Music Mondays: Carolaoke Song #15

I'm not sure if it’s because of all the ridiculousness that is our American politics currently, the world's general angsty vibe and energy or if it was just my own moodiness (probably all of it) but last week I really felt the need to be quiet and hide. As I've said before, I have to be in a different place entirely to sing and make noise and I could not get to that place to save my life last week.

It reminds me of when my mom would come into my room when I was little and I’d be drawing in my closet (sliding doors closed) completely silent, pretending I was invisible. I wouldn’t answer her or make a peep when she was calling my name standing right outside the closet door all the while seeing her feet from the light crack of the sliding door. I wasn’t trying to be naughty per se, I just didn’t want to be found. She’d walk through the house calling my name and I would only pop out when she’d get super panicked and terrified because she thought I had been abducted or something. Oh, she used to get so pissed. I'm sorry, Mom. I’m sure if you ask my sister, I did this to her too. Sorry, Cindy. I can’t explain it. I really can’t. It was nothing personal about or to anyone, I just liked not being found unless I wanted to be found. I absolutely LOVED being left alone and it hasn’t really changed in my adult life, I'm sad to say. At any rate, that’s what happened to last week’s Carolaoke Collection Song #15. I was hiding in my closet making dioramas, painting and exercising my right to remain completely silent.

But this week, I feel much better and I am ready to be loud again. This tune was introduced to me by my friend Mark Miskelly who I was doing Capitola Shows with a while back. When we would practice, we’d take a break and listen to different kinds of music to get motivated and this is a song that he brought to my attention and now has become one of my guilty pleasures to sing. My musical taste is all over the board and I don’t care what that says about me. So here is my scratch track version of Selena Gomez & The Scene’s “Love You Like A Love Song” for song #15. Please enjoy and thank you for stopping by!

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Studio Closeup #16

Today is another peek into the past. I've been going through a lot of my old things again and discovered this artifact. I remember making this piece right after moving to the middle of Wisconsin in 1999 never considering how much I would miss living near The Lake. You might notice this tension with the lady being dragged across the state by an old exercise machine. It is amazing to me how just two different parts of the same state can be so dramatically different from each other. This is the case when comparing Dane County to Milwaukee County. Where I came from was flat and next to the ocean as far as I was concerned. Out here there are lots of bluffs and hills making it a more mountainous terrain and I tried to make that distinct difference visible with the horizon line throughout the triptych. On panel 3 on the right edge, you might also notice a little curve there; that's supposed to be the cross section of Lake Michigan's descent into its watery abyss. I also remember wanting to keep the piece minimal in color and collage pieces to add to the gloomy apprehension I had about such a drastic change.

It's so weird looking at and thinking about this 21 year old piece. I've definitely learned a few things since then. During this pandemic I sure am grateful to be living where there are not a lot of people. And the stars are gorgeous out here.

I do miss sushi though.

Title: Milwaukee To Madison (Triptych)
Year: 1999
Media: Acrylic Paint, Paper Collage, Canvas Board
Total Dimension: (3) 6 x 4" Canvas Board Panels 1/4" apart

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Studio Closeup #15

Today’s studio closeup is of a new piece that is part of The Museum Series: The Beloved Beaver. I have a fascination with cutaways, cross sections, dissections (whatever you want to call them) allowing us to understand inner workings of worlds we cannot see. The intricate illustration of the beaver dam and beaver house in the center of this piece is a perfect example of this and I wanted to preserve all of its detail the artist originally intended. I remember Racine, WI’s Public Museum in the 1970’s had this tunnel you could go in which serpentined through the museum and inside there were cross sections of the hibernating animals of Wisconsin. The tunnel then morphed into what was buried inside all of the Native American Burial Mounds scattered throughout the city. You literally felt like you were underground but you were only on the first floor of the museum(!) And you only realized this when you'd come out of the exhibit blinded by the intense daylight of the lobby. Trippy! I think in the early 1990’s they got rid of that awesome exhibit which gutted me. I’m still not over it. I always keep a lookout for any old Racine Public Museum postcards or guidebooks, but I have not been successful thus far. Never know though!

