Thursday, September 30, 2010

Special Delivery

Special Delivery,  collage/acrylic, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Soon, (but not too soon, his grandma would say) this painting will be on its way to Ohio where first time parents are awaiting the birth of their child.  "Grandma" is a great pal of mine in Fredericksburg, and she and Grandpa will take it to their daughter and son-in-law when the baby comes.  I sent it with best wishes to the mom and dad to celebrate their little "special delivery," due any time within the next three weeks. 

I wanted to make sure I spelled the parents' names right on the card, so I checked the spelling with my friend.  She asked me why I wasn't putting the BABY'S name on the card.  I had to stop and think about it for a minute.

And then I remembered.  I loved having my babies (well, not the pregnancy.......and, not the birth so much, but the baby itself--well, that was heaven!!)  But I did notice an amazing phenomenon at the moment of the birth of each of my sons.  In a flash, I went from being the sacred vessel of the hope and future of the family to "old what's her name."  And I wasn't looking any too swift, either, so they cropped in really close when they shot the pictures to ease out the hag and to make sure the new, cute one filled the frame.

So, I told Lynette that this was for the parents, because Riley was going to get lots of loot and oodles of attention.   

I can't wait to hold him so I hope they come for Christmas.  Before they get here, I'll practice saying Riley's parents' names, and remind myself to say hello to them, too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greeting the Morning

Greeting the Morning, collage/acrylic, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

You ever have one of those days where, no matter what great things have happened in the intervening hours between dawn and dark, there is something in there that drags you down?  You feel as if you have been to a dark place--you get bad news; argument #546 about that thing you and your mate argue about; the house is a wreck; the cat's puking and so is the washer; something moved in the back of your refrigerator, and you thought it was going to be tonight's dinner.  Whatever.

Sometimes, though I hate to rush the precious hours of my life, it is just nice to go to sleep and know that the morning is coming.  Waking up in a new day feels like a chance to make things right, to deal with the bumps in my particular road a little bit better this time.  What we call at my house "do overs."

And so this little birdie reminds me about fresh starts and new intentions.  There were great things about yesterday after all.  I feel grateful again for the people around me and for my life--puking cat and all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bird Song

Bird Song, 6 x 6 framed, collage
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I put this little guy on the wall in my studio yesterday, and it sold within a couple of hours.  It's so nice when a piece "flies" out the door like that.

It occurred to me that I had not ever posted about the opening of my public art piece, I Should Have Turned Left at Albuquerque. It was unveiled on July 2nd, and my parents and sister were able to be there.  I have some pictures of the actual event, but I need to scan them into the computer.  Here is the finished panel.

I Should Have Turned Left at Albuquerque, collage/acrylic
42 x 59 public art panel, Elizabeth W. Seaver

I'm recapping this event because just today I got commissioned to paint a 30 x 40 canvas as a Christmas present for someone who loves the one downtown.  Pretty cool!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nosy Neighbors

Nosy Neighbors, acrylic/collage, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

You'd think that these two would have a close relationship of a different kind, more in the "I'm-scared-you-might-eat-me/Are-you-poisonous?" vein.  But all of that worldly worry is pushed aside when there is good gossip to be shared.

"Did you hear that Missy Muskrat got so mad at Arabella Arachnid that she tore her best web and scared way all her dinner?" whispered Camilla in her softest caterpillar voice, not in the least interested in bringing the attention of the rampaging muskrat down on herself.

"No!" gasped Darsey, "What had Arabella done to her?"

"Well!  Missy found out that Arabella had been using one of the back tunnels of Missy's burrow to lay her eggs...."

...and so on in the timeless way of back fence chat.  

There is no end of delicious "dish" right under the sprouts and shoots in our own gardens, if we but take the time to look and listen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Should you be able, this moment in time between neighbors may be viewed up close at LibertyTown Arts Workshop in October.  The show is about the world in tiny view, no larger than 6 x 6 x 6.

