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These two cards, both silkscreen prints, are from 1955 or later, after the last of Jack and Dot’s sons was born. The first card shows Santa making an easy takeoff from the sloped roof of their house on Burnett Circle.
This card is one of Dot’s early ones, from before her marriage to Jack. The date is probably 1943 or 1944, when she was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, daily passing by through the cityscape illustrated. This card looks to be a linoleum print.
With Mom’s passing earlier this year, our family has been finding and reviewing her and Dad’s art, furniture, clothing, and personal possessions. At least for now, I hold her collection of Christmas cards. Here is an early card, surely produced shortly after their marriage in 1945. The technique looks like watercolor over stencils with some free brushwork. A sponge was likely used for the fade on the scarf and tree, and a pen was used for the lettering.
Last month my daughter Fraya and I drove past the Belting house on Brownfield Road, northeast of Urbana, Illinois. We were taking the scenic route back to Urbana from St. Joseph, where we had dropped off her husband for his long Sunday run. We pulled up in front of the house, placed well back from the road. A gate blocked passage to the curved gravel driveway. I had taken a photo several years back and was hoping to get a better shot. The house seemed more visible now, less obscured by trees and brush, and I set up to shoot over the gate.
Someone working in the yard 50 yards away looked up. She noticed our snooping and my camera. “I like your house,” I called out. “My father was the architect.”
She returned our greeting, dropped her work tools, and called out to a companion. I thought of the line from the Wizard of Oz: “That’s a horse of a different color. Come on in.” Elle and Rick swung open the gate, and we were soon learning how they chose to buy the house, what brought them to Urbana, how they were using the property. In turn, I provided some background on the original owner, Natalia Belting, a history professor who studied French Colonial period. The design of Belting’s house was inspired by the Pierre Menard House near Kaskaskia in southwest Illinois, which Dad visited, probably with my mom, brothers, and me in tow.
Elle and Rick graciously took us on a tour of their house and let us take a few photos.
This biennial exhibition is on display at the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport, Iowa, through May 20. The competition is open to artists living and working within 150 miles of Rock Island, Illinois. Patricia McDonnell of Wichita, Kansas, was this year’s juror. She stated that she was looking for works that both demonstrated technical skill and made a statement. She chose nine award winners in disparate styles. This was her first-place ($1,000) winner, Grey Matter, by Glenn Bodish of Dixon, Illinois, oil on panel.
Stacey and I viewed the exhibit yesterday. Although Grey Matter was OK, showing some interesting scraping techniques, I came up with a largely different set of winners, focused on landscapes, mechanical objects, and a turtle. But my first-prize award would have gone to the fantastic and disturbing The Arrow Head Motel Triptych.
A group of high school students visiting the Quad Cities from Blue Earth, Minnesota, gave us the background on the inspiration for the modern piece, Robert Campin’s Annuciation Triptych. In the right panel of the original, Mary’s Joseph is working with his carpentry tools. Above, his counterpart is making meth (I think). Sheesh.
Here are my other winners:
Our friend (and Stacey’s former teaching colleague) David Zahn is exhibiting his work at the Quad City International Airport the end of April. Zahn works in clay and bronze. Masterful oil paintings by Tilly Woodward, almost photographic in appearance, as well as work by other artists are on display as well.
Here are my favorites from Zahn’s collection.
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