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Toys in the Attic


Back from vacation to visit family and attend a wedding, and I am happy to report that my sunglasses survived the journey. The odds were not in their favor.

The trip was great. You can see some lovely pics of Block Island on John’s blog. I’m not going to repeat that post.

As mentioned, we began the trip with a trek to upstate New York, where I was raised. The lands were lush and green—a far cry from the brown summer hills of California and one of the few things I miss about the east coast. On the other hand, the area is infested with ticks. After hearing repeat stories of both parents suffering tick attacks in their yard, I was paranoid about parasites and took care to avoid leaves of any sort. This is a shame because I was a woodsy kid growing up, always scrabbling into the forest on one adventure or the other. It’s amazing that I only caught poison ivy once as a child.

As it turned out, the weather was mostly cool and rainy while we were there, so that, combined with various computer and in-home projects made most of our stay an indoor one anyway. One of the things I’ve had on my to-do list for years is to go through the attic and clear out old crap of mine that no one needs to save. I began this process about ten years ago by going through the toys. But there’s more, so much more.

On top of my list? This pile of art.

Art Pile

The reason I wanted to go through it was that every time I’d poked in for a look, I’d found some mediocre piece from high school or college that never should have made it back into storage. But you know how it is when you move in haste; you just grab everything and throw it into the truck. My goal in sorting through it all was to save work that is (a) good, (b) funny, or (c) historically or nostalgically significant. In other words, chuck the boring stuff.

I found a lot of interesting things, but let’s start with some of the funnier ones—like this kitten, a scratched drawing in black. Oh my. I just couldn’t throw this away.


I should say here that I drew a LOT of cats in high school. They were an easy subject matter to have on hand. I saved this one because it was large and probably the best of the cat-era items, a stained-and-sewn-canvas piece.

Blue Cat

But back to the amusing things. I realized in looking through all of this stuff that in addition to cats, I spent a lot of time reproducing images, such as …

Photos (of cats!):

Go Leopard!

Famous artwork (another cat!):

Reproduction a la Henri Rousseau

And, of course, album covers:

Led Zeppelin: Presence

The Cars: Candy-O

Also found this King Crimson silkscreen, which I did not end up saving. I just couldn’t see ever using it again.

King Crimson: Red

And then there was this Christmas card draft, which later became a linoleum cut. I had totally forgotten about the Great Christmas Rabbit.

The Great Christmas Rabbit

The Great Christmas Rabbit leaves gifts in the carrot-stockings of the young bunnies.

Other than the silkscreen, all of the items above made the cut, fulfilling at least one of the required archiving criteria. I also saved a big portfolio of matted pencil drawings that are just the usual, nicely rendered still-lives one does for class. They’re good enough to save but not entertaining enough to post.

Next up? A bounty of college-era amusements. Stay tuned!


From → Art, Ponderings, Travel

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