This little girl was the first to join my "family." She's standing anxiously alone in an airport with some luggage marked Canadian Pacific AIrlines (now defunct). The wooden frame this photo is set within is delicately carved along the sides. The back is signed "Dawson '74."
Next to join my troupe is what I think of as a mass-produced hotel art. I've always called her "Lydia." She's very Deco and there was a similar image of a vase of flowers which I didn't purchase, having spent the royal sum of $4 for Lydia. At the time, an $8 investment was more than I could spare for a want and not a need. I do regret that at times.
The magnificent horn player at right is a Mirage Editions 1981 poster done by John Martinez who is famous for doing New Orleans Jazz Festival posters. I asked my cousin Ara what instrument this guy was playing and he seemed to think it was a zurna (a conical oboe) which didn't mean much to me but was an instrument from Anatolia which encompassed the birthplace of my grandparents. No wonder I was drawn to this image. [I hope you will forgive the shadows and reflections in these images that cloud their actual beauty. While I am an excellent collector, I'm no photographer.]
On the right, this grim gentleman is "Uncle Gene," a member of The Wedding Party series painted by Nan Gressman. Part oil painting, part collage — with his newspaper shirt, pasted paper collar and tie — no one understood what I saw in this gruff portrait of an old man. All I can say is that the blue background of this canvas is scattered with bits of tobacco embedded in the paint — and for some reason, his stern face, pronounced cheekbone, and the thought of him puffing on a pipe filled with cherry tobacco made me want to bring him home. And bring him home I did — despite his sorry expression.
Talk about grim — these two — these two, I don't know. I was in a local thrift store sorting through the framed pictures (always looking for wonderful frames) when I came across these two old souls. I tried leaving them behind, said I didn't need to spend $3 on these sorry souls, even if the metal frame was old with intricate engraved designs. The quintessential Old-World couple who immigrated to America without a sou, centesimo, quid, pfennig or penny in their pockets. These folks look miserable! But — but — they could be Italian, Lithuanian, Albanian, or — Armenian — what's your guess?
|This work is far crisper and more toward grays and charcoals than I've been able to capture.|
And that brings me to the image at top of this grouping: Untitled (Launching No. 2) by Tom Gregg. I was single. I had lots of discretionary income. I loved art. It was my first trip to Block Island and there in the Sea Breeze Gallery was a stark black and white image of two boys kneeling expectantly in the dusk (or dawn), about to launch their boat. It reminded me of those old Polaroids with the scalloped edges. The gallery owner told me the artist was a student at The Rhode Island School of Design. A student! I bought and framed his work just as I imagined. In spite of the dark and the hush — these two boys — I sensed their hopefulness and dreams.
Glad someone in this family is looking forward and not back.