New River Autumn

•December 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

Acrylic Palette Knife Painting

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Potency and Asanti, two sculptures

•June 8, 2009 • 5 Comments

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Above:  Potency  (Sold)

Below:  Asanti  (Sold)

I have been experimenting with a gooey substance with paper and glue.  It is a premixed papier mache product.  It hardens nicely and does not break and shatter like ceramic (although one of my pieces was broken just befgore entering it in a juried show)  One of the difficulties and the tricks to success is, of course, a successful armature. It has needed as much thought and creative juice to make one as it is to make the final sculpture.  I would work with clay, but really need a class.  There is not one available for sculpture and modeling.  I don’t want to throw pots so I have been on hold for one of those for years.

Alice Lee Lambeth Hill October 18, 1916- February 10, 2009

•April 20, 2009 • 4 Comments

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My mother’s youngest sister was naturally blond and beautiful.  She loved to have fun.  It seemed to me that there was a light all around her…..a cheerful shimmer.  As a little girl I was drawn to it.  Her mother and my mother called her Alice Lee because she was named for her aunt, my grandmother’s sister, Alice Green.  Adding the Lee distinguished the two Alice’s.

 

She was a fabulous aunt.  Though she invited my brother, who was the same age as her son, to go on family vacations, she included me too. She liked to mother us all.  My brother and I were spending long summers with her and her husband and son when we were too young to be anything but bathed, dressed and cared for like children of her own.  Her pancakes were just the yummiest breakfast that would get us ready to go out on some adventure.  At my current age, I am impressed that she took two small children into her family life just for fun.

 

We often stayed in Carthage at her house and drove to Aberdeen Lake to swim or to the municipal pool in Sanford. If she and her husband planned to go to Carolina Beach or White Lake for a week or two, my little brother and I were included.  It was only because of being a guest of hers that I was able to learn to swim. I never went anywhere to swim while at my own home.

 

The lake and the beach still had the big old cabins with screened porches that I miss now.  We set up housekeeping for the time we were there. I remember going crabbing with Alice Lee and the two little boys and catching and netting crabs….blue points she called them.  We took them home in a bucket of marsh water and she cooked them (live).   It was a shocker but this new eastern dish was new and unusual for me and it was exciting to try something different.  I learned about how people on the coast would eat.  I remember big oyster roasts on the beach in hte evenings with all the people who were in the surrounding cabins gathered around the fire having a party while cracking open the oysters with knives.  They didn’t all know each other when the roast started but by the end of the evening they were friends.

 

Sometimes Alice Lee would go out in the evening with her husband and leave us with a sitter.  I would watch her get dressed and put on her makeup and fix her hair.  It was a lesson in femininity for me. I felt assured that I would grow up to be beautiful just like she was. One night she took us all with her to a square dance in a large pavilion at the beach.  I remember what an event it was for me.  I watched the adults whirling around the big room and we three kids danced in the corner.

 

When I would go to her home for a visit, she would always say, “We are going to have such fun”! 

 

I used to muse about why she was so fun loving.  It seems that all my family generations were just so spread out.  My grandfather, her father was born in 1862 (during the Civil War) and died when I was four.  My grandmother, born in 1875, lived to be over 90, however, and died a year after I was married.  I was born when my mother was 36. I felt that I did not have a clear picture of who my grandparents were in their youth. I knew them when they were old.  My grandmother told me that my grandfather fell in love with her when she was very young….under aged… and decided to wait for her to grow up.  He not only waited for her to come of age, he waited until she had finished college and taught school for a few years before he married her.  My mother and her brother were born when my grandmother was in her early thirties (my grandfather was in his forties).  When Alice Lee was born, in 1916, my Granny (her mother) would have been 41 but my Papa (her father) would have been 54. 

 

He was a farmer and a hard working man.  He did not have a large farm and Granny sold eggs and butter to pay for piano lessons for my mother (who eventually earned a music degree from Greensboro College) and to pay tuition for Alice Lee when she later went to Woman’s College in Greensboro. 

 

When Alice Lee was still a kid, her older sister, my mother, would be starting college. Alice Lee would have been left at home with parents who were quite old for a youngster.  So, I have to think that my Granny and Papa were fun loving and gave her a bright outlook on life that she carried with her.  It has always been an interesting insight to me, because I had a picture of people who worked hard all day and had very little to show for it as being glum and cheerless.  But how could a pretty little girl come out of such down trodden family and be sunny and happy?  Her aging mother and father must have had a positive outlook on life.  Good for them!

