Tuesday, September 24, 2013

24 September 1959 “Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle in Color, Clam Dip and Today’s Art”

lobsterdipimage My first installation here on this year’s Vintage art project comes from this great graphic from a 1958 cookbook. I found this image, as I found many graphic arts of the time, intriguing in its simple line and use of color. It expresses so much with a line drawing and some splotches of color. I deduced to do my first piece using the woman and playing on her location a bit. I’ll reveal that at the end of the post.
Now, Kraft Music Hall was a show that began on radio and ran quite a long time. It started on Radio on NBC in 1933 and continued onto Television until 1971. Always featuring music. Many well known singers and celebrities were seen on this program which was, of course, brought to you by Kraft. So the commercials were often recipe ideas using, of course, Kraft brand products.
Here is the show in its radio days from 1942 with Bing Crosby. Enjoy the entire show if you like.

And by today, 1959, we see one of the first color recordings of the show, now hosted by Milton Berle.

Now, the original image was for Lobster dip and I think lobster is not as easy come by for many of you> I have the benefit of living on Cape Cod where they are not only easy to come by, but are caught quite close to my home. But, I think we all could follow this simple Clam Dip recipe. And what better snack to serve at your next cocktail party or bridge with the gals?
clamdip Here is how mine turned out, though I have to admit to using fresh clams, again easily got down the road at our local fishmonger.
Now,, for my art inspired by the original piece. I had fun with this idea of taking off on an image. It wont always contain a portion of the original image either, sometimes it might just be a feeling or a pattern. But, as a first go I like the result. I think this would also make wonderful wallpaper or fabric.

I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Arting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Coming Tomorrow

Had to finish something in studio today, so first official post/art/vintage project to be done and posted tomorrow afternoon. Apologies, but once I get going I shall be consistent.

I hope all are having a lovely day.


Monday, September 16, 2013

16 September “Plans Revealed”

Well, my show was a success. I sold a few things, made wonderful connections and had a chance to dress up and eat finger sandwiches with friends old and new and other artists. My life is opening in a new direction and I feel my time travel is my strength I carry into this new endeavor.

Well, having spent days literally absorbed in creating and the process of my art, I couldn’t help but formulate a new way to tie my ‘past’ (pun INTENDED) with a hopeful new future. Part of my work requires me to spend hours sorting through and dreaming upon old photos and images. Obviously the past plays a large role in my life and thus my art can only reflect that. And it is a joy, I might add, to day dream an afternoon away looking back at our sisters of the past peering happily from picnics, seashores, boats, porches, and drawing rooms. Sometimes skirts sweeping the floor other times smiling like Jean Harlow posed in a glamorous suit hamming it up to the person behind the lens. Wishing, often, to be able to hope through the image like Mary Poppins through a chalk drawing to reach those long gone faces doesn’t make me forlorn but rather reverent of their past. The wish to document their days in my own stylistic way is a pleasure and an honor.

Thus, while steeped in this lovely part of my work ( the longing and joy of old images and magazines and posters of the past strewn about me like so much detritus from a crash landing in my Time Travel ship) I hit upon the Plan the “Project” for the coming year:

I will take three days a week Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday to post my experiment (more days will hopefully come by Jan 1, but I gal wants to set a realistic goal to get her steam up!). My Project will entail me taking a page from one of my cookbooks, homemaking manuals, magazines, old ephemera that I have used in the past posts or some that I have never touched upon and apply it to my day and subsequently document it in a piece of art.

This really hit home to me as a great way to continue my homemaking skills and study and also interpreting it into a tangible piece of artwork. Say, a recipe from a magazine with lovely advertising catches my fancy, then I try out that recipe, discuss why and wherefore such advertising is used, the stylistic art and the general joy of finding such gems to the Homemaker of the past and in the end I also have a created piece of artwork in my style of printmaking.

I think this will be such fun. And if any of you really get involved you can even suggest or send me a page (digital or old fashioned) to interpret or try out. I am so looking forward to it and also to getting back into specific days chores gleaned from the pages of our past and brought to life in my home and in my artwork.

So, today I am my studio. I will share some photos of my work and the show this week. This week will be the preparation of my project and I will try to change the face of the site a bit to reflect it, as I love to do.

Then starting next week, 23 Sept, Monday, look for my first day of this new endeavor. And my hope will be stick with my three day a week schedule with the aim that come 1 Jan 2014 I will be prepared to go back to a five day a week schedule of homemaking/art interpretation. It is never to early to plan those New Years resolutions guys and gals.

And I have missed all of you so much and look forward to starting to build up some new friends and followers as well. I thing we may even find some gals who would never consider Homemaking of interest until they are drawn in by the artistic lure of it all. And we may find some new people out there in the blogosphere that suddenly find their artistic prowess has been hidden inside and can now be expressed through a wonderful new skill of baking/cooking or even the joy of fresh pressed linen sheets of a morning, the smell of coffee and crisp white linen being more Zen than hours of Yoga or Zoloft could ever give them!

