Friday, June 17, 2016

Can a House be a Muse? Part 1

Darlene, Melissa, and their Mother Erna (along with their husbands) purchased a Victorian style,  historically land marked house on the corner of Hattie and May St. in Fort Worth, Texas. Darlene, Melissa and Erna are the "Three Danes Baking Company" Erna is from Denmark and still has the wonderful accent. Their cakes, pastries and cookies are amazing, everything is. They purchased the house to make into a Bed and Breakfast, it will be The Three Danes Inn with the Bakery located at the side kitchen entry.

Darlene has asked me to do an art piece for the check-in area. (No pressure huh?) I was honored and ecstatic, but then a bit worried, because I had been blocked for some time, working on pieces and having them not turn out the way I want. I just had to keep telling myself that it will be fine, once I start, it will all fall into place. My sister Camilla had been emailing me inspirations, knowing my concern.

 Last Friday, I met with my dear sweet wonderful, talented beautiful friend  Darlene Marks and her funny and charming husband Jim Johnson. (I have more adjectives, but I thought you would roll your eyes.)  My sister Camilla and I had a wonderful dinner and conversation with them at Cannon Chinese Kitchen which is around the corner of the house they purchased.  Afterwards we walked to the house and they showed us all the new updates and progress, as the house needed quite a lot of TLC.  As soon as I walked into the house, I felt like I had walked into another time. I felt happy, and like the house was hugging us all. I was immediately inspired and took as many photos as possible. I just wanted to throw a futon on the floor and plop down and absorb the loving energy I felt.

I had asked Darlene to get anything I could use for the art piece, since I usually do a mixed media, I will collage old recipes, letters, photos, in the background to give it a more personal, meaningful piece, then paint over it.  Since I have known Darlene since we were kids, I know a lot about her, but I didn't know much about her mother's family in Denmark or Darlene and Melissa's husbands Jim and Bobby. I love hearing family stories and seeing old family photos.  Darlene brought me her mothers oldest apron, and 1950's recipe booklet written in Danish, a photo of the house her mother grew up in, and more, Jim sent me a photo of his grandfather with his 2 horses and dog and a historical land marked house they had owned. After leaving them and the house, I could not wait to get started, my brain started working in overload and I was ecstatic that the block had been broken.

Can a house be a muse? If you walk into this house, I guarantee that you would say yes.

 Follow Three Danes Baking Company on Facebook and order something delicious.
 Follow Three Danes Inn on Facebook for updates and follow their journey til opening day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

When I was at TCU, one of our projects was to research a famous graphic designer and do a poster representing that person. Our instructor passed around a sheet of paper with names on it. I didn't know any of these people, except for a few names that sounded familiar from previous lessons in our class. By the time the sheet of paper got to me, there were only a few names left, I randomly picked Paul Rand. I noticed next to the names were dates, the birth year and year of death. My guy, Mr. Paul Rand, had the year 1914 next to his name, but nothing else. I went to the library and pulled every book on Paul Rand I could find. He did such simple designs, Paul Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute (1929-1932), the Parsons School of Design (1932-1933), and the Art Students League (1933-1934). He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, and beginning again in 1974, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. He designed many posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS and ABC.  I could go on and on, but I will just link you to a website dedicated to him if you want to learn more about him.