The piece itself will house two dioramas and two National Geographic filmstrips which I have included closeups of here. One setback with working with old filmstrips is that some of them fade over the years to a sepia tone. I wish there was a magical real life photoshop tool to bring them back to life in the physical world. I have been experimenting with a translucent paper called “Opalux” and drawing inks but I’m still not there yet. Instead, I am currently using colored cellophane to try to bring more life to these old images.

Don’t be surprised if the next time you see this piece some of the inner painting changes here and there. There are still some things calling out to me to resolve; I just don’t know what the solutions are yet. It won’t change drastically, but there are certain things irking me when I step back and look. When I get like this, it’s best for me to look at, and work on, a different piece for a while which is what I intend to do. Please enjoy!

Title: The Museum Series: The Beloved Beaver
Year: 2020
Media: Acrylic Paint, Tempera Paint, Paper Dioramas, Filmstrips
Total Dimension: 11”x14”

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Music Mondays: Carolaoke Song #14

Unfortunately, I come with no stories for today's Carolaoke offering. Some days are just like that, I guess. I've been in my head A LOT lately and sometimes the inability to form words or coherent sentences can be a side effect of head time. But it is Music Monday so please enjoy my scratch track version of Gwen Stefani/No Doubt's "Bathwater" and I hope to be back to my old wordy self soon. Please keep well.

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Studio Closeup #14

Today’s studio update is another look into the past. As usual, I have several new pieces in various stages of completion but still not ready to be called “done”.

So today upon the recent discovery that I have some of the artwork that was lost in the 2018's flood but still exists on film, today’s offering combines a story of music AND visual art.

Many of you may or may not know that I was in a band. Full of animators. The band’s name was Sweet Jelly. In the 10 years we were together we recorded an album, played a stage at Summerfest and wrote over 70 songs together. The scratch track for “Wanda The Great” was recorded October 6, 2000 which is what we consider the beginning of Sweet Jelly's songwriting process and start of the band and this is what Aaron Johnson and I captured that night. The name for the band came later and is another story all together.

I've included the original scratch track version and the final album version here of “Wanda The Great” to experience the journey of where it came from and where it went.

When I wrote the lyrics for this tune, I definitely was inspired by Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” and the story she weaves. And I’ve always loved the circus. I remember realizing at the time of writing this tune we had just moved right into the circus capital of the world while reading the plaque in downtown Mazomanie, WI:

“The Ringling brothers — Alf, Al, Charles, John and Otto — performed their first vaudeville- style show in Mazomanie in 1882 and two years later had a traveling circus with a wagon and a rented horse.

By 1900, the brothers had one of the largest traveling shows in the country and began buying other circuses, including, in, 1907, the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The Ringlings moved the winter quarters from Baraboo to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1918 and then in 1924 to Sarasota, Florida. Irvin Feld, a music and entertainment promoter, purchased the circus in 1967.”

(Article source)

Had no idea about ANY of this before moving here. But I did always have a thing for the circus! At the beginning of the final album version of Wanda The Great, there’s a circus record playing. That is my circus record as a kid recorded for the song and yes I still have it. I’ve been told many times it came from a circus train toy that my uncle gave me when I was a toddler. The train itself made noise too that apparently drove my parents nuts as that’s the only toy I played with for quite a while. And I’ve always woken up super early or never slept at all so I’m sure that was super fun for them.

Back to Wanda. Besides having every animal imaginable under one tent and tons of color, circuses are also kinda creepy which is another reason why I like them. Enter Wanda. What if a crazy old bird from the old time circus days came up and talked to me while I’m somewhere in public having a snack? (pre-COVID-19) Twenty eight year old Carol says, yeah, let’s write about this. And “Wanda The Great” was born.

Today’s post is of the diptych I painted in tandem with writing the lyrics to this song. It’s cool to see the piece again even though it brings up a lot of feelings I’d rather not deal with, but I realize that’s been a lifelong issue with me so here I am sharing.

Please enjoy this bittersweet look into the past. And keep well everyone.

"Wanda The Great" original scratch track 10-6-2000

Art for the song "Wanda The Great" 2001

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