Ancestor art

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.”  ~Georgia O’Keeffe

One of the many things I appreciate about my artist-architect husband is that he’s always encouraging me to push my own artwork to the next level. Given that our family has been in a crisis mode (my mother’s health) for the past year, it’s not easy to make time for art, let alone enter our work in competitions.

Regardless, earlier this month Doug printed out the forms for the Anton Art Center‘s 38th Michigan Annual Art Exhibition and nudged me to enter one of my new pieces.

I’d been working on a mixed-media assemblage (mounted on canvas) that was inspired by a post-Civil War photograph I found in my Granny Bee’s family album. The woman in the photograph isn’t identified, so, sadly, I have no idea who she is. Yet her pensive expression and confident pose always intrigued me.

In my assemblage, the woman’s photo is surrounded by found objects — twigs, feathers, part of an old leather Bible cover, and vintage fabrics. In the background, you’ll also see a scrap from a notebook of shorthand that Doug brought home from a thrift shop.

Titled “The Importance of Ancestors,” this piece pays homage to the “stuff” we leave behind — and how tokens from the past can influence our memories of a person. It also plays with the idea of having roots and family trees.

Thanks to Doug, I entered the piece in the Michigan Annual Exhibition, and was pleased to learn this week that it was accepted. The opening reception is on January 27th, 6 – 9pm. The exhibit runs through February 24th.

One final thought: Athletes typically have their own cheering sections, but most artists and writers labor in solitude. If you practice any of the arts for business or pleasure, it’s important to have close friends and advocates who keep you encouraged and inspired. (Of course, a supportive spouse is invaluable.) Cherish those people — and try to schedule more time with them. Avoid the naysayers who trample your dreams or spend most of their free time watching mindless games and shows on TV.

Seek out the company of other creatives, and be sure to applaud their efforts and talents.  — Cindy La Ferle

— For a larger view, please click on each photo. —

12 thoughts on “Ancestor art

  1. How wonderful that you have a cheering section! It seems that Doug has good taste, too ~ congratulations on the acceptance in the exhibition. Enjoy the reception.

  2. What a fabulous piece and what fabulous news. I have always loved these found object vignettes you create, not only for their creativity and beauty. You also set the wonderful example that we writers can and do develop other talents. Congratulations on being accepted into the show. You’ve inspired me to gather some of my photos and see where they might take me…..

    • Thank you, Debra and Sharon. Luckily, I had completed the piece before we got Mom moved, and I had time to fuss with it a bit. Sharon, I will share your comment with Doug. And Debra, I’ve always admired the gorgeous jewelry you create — and you were one of the writers who reminded me that we can have more than one art in our lives!

      I was just thinking, yesterday, about the Georgia O’Keeffe quote that begins this post… And it led me to this: There are SO many fantastic bloggers, essayists, journalists, authors, and creative writers out there. So many, many words to read every day. The Internet has made it possible for everyone to publish — and therefore it’s easy to “overdose” on reading material.

      This is all good, of course. Everyone has something to say, yet trying to take it all in can be overwhelming. As a result, sometimes my desire to read *anything* simply shuts down. Don’t get me wrong; I will always love to read good writing, and I will make time for it. But there are times when I find more stimulation — and creative excitement — when I get lost in visual art — whether I am looking at art in a museum or online, or simply making my own. Communicating with pictures, instead of words, is something I highly recommend — just for a change.

  3. Congrats! Do you think of your pieces as a type of reliquary? They kind of make me think of that and I find them so intriguing, this one especially. There is something poignant about portraits of once known folks.You are so lucky to have support and ability to follow your muses! And I feel fortunate to know you!

    • Starrlife, absolutely! As it happens, many of my pieces are reliquaries in one way or another. I’ve done quite a few small shrines (in boxes) that pay tribute to a person or an idea/theme. I’m lucky to know you, too, Starrlife, and I admire all you do for your family and others. Hope all is well with the Sweetie … I must come visit your blog soon!

  4. Cindy, I love, love, LOVE this piece! If you ever decide to part with any of your work and sell it to some of your loyal fans and friends, please be sure to let me know!

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