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January 9, 2012

Self-Portrait Class with Jane Davies

I wanted to take an online class in January, when I spend more time at home and more time inside.  Since I am still working through Carla Sonheims 100 Faces project, and I'd love to be more comfortable with Mixed Media/Collage, I signed up for Jane Davies Self-Portrait class.

Today I finished four 9X12 journal pages (90 lb watercolor paper in a Strathmore Visual Journal).  The basis of each were grayscale enlarged photos of me - taken randomly with hair up and hair down.  The goal for this week was to start us working with images of our faces, loosely, in ways that force us to abstract some of the lines and  experiment with paint, ink, color, and collage.

The first 3 images were drawn and then painted +/- collage on top.


The blue paper used for collage in the above self-portrait was made with soy wax on paper and acrylic paint.



The 4th image was traced on artist tissue paper and then collaged over a painted/collaged background.


Looking forward to our week 2 lesson tomorrow! 

January 8, 2012

William J. Ross - Bernadine Gillis Ross - My Maternal Grandparents

This is the first of 4 monthly blog posts in which I will outline information about one of my 4 grandparents and their ancestral line.

I started doing family research (genealogy) in 2000, using old fashioned methods.  I went back generation by generation using records on microfilm at the National Archives branch in NYC, the New York Public Library, and the NY Muncipal Archives - and obtained birth, marriage, death, census, passenger list, and naturalization documents for each ancestor.  After several years and many generations, I reached brick walls in each line, due to lack of existing records.  In the process I met distant cousins through genealogy message boards, and became friends and co-researchers with many of them.

I recently read that CURRENT genealogic researchers rarely use Genealogy message boards, but instead "google" names of interest, so blogs are now the most important method of making connections.  I therefore decided I would post information on each of my 4 ancestral lines here on my blog - which is usually used to share my art and textile passions.  This will be an extra post each month.



William J Ross was born in 1890 in Jersey City NJ to Lindsay Ross (born 1867 Ballynaghy, Seagoe Parish, PLU Lurgan, County Armagh) and Anna Elizabeth Ballance (birth record not found in Ireland, but siblings were born in Co. Armagh). 





Both Lindsay and Anna immigrated to the United States from County Armagh in Northern Ireland in 1888 (Apr and Sept. respectively).  They sailed separately and married here in Dec 1888.  Lindsay died in Feb. 1891, when my grandfather William was one year old and Anna remained in America, raising her son.  They lived in Paterson NJ (Passaic County) and then Totowa NJ (Passaic Co.) until their deaths in 1980 (Wm) and 1953 (his mother Anna).  I have both wooden chests that Anna brought to this county with all of her belongings, her gold wedding ring, and silver thimble).

Lindsay's Mom, Sarah Curry Ross came to the US with her 3 youngest children after her husband William Ross died in County Armagh in Dec 1890.  She died in New York City in Dec. 1903.

Anna's Mom, Mary Johnston Ballance, came to America in Mar 1891 to help Anna with her new son and she died in Passaic Co, NJ in Sept. 1908.  Her husband James, a linen weaver, died in County Armagh Ireland in 1899.

The family names in this ancestral line include:  William Ross, Sarah Curry Ross, James Ballance, Mary Johnston Ballance, James Johnston, George Ross, John Curry Jr,, Elizabeth Lindsay Curry, John Curry Sr. and Mary Atcheson Curry.

I would be delighted to exchange information with anyone researching these Irish families. 

NEXT MONTH:  My maternal Grandmother Bernadine Gillis Ross' Flemish ancestors.


January 6, 2012

One Journal Complete, A New One Begun

Last year at this time I took the online class "Remains of the Day" by Mary Ann Moss.  I created a fabric art journal and this year filled it with sketches, photos, and ephemera from my art sketchcrawls and projects with one or more of my New York City friends.  Five of us gather together regularly (Journal Study Group) to share skills for art on paper and art on fabric, and those are the photos that are included.

This is my very fat, full journal - which represents many fun days between Jan and Dec.



The pages in the journal are made from random printed papers, with lots of other attached decorations.  Then more stuff is added.  It is hard to explain the multilayered scrapbook quality in photos.  But here are a few of the finished pages. 





I had so much fun making and keeping this journal, that I decided to make another one for 2012 and to again document my art adventures in New York City.  Yesterday I pulled out all of my hand dyed and painted fabrics and made selections for the new cover. 



And I added my first pages, including my sketches of caricatures in the Infinite Jeste exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


January 4, 2012

6th Blog Anniversary

I am a self-taught artist - fulfilling a retirement dream to draw more and learn how to use watercolor paint.  I never imagined that I would start a blog, and now it is 6 years old.  I love my contact with the art community and treasure the friendships that I made over these past years - at first virtual, but increasingly in person, though we live may live in the same city or on different continents.

My blog anniversary serves as a time for me to outline some goals for the next year.  My main goals remain to sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week.  In the process I will try:

1.  To explore new tools (ex. pens, pencils, paints).

2.  To draw more challenging subjects.

3.  To improve my watercolor painting skills.

4.  To read and take an occasional online class in order to educate myself.

5.  To continue my associations with my Journal Study Group, the Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group, and the figure drawing group at the Society of Illustrators. 

6.  To make my own watercolor sketchbooks and refine my bookbinding skills.

I am posting a quick painting I did of one of the 50 Neopolitan angels that are on the Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas tree.  This is the end of the Holiday season for me and now it is time to move into 2012 and some new goals and activities.

This magnificent tree stands in the center of the Met Medieval Hall.  Each year I try to paint one of the angels during my Holiday visit.  It will be up until January 8th for anyone who hasn't seen it.




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