Have a lovely day all and Happy Homemaking and Happy Arting.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Painting the Past

Well, I am one week before my show. I am working like crazy this week to get enough paintings/prints images ready for it. I have worked out a new schedule at my studio/gallery for my working days which will be Mon Fri and Sat. So, my blog schedule, Which will be off next week as I preapare for my show, will Now be Tues, Thurs, and Sunday.

I realized today that the real focus of my project and this year of my life is painting the past. I have lived in the past so long that its environment has become like a friend to me. It is walking in the past that feels most like coming home. 

This coming year will combine my continual obsession and research in to all things past and then my subsequent need to manifest it into something. This has been my writing and well, my living, up to now. But as the opportunity is here to be in a studio it seems the right timing.

Honestly I sort of feel as if I am back here again, like i was 1 January 1955, calling out my small little voice to no one. But, you know, eventually they all came and we had a wonderful community. My problem was I was not willing to 'brand myself' and make it into more of a business so it could sustain all the work I put into it .Now, I feel, I can write about and enjoy a part of something that I can sell small things here and there and that will give me the monetary impetus to move forward. 

So, to anyone out there I am still here. And to any new friends who stumble along, I hope you come along for the ride.


​Solar Etching with Color Wash “The Twins”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Summer Ends

Labor Day has come and gone. Summer has spent its vivid bright moments of bike rides to the shore, lazing in sun dappled lawns and sandy footed screen door slams.

I am working away on my art work. And though this weekend past was anything but conducive for picnic, I couldn't help but think of the wonderful movie Picnic from 1955. I shared it once, but the entire movie is no longer available to view for free online, but this snippet has such a feel of summer and the sizzle of big Hollywood films of the mid 1950s. William Holden and Kim Novak sizzle and the colors and film quality makes me think of cotton candy and wrinkled cotton prints, dotted swiss and cold potato salad.


boygirlstraw Oddle enough there is a filmed staged version from the mid 1980's that star some up and coming actors many of you may recognize. It is not bad and would be good for a night you want to stay in but instead make a fun dinner theatre spread, have your friends dress 1950's and watch this version, maybe will sipping old fashioned soda pop out of glass bottles with paper straws.


My shared work for today is called "the Secret". When I stumbled upon the old photo of young gals at the beach with a cigarette I was drawn in. And with the current style of slightly abstracted screen-printed image over mono prints, I thought it was successful, as it both appears as a shared cigarette or as a surprise one gal is showing the other.


Back to work for me. I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Artmaking.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A chair is a chair is a chair…My New Project Year.

waitingOver the past year I have taken what I thought was a sabbatical from my living experiments; my "performance art" if you will. Having delved so deeply into the past so as to be as close to a time traveler as is possible, I needed a break, I thought, from such intense 'art pieces' as living the life of a 1950's homemaker.

Thus, this past year was born. I quietly slipped from the computer screen with my writing and out of the kitchen. I let slide my petticoats and girdle, the pearls came off and the cookbooks began to gather a bit of dust. I took a small part time job at a cafe to be out in the world. Eat was easy to slip back into the modern world, but not so easy to let go of the past, my 'created past' and the action of living in a very determined way. 

I even purchased, for very little money, an older model 'smart phone'. Though I did not use it as my actual cell phone (far too frugal from the '50's to fall for that) it was a pocket computer if you will. It had wireless capability and the cafe where I worked had free wireless, so each break time I would sit and read all the news. The daily modern news. This was another way in which I began letting the modern world wash over me. 

I began to make friends as well and to really connect with the general public. It was an odd sensation at first, so many people coming at me with their digital devices, the fast paced world of modernity. I found, too, as I returned home, it was easier, on work days to cook more simply. To let the homemade set aside for my 'day off' days to retain what I had learned from the past.

It became easier to wear a modern knit dress or slacks. The curlers sat unused and unloved. My regime at the dressing table a thing of the Past, if you will excuse my pun. Now, as time marched forward, the 21st century ever enveloping me, I began to consider two things:  

1. When one moves outside the home, even part time, to take a job, the job of Home, the joy of homemaking becomes a chore. I found this an odd sensation after three plus years of really seeing my home and my time there as my job. 

2.And second I realized this year, into which I was well halfway, was not a return to 'reality' but in fact, simply another project year that I had not defined in writing or too the blogosphere. Yet, it was, it is, very much a project. The project of 'playing at' being a modern 21st century person.  