Camilla Caterpillar and Darsey Dove would be so honored if you stopped by.

Speaking of being honored....I'm so pleased to welcome my new followers.  Thank you so much for joining this riotous ride and for your many comments which keep me fueled.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Illustration Friday: Old Fashioned

 The Gift, Panel A of Two Panels, collage/acrylic
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I am re-running a fairly recent painting because it is my entry for this week's theme.  It may surprise you to know that there is a story associated with this lady.

*  * * * * * * * * * *  *
In days gone by (way by) a gentleman, smitten by the woman of his dreams, wished to shower her with presents.  In those days, a lady did not accept presents from just anyone, but, as it happened, and to his delight, she returned his affections. 

To mark the occasion of their betrothal, they strolled together to nearby gardens where local vendors hawked their wares.  There, he helped her select a new parasol to keep the sun off of her fancy bonnet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Visit to the West

Cowpoke Cupcake, acrylic/collage, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

No, I haven't travelled to Wyoming.  I stayed home.  But my cupcake has a much more highly developed sense of adventure than I do.  Most of my creations do.

I have been to Wyoming, however.  It was many years ago now, my children, when I was a small girl.  We stayed on a dude ranch near the Crazy Woman Creek.  It was owned by my dad's cousin, and his operation ran horseback trips up into the mountains.  My guess is that their customers were mostly city folks who wanted to have an authentic western experience.  

We kids were judged too young to go on next pack trip which coincided with our visit to the ranch.  We were feeling forlorn at being left behind and a bit envious of my father who got to go.  Grown-ups have all the fun.  Dad was a last minute addition to their number, and since the horses had already been assigned, he was to ride a pack mule.  I remember watching my father, vacationing clergyman, disappearing up the dusty trail.  He was just managing to stay on the mule's back, I think, and not too enthusiastic about making this trip.  He tried to sketch us a sweeping farewell with his hat and spooked his mount, who lurched forward suddenly, making my father drop his hat.  One of the young riders had to retrieve it because no self-respecting cowboy goes on an overnight ride without his hat, and Dad had all he could do to stay perched on the fractious mule.

During our stay at the ranch, we camped alongside a stream which provided our water, swimming, bathing, and fishing.  My brother, an avid fisherman, provided lots of little bony fish for several meals.  Mom rolled them in cornmeal and fried them over the Coleman stove--with the heads on.  

"You will eat this because your brother caught it!"  

Well, I get the whole if you catch it, you eat it thing, and I agree with it in principle.  But, friends, let me tell you, I had a hard time eating something that was looking back at me from my plate.  And all the bones!  How could such a small creature have so many bones?

My job was to wash the dishes in a tub on the metal camp table we ate around.  There exists a stellar picture of me, biddable child that I was, looking like I have just cried a river and the storm clouds were still hanging around.  I didn't want to do the dishes!!

We went on at least three of these month-long car trips on my father's vacation each July.  On this particular trip we also saw Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons among many other fabulous sights in the western US.  I know those trips must have been hell on my parents.  But they took us to see some of our amazing country, and we traveled the only way we could afford to, in a Rambler station wagon with all our camping gear inside.  I'm so glad they bothered.  I've got some indelible memories.

There was the time our Rambler, underpowered for the mountains we were climbing (it was a coastal plains car, after all!) got slower and slower as we approached the crest.  When we finally got out on a straight stretch of road and looked behind us, there was a line of cars following us for as far as we could see, not having been able to pass us. We did not check the local radio stations to see whether we'd made the traffic report.

One long, rainy, long, travel day, the windshield wipers gave out.  My mom got soaked leaning out the passenger side window pushing the wipers with a wooden spoon, so my dad could see to drive.  We finally stopped and my father tied a string from the driver's side wiper, threading it through the window into the back seat.  My brother, sister and I took turns pulling on the string to make the wipers wipe.  Seems like a simple job right?  Well, the wiper puller had to pay very close attention NOT to get the string hung up on my dad's glasses.  We drove five hundred miles that rainy day.  

