my life is an art project

….adventures in annieland

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Independent Women, 2014

Here’s some graphic design/collage/letting work which I have been adding to here and there. I have always enjoyed making collages, whether they are created by hand, or with computer programs. This project prompted me to explore the work of collage artists, both historical and contemporary. I was inspired by contemporary artists like Eugenia Loli, Robert Mars, and Sammy Slabbinck. Once these are finished, I will have the collages printed as a small book via Click on the image to see more. 

PAGE1A copyIndependent Women, page detail, 5″ x 5″, 2014

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The Waters’ Cemetery

Some of my people (specifically, folks on my paternal grandmother’s father’s side of the family) are buried just a short hike off of Skyline Drive, in the Shenandoah National Park. There are several cemeteries located within the National Park boundaries. The National Park Service leaves the upkeep and maintenance of these small graveyards in the care of familial descendants. Though we, ourselves, have not visited this plot in several years, it was tidy, and free of tree branches and other natural litter. This is quite possibly thanks to the crews who maintain the Appalachian Trail, which runs just nearby. Downed trees which had been cleanly cut allowed access to the various paths surrounding the cemetery. 

The origins of the Park is a sore topic to this day in certain Virginia counties, eighty-some years after eminent domain forced families to leave the mountains they called home. This issue calls up mixed emotions. Some of my ancestors worked for and helped to create Shenandoah National Park, with the intention of preserving the land for future generations to enjoy. Some of my other ancestors, their friends, and neighbors, lived on those mountainsides, and wished only to go on living the life they had been born into, on land that they cherished.  

Anyhow, I’ll leave that discussion for another day…or a book, ha!

Yesterday, after a lovely picnic at Elk Wallow with my maternal grandparents, parents, nephew, and his good friend, we visited the small cemetery. The tiny plot, and its six graves, faces away from Skyline Drive, and into the forest and mountains beyond. Each grave is marked with a headstone and footstone of granite or marble. Each headstone features meticulously handcarved lettering. The Waters’ cemetery (this one at least, as there are two) holds the remains of James, his wife Barbara, and their four children. Sallie, born in 1872, lived to be just over three years old. Vergie, born in 1887, lived until her ninth month. Authur, born in 1892, passed away at about five months of age, and Elbert, born in 1894, lived to be almost eleven. James passed away in 1896, having lived until he was sixty five years old, and his wife, Barbara, joined him, and their children, just over three years later, in 1899, at the age of sixty six.



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Sharon’s album

My Dad recently built some lovely bookcases in his basement, and in the process of sorting out his books, he found a photo album that his sister Sharon had loaned him a few years back. I believe the album belonged to Nanny, my paternal grandmother. I have been scanning the photos enclosed in the album, I just had to post this one. This is my aunt Sharon, circa 1971. It may have been taken on her birthday, which is in April. I love her style, the lines of the car behind her, and the hazy mountains in the background. 


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Self portrait (work in progress)

I’m creating this self portrait with Photoshop.

Just an example of  how I create graphic illustrations- I love the process of sorting through textures, colors and patterns- often pulling from my own photographs and family documents, or from public domain image archives.

I like the idea of creating layers and layers of images-each layer and image working together to create a whole.

Glorified collage, you say? Sure! I’m grateful for technology and all the various programs that allow me to bring these collages to life- I’ve tried to create some of these ideas with paper collage techniques, and they just fall flat (ha ha….get it? Fall “flat’? Trying to create a 2d image that has depth..? Oh, nevermind).

This image shows the portrait in all it’s layered, collage-y, half-finished glory.



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Ex Libris

My Father and I are both big fans of the written word- we love to absorb words, and to produce them. My Dad created a website that features some of his writing- what he calls his “Midnight Ramblings,” which you can see here.

I am working on a project- a book (more bookarts! Hurrah!) that I’m tentatively calling “Ex Libris.” This book will contain poems and short pieces written by my Dad and me. This collection will be contained in an altered 3-ring notebook that was originally intended to list one’s book collection.

Here are a few bits: