Monday, June 26, 2017

Memory Monday

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” 
― John F. Kennedy
      October, 1962...I am teaching my little seventh graders in NKC...Living the good life as only the young can enjoy!  But does anyone remember what happened October, 1962? Yes, the Cuban Missle Crisis!
A Map showing the possible reach of the Cuban Missles
My mom, the Mama Bear type of mom, is very concerned about the whole situation so she sends me three road maps with highlighted routes of how to get out of "the city" if the major roads are blocked!  I'm really not making light of her or meaning to sound flippant because it was a very scary 13 days...especially when the papers were posting pictures like the one above!  (Notice Kansas City is not a direct hit location! But who knew what kind of fallout would occur!)

       But MY main concern is not how I am going to get out of KC but what will happen to my  Air Force guy!  Of course, all the military is on Red Alert and so all are totally out of touch with the outside world!  For that nearly two weeks, we are all on edge, waiting for the worst, not knowing what to do, but fortunately, Kennedy does the decisive thing...the correct decision and the Russians pull out of Cuba! The Cold War continues!
       And about this time my new little puppy isn't  looking very healthy so I take him to the vet.  Poor little baby is about  2 lbs., can practically fit in my hand, and he is diagnosed with distemper.  My roommate had gotten him from a pet shop; since then I have heard those are the worst places to get pets but at that time, who knew?  The vet and I decide to try a few things...with the warning that if he doesn't get better, the kindest thing will be to put him to sleep.
       Also, Dick is coming home on emergency leave because his grandfather is dying.  His grandfather is very proud of him being in the military and really wantsto see him in his uniform. So while he is able to be in the area....the crisis now over....he  makes plans to come see me.  I am delighted because I have not seen him for nearly three is November by now.  He is also here when I have to take my little puppy to the vet for the last time....he did not get any better. Dick even offers to take him for me, but I need to go.  I am thinking this is pretty nice guy!
       After Dick has gone back and things are getting more normal, I am doing my thing at school.  Across the hall from me is the Home Ec. room; the teacher there is also fresh out of college.  We strike up a conversation while doing our duty in the hall.  I am telling Bonnie, who is newly married,  about this really nice guy I am writing to...she asks where he is from, and I tell her a farm near Bogard, Missouri.  She perks up at that and asks what is his name...when I tell her, she gives me a big ol' hug and says "that is my first cousin"!  I find out that Bonnie grew up in the same area as Dick, they are about three months apart in age and are very good friends!!  Small world!!  I have not met any of his family yet, so now, I have to be on my good behavior!  Here is  someone who can "report" on Dickey Lee's girlfriend! (That is what everyone from his home calls him! )


Monday, June 19, 2017

North Texas Art Quilters

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

     The newly formed art group, which I have had the privilege of being asked to join, finally came up with a name! We are the "North Texas Art Quilters" or NTAQ; we are a group of nine,(a now closed group....this is a good number to work together in our homes) juried artists, some of whom were part of the old group, studioQ, but not all. We get together monthly to share our art, to challenge ourselves, and to learn from each other.
      Today we met at one of the girl's houses and did some embellishments with foil.  We also had a great time showing off our last month's activity...making little art on 4" x 4" canvases.
Instructions and samples of applying foil
Our 4" x 4" works of art
         Our challenge for this month is from a painting by Stuart Davis entitled "Cliche".

Stuart Davis..."Cliche"
Rhonda-pieced black and red with a touch of dark purple fabric
Bethany- black yarn glued onto red background covered with net and quilted
Kay-thick dye to create shapes on red fabric, pieced and quilted.
Michelle-found another version of Davis's Cliche with blue and white added
Heather-using differing values of red and black to create an abstract tree
Wendy-her challenge turned out to be the largest...pieced angular blocks
And mine...hundreds of skinny strips pieced and quilted, stamped circles, and hand stitching around the circles.
The red I used was much more vibrant that what shows here...not so pinky!
All of them together...with a little doggy tail in the frame!
          We also had some individual things to show...