Boy were our arms tired!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cross Patch

Get Offa My Grass, acrylic/collage, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

The season for itty bitty works approacheth.  I have 10 small paintings, the largest is 6" x 8", awaiting distribution to various upcoming shows.

I am also awaiting delivery of some furniture which should organize the artist a bit better and make the studio a little neater looking for visitors.  I must make room for it.  It is a good feeling to go through piled up stuff to find the pearls and let the chaff blow away in the wind (oh, if it were only that easy!)

Welcome to my new followers, and thanks to all of you for joining me on my strange and circuitous artistic journey.  I love hearing from you and look forward to seeing what's new on your easels, too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marla Tumbles

Tightrope Walker 5, Marla, collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Marla eased out onto the high wire and moved into her first pose.

She checked out the evening's crowd.  It seemed to her that every seat was filled to double capacity.  The heat from their bodies rose up to meet her where she perched nearly at the top of the tent.  When had this stopped being fun and begun to be a job?

Marla had felt it keenly as she watched her daughter, Darla, and her friend, Banks, performing tonight.  They glowed with life and energetic youth and....something else.  What was going on there?  Marla wondered.

"Best put that aside to think about when I'm not five stories in the air," she said firmly to herself.  

She hoped her lips hadn't moved as she ruminated.  She was still amazed that the audience could see her mouth move from way down there.  But it had been mentioned by her boss in her quarterly review.  It would not do for anyone to think she'd gone 'round the bend.  Good grief!  She wasn't even forty yet.  She was seasoned,,,skilled...a bird that fledgling performers could look up to and learn from.  

Marla was no stranger to the dangers of circus life.  She had come from a long line of circus workers.  As she was growing up, there was never any doubt in the minds of her family that Marla would follow in their footsteps.  When she was twenty, she'd fallen in love with an elephant trainer and not too much time had passed before she'd laid an egg--her Darling (Darla, for short).  

But, as is true even in the happiest of stories, tragedy struck.  No one really knows what happened that day so long ago now, but Darla's father met an untimely end when an elephant he was working with sat down on him.  His squawks for help went unnoticed, and soon it was too late.  

"Extinguished in the prime of his life," Marla always sighed as she told the story.  Darla rolled her eyeballs behind her mother's back, in the way of teenagers when hearing an oft repeated tale.

And so, there had been no question when Darla was half grown that she, too, would continue the high wire legacy.  It was beginning to dawn on Marla, however, that Darla was not a happy bird.  Her mother knew she had dreams of dancing ballet, but had discounted it as a passing fancy.  Just like her own mother had when Marla had announced her goal of becoming a librarian.

"Well," Marla mused. "Perhaps the time has come to..."

The music swelled, surprising Marla, whose thoughts had wandered so far afield.  It was time for her split.  

"Oh, dear, I'm off the beat!"  she panicked.  Quickly she slid down to the wire.........and toppled right off.

"I'm too old for this shit," she said as the ground rose up to meet her.  This time she was sure her lips had moved.  And sound had come out.  And everyone had heard it.

She opened her wings, gave a mighty flex and gently landed on the straw covered floor.  The crowd clapped in appreciation, and Marla sketched a sassy bow.

She marched off stage and into the manager's office, flinging open the door.

"I quit!" she announced.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Tightrope Walker 6, collage/acrylic, 5 x 5, 2010
Elizabeth W. Seaver

If you keep track of details such as these, you may be wondering where T. W. 5 is.  She is, indeed, extant on a 6 x 6 x 3 shadow box, but the photograph of the painting did not turn out well.  I'm going to have to retake it.  Elmer Banks, eager for his presentation, wanted me to tell you his story.

