Sunday, November 29, 2009

Major Barbara

I got my program information for the 2010 season of American Players Theatre yesterday. I was surprised to see that they were going to do Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw.
I haven't thought about that play in years. Back in my senior year of high school that was the play that my class decided to put on. I was asked to do the cover for the program. It was the first time I had ever done something like that and when I submitted my draft my art teacher told me that it was a perfect collage. I don't think I even knew what the word meant.
It's just the way I liked to do my artwork.

That was back in 1966. Things haven't changed much over the years. I still prefer to express myself with collage. What has changed is I use far more layers than I ever did. I like the hint of something underneath. I like the idea that somebody has to look closer, really examine the piece and that there are unexpected surprises.

I had a dream last night that my step father, now dead, was working in a library that I went to. I asked him what in the world he was doing there and he told me, "I'm waiting for your mother."
I told him that he shouldn't be there and he responded that he had plenty of work to do while he waited.

I told my mother about the dream while I was talking to her on the phone this morning. She's 83 and not surprised by much that I tell her. She said, "Well, of course, he would be working in a library, he organized and worked in the library at the last retirement center we lived in. He loved books. BUT, if you see him again, tell him I plan to live to 100 so he has a long wait."

My mother can be a pain, at times, we seldom have seen eye to eye, in the past. But, I like her enthusiasm for life. She lives in a retirement center in Florida, confined to her motorized wheelchair. She managed to keep herself entertained and quite busy.

I can't say that I remember her ever putting my artwork, from school, on the refrigerator door. Sunday afternoons were her nap time before she went to work, at the hospital and the time that my father was working as a policeman on patrol. I remember my Aunt Elvie buying me my first "art journal".

It was a lined notebook and with a box of crayons to keep me entertained, I watched cowboys shows, on our black and white TV. I faithfully colored each page, wearing down favorite colors. I remember my uncle Harry showing me how to take the nubs of what crayons that were left, putting them in a little wax paper sandwich bag and ironing the bag.
I thought that was so cool. He bought me some glue to glue the melted pieces onto my pages.
Of course, they didn't stick but that started my love affair with glue.

Who knew you could rip, my scissor skills weren't the best, things out of magazines and glue them on a page?

I wish I still had that first art journal. I would love to see those pages.

My attraction to glue got me into trouble. I think we were making paste paper at school when I got glue all over my corduroy jumper. Being a latch key kid I remember balling up the jumper and stuffing it under my bed. My mother was not happy when she found that weeks later.

In fourth grade my science experiment consisted of mold on potatoes, grown down in the apartment complex laundry room. It was quite disgusting, the mold and potatoes, that is, so I remember thinking, as only a 9 year old can that covering the whole thing with Elmer's glue would be a good idea. Needless to say, I failed that class.

Back in 2003 when I started making ATCs I used Rubber Cement. Not the best method for keeping things in place for long periods of time. Now, I use Gel Medium. Where would we be without Gel Medium? I feel like I'm that 8 year old again every time I open the lid and look at that white gooey gel.

And you know, it's nice to feel 8 again every once in a while.

:)Bea Have a wonderful day creating!


  1. Hi Bea, thank you so much for your nice comment! :) JOyful sunday!

  2. I think as artists we never really grow out of our kid like ways. We still have our sense of wonder, our vivid imaginations; we play, we have fun and we like to get messy with paints and such. We love our colored pencils, crayons and paper and like to draw and cut up magazines. Can't forget the glue or gel medium as we use now. We're still little kids at heart. I love it! :) I wouldn't have it any other way.

  3. Absolutely, Yvonne. I always feel sorry for the person that says they can't do art because they can't draw. I want to sit them down at my work table and say, let's play. :)Bea

  4. Bea, I'm so fortunate to own a few of your postcards from the Letterheads group we onced belonged to. I love the layering of collage images you placed onto your cards. I always found myself wanting to see what lay underneath!
    Interesting dream you had. Good thing your mom has other plans. LOL!
    Ironing crayons between sheets of wax paper was something we did in the 3rd grade! I remember outlining a fish shape and then placing crayon shavings inside the lines (haha, INSIDE THE LINES!) and then voila, a lovely colorful fish was born! Thanks for bringing back that little memory for me. I could never have enough wax shavings for my future art projects after that.

  5. Linda, I hope that postcard has stayed together. lol I think if I were doing them now my success rate would be greater using gel medium.
    I bet your fish was beautiful hung up in front of a window. Like stained glass.
    My mother isn't in the greatest health so I thought the dream was very interesting. :)Bea

  6. I have so many thoughts on this post of many memories, too.
    If you iron your crayon stubs together into a carpenter's pencil shape, it became my favorite crayon of many colors.
    Mothers are a bit like melted crayons, aren't they?
    Making paper dolls from Ladies Home Journal was fun! Glue to cardboard
    and invent the perfect family!

    xox, Lisa

  7. Lisa, my step sister and I used to make paper dolls from the Sears catalogue models. Then we would create the perfect home with everything that we could find in the catalogue. lol What fun we had.
    Thanks for bringing back that memory for me. :)Bea

  8. Oh Bea, what fun you had. I never had any such inspiration! I just used crayons and loved to colour things in! I did the melted wax thing at college in my 50s! I was a late starter. So. Gell medium..I have no real idea what that is. I used copydex mostly for material glueing and PVA glue for most other things. Is it an American thing? Does it come in a tube/jar/powder???