Friday, April 4, 2008

foundations


while i was working on this new wine bottle collage early this morning i was thinking about how creating my art is a lot like laying brick. first there’s the blueprint for the design – a charcoal sketch drawn to the scale of the canvas. then there are the materials . . . the torn pieces of paper are the bricks and the mod podge is the mortar. i use tools; my foam brush is the trowel that lays the “mortar” down and my exacto knife slices away the extra glue or bits of paper. just as a brick mason uses steel brushes and a pressure washer as a final step, i use chalk, oil pastels and rubber stamp ink to give the intricate final touches.

you might ask how a mixed media artist knows so much about laying brick. my dad was a brick mason his entire life. there’s nothing like the smell of mortar to transport me back to my childhood and being around my dad. he laid the brick and limestone on our house. he built the cement block foundation for our swimming pool and laid the brick patio that surrounds the back of our house. i have fond memories of assisting with some of this work, particularly mixing mortar in the old electric masonry mixer. my strong work ethic was formed in those early work experiences with my dad. i’ve never known anyone who worked harder than my dad or with more integrity and pride in a job well-done.

about once a year or so we would all pile into the family car so dad could drive us to his latest construction site to see the just-finished school or museum. i usually had a small lump in my throat as we approached the site; overwhelmed by pride, i was in awe that my dad had played a big part in constructing such a beautiful building. for the latter half of my dad’s career he was the masonry foreman on these jobs, overseeing all the details of the masonry facet of the building. it was a huge undertaking but one that dad did very well. to this day, i can’t look at a gorgeous brick building without feeling pride in all that my dad has accomplished in his life.

so, although my art is not as grand in size, scope or importance as my dad’s buildings, the foundation for their creation stems from the work ethic and sense of pride and accomplishment that he instilled in me. i couldn’t be more proud to call him dad and i thank him with all my heart for all he has given me!

1 comment:

THE CHARM SCHOOL DROPOUT said...

Loved hearing about your dad! Good memories.