

There was more. I learned from her to ask myself: what were the skills you used to get through all the bad times in your life? That was like a splash of cold water in the face. She learned from me to use a computer to publish her writings, to be more confident in her art. She had always known about my life and I learned how parallel lives can be.

We both aged as gracefully as possible. Our daughters – and my sons – began to be more parent as we tried to maintain a standard of independence. She tried her best to get me to plan for the unknown future.

Last Tuesday, I had surgery and her every thought and prayer was for my health. I learned she did this for me even though, that same day, she suuddenly was nearing her own death. I protest but cannot, will not, lose my friend of over 64 years.

Please see Changes, a post in
December 2011


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Early Chinese hemp fiber paper, used for wrapp...

Early Chinese hemp fiber paper, used for wrapping not writing, on display at the Shaanxi history museum in Xi’An, China. Excavated from the Han Tomb of Wu Di (140-87 BC) at Baqiao, Xi’An. Photo by Yannick Trottier, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wrapping paper …not as much as in the past

Boxes…smaller but many

Brown paper, crushed…new item, used as packing material instead of peanuts. See suggestions below.

Plastic…bags used for clothes, electronics

Turkey carcass…meat for leftovers in fridge

Best glassware, dishes…includes pots and pans needing special care

Tree (if you had one)…We had a miniature, live tree with tiny flashing lights. It will be spared to live another day!)

To Do List

Register new electronics
Learn their mechanics
Write or email or phone thank you’s
Get the tree needles out of the rug, as needed
Put away the best dishes until next occasion
Make turkey soup or hash

Suggestions for crushed brown paper

Where there are children,have them smooth paper. An iron on low heat can be used. Work in an area easy to clean or over some type of protection.

Almost any art material which can be rubbed, brushed, spattered, poured etc. can be worked across the paper. Light pressure will leave the creases untouched. More pressure or liquid will run into the lines, resulting in a definite pattern.

Who knew?
Materials like charcoal and pastel can be wiped off or erased using a knead eraser. Stamping with objects or carved stamps (use potatoes etc.). If you accent the creases, a stained glass effect will result.

Not all art has to be rectangular or square. Try tearing a shape with uneven edges. Many new works today are enhanced with glitter, metallic colors, embedded objects etc. The more the merrier.
If powdery materials are use, spray lightly with a fixative. These pieces can be pasted to a cardboard or any more rigid surface.

Not only children can recycle in this way. The late artist, John Richardson, often used brown paper for his pastel drawings. He did not care if those studies did not last 100 years. The colors were beautiful on that rich brown background and reasonable to purchase.

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Follow up on drawing                            Art in Space
I once offered to pay a professor to teach me one song that I could play any time I saw a piano. No scales. No finger exercises.  Just a pleasant tune to amuse myself. I knew I was not concert material.

Needless to say she did not keep her bargain. I did not pursue it. This is similar to many who feel they cannot draw.

Do you feel that you must draw before pursuing any other art form, such as painting?

Are you familiar with the many variations of style in every art form?

If you are satisfied that you cannot draw to your own satisfaction, that is OK!  Do you want to know more, as I did, just to please yourself? Then go for it. Keep finding challenges as your experience opens to new vistas. I found I liked pushing myself to know more about the work of an artist just from an introduction to oil painting.

Who knew?

There are many opportunities for guidance online, community groups and classes, even  private lessons with an artist whose work you like. Don’t struggle. Feel free to try other options.

The link below has a long list of lessons that are free. (I did not read them to be sure my writing is from my own experience.) See if you get some ideas you want to try. Then START!

Link to classes:


For more about drawing and painting techniques, follow: Blog University

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Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday Celebration

My gift to each of you and your friends is my way of celebrating this wonderful life of mine.

You can

1. Select from any of my artwork on the website. No limits.


Amsterdam acrylics on canvas









The website:


(also on my Facebook page.)

2. Place your order. The CODE is BSSNNX

You will find a 20% discount (from my part of the sale) on any orders you place from October 20 (the BIG day) through November 10, 2012. I do not handle the math, thankfully, but it will be a savings.

The holidays are coming fast. You can get your name and or a message printed inside cards or select from the prints offered. I see that many of you are familiar with  the high quality and the service my company offers.

3. Not satisfied? They will let you return the artwork in a reasonable time.

Who knew?

Sorry, cannot send each of you a slice of cake. But this is the next best thing.


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Nella Larsen in 1928

Nella Larsen in 1928 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for Nella

Nella Larsen, a biography by Thadious Davis, is worth reading and rereading. Which I have been doing. Years ago I received a call identifying someone collecting my paintings. She has become a dear friend who introduced me to the fascinating life and times of author, Nella Larsen.

Davis’ has written a well-researched book introducing an important woman author, who has not been well-known.

