Thursday, February 23, 2017

Draw Me! (part 2)

As you recall I was very upset and disappointed with Art Instruction Schools after they came to my house to try and sell my mother art lessons for me.  What I forgot to tell you is that in addition to advertising in comic books and magazines Art Instruction Schools used matchbooks.

As I grew older my disappointment with AIS did not diminish. While looking at one of their matchbooks I decided to fight back. At that time matchbooks were advertising for businesses and could be found in easy-to-get-at bowls, just like mints, almost everywhere- restaurants, bars, lunch counter, gas stations- anywhere you could buy cigarettes. I started borrowing matchbooks, any matchbooks but Draw Me!, and then I would print my own ad inside the matchbooks:

Then I would drop the matchbook back into bowl.  I know it was childish but, what can I say? I was a child.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Draw Me!: Or Yes, When It Comes To Art Dreams, Sometimes You Can Go Home Again

You may remember Winky from your comic books.   Winky,  Tippy the turtle and Reggie the raccoon where all come-ons for the home study Art Instruction Schools out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  See how they offer scholarships and cash prizes?  That is the reason why I sent away for one of their art tests (which graded your artistic ability) when is was thirteen years old.  I filled it out when it came and then sent it back. What I did not know is that they would send two men to my house to try and convince my mother to pay for art lessons for me even though they gave me a "C" grade on test.  That is when I figured out the prizes and scholarships were a scam.

I think I instinctively knew it was a scam but was willing to take the risk because the school I really want to get into was the one I knew I never would:

Yep, the Famous Artist School. Founded by the great Norman Rockwell and a bunch of other illustrators whose names I did not know but whose work I probably saw all the time in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines.  I knew Norman Rockwell would never try to rip me off but, alas, I also knew I could never afford the tuition.  So every time I saw one of these ads for the Famous Artists Course my heart broke a little.

Flash forward to last week.  My husband and I went to lunch after swimming and then stopped into our favorite antiques store Dickens Alley.  As I perused the art books I noticed four large binders stacked one on top of each other on the bottom shelf. On the spine of each binder was shield with the letters fa written inside it. At the bottom of the spine of each binder were numbers.  One binder had the numbers 1-6 written on it, one had 7-13, one had 14-19 and the final one had the numbers 20-24.   I lifted the top binder and turned it over and saw on the cover  the  same shield with the letters fa written inside it and, to the right of the shield, the words Famous Artists Course.  I almost started crying.  It was like finding the Holy Grail.  I picked the stack of binders up and made my way to the counter and bought them all.  It seems the store owner had three of the course series books for the longest time and the week before someone had walked in, saw the books, and said he had the final book and asked if the store owner want to buy it.   The store owner did and there I was a week later ready to buy them all. 

My set.

A page from Lessons 1-6 binder.

Now, I may not be able to become a commercial artist by studying these books and I know I can't even enroll in the school now since it has been closed since 1981, but I will be reading these lessons because understanding how something is done can only increase a person's appreciation of it.  Sometimes your dreams come true in ways you never expect.

(If you are feeling inspired, below are links to all the artists listed as faculty in the Famous Art Course advertisement above. )

Norman Rockwell

Jon Whitcomb

Stevan Dohanos

Harold Von Schmidt

Peter Helck

Al Parker

Ben Stahl

Robert Fawcett

Austin Briggs

John Atherton

Albert Dorne

Friday, February 17, 2017

Letter From A Fed Up American Citizen

Dear #45,

If you don't like being being president because you can't do everything you want to without the interference of people who are trying to protect our country from you, why don't you quit? That way we would no longer have to watch press conferences where you blame everyone else for your inability to behave like a real president, let alone a sane person.


Colleen Shannon

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Michael Flynn And National Security In Trump’s Administration

This interview with foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius of the Washington Post; Kori Schake, former Director on the national security council for George Bush; and former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on NPR is informative. I found these observations very interesting:

Moderator: You have watched these things for a long time. Is this just working out the kinks or do we have a problem here?

Schake: You know, up until a couple days ago my theory of the case was that, this was a messier transition than most but that is was basically going to be a linear process, right? As the cabinet departments got staffed out, that power would migrate away from the most reckless people in the Trump administration, who are the ones in the White house and closest to the president. And responsibility for carrying things out would be done, with increasing competence, by the departments. And I'm beginning to question that, uh, concept of the administration. 

Moderator: Why?

Schake: It may just be, we, this may be what we're in for. It may just be, you know, oscillating, inability to learn from their mistakes, inability to be honest about their vulnerabilities, uh, increasing revelations of very profound compromises of, of, important people in the administration.