* * * * * 

Elmer Banks  was one of the class of performer which made those in circus management, rapacious eyes trained on the bottom line, rub their hands with glee.  Daring, handsome and graceful, he performed with an irrepressible joy, commanding the rapt attention of the circus-going crowd.  With a nod to his popularity and box office draw, everyone under the big top just called him Banks.

Watching him from way below, one might think he had it all, assuming that the source of his buoyant spirit.  But, as is often so when we make quick judgments from shallow observation, the opposite was true.  

He had been a promising ballet student from a small boy.  His parents loved him dearly and encouraged his dreams.  

However, just three years before, his father had flown into an airplane engine on a cross country business trip.  In a strange twist of fate, that same airplane, making an emergency water landing, also killed his mother who had taken a short cut, late to open her dental office for her early morning patients.

Banks had a hard time of it.  He endured cruel whispers from other young fowl.
Two birds with one stone, they snickered slyly.  

He had many doting aunts and uncles who cared for him in succession and made sure he finished school.  His days as a dancer seemed so far in the past as almost to have happened to another bird.

At eighteen, Banks couldn't wait to get out on his own.  When the traveling circus came to town, he threw himself into the audition and was hired on the spot.  Training hard, he hoped one day to be chosen to walk the tight rope.  

Banks worked from dawn until long after sunset.  In his spare time, he followed behind the elephants, tigers and horses sweeping up poop.  He shoveled great mounds of it into piles for the local farmers to haul away for fertilizer.  His long wing span and stilt-like legs came in handy when it was time to move the circus from town to town.  Within the year, management deemed him ready for his dream job, and Banks put down his poop sweeper for good.

Banks certainly loved dancing on the high wire.  And it was true that the affection of his new circus family had begun to ease the lingering sadness caused by the death of his parents.  Lately, however, close observers had noted that his performances were shimmering with an extra, unaccountable sparkle.

Her name was Darla

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fishing Bird

 Fishing Bird, collage/acrylic, 5 x 5, 2010
 Elizabeth W. Seaver

When we went to the Outer Banks last month, my husband and I took a short trip down towards Hatteras Island by way of Kitty Hawk.  We stopped at a small lighthouse that was being restored and found a boardwalk trail out into the coastal marsh.  The elevated wooden platform out over a sheltered lagoon gave us an excellent view of the antics of the crabs.  Kingfishers, gulls and other shore birds flew overhead.

Looking out over the water from that height, we were able to watch several varieties of herons and egrets stalk their prey in the shallow water.  Every so often they'd go stone-still for a moment and then suddenly strike with their long bills, coming back up with some delectable bit of dinner.

That's when this fisher bird appeared in my head.  Perhaps he should have stuck with the more traditional fishing method for his species, since it looks as if he has fished all day and caught nothing.  And I'm sure his feet are hot, too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Put Upon, Revised

I have had my eye on this piece for awhile, just itching to rework it.  This week I finally got a round tuit.  I am afraid that the photo does not do it justice, having gone all mellow yellow on me, but you'll get a general idea of the changes that were made.  Here it is, sunshiny and new:

Put Upon, acrylic on plywood, approx. 30 x 39
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I really had fun transforming this odd group, which reminds me a little of those days when my children were small and I, foolishly, tried to have a moment to myself in the bathroom.  As soon as I closed the door, their need for me became intense.  "Mama....mama...Matthew has my book...Will hit me....Mama can I have a cookie?....Whatcha doin' in there?....Can I come in?"

So, I imagined this poor, put upon hippo, just trying to have a cooling dip in the river, only to have three nitwits land on her as if she were a rock in the shallows.  (Scary music) And the rock moved...

But that's another story.

Here are our protagonists before I went after them with some color.

Someone said that the old version reminded her of a chalkboard.  Hey, I was a teacher.  I LIKE chalkboards.  But I like color better, and I'm happy with the changes.

Now I just have to get my camera to catch a better approximation of the new painting.

In other news, it's our last year of high school after 9 straight years. I don't mind telling you that I'll be glad to be graduating.  

Have a great day at school, Matt!