 

When she was alone at home with her parents her father suffered a serious stroke.  After that, he could no longer farm and they moved from the country to Sanford.  Later, in the middle of WWII, I would be born in Sanford and brought to their home from the hospital. 

 

I was to spend many a wonderful summer with my Granny learning to paint and crochet and cook and take care of my clothes.  I learned how to treat all the various fabrics and Granny, who had a treadle sewing machine, taught me to sew. During these summers with my grandmother, Alice Lee always stopped by to check in and would take me to a movie or swimming or shopping for something new to wear to school in the fall.  She was truly a second mother.

 

When I was a teenager, she finally had a beautiful little girl of her own and this little girl was less the tomboy that I tended to be.  Alice Lee had made a great mother for a son and now, her daughter would bring her many years of joy as she grew up and would be a steadfast help to her in her old age. When my little cousin was a baby I sat for her a few times but not often as I did not live nearby.

 

Alice Lee became an artist after her retirement from teaching school and she was very skilled for one who had not studied art before.  I had majored in art so we had something new in common. She was a watercolorist and I thought that required a great deal of discipline.  

 

I continued to visit her and to be close to her as the years went by but, in my own advancing years, my stamina has failed me and driving at night is stressful. I was fearful of making trips to see her and then having to come home in the same day.  I was afraid darkness would catch me.  My visits to her dropped off and I let her down in her last years.  Dementia set in and I selfishly did not want to see her in that condition because I was afraid she would remind me of my own mother at that age and state of mind. 

 

I usually maintain my composure for a funeral.  I gave a eulogy for my father without my voice breaking once.  But at Alice Lee’s funeral, in Carthage, where I remembered so many wonderful times, and at the graveyard beside my grandparents in Sanford, I lost it. She was the last of that generation to go and my last link with my own parents with whom I shared a very strong bond. “Age is a lonely time,” my father once said.  “Your family starts to die off and your friends are showing up on the obituary page.”  I guess it has started.  Old age.  We feel like we didn’t quite finish what we started.  It is the timeless cycle we cannot escape.

 

Had she been cognitive, I think Alice Lee would have been smiling when she died.  She had a good life.  She made sure she had fun.

Carole Stockton November 3, 1953-March 23, 2009

•March 26, 2009 • 2 Comments

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Carole Stockton had worked at Wachovia for around twenty years when she decided to find a more artistic path to follow.  It was a big and scary decision and she showed courage in making it.  She had studied art and interior design at the Art Institute of Charlotte and in other classes but had never been able to pursue it.  When she decided to make art her new raison d’etre, The Charlotte Art League was a fortunate recipient of her freshly directed energies.  She, herself, was not as active at producing art as she was in making new visions for the membership at CAL come to fruition. 
 
Carole showed her interior decorating sensibilities when she took over the exhibitions chair and installed the most beautiful and elegant of exhibits with our usual eclectic entries.  The last half of the adage that goes something like “you can make a good piece of art look bad if poorly displayed and a bad piece of art look good if beautifully displayed” was, on occasion, proved by Carole’s skill. Her exhibits were of professional quality, even when the works were often amateur. She loved the works of all with an appreciation and belief that every artistic effort by anyone is of great value. 
 
When she found an opportunity to form a partnership with Goodwill Industries, Carole took me and a few others with her to Goodwill to meet with Diane Weekley and Patrick Burris. It was time to begin a plan.  Organization was important to her. The liaison between Goodwill Industries and the Charlotte Art League resulted in a stunning exhibit of works by the Goodwill consumers.  Many pieces sold and the money went to the consumers, helping them realize that making art was more than just fun.  It could take on a professional aspect and they could realize some income from it. The Goodwill Exhibit in March of last year, was given prominent publicity in The Charlotte Observer, putting CAL on the local map as a community minded organization.
 
Carole had wanted to do a Graffiti exhibit at CAL and found a “retired” graffiti artist from New York City who was living in Charlotte and raising three great kids.  His tag was “Desism” and so she called him “Des”.   She brought Des to the Charlotte Art League with other graffiti colleagues and they did a May graffiti workshop which drew people of all ages to discover the technique of spray painting large images onto walls……not an easy technique to master.  There were middle school kids and their parents too.  There were grey haired folks and tattooed and pierced young people and a member of the ASC. In addition to this workshop, the graffiti artists painted the walls of the gallery at CAL during the Art n Soul festival ……..which was down the street so, this graffiti project drew a crowd that would not have otherwise come by that day. The art league again got a major article in The Observer.
 
