Friday, May 22, 2015

postcards out

Usually I just slap a stamp on my postcards, address them and let them fend for themselves amongst the postal machinery. I think I had some cards get lost in the system last time, so this year I decided to put them in envelopes. The envelopes looked so plain and pale once I got them addressed that I had to get out my acrylics and give them all some painted borders. Then I added a few collage bits just to jazz things up a little. I guess "normal" mail just seems boring to me. The two cards destined for international locations have been posted and the rest should go out tomorrow.

I've been checking out some of the work of other participants in Hanna's Postcard Swap over on Flickr. What creative minds!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

More postcards

These are three cards that developed from my last paper shuffle.

Staring Daggers

Changing Channels

Miss Peru for Safety Dice

Good Dog!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Latest inspiration

I love this 1956 album cover. I would buy it if I could justify spending $75 for it. I may have to emulate this style on some collages, if I can just find some photos of people with space helmets.

I noticed the photo was by Wendy Hilty and I thought wow! a female commercial photographer from the 1950s. Alas, no, "Wendy" was a man. I couldn't find much about him, so I dug a bit deeper and present herewith a brief if incomplete biography.

Oscar Wendellin Hilty was born 13 May 1913 in Zurich, Switzerland of German parents, at least according to the information from several ships' passenger lists. According to his 1978 obituary he was born in Liechtenstein and trained as an architect in Zurich. Another article reported he was an instructor at the Engelberg Ski School in Switzerland. He could speak German, French and Spanish, and I'm guessing he became proficient in English as well. He helped found the first ski school in Chile in the late 1930s and also supervised ski instruction at the Plymouth Swiss Ski School in Plymouth, New Hampshire about the same time.

At some point Wendy picked up a camera and during the 1950s his photos graced a number of record albums for the RCA Living Stereo series. He also shot photos for ads and magazine covers, and seems to have been based in Manhattan during this time.

Saddle photo - 1956 Argosy magazine

1959 Canadian Club ad from Life Magazine

Hilty got an "atta boy" in a 1957 Billboard for his portrait of Diahann Carroll. The magazine noted the "Lovely cover will surely attract attention and sales."
1957 - Diahann Carroll on RCA
 More examples of Hilty's work for RCA.

1951 - Brigadoon on RCA

1957 - Hawaiian Guitar on RCA

1958 Hi-Fi Christmas Party on RCA Camden

1959 The Ames Brothers on RCA
 And finally, the most recent example of Hilty's work I could find, a 1962 print ad for Mercedes Benz.
1962 ad for Mercedes Benz

In 1958 Hilty settled on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands where he became a successful real estate developer. His most notable developments had to do with the King's Alley Hotel and shopping arcade and the Caravelle Hotel and arcade in downtown Christiansted, and the Mount Royale residential area, where he and his wife built a stylish home on the ruins of an old rum factory. Hilty died  18 June 1978 in Christiansted after a long illness.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pretty Maids in a Row

I had these old plastic flower pots that I wanted to spruce up with spray paint. They're in good shape except for some staining & pitting and the grey doesn't blend well with my living room. I set the pots  on some sticks in the back yard (it's just too smelly of a job to do even in the garage) and the old nursery rhyme "Mary Mary quite contrary" suddenly came to mind. The last line goes "with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row." I'm sure I had that nursery rhyme read to me many times as a child. I remembered that many of those old English rhymes are euphemisms for much darker stories so I did a quick search and found this and this. Oh yeah they do look like beheading victims, don't they? Off with their heads!

I used Rust-oleum Painter's Touch 2X paint in Satin Espresso. Rust-oleum makes some lighter shades of brown, which I would have preferred, but this was all that was available at my local Big Box store. It's dark, but the color will still look nice in the living room when I bring plants in for the winter. A single coat covered the pots really well, although I missed a few spots around the rims. The paint stuck to the plastic really well, too. The smell is pretty strong. I could still smell paint after the pots stayed outside for 24 hours. I'll touch up the rims and by the time winter rolls around the paint smell should be gone. Except for some cracks on the bottom of the pots they look brand new!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

It's been overcast and cloudy most mornings lately, but a few days ago the sun shone brightly on half a dozen dewy spider webs in one of the crape myrtles. What was odd to me was that most of the webs were built horizontally or at 45 degree angles. The web in this photo is the only one that was built vertically. Like the other webs it's only about six inches in diameter. Each web was guarded at its perimeter by a small (and quick) greenish-yellow spider,  with a narrow body and very long front legs. They were too fast and too small for me to photograph, but I'm pretty sure they were some kind of Long-Jawed Orb Weaver or Tetragnathid, sometimes called Stretch Spiders. I like finding the names of my garden's inhabitants.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pop Cards & Art Quotes

It looks like "I Love Lucy" is making another appearance on my postcards. I like using images of people from the 1940s or 50s and it's fun for me when they happen to be recognizable icons.

Coincidental to creating this card I found a quote by the British writer, Lawrence Alloway, referring to what was then a new phenomenom, "Pop Art". Alloway said, “When an artist uses a pop art image its significance is doubled: its original meaning is there, but the artist has also added new meanings….” And so a soup can by Warhol becomes something entirely different. You may not see what I see in my composite, but I hope it gives your eyes at least a little something to chew on.

Serious Side Effects
Love and Danger
In the 1860s a French critic castigated Edouard Manet's impressionistic creations for their lack of "intelligible characters." It was the critic's opinion there should be “Nothing arbitrary, and nothing superfluous, that is the law of every artistic composition.” Most of my own compositions are fairly arbitrary and probably superfluous as well, so I guess I'm in good company.

Both these quotes came from "The Pop Revolution," by Alice Goldfarb Marquis, a slim but well written volume describing many of the upheavals that occurred in the art world of the late 1950s and early 60s. I was already familiar with most of the major players, and I liked Marquis' perspective on their roles in the drama.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wallpaper Bits

The last house I lived in was a circa 1890 Texas farmhouse. It was owned for more than 50 years by a family whose breadwinner was an old-time wallpaper hanger. The kitchen was in desperate need of remodeling when I purchased the place and during demolition of the plaster walls we found many layers of different kinds of wallpaper. Over at Retro Renovation today they're featuring some fabulous wallpaper from 1928, and while my examples aren't exactly fabulous, they're from about the same era, so I thought I'd throw them into the mix. The wallpaper was variously underlaid with muslin, newspapers from Dallas, and burlap sacks from an Oklahoma flour mill. Little could be salvaged because of water damage and almost everything was literally falling apart. The silverfish were having a feast! I photographed and scanned what I could before it all went to the landfill.

Two inseperable wallpapers

Probably the most colorful piece in the bunch. Interesting geometric forms scattered about.

I really liked the green dots on the grid. It's stuck to two layers of muslin.

Bits of two comic strips from The Dallas Journal, whose name was changed in 1938. Some of the newspapers were dated 1928, but Broncho Bill ran from 1932-1950 and Sky Roads from 1929-1942, so this particular part of the wall was probably laid between 1932 and 1938.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

more from The Bird Exhibit

A few more cards with bird-related themes.
Can you guess which one is my favorite? 

Bird Song

Oriole Park


Bird Exhibit