Thank youThank You for Coming, lettering, photo & all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here:Gleefully Distressing

Enjoyed my immensely challenging project last week, designing and painting 18 signs for the stunning country wedding of our Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and Randy Florke, his partner of 22 years.

After stylist Phillip Montanez showed me an old Presbyterian Church sign as inspiration, I was off and running: custom-designing letters, arranging layouts,  measuring, measuring, measuring–a process interesting and arduous as play rehearsal: learning the moves so you hit your mark when the time comes.

Getting to paint is like performing at last. How I loved making big letters!  Like cast sizes in the theatre, most lettering and art these days has to be so small.  Who has money and space for big canvases? Who can afford a big cast of actors? A narrow sorrow of our age is such miniaturization of artistic expression.

It was fun seeing words shape under my hands, watching how shading changed them. I never thought I’d be tickled painting a restroom sign, but creation holds constant surprises.  These were like letters from childhood, in more ways than one. 

 

 

Clean RestroomsRestrooms, lettering & photo © Irene O’Garden, 2014

 

Certainly there were frustrations—difficult surfaces, erratic spacing, my own infractions of perception, but flaws and all, I liked these humble, old-fashioned signs. They seemed alive and full of feeling. Yet one thing remained to carry out the vision. I would have to distress them.

It was scary and contrary to take sandpaper and rasp to the first of the sweet shiny letters. But the difference in feeling was remarkable.

 

Reserved for Family            Reserved for Family, lettering & photo © Irene O’Garden, 2014

Soon I was whacking away at them, knowing every crush and curl made them subtler, gentler voices that seemed to issue from our past. Reminders we need not fear a little distress after all.

 

 

 

 

Barn Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer Truck

 

 

Restrooms

 

 

 

 

My happiest moment came Saturday afternoon, as I went to drop off the last of the signs. Following computer navigation, I was about to turn onto their lane, when I was stopped by an Exit Only sign. Nice, I thought. Fits right in.

 

 

Exit OnlyExit Only, lettering and photo © Irene O’Garden, 2014

 

 

Only then did it strike me that I had made it.

Here’s hoping you’ll take on a project you’re not sure you can do, and end up gleefully surprising yourself!

 

Big Callig: A Writer Wednesday Post

June 18th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (1 Comments)

Joy “Joy, According to Mary Cassatt” Photo & Calligraphy© Irene O’Garden 2014

 

This is a week of Big Callig– I was recently asked to create the piece above for the Garrison Art Center  to honor Tracy Strong , Gold Star Honoree at their 50th Birthday Gala and I was also commissioned on Saturday to design and hand-paint 18 wooden signs for a wedding this Saturday (!) So alas, all my words must be painted, not written this week.  But I am thinking of my dear readers, and hope you are feeling the love, the life and the joy!

June Apology: A Writer Wednesday Post

June 11th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Poetry - (12 Comments)

 

Rose voiceRose Voice, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

 

To listen to this post, please click here:June Apology

 

A poem newer than this bloom–7am today:

 

 

 

I wanted to write you,

yet am I lost

in the voices of roses.

 

I wanted my pen,

not the coaxing touch of peach,

the goatsbeard’s palomino mane,

the sticky resins of fertility.

 

I wanted to write you

of things more important than spring,

but my words are webbed in petals,

scattered over the fields

like daisy and bedstraw,

caught in the purpletipped clover.

 

I cannot gather or release them.

I cannot write or speak them.

I am lost in the voices of roses.

 

 

 

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou, iPad art and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here:Spirit Uncaged

I just wanted to look at Dr. Maya Angelou’s face awhile, so I drew her.  Those shining eyes. That impish mouth. That joy.

Glance at the breadth and depth of her creative explorations and you know she was woman after my own heart–memoirist, actress, singer, dancer, essayist, activist, producer, professor, poet. And though she bore a lifetime of scars, she was Dignity personified–a walking reminder to continually pull yourself up by your own bare feet even if you have no bootstraps.

Some years ago, I was privileged to hear her speak. The sound of her voice was like caramel, if it, like chocolate, came in bittersweet: a rich pour that seemed to flow from a vast ancient amphora of ancestral wisdom, prompting love, tolerance, forgiveness.

And I acutely appreciate her reflections on aging. I’ll direct you to the first twenty seconds of the Master Class she did for Oprah, though of course the entire event is well worth watching.

It’s hard to believe this mighty presence no longer dwells among us. But her spirit will continue to do so. It was uncaged decades ago.

 

A bit of  news:  I have mentioned here how pleased I am to have a poem in  A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. I was just notified that the book has now received five prizes–get a first edition while you can!

A Slant Of Light

 1st Prize: 2014 USA Book Awards for Anthology

The 2014 da Vinci Eye Award for book cover artwork: part of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. (Amy Cheng is our cover artist.)

Finalist in the 2014 Beverly Hills International Book Awards for Anthology

Finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category: Women’s Issues

Finalist in the 2014 International Book Awards sponsored by The American Book Fest in the category: Chick Lit/Women’s Literature

 

 

 

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