      Wendy and Heather just got home from a two week workshop with artist  David Hornung. He was teaching at the Nancy Crow Barn Retreat Art Center in Ohio. These are just a small sampling of the portfolios they put together while studying color theory and design.

Kay with whole cloth silk, machine quilting with #12 Perle cotton thread
Kay-quilt with her own hand-dyed fabrics
Kay-shibori dyed fabric using blue school glue for resist!
Kay made another challenge for last month which was neutrals and perspective
Kay also made a tye-dye tee shirt for a niece..Bethany is showing how it is folded up to get the effect of spirals
This shows the final wrapped up tee shirt which you would then bind up and pour dye on.
      So to end a really great day of art, I had locked my purse with my keys, cell phone, home key etc. in the car.  My car is one of those keyless cars and I didn't think it would let me lock it with the key fob inside...but it DID!  After many attempts to remember my personal code to get into the car, many phone calls to my daughters to see who had a key to my house to get my spare fob...Kay (who has a new Ford also) punched in the right code/combination...and voila!  I can get in and go home!!!!      .

Memory Monday

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” 
― Phil Collins
     The quote above could not describe  my situation any better!  As I had said earlier, I did not plan to teach art.  When I was in school at U of Missouri, my first opportunity to take any art classes.,  I took Watercolor I, Drawing I, Ceramics I, Sculpture I, Weaving get the idea.  I wanted to try it all!!!
     My teaching assignment, in a brand new school, with brand new equipment, were seventh graders, probably 25 to a class, five classes.  We did have a text book so I had a teacher's manual with a curriculum to follow and the guy next door who was a trained art teacher to get me through the year!  Art was a semester class so my first semester classes were my guinea pigs!  We had a great time together!  My classes would be so noisy that I would not hear the intercom when the office called.  It wasn't that I didn't have good discipline; it's just that noise didn't bother me...the kids would be quiet when I needed them to be, to listen to instructions and demos on what to do....then they could chatter away as long as they did their work.
     But it wasn't all work...I really loved Kansas City and now that I had my own car, I enjoyed exploring all the interesting places.  One of my favorites was the Nelson Art Gallery.  I would go there frequently to enjoy all the art.  Through my growing up  years, my mom would take us to Chicago to visit a cousin and go to the Chicago Art Institute so I had a fledging appreciation of art. One of the best exhibits at the Nelson was a traveling exhibit of Vincent Van Gogh...and that is where I first developed a love for his work.  I love the technique he used of layering the paint on so thickly.  I really wanted to reach out and touch his paintings but, as you know, the guards at the galleries are not very fond of people doing that! That didn't stop me...with Beth on guard, watching when it was clear, I did touch a paint stroke very quickly!
The Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri....Claus Oldenberg's "Shuttlecock"
        And my friend Beth and I would travel back to  U of Mo for football games and to party with friends who had not graduated yet.  She had gotten a cute little convertible for graduation and we would run all over the place in it. Her brother Teddy, who was a couple years younger, went to a college in Iowa....Parsons College...a small liberal arts school for kids who didn't quite make the grade in larger colleges!

     It was located in Fairfield, Iowa and Beth and I would run up there about once a month. Beth had met the guy she would eventually marry and Teddy and I were great friends so they always looked forward to our coming. For one thing, Beth and Teddy's mom would alway send a box of favorite foods with us for the guys!  They had a great fine arts/music and drama department at Parsons.  We saw "The Miracle Worker"  performed in the round, a first for me. One time when we were there we went to a concert given by this young blind black man.  He would play the piano and throw his head back to really bellow out the songs!  Little did we know that we were seeing the soon to be famous  Stevie Wonder!
      Meanwhile, I was sending and receiving letters from the love of my life who was toiling away in basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas.  San Antonio in 1962 was not the destination city it is riverwalk, nothing too spectacular about it at all.  Dick swore if he ever got out of Texas he would NEVER go back.  Needless to say...who knew what the future had in store for us!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Challenge

“The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.” 
― Criss Jami

     I am the biggest sucker for challenges!!  There is a fabric company called Cherrywood which offers a annual challenge using their fabrics.  All their luscious fabrics are hand-dyed and just fabulous!!! A past couple of challenges have been "Wicked" from the stage play/movie/book "Wicked".

