Setting Aside the Sad Politics: Some Art for a Sunday

So in reading my facebook feed this morning, I came across a teaching colleague’s post expressing that he’d more or less had his fill of reading about this sideshow that has been going on in politics.  That we need to start finding something else to talk about, to just get back to the business of lifting ourselves  out of this mess and muck and outright insanity.  So I guess I am posting this short blog with a bit of art that speaks volumes about what gives us hope over despair.


“Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self. ”  —Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself

Henry Tanner, "The Annunciation"

“As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,The rising of the women means the rising of the race.No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.”  —James Oppenheim

Henry Tanner, "The Banjo Lesson"

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,”

Then. Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful

I am

And be ashamed–
I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

Jane Gilday performs “Don’t that Beat Everything”

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence Universit...

Image via Wikipedia

Oh the time will come up

When the winds will stop

And the breeze will cease to be breathin’

Like the stillness in the wind

’Fore the hurricane begins

The hour when the ship comes in

Oh the seas will split

And the ship will hit

And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking

Then the tide will sound

And the wind will pound

And the morning will be breaking

Oh the fishes will laugh

As they swim out of the path

And the seagulls they’ll be smiling

And the rocks on the sand Will proudly stand

The hour that the ship comes in

And the words that are used

For to get the ship confused

Will not be understood as they’re spoken

For the chains of the sea

Will have busted in the night

And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

A song will lift As the mainsail shifts

And the boat drifts on to the shoreline

And the sun will respect

Every face on the deck

The hour that the ship comes in

Bob Dylan

From “When the Ship Comes In”

Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music

(borrowed as fair use for educational purposes)

Marc Chagall, Paris Opera Ceiling

I choose to be a figure in that light, half-blotted by darkness,

something moving across that space, the color of stone greeting the moon,

yet more than stone: a woman.

I choose to walk here.

And to draw this circle. —Adrienne Rich, from “Twenty-One Love Poems” 1974-76

this arlo guthrie video is so beautiful. ..the embedding doesn’t work, but if you click through, you won’t be sorry.  so inspiring.  thanks, woody and arlo.  🙂


Snips and Clips. . .Collecting Scraps and Images for Mixed Media and Collage-Making

There are lots of places you can find great images for collage work.  I like to start at the library in the free magazine bins. . .it’s even sort of an adventure to go there. . .not really knowing what I am going to find.  And as a result, I come home with a nice little stack of interesting publications thanks to partaking in that little excursion.

And if you decide to meet me over there sometime, just be prepared to get side-tracked into collecting recipes, fiction pieces, poems. reviews, etc.     You might get lost there for awhile as well.

Publications like “The New Yorker,” “The Atlantic Monthly,” “Poetry” . . . these are all nice for cutting lines of prose and poetry to incorporate into you work as well.  One publication I was kind of excited to find at my library was “Opera News,”  You will find lots of drama there, stage photos, images of sheet music. . .that’s an early photo of Uncle Walt (Whitman) in my collage there

Guitar News is great too:

Make sure you have good scissors. . .you want to get some of the better quality kind for that. . .sharp and lightweight.  I recently found some nice padded handle scissors for around eight dollars. . .and my sister gave me a pair of neon fiskars in chartreuse last christmas, along with a nice assortment of scrapbooking papers:

Other places I like to mine for materials are dollar stores and thrift shops.  Thrift shops offer some really great used photography books and collections of National Geographic. . .all nice to keep on hand for these projects.  The dollar stores carry colorful tissue paper, lace doilies, handmade papers and stationary, which are all nice to cut and tear into.  I also like to have bags of feathers, glitter, scraps of fabric, lace, ribbon on hand.

Depending on the weight of the media you’re planning to incorporate into your piece, this will determine the kind of support you’ll be using underneath.  For most projects, I end up using arches paper, mixed media paper, canvas board, birch panels. . .   Again, you want to consider the weight and density of the material you’re using.  For simple paper collages, the mixed media paper works just fine.

I like to use gloss medium and a brush to affix the images, a thin coat of this on the back and another coat on top to seal it.  But you can also use Mod Podge and Yes paste, which is much less toxic-smelling than rubber cement; basically it serves the same purpose.  You just want to be careful and experiment a little as Mod Podge can sometimes buckle if you use too much or too little of it.  (. ..which can be a happy accident if you’re wanting to add some wrinkles, bubbles and texture.)

Make sure you have some killer tunes for the background ambience and nice lighting.

(Photos reproduced from Opera and Guitar as fair use for demonstration and educational purposes only)