Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Impossibly sweet ...

Eight new collages were added to the Sweet Petites collection last week, and I have to say that they're adorable. And since adorable is not what I do generally, they came as a surprise.

M.T. Ross' whimsical illustrations from the 1910 edition of Elizabeth Gordon's "Flower Children," were used for the main characters, which may explain how they ended up the way they did. I wrote about my obsession with the images back in May, when I was about to sell some of the other originals at Cincinnati's City Flea.

Of course, I HAVE to create their opposites, or Not-So-Sweet petites. Stay tuned for those ... meanwhile, here are the cutie pies, which can be viewed in the annual "Multiplicity" holiday show at Cincinnati's Brazee Street Studios


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holiday madness!

Just posted this Studio Schedule on the Open Studios page, but thought I'd post here, too …

Additional holiday hours at Paper With a Past studio
12:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday Dec. 11
12:30- 9 p.m. Friday Dec . 12  *see below
10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 13
12:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday Dec. 18
10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 20

* "Stuff I Can't Bear to Cut Up" Special Event
12:30-9 p.m. Friday Dec. 12
(before, and during Open Studios)
Antique and vintage paper from the archives
that is artful enough on its own to be framed and hung on a wall,
from maps, fashion plates and children's book illustrations
to magazine covers, advertisements and anatomical engravings.
Some are matted, some are not.
All have insanely low prices.
Stop by to browse the print bins for that perfect present.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Never, never land ...

It was just a coincidence. Cincinnati Ballet is performing "Peter Pan" this weekend, and while in the attic looking for books to serve as props in an exhibit, I found an edition of "Peter Pan" that I'd forgotten about.

It's the Whitman Publishing Company's oversized "Peter Pan Picture Book," published in 1931 and illustrated by Roy Best. Confirming my theory that all roads lead to Ohio, I discovered that Best was born in Waverly, Ohio, and, of course, attended art school in Cincinnati.

The book is falling apart, but even so, its pages are in good condition. The soft, enchanting illustrations of Tinker Bell and Peter are my favorites, even if Tink is a tad too pin-up for me. Little did I know, until I began researching Best, that he's best-known as a pin-up artist. Not racy pin-ups though, a bit more wholesome, girl-next-door.

The bright, cartoonish Captain Hook paintings don't appeal to me, so you won't see them here. Chances are that all the illustrations will find their way into the "Stuff I Can't Bear to Cut Up" files ...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Of magic and loss

© La magia y la pérdida (magic and loss): uno, dos, tres2014
Mixed-media collages by Sara Caswell-Pearce.
Made with original, antique anatomical and botanical illustrations;
vintage fabric transfers; recycled greeting cards; silvered skeleton leaves;
ink, marker, watercolor; archival glue, archival varnish.
8" x 8" x 1" on cradled, hardwood panel.

This year, for the first time, I created collages for Dia de los muertos, the exuberant Mexican "Day of the Dead" celebration of loved ones who have departed. The collages are collectively titled "La magia y la pérdida" or "magic and loss," and are being shown in "Momento Mori," a group exhibition curated by Cincinnati multi-media artist Ursula Roma. It opened on Halloween rather than today to take advantage of Cincinnati's Final Friday art walk in Over-the-Rhine.

Ursula hatched the plan soon after her 50th birthday, when she began thinking about what was ahead, and, yes, mortality. It also happened that her brother had recently lost all his belongings in a fire, so she is donating the 50% commission on sales to him.

When asked to participate, I was unsure. I'd been steering clear of holiday-themed pieces. Then, an idea came to me: I'd use original engravings of skulls from my antique medical books to create a different take on the traditional Dia de los muertos skull motif. The skulls would be surrounded by a magical garden of beautiful, delicate flowers (a bit more subtle than the holiday's usual super-bright flowers) that would weave from one collage to another.

As work began, I found my real inspiration in my late brother David, who died many years ago at a young age; my late sister Cindy, who died last year; and my mother, who died almost two decades ago at age 69.

I started thinking about the Halloween celebrations of our childhood, which were nothing short of magical, and that magic was largely of my mother's making.

She directed every holiday with zeal, and this was no exception, from baking special treats to taping up the ubiquitous Beisle cut-outs of skeletons, witches and pumpkins, to making truly over-the-top costumes. Sometimes, we received costume help from our talented neighbor George Yokum, an artist who worked at the "Mike Douglas Show" back then.

One year, Cindy and I were magnificent angels with fantastically large, feathered wings. Another, we were playing cards. Nicely done, except that the boxes used were a bit too long, and we had trouble negotiating steps.

David was two years younger than me, and Cindy less than one. My older brother, Rick, was just a year older than me. So, we were a close-knit band of trick-or-treaters. It was a neighborhood populated with kids our age, yes, Baby Boomers. Halloween was terrific, and exhausting, fun.

Afterward, we tried to see who could make their candy last the longest. 'Til Thanksgiving? No problem. Christmas? Maybe. New Year's? Don't count on it.

So, I've dedicated the pieces - which like families are interconnected, yet separate - to my siblings, and mom, and to magical moments.