Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Square 11.28.13 ~ Travelers' Aides

What a strange little piece this turned out to be. I'll try to explain how it happened...

The Bill O'Leary photograph on the front page of the Washington Post Thanksgiving issue was a moving image of a wounded Army sergeant holding a puppy that was to become his service dog.

The cover story was not about the man and his dog but how the two of them benefitted from the services of a group at Reagan Airport called Travelers Aid. For 100 years the volunteers of this organization have been helping people. They answer questions, give directions and do a lot just to relieve travel anxiety.

Doris Schuman, one of the volunteers, had helped the Army sergeant, Franz Walkup, and his wife, Shannon, find the place where they were to pick up their German shepherd puppy, Ranger.

I began the drawing by choosing a square inch of the photograph that was the structure under a bridge. I turned it upside down and used the lines of the composition to get the grid pattern.

I was looking at a new book I had just found in our wonderful local independent bookstore. The book is The Exquisite Book, a collaboration of 100 artists. I had flipped to a random page for inspiration and a direction for starting the drawing. I happened on the page by Jim Stoten (, who uses bright, flat color within a wavy black line. So I colored in the grid that way. Wanting to tone it down and add texture, I brushed on some white acrylic paint mixed with gel medium and combed through it with a toothed plaster spreader. Then I missed the color (!) so I went back over it with colored pencil and ink.

I'm usually not interested in making these pieces very narrative, but I was compelled to cut out the part of the photo showing Franz and Ranger. I went over it with gel medium and outlined the image with ink and painted it with acrylic, flattening the forms.

I painted some small sticks yellow (randomly chosen color), wrapped them with torn fabric and sewed them on. Can't tell you why. Was just following whatever came to mind to do.

The red lines in the bottom left corner are from paint that squirted out of its tube and landed there. I left it, as opposed to trying to clean it off and making a big, red smear.

I just need to keep making these little things and have faith that they will tell me what they want to be.

1 comment:

GLORIA said...

Rebecca this is a lovely piece! I have seen the two you posted through Stan's fb page. I enjoy reading about your creative process - sometimes we don't know where the art comes from and just need to let it happen.