CAL’s main gallery sponsored an exhibit with graffiti as its theme and our members did special works that were so inspired.  Other graffiti artists entered works and hordes of young people, who had never darkened the doors of CAL, flocked in that month. In addition, Carole had Des do a program on the history of graffiti and what it can be.  He showed images from around the world and some were of practical public projects and professional designs that a graffiti artist could be paid to do.  More people attended that May program then had ever attended a May program at CAL ….at least during the time of my membership. Carole wanted the side of our building to “pop” with life and color like some of the buildings in Des’ PowerPoint presentation and she obtained permission to have the graffiti artists she had met to design a graffiti mural that would make us show up and look like the vibrant grass roots organization that we try to be.
 
Not long ago she started talking a lot about an outreach classroom at CAL and, from the research we had done, it was a good idea.  Art centers often have to provide services to the community by bringing in the people served.  Doing that is very helpful in finding funding. We brought Goodwill consumers to CAL and started classes for the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Clubs. The classroom we are now enjoying, was a dream of hers.  She never got to see it. We are using it in her memory, to be sure. We may still carry out some more of her ideas for it.  She had the idea to work with the visually impaired and to mount an exhibit in October featuring art by and for the visually impaired.  It is an amazingly bold idea and one we have started working on.
 
To me, the most admirable trait Carole possessed was the innate understanding of true friendship.  She was always interested in the “other guy.”  A patient listener, she would draw out the shyest of artists …or other types.  She was sympathetic about your fears, enthusiastic about your dreams, and forgiving of your mistakes.   It was a rare gift.  She was eager to enjoy more of the life she was now living and I watched her fight her dreadful disease with all the strength she could muster.  I am so very fortunate that she became a part of my life and will carry her example with me as long as I am privileged to live. She was loved by many and we are all richer for knowing her.
 

 

Buschovski CD Release Gig at the Neighborhood Theatre

•January 13, 2009 • 4 Comments

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In December a band called Buschovski had a CD release party at a local theatre called The Neighborhood Theatre.  My son has been  very absorbed and invoved with this group  and this CD has been years in the making.  I took a new camera to try it out.  The techies had the fog machine cranked so all the shots were shot through a pea soup of haze,  It is interesting.  I hope to shoot the band in a clearer venue soon.

http://www.myspace.com/buschovski

Joyous Jay

•November 6, 2008 • 4 Comments

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Doris Shaffer Gray 1920-2008

•October 21, 2008 • 3 Comments

 

I believe I was told this was an engagement photo.  Doris Gray was my mother in law for almost 43 years.  We had a good relationship….as I told one of her grandchildren at her funeral….maybe better then the ones she had with her four children because she really had no “say” over me and seemed to accept me as I came into the family. I know I am still wanting to continue mothering my two grown kids so maybe it never stops  

Doris and I had both earned degrees in art from the same school, though not in the same year, of course.  We could have one on one visits and talk about a printmaking  process or teaching methods.  Though we did discuss her son, my husband, he was not often the main topic of our discussions.  She was a public school teacher in both English and art and I have been know to teach a little art to kids. We had a few topics that we could talk about.

A divorce in the mid 50’s left her a single mother when single mothers were not nearly so acceptable  as they are today.  She had four children to raise and educate.   I know that feeding them was enough work but she also had to be the disciplinarian and the one to instill the values they have all passed down to their own children. I have often marveled at her strength to do it.  I would have been a royal b–ch most of the time from the stress of it all.   Though my husband went to live with his father when he was 16, he has much to thank his mother for.  First of all he is a wonderful writer and has a command of English that enables him to use it like it use my paint brushes. Secondly, he was attracted to me, an artist, and, so, I am sure that artists were people he admired.

My first baby was her first grandchild and Doris really contributed to the celebration of adding this child to the family.  She wanted the grands to call her “Mimi” and there were 9 more to follow the first who loved their “Mimi”.

Her last years were not her best.  Cancer was a tough fight but, she recovered. Age kept her in a bed most of the time.  A retirement center in her community was home to her for her last years and she made the closest of friends there. They were the kind of friends who could take the measure of person rather astutely and chose Doris Gray to admire and love.

My husband was taking his turn at her bedside when she died at 2:30 AM on Oct 15, 2008

Doris will be missed because she may have held the family together.  After the death of my father’s mother, I never saw much of my twenty two cousins again.  We just drifted apart.  I hope these ten stay connected.  Family is important.  Family usually sticks with you no matter what you do.