Friday, February 22, 2013

Old Family Photos

Photographs like this hardly appear real. They seem more like an invention of Hollywood or an amusement park where you place your face in a cutout (in this case a painted 1930's school bus) to have a photo taken and a good laugh.
This is my mother's story.
In 1932 she and a dozen other young girls took a very long trip from southwest Missouri to the state Capitol in Jefferson City. These girls were the winners of the Home Economics Competition in the district schools. During this period in history and rural location girls were honored for their home making abilities. Some of the girls won for baking and canning, some for dressmaking and quilting, still others for gardening and embroidery. However, my mother won for what we in this era would find much more unique. She won the district competition by designing an undergarment. A Brassiere to be specific. My mother was a clever woman who grew up during the depression with very limited resources. She was an artist at heart who could make something from nothing-- a skill enviable in today's culture. She was an award winning flower arranger, a superior homemaker, a devoted Methodist, an honorable wife, and most of all an inventive and inspiring mother of five. The other girls were winners in the typical home arts of the 1920's and 30's. But my mother chose an unsung undergarment to design and sew--basic to looking good in those formfitting gored dresses of the period. She didn't win the state competition. I think the subject of her entry was a little too sensitive but the trip was an eye-opening experience for a sixteen year old girl from a farm in rural Missouri.
This scene was real. Taken on a bridge during a warm summer day over 80 years ago. The girls went their separate ways after the trip. One became my aunt, one became a Home Economics teacher and one was killed during WWII. To hear my mother tell the story about this trip it was the adventure of their young lives. An interesting note to this story is that I live not far from that bridge outside Jefferson City.
This photo is on my wall reminding me of a young girl traveling over 175 miles to show off her bra.

As told to me by Maxine Peck Taylor--my mother.
She is third from the right in the photo--pretty cool hat!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snowing and Painting in Mid-Missouri

A very cold day in Mid-Missouri. Three inches of snow topped off with a measurable amount of ice. School was called off today and will probably be called again tomorrow. The nesting/artist instincts have me baking bread and searching for watercolor paper the right size. Afternoon will bring yoga and perhaps painting.
I am working on more dog portraits, having prints made of my Chickens in the Yard painting and painting with my grandson.

I am including in this post a drawing I started as preliminary work for a painting. Working out the value scales and composition is easier in a drawing than reworking a painting. If these issues are not resolved early no amount of correction will make the completed painting work. It is heartbreaking to know there are problems that you try to fix with technique that are really fundamental design issues. Spending time early is a way to overcome some of the frustration. It is very enlightening to see the sketch on the computer. Flaws are glaring--it seems my afternoon may be spent on the drawing board. Oh, well at least there is a warm fire and a lovely piece of homemade bread beside me.
Stay tuned for an update and hopefully an improved drawing!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Article Featuring "Bleu" featured on Wines & Vines

Jane Firstenfeld recently wrote an article discussing the Label Art Competition at Les Bourgeois Vineyard. The whole article is available at "Bleu" by Hollis Taylor was featured on their 2012 Collector's Series bottle of Traminette. The winery holds a competition every year to source artwork for their collector's series bottle. Artists are encouraged to enter in multiple years. Hollis is working on preparing something for this year's entry. For more information on the competition, visit for the entry form.

Photo credit: Les Bourgeois Vineyards