In my research, I read on one of the books back flap that He lived in Connecticut with his wife....thinking back, I can't remember what city, but I had this idea to call information and just see if he was actually listed. I had not thought this all the way through, but when I got the operator and asked if there was a Paul Rand in that city in Connecticut, she said, yes, and gave me the phone number. I was going through the motions, just thinking it isn't the famous graphic designer Paul Rand, and I am sure no one will answer the phone anyway....I was just fumbling through the day, playing around, procrastinating on doing anything that took much effort...I was slouched on the floor with my long coiled-corded phone......I dialed the number..... I remember to this day.....not thinking that anything would come of this... I was surprisingly nonchalant. A lady answered, and I immediately sat up straight upon hearing her voice. I asked, "Hi, Is Paul Rand there?" "She said yes, hold on." Before she left the phone I quickly continued, "Paul Rand the graphic designer?", she said, "Yes, Let me go get him, he is out in the yard." I quickly rearranged myself from sitting on the floor to sitting on my bed....My nonchalant persona became flustered and confused. I couldn't think of anything to say or ask. He came to the phone and said "Hello" and I said "Hi, my name is Charla Marion and I'm a graphic design student at TCU", I can't remember if he knew TCU or not, can't remember if he asked me where I was from either. I told him I was supposed to do a poster on him. He asked if I wanted to be a graphic designer. I told him I wanted to do that and illustrations and computer graphics. I remember him saying that I probably needed to pick one. We talked a bit about all the different things I wanted to do.( I wish I had recorded this conversation, but I didn't know it was going to happen.) I was not prepared. He joked, saying "Jack of all trades, Master of none." Then he asked me what I was going to put on the poster, I had no idea. I was very shy and he pretty much carried the conversation.  We had talked about mixing things up,(or maybe how mixed up I was, not sure)  I wanted to do all these different things with my art and not really knowing which one I really wanted to do....He said, you could put a blender on the poster. We laughed....I know at the time, it made sense, and trying to remember all the details now, 26 years later, is really hard. BUT....He was funny, he was kind, and he gave me, a stranger...his time....He truly wanted to help me, encourage me, and give me some direction.....Like Maya Angelou said, "you may not remember what people say or do, but you will remember how they made you feel." And this is so true, I don't remember everything, but I remember how thoughtful and kind and humorous he was. 

When working on the poster, I played with blenders, but couldn't make it work, I ended up playing around with his signature and some modern style graphics.

 In our class, we have to get in front of the class and talk about our piece and let the instructor critique our finished piece in front of everyone. I got an A for research, she was most impressed that I talked to Mr. Paul Rand, but she said my poster was "too Matisse".....From time to time after that, My Mom would joke and say, I hope this isn't "too Matisse" for you ....which is like telling an actor trying to act like Sandra Bullock, that their acting was a bit too Meryl Streep....(yes I watched the Oscars last night, that is why I use this analogy).  I still find that I am a Jack of all Trades in my art.....but for me, I need that balance, otherwise I get burned out. ....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today I was thinking about summer. What I did as a kid during the summer. My summers mostly consisted of trips to my grandparents, summer camp, playing outside, my birthday and GDRA.  GDRA stood for, General Dynamics Recreation Area, my Dad worked for General Dynamics which is now Lockheed Martin and they had a large area that had a football field, baseball field, basketball gym, dance hall, fishing area, picnic area, playground, and pool. We spent a lot of time at GDRA. It had a huge Olympic size pool and diving boards and platforms. I remember jumping off the high platform when I was only 5, ok, I don't really remember it, but my Mom reminds me of that time and tells me how she looked up as I jumped and it scared her out of her mind. I was fearless then. I wish I could be fearless now. What would that look like, if we all lived our life like we were 5 years old and fearless? When did we learn to be fearful? This picture is in my backyard growing up. I can't count the candles, but I think I must be 8 or 9. I am the one in pink!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This evening, after my son's 18th birthday party had slowed down enough for me to take a break,  I plopped down on my bed for a short time to just relax and chill for a bit while the boys were off doing other things.  I flipped the channels to see what was on, not really intending on watching anything unless there was something good on. I stopped at Freaky Friday because I love Jamie Lee Curtis. The movie was at the part where Anna was performing for an audition to be in some big band thingy, but it was really the mother in her body. She didn’t know how to play the guitar and was very uncomfortable. When the part came for her solo, she froze. But then all of a sudden you hear the hard rock electric guitar burst out from the side of the stage, it was the mother, but really Anna in the mother's body(Jamie Lee Curtis)…. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside and even got a bit teary eyed…thank goodness the boys were gone, or they would have made fun of me. I was wondering why this part of the movie, this silly kids movie touched me that way. I realized that it was this part in every movie that I love, when someone comes in unexpectedly and saves the day. Rescues someone, helps someone out when they need it the most, when you think all hope is lost.….the unexpected hero, comes in and saves the day. No cape, no tights, just a regular person doing something extraordinary, an act of kindness….And I thought... What if everyone saved someone else’s day. What if we acted like heros in someone’s life? I started thinking about it, and I thought, wow, that is hard. Time and money are hard to come by…then I saw this cute little video on facebook, posted by a friend of a friend and thought maybe we can all do something, even something as small as writing a hand written note and leaving it on someone’s doorstep. Check this out:

This line of thinking brought my mind to the movie Bruce Almighty, when Bruce (Jim Carey) says, "Be the Miracle".