I was having a discussion with a music playing friend about strong blueswomen and the badass women of bluegrass. Think Little Maggie and Darlin' Corey. I love that they all play banjos. (That's a quote from "Little Maggie" up the side of the poster.) I was saying it's important for me to have a range of songs to see me through the transitions that come with life and be able to sing out all those emotions. I'm still missing Di Anne Price, my favorite blueswoman and also a friend who had a song for every possible situation I could find myself in.
The upshot of this conversation was that I got called a badass wild banjo woman. I loved it. And since I know several more badass wild banjo women, I decided I just had to make some art from this.
I broke out the wood type and set a poster that night. Below was my first proof.
It looked a little bare. My collection of poster ornaments is pretty small, but I did have some not-too-tiny stars I could add for just a little more pizazz and visual cohesion. I'm now thinking I need to carve myself some old time-y poster frills, but I'll have to get through the Christmas crunch time first.
Below on the left you can see the first set up, with just a few blocks on either side of the "bad ass" lettering. On the right I've added the stars. It's a lot like a jigsaw puzzle. I had to fill in the spaces with blocks and slivers of wood just the right sizes to make it all fit snugly in the frame. I love this kind of puzzle. It's fun with the big type and a little more challenging and persnickety when I'm using smaller metal type. But still fun.
I'll be mailing out a few of these posters to the banjo women who have been kind enough to mentor me in my playing and help me have more fun with my banjo. I have several more left from the edition of 20, and I'm selling them in my online store for $20 each.
I'm also sending one to a friend with a new banjo who, God help her, is looking to me for a little of that mentoring. Fortunately she also has some other folks to call on. But I love the banjo sisterhood. Long live badass wild banjo women!
April in Paris and Lessons in Spanish is UP! It's my joint travel paintings show with Elizabeth Alley at Memphis Botanic Garden. The opening is tonight from 5:30-7:30 -- free and open to everyone. Bring your friends and have a glass of wine on us!
It was a long hanging day yesterday. I'm grateful to be working in a smaller format these days. Instead of hauling huge canvases (or, even worse, huge pastels under glass), I could carry my entire show into the building in one trip. Here it is:
The downside is the long layout process for that many pieces. I ran out of time at the end and didn't get a final count, but I think I hung almost 100 watercolors and prints.
I lay them down on the floor first, take a snapshot of the layout on my smart phone (a marvelous tip I got from Elizabeth last time we hung a show together), and stick them on the walls with poster tape. Marvelous stuff.
There were tons of nail holes in the walls, so my arrangements changed a bit as I moved to the wall, trying to hide as many of them as possible.
I worked so late it was pretty dark to get a decent photograph, and the lights weren't adjusted for my show yet (hopefully MBG can make that happen before the opening tonight), but here's how the first wall looks. Overall I'm pleased.
I did a final count of watercolors from France as I was organizing the show last night. Unless I've misplaced a few, I did 125 watercolors in about seven weeks, not counting a few quicker sketches in my journal.
I won't put that many in the show today, but it will be a considerable number of small paintings plus the six bigger prints I've been working on. Elizabeth Alley and I hang our travel painting show today at Memphis Botanic Gardens, and the opening will be tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 3rd from 5:30-7:30.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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