Moderator: You're our, you're our conservative, I mean, you're our guest who has worked with Republicans for a long time. Uh, is there, is there, I mean, Republicans on Capitol Hill are saying this is politics, all this complaining is politics. The problem is just the leaks. Everything else is fine, thank you.

Schake: No, that's nonsense. Uh, it, ah, you know, leaks in the American government are a natural act, they're part of the checks and balances of the system. People who feel like formal channels are not taking their concerns into account or people who fear that their government is about to make a really bad choice and haven't considered all of the elements of that. That's when people start talking to the newspapers, that's when people start going to Capitol Hill. Uh. And, so, a smart administration takes the process of leaks as a grade on how they are preforming, not as a threat to their country.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Return With Us Now To Those Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear

-The Lone Ranger radio show

I'm reading The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio when my husband walks into the room.

He: Are you reading that encyclopedia like a regular book?
Me: Yes.
He: Why?
Me: Because it is that interesting.

Radio was TV without pictures. This means there was great shows, good shows, and just plain dreck back then; just like TV today. The great shows are easy to recognize because they have longer entries  explaining the history of the show and the people connected to it. The most interesting thing about this book is discovering how rich and varied radio really was before TV came along to almost kill it. The second most interesting thing was finding out that radio had already done most of the types of quiz shows, court shows, sitcoms, dramas and even some of the reality shows we watch on TV today.

So I guess we could actually say that television is just radio with pictures.

(BTW- I found out most of shows I am interested in listening to are on the Internet Archive ( under Old Time Radio.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things I Truly Love- Coloring Books

I bought two new coloring books and both were about Vogue Magazine.

    Vogue Coloring Book by Iain R. Webb .  Mr. Webb's artwork was inspired by photos in 1950 -1959 copies of
British Vogue Magazine.

Vogue Colors a to z: A Fashion Coloring Book edited by Valerie Steiker.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I Am Learning To Sew- Project 36

My next project was going to be a slipcover for one of my living room chairs but I realized I would also have to replace the seat cushion. When I cut it open I found this down-filled cushion inside. Since I had to wait for the new foam cushion I ordered to be delivered, I decided to turn the old down-filled cushion into a dog bed.

Dog bed before.

I also decided that making this dog bed would give me practice making and sewing welting. I first learned how to make continuous bias tape, then how to sew a length of cord inside the tape to make the welting, and finally how to sew the welting between the top and sides of the cushion. The whole project went smoother than I expected.

Dog bed finished.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Global Warming Brings February Flowers

Outside the Loveland, CO main library today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Catch 22

"In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren’s speech in a near-empty chamber, as debate on Sessions’s nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the late Coretta Scott King."
-Washington Post

"I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system."

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017

Republicans vote to rebuke Senator Elizabeth Warren for reading a letter written by Coretta King that was critical of Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for Atty General. The obscure rule was passed in 1902 after one US Senator attacked another US Senator. Talk about overkill and a direct attempt by the Republican majority to silence any dissent presented by anyone, including a sitting US Senator.

What is happening in these hearing made me think of Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley's quote during the Police Riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention, "The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder."

I think the Republican leadership in Congress is not only there to create disorder, they are there to preserve disorder in order to get what they want.

In the past, long, long, ago, the Republican leadership in Congress believed as Confucius taught, "In his dealings with the world the gentleman is neither for or against anything. Rather he is on the side of what is moral."

These are bad times for a Party that has lost it's way and no longer represents the ideas they expound on their web page:

"We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental principles: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination. As the Party of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster solutions to America’s difficult challenges when it comes to race relations today. We continue to encourage equality for all citizens and access to the American Dream. Merit and hard work should determine advancement in our society, so we reject unfair preferences, quotas, and set-asides as forms of discrimination. Our ranks include Americans from every faith and tradition, and we respect the right of each American to follow his or her deeply held beliefs."

This from a party who has a racist as it's nominee for Atty. General, who confirmed a nominee for Secretary of Education who is unqualified, who said nothing as Donald Trump banned American citizens of the Muslim faith from reentering the country, who said nothing when Donald Trump said that his power as president was greater than that of any of the other branches of the government, and who has attempted to stifle anyone who exercises their right to freedom of speech under the Constitution.

The Republican Party has lost it's moral compass. Hell, they didn't loose it, they threw it away and never looked back.

Friday, February 03, 2017

What Fresh Hell Is This?

-Dorothy Parker

Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination

The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”'

Most Americans do not approve of Sharia Laws (Laws based on religious beliefs.) or the countries, like Iran, that govern under them. In fact it terrifies them. But they do not seem to have any problem with Sharia Laws if they are based on Christian religious beliefs. These same people will tell you they love the Constitution, this country, the American Flag and what it it stand for. Do you know what that makes those American? Lying hypocrites.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
-Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus (1883)

Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News.