All the "Wicked" entries
And "Lion King" also from play/movie. Each of these art quilts are 20"x 20" and made from four fat quarters of fabric selected by least 75% of the selected fabrics...and all other fabrics used must also be from Cherrywood, with the exception of white because they don't sell white!

All the "Lion King" entries
Both of these have been on display at the Houston International Quilt Show at the Cherrywood booth.

    This year the challenge is "Van Gogh" art quilt inspired by any Van Gogh painting.  The selected color fabric palette is three blues and a black.  I love Van Gogh; he has been one of my favorites for many years! So I decided what the heck and filled out the application, sent in my entry fee and have my fabric.

Challenge rules, etc.
Cherrywood Fabrics for challenge

     I have decided to do a picture inspired by Van Gogh's "Irises".  A friend of mine, Morris Meador, has a beautiful garden and a few weeks ago he posted some pictures of his irises...I actually think they are much prettier than Van Gogh's, but because I am restricted by the use of these fabrics with a some of a few others thrown in, my iris will be a bit different in color from Morris's.

Van Gogh's Irises
Morris's Iris

    I have to have my 20" x 20" art quilt done by August 1 to enter, hopefully, this time next year my Van Gogh will be hanging with others like the pictures above of the other two Challenges!!!! I plan to show some of my process here on my stay tuned!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Am An Adult

“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.” 
― Margaret Atwood

    It is Fall, 1962.  I am 21 years old, a graduate from University of Missouri, going to my first real job, teaching art to seventh graders in North Kansas City, Missouri. I have my first car...a 1962 Fairlane Ford four door sedan. My parents made a down payment and paid for my first year of insurance. If I remember right the price was $2,250.00...about half my annual salary.
My first car looked something like this.
     Heading to  Kansas City....I didn't  know very much about the city outside of a few visit to my friend, Beth's home.  She had also just graduated with a teaching job in Kansas City, Kansas.  Her parents offered to let me rent a room from them until I could get my bearings.  The Davises lived near Troost and Paseo, an old established area a bit South of downtown KC.
Like the Davises house where I first lived
    Each day I would go North on Troost and cross the Missouri River to get to North Kansas City. I had a choice of several bridges.
The Paseo
The Broadway

The Chouteau 
           Meanwhile, Dick is on his way to basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas.  On his way through Kansas City, he found me at Davises...he had come to KC by train from Carrollton, near his home town of Bogard, Missouri and called me from the station.  I picked him up and we spent many hours together before he had to catch another train to Texas.  We talked about many things and pledged to write to each other frequently.  It was early morning hours when he caught his train so when I got back to Davises, Mr. Davis was up and getting ready to go to work.  I don't think he approved of my being out all night, even though it was perfectly innocent so he was probably not too upset when I moved out. But before I moved, I recieved my first letter from Dick. And I made a very important discovery!  I had not known his last name!  I thought it was Dobbs and it is DoDDs.  Thus began a long distance romance vis mail!
        After a couple of months living with the Davises, one of the other new teachers at Antioch, a PE teacher and I, decided to get an apartment together.  She was also from out of town and living in a boarding house.  We found a two bedroom apartment in NKC and raided our parents' homes for furniture.  She had a dog...a mix who was a sweet girl and. since I had loved dogs all my life, that completed  the arrangement.  Knowing my fondness for dogs, Linda, my new roommate, brought me a present...a little Boston Bull puppy!
My first Puppy       
           So life as an adult is starting out pretty well...first job, first apartment, first car, first dog of my own,  and a pretty serious long distance romance going on!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Few Books Reviewed

“Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.” 
― Stephen King

     I have really been pumping out the audio books!  One that I started to read "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett was just not grabbing my attention.  It was a bookclub choice so I felt I should give it a try...then I thought maybe it would be better in least I could be doing something else while I listened and still be able to take part in our discussion. For some reason, the audio version was much better which is unusual. It is not a new book and many of you may have read it.  The story line, a hostage situation, was pretty interesting...but I found the ending to be very weak.