Nella Larsen was self-invented, mysterious and faded from her own history by choice.

Her journey from a family of mixed race living in Chicago, to Fisk in Nashville, and Harlem gave her the stories to write about. These are also places I have lived.

She had a few detours in Europe while my detours were here in the States.

Is the value of biography to get understanding where people’s lives intersect? This life study is important for many reasons. Davis uses her careful research to explain the construction of Larsen’s novels. It is instructive for anyone working in that format. Nella was so well read that she was able to incorporate themes from wide-ranging topics,authors and historical myths.

While she had only 2 novels and short stories published, their merits were acknowledged in her lifetime.

A second reason to read this book is the history of The New Negro Writers leading to the period called The Harlem Renaissance. The other reason is that her life, writings and the times deal with the African-American struggle for racial and family identity.

Davis shares her sources throughout with footnotes. The ‘characters’ and places are real. My readings can often tell about people and places I know. Tucked away in the texts are these surprises, finding old friends and favorite places. Larsen’s personal struggles echo those of many women. Women of any race or time deal with integrating their own needs and desires when limited by culture and personal choices.

Larsen was part of the second generation past the Civil War. When the soldiers returned from Europe in World War I, a strong air of racial pride followed. Davis mentions this event, followed by the Red Summer of 1919 as motivations for African-Americans to find expression through the arts. She also explains why these artists were accepted and promoted for a decade or more.

Who knew?

I did not know about Dr. and Mrs. Larsen Imes until I read this book. I recently retraced Nella Larsen Imes. She returned to Nashville as the wife of a brilliant, highly educated scientist and lived in a home built for them.

(See post with photos. Looking for Nella 2)                                                                             There are two views of the home, still elegant,  sitting on a large lot across the street from the Fisk campus. Dr. Imes could walk across the street to his office, laboratory and classrooms. Across the street in front of their house, on the corner, is a beautiful white house, former home of Arna Bontemps. Down the street at the next corner is the home built for the James Weldon Johnsons. All of these were part of the Harlem scene of the 1920s to 1930s.) We lived in the Johnson house when we arrived in Nashville from 1978-1982.) All but the Larsen Imes home are on the historic register.

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An example of work by Wade Guyton Untitled (20...

An example of work by Wade Guyton Untitled (2008) Epson UltraChrome Inkjet prints on linen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery

Noble Sissle photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, ...

Noble Sissle photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, photographer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wade Guyton was a featured artist in this Sunday’s New York Times Arts section. His evolving as an artist who designs on the MAC computers and prints his works out on the largest inkjet printer made by Epson.

It is always fascinating to learn about art as process and innovation through the growth of the individual. Guyton hails from a small place in TN. (Lake City) and yet has quickly become an artist to watch.

Who knew?

As late as the 1980s, art associations and museums grappled with “Is photography ART?”  It was impossible to exhibit paintings and photographs in the same association. There was passion on both sides. This was long before manipulation using the computer.  The blogs today post works that are light years past that period. Shoot and print is enhanced in the cameras leaving the clarity and beauty of black and white landscapes (Ansel Adams) and portraits (Carl Van Vechten) as antiques and collectables. The resurgence of typewriters by texters may bring back an appetite for film.

The history of art defines innovators who contributed to new schools of art. Guyton’s explorations are being viewed in this category.

To read the entire article:



Carl Van  Vechten was a New York photographer who had many friends in the Harlem Renaissance. He became a friend of Fisk University through artists like Aaron Douglas and Georgia O’Keeffe. The former gymnasium, now an art museum, is named for him.

One can live in a place like New York and never know this unique history.

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First Year BloggingSeptember, 2011 – 2012

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

English: The logo of the blogging software WordPress. Deutsch: WordPress Logo 中文: WordPress Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My blogging tutor, the eldest daughter, had no idea the Pandora’s Box she opened. Reviewing the past year, I am so appreciative of her guidance and all of you who write and follow. Who knew there were so many talented and caring people online!
What has this meant to me?

1 – New personal relationships with creative thinkers worldwide. Amazing sharing keeps me coming up with fresh ideas to write about.
2 – Taking time to reflect on expanding subjects. Just reading the posts in my inbox takes my mind in important directions. My reading and research have been expanded.
3 – My contributions beyond posting includes bringing new bloggers to WordPress and artists into other groups I have joined online. I have been able to share my art with all of you.
4 – Learning is, I believe, a lifelong task. This journey has sometimes made me feel like there is too much to take in. Writing is a way to organize my thoughts. The posts are small teachable moments to share. There is still so much to learn to improve the blog.
5 – The challenge is to continue to stay involved in this growing community even when personal issues press. My followers have been caring and concerned as if we meet regularly. What a club we have joined!

Many Thanks and Welcome to Year Two.

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