Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Buried Treasure RELOADED
Dawn’s First Cup of Fascination
About a week ago, Seth Apter of The Altered Page Blog posted a second call for hosts of Art Blogs to repost one or two of their ‘ancient’ posts and then link to his Blog (as I did above) where he would post a list of all the Art Blogs that agreed to participate in his Buried Treasure, Part Deux. Since I’ve only had the blog up since February, I doubt any of mine could be considered old. The first time around I got little work done at my own drawing table while feasting my eyes on all the eye-candy I’d been missing in the blogosphere, and I don’t expect anything different this time. Let’s get on with it!
I was perhaps four or five years old when my folks took me to the opening of the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. That trip started me on a fabulous artistic voyage that continues even today.
It wasn’t an easy task to get me to write a Thank You to Grandpa and Grandma for the presents they sent, but after seeing what Russell did on envelopes and letters, I was hooked – for life. From that day forward, as long as I could draw something on paper to “go-with” the thank you, I was a happy, but not very wordy letter writer.
In late January of this year, my wife and I made a fascinating trip to Seattle that included a side excursion to Saltspring Island, BC. We stayed in Seattle with my sister Penny and her husband Chuck, and she and her daughter Dalwyn graciously agreed to guide me to Canada to meet the author and artist Nick Bantock in his studio. Penny was the tour guide and Dalwyn the pilot. Myself, I was just along for the ride.
For those of you who don’t know who Nick Bantock is – he’s the author and artist of the best selling Trilogy, Griffin and Sabine, two artists that exist only in Nick’s world. Griffin lives in London and creates postcards. Sabine lives on one of the (fictitious) Sicmon Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and creates postage stamps for the islands. They carry on a correspondence, and the reader is allowed to ‘share’ it.
How did I end up in Nick’s studio? My oldest sister Penny and my youngest sister Judy were shopping one day in Seattle a number of years ago and saw Griffin and Sabine, took one look at the cover, and decided that this was a book that I would appreciate – and I did.
Nick has also written a book called Urgent 2nd Class, which is truly an artist’s guide to utilizing ephemera as a part of your art. We spent the afternoon looking at his art firsthand, and I came away from his studio with the idea of giving old paper a second life with a different twist than Nick’s.
The first thing that I did after returning to Helena was to visit the local antique shops. Whereas Nick was incorporating various pieces of old paper into his art, I struck upon the idea of finding old paper that had references to something I could portray visually – on the paper itself.
The second shop I visited had no paper but for a large two gallon baggie full of sheet music for the princely sum of $7.00. I hadn't intended to even look through it, but it happened to be the only paper that was in this shop, and I was somehow compelled to look. I leafed through the contents and near the bottom I found what amounted to a ‘book’ entitled "Un Giorno In Venezia", or “A Day in Venice”. It included four songs "for the Pianoforte", which was the forerunner to the piano. This small music ‘book’ was published in 1898, and although there were no pencil marks or penned names included, the lower right corner and entire bottom edge of all the pages were badly foxed and the lower right corner of the opening page, "Dawn", was stained from being thumbed as that first page was turned - perhaps hundreds of times. It hooked me.
I contemplated what to do with this find for several days and remembered that my sister's husband, Chuck Pefley, had been to Venice and perhaps had some pictures which would help me give this music a second life that didn't include being stifled in a large baggie. I perused his site until I found this picture of a cup of coffee, taken while it perched on the railing of the balcony outside the apartment he stayed in while he was in Venice - at Dawn. I immediately knew what Dawn needed - and that was a cup of coffee.
What you see is the result of "wedding" the vision of one artist with that of another, and "First Cup" now hangs on the wall.
And while you're at it, you might want to look at Chuck’s Blog Post for June 18th to see what the Fascination is all about.