Dressing easier and with less regard. Eating easier and with less concern. Spending a bit less frugally and turning a blind eye. Using technology in more casual ways, with less intent and purpose and more as a passive use of time; a way to 'use it up' a concept my 1955 self would never have done. I often wondered how I got done what I did do with the time I had each day and wondered how I would have even been able to schedule an hour of 'passive computer entertainment time". 

All the while, the 1955 me, the 50's gal persona that had blurred in and out of my psyche over the past years, kept creeping into my field of vision. And then I began to see it wasn't a past character I had tried to play. Or even an old sense of guilt nudging at my conscious mind, but it was, in fact, a mirror. It was the reflection of who I had become and trapped, this reflection of me, often returned to me to wonder at what I was about and when, hopefully, would I return to my senses. 

Part of this past year has resulted in much 'soul searching'. In wondering how can that 1955 me I become rectify themselves to the modern world without being 'of' the modern world, but successfully living 'in' it? Through fate or chance or luck or what have you, I gained some wonderful friendships over the past year. And one such friend lead me to my current plan for the coming year: The year of Art.

I often found myself comparing the 'artist me' with the 1950's me because to keep a home, really Make and Create it, is the act of an artist. And I came to realize all those years and centuries of our past sisterhood who did indeed, 'keep home' shouldn't receive our disdain or our 'holier than thou' stares of modernity thinking we have somehow got it all figured out and are so much more free and powerful then them. I remember constantly being surprised by myself in the day to day of my homemaking and thinking, "I thought this would feel more like a prison. Or I should feel more put upon or frustrated" but again and again I found, when one was allowed to BE a homemaker. To have the career (not job) of keeping and making a home, the artists world of delight and creation opened up before me. 

So, as this year ends, when I find myself lucky in my new friend who has made it possible for me to have a studio and art space again, I realized there is a 'thing' a 'something' I can be, or really that I am, that takes all the passion and knowledge of my past self and aligns it in a way to dwell IN the modern world but not be OF it: That, of course is ART. 

So, this year (Sept to Sept) I am going to dwell in art. It is going to receive the passion and attention my Homemaking life did. And yet, it will not be truly separate, as it will be highly colored by it. I have left the cafe. I am focused on the creation of things. And, having rented our house out for the Summer, are but only two days away from returning to our little home which will be glad to have a part of the 1955 me back.  

This returning, both physically to my house after three months, and a return, in part, to what I love of the past, can find its justification in the present with the results of my little attempts at physical creation. Part of this year off lead me to take classes in Printmaking and Screen-printing and these have become the tools I use now to take my concepts and my ideas of the past, nay my very obsession with Women, The Home, and our connection to a physical realm. 

I found, without any specific intent, my art in my classes was often figural almost exclusively women and often in conjunction with the home rather it was a chair, another obsession of mine, or simply dwelling in an almost illusory space outside or around a home.

So, this year is going to see a return to the things I loved of Homemaking, cooking, decorating, keeping my home and the frugality of it, as well as adjusting my past and present self to the world through creating physical art. I am lucky to have found an outlet for it in a physical building (in fact my friend and I are having an opening in two weeks of our work!) it feels more real. And so I want that part of my past self, the blog/internet world, to also be a part of it.  

Now, the nuts and bolts of this coming year:

1. I am going to blog on a set schedule of Mon Wed Fri each week. 

2. My goals are to create art each week that both celebrates and evaluates our role as women in the past. Our story of the Home and the domestic history that is truly our own. 

3.To make sure my past skills of cooking, cleaning, sewing, thrift and frugality, and general love and passion for the past will play a part in my posts and thus my artwork. I am not sure exactly how this will pan out each week, but then again, I didn't know what to expect back when I dove head first into 1955. But I know I am a changed and better person for it and so I shall take that gusto and verve along for this ride. 

4. I am going to be true to that part of the artist that is often treated as not important, the business side. I currently am lucky to have a small space to work and to hang/sell things. But, my intention shall be to build a body of work and items to be sold on this site and possibly Esty as well. To take the passion and determination of Homemaking and apply it to what should be a realistic look at the business side of one's art is going to be important to me this year. Rather or not I sell a thing the goal to make it possible to do so is one of the main tenets of this year.

If any of my old followers are interested in this new endeavor of mine, I do hope they come along for the ride. And perhaps we may pick up some new people along the way. Perhaps artists that never thought anything of the homemaker other than a slave to the home or a small town homemaker who thought of artists as bohemian n'er do wells, will meet up and see the similarity in us all. We are bound by a history of the home and domesticity, good or bad it is OUR story and I think it continues to need to be told and evaluated and cherished and rekindled into the modern world.


I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Artmaking.

My New Main Site which is currently still a little rough is www.donnadavisart.com

I will update as we go along. This site may remain as it is with the link to the other not sure how to rectify those two together just as of yet.

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