    Another audio book I choose was "A Blue Spool of Thread" by Anne Tyler.  And I also gave up on this one...the premise is family, story telling, adjusting to change...and this one may be better in the written word which I may at some time give a try, but the audio was a real drag!

     Then I went to my old standby for audio entertainment!  James Patterson's The Women's Murder Club series....four women..a reporter, a detective, a medical examiner, and a lawyer all became friendly and get themselves in all kinds of trouble! I had started with the first one, "1st To Die" and have read or rather listened to them in order as their lives also progress.  I just saw where a new one "16th Seduction" just came out last month. Very enjoyable even though predictable mysteries!

     Then another audio I just kind of happened on..."If I Stay" by Gayle Forman... was very intriguing and would probably be a good read also.  I can't tell you too much about the subject because it would be a spoiler but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

     And my current audio which I am about to wrap up is  "Mean Streak" by Sandra Brown.  This is a good audio book...a lot of only reluctance in recommending it is that she gets a little too carried away for my taste in describing her love scenes! Fortunately there are not too many. Now, that remark may send some of you running to the library, and I am definitely not a prude, but I would just as soon leave some things to the imagination! I had not read or listened to any Sandra Brown before, but I probably will again as it does keep your attention.

   And my final book to give my opinion on is "The Muralist" by B.A. Shapiro.  This was also a bookclub selection and I really like it!!!  I am not quite finished with it, but with just a few pages left, it has all the elements of a good book...suspense, strong characters, plot. It is a historical fiction taking place in contemporary times as well as going back in history about artists in the post depression/pre WWII era, when the Roosevelts had established the WPA.  I became very interested in the time period so proceeded to investigate more.  Here are a couple of websites on the subject if anyone is interested. This one lists all the murals and public artworks by state. And here is a link to more of the story of how it got started, artists involved, etc..

Monday, June 5, 2017

Memory Monday-I Am a Teacher

“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” 
― Karl A. Menninger     

NKC Logo
       I had always wanted to sister and I played "school" all the time, lining our dolls up as our classes. From the job fair I had attended, I had a request to come to come to North Kansas City for an interview.  This was before summer school had started the year  of 1962. I was back home in Pittsfield, Illinois when I got the letter.
      Even though I was 21 years old, I am living with my parents and still under their roof and their influence.  I didn't think a thing of it  when my mom offered to go with me to Kansas City for the interview.  After all, I had no car yet and she did!  Really, I was happy for the company.
     We get a motel near where the NKC admin building was.  Mom did stay there while I went to my interview!  I got a job offer contingent on my actually graduating that summer.  Looking back, they must have been hard up for teachers because as you know, I hadn't even done my student teaching yet! Or art was just one of those fluff subjects in their minds so it didn't really matter who taught it!
      Summer continues....I graduate....I'm back home now, waiting for my final contract from NKC which was sent once they got my records that I had graduated. So exciting!!  And here it comes! When I open it up, I also have my teaching assignment. I am going to be teaching seventh grade ART at a brand-spanking new school in North Kansas City, Missouri!

My first school!!!

     Now, if you recall, I had majored in English in the school of education and had done my student teaching in English....and I am going to be teaching ART!  I had never even considered teaching art because, as I have previously mentioned, I had never had a single art class in my life until college. I loved art and I had accumulated enough hours that it was considered a dual major when I graduated! But never in my wildest dreams did it even occur to me that I would be eligible to teach it!  As I said, they must have been really hard up for teachers!
     And I have to say, in the pinball machine of life, this was one turn that had a big affect on the rest of my life! Oh, and my first salary for the 1962-1963 year is a whopping $4,, not a misprint...Four Thousand, Seven Hundred dollars!