Friday, January 17, 2014


The thing I love about Mixed Media is using all kinds of different things to create a piece of art. I'm not locked into just fiber or paint.  I can combine them and even add the odd and different to express myself. I'm not limited so there is always a new challenge on what to use.
Here we are at about layer four. That's the other thing I love about Mixed Media, layers and layers of interesting things to add depth and interest to a piece.
I've started to add layers of machine embroidery and bits of shapes for oak leaves and snow. The little bit of white poking up at the bottom is an antique lace that I had and it looks like the tops of a fence post, doesn't it?
On this layer I've added some painted cheesecloth and painted rice paper and some variegated thread painting for brush.
I got the cheesecloth and painted rice paper layers sewed down then I started adding another layer to the front of the edge of the woods and the path.
When I it at my sewing machine and look out my window this is what I see. I know the view I see and what I am creating are not exactly the same but they seem to have a kindred feeling. 
I had taken a break after being hunched over the sewing machine adding branch after branch, start, backtrack, sew, end, backtrack all to make sure that the beginnings of each branch and the end don't unravel. It's not exciting work, rather mind numbing and after awhile my upper back and neck scream out for a break.
So, I was having some tea, making notes about positive expressions I wanted to put on my Inspiration Flags I was making. I often have more than one project in the works. I had ripped the canvas into assorted sizes and shapes and was putting gesso on a few at a time. 
While they were drying and I was easing my neck muscles and writing down thoughts I found myself thinking about Boomer.
Before you know it I had turned over the sheet of paper and was creating a poem about him. It's not a great poem. In fact it was as if I was being TOLD about him by somebody. I got it done, not happy with the last line but thought I would run it past John and see what he thought.
I printed out the poem on a fabric sheet, then applied it to the base fabric. I added a layer of a very loose wool lace that I cut up from a scarf I found at the charity store. I tacked that down then added machine embroidered white bushes to that layer. Then I covered it with a shiny white slightly iridescent layer of organza and started another layer of machine embroidery on top of that.  This time I used various shades of Ecru, Beige and Eggshell thread. 
The layers give that portion of the piece depth and interest, shading and contrast while still keeping it in a monochrome.  The interest and the eye still go to the top where all the "action" is. It's a design layout I seem partial too.

I rather like that the poem is broken up and hidden under the snow and field details. It's like his story was hidden, buried and not important. But, it's there. When the snow melts the story is still there.

In a way, I found as I was working on this that I was thinking about all the young men that come back from wars, damaged one way or another.  So many of them are not the same. Some can pull it together to get on with their life and some just barely cope. They do get an education in war. It may not be the kind of education that translates easily back into civilization. 

Whatever Boomer was before he went to war he was not the same when he came home. His little cabin still stands at the edge of the woods. The owners of that part of the woods have taken care of the little place. They have honored it for different reasons. They treat it as if it were the original homestead. They have put a little veggie garden out in front of it and window boxes under the windows. I'm not sure why Eunice and her husband let Boomer build the house on their land. Maybe he was a relative, maybe they felt sorry for him. Eunice and her husband are gone and the land divided up by the family. A subdivision occupies one side of the road and the woods and the rest of us, this side.

I think about him when I walk the woods. I think about how he represents all those other poor souls that war has damaged. So, this Ode to Boomer has become more than just his story to me.
It's taken longer than I thought it would to get this far on this piece. I find I don't mind the detail work.
I glance out my window, into the woods and smile.

Part of your story is out there now, Boomer.

It's not, perhaps the best story.  It is certainly a very sad one but I thinks it speaks to many.


1 comment:

  1. Very, very beautiful and profound sentiment. Love the piece and the poem that came with it. I think that's the true power of art--to promote thought, ideas. Yours is the intersection between the sublime and real. Thanks for sharing the process. Love the piece.