Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Comic Art by John Martz

Illustration Copyright John Martz
Here is a page from a mini-comic by John Martz called "It's Snowing Outside...We Should Go For a Walk". This humorous little gem was just nominated for Best Emerging Talent, 2010 Doug Wright Awards. It's temporarily sold out, but John will have some copies at MoCCA (April 10, and 11) and then he'll restock it. You can read it online here. I got my copy this week and it's wonderful. There's no doubt why it was nominated- the elegant simplicity of it's snowy design and it's perfect little story. I hope it wins, but meanwhile he has another little treat in his shop (top photo): "Heaven All Day", an even more ambitious comic without words. You can read it and, also, buy it: here and here.
He also has art prints for sale on his newly designed website:
John Martz
What is it about Canada that breeds great comic artists, writers, musicians. The snow?

The Art of Amy Crehore

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Book by Mark Frauenfelder- "Made by Hand"

"Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World" (Hardcover) by Mark Frauenfelder is available for pre-order at Amazon and elsewhere. I'm looking forward to this! Here's a link to more info about the book: LINK

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Jungle Nymph

A friend sent one of these to the house the other day.

Only it was a dried specimen under glass (aka heteropteryx dilatata female).

Pretty amazing. Video courtesy of gallan30 (Bug Boy).

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Green Duco Vintage Ukulele

Nip-Cat Design for headstock of vintage green duco ukulele 1920's, copyright Amy Crehore

Back of my green duco-finish uke from the late 1920s. Click to enlarge.
There's a beautiful green duco-finish vintage ukulele in my collection that I am getting ready to enhance. I won't touch the back and sides, but I have something in mind for the headstock and part of the front. Here's my pencil sketch for the headstock design. I call it my "Nip-Cat" uke. I scanned the back of the actual uke on my scanner bed. You can see the gray and green crystallized finish. This baby was found in it's original Montgomery Ward mail order box and had never been played.
More of my hand-painted fine art ukes can be found here , here and here. Some are vintage and some are built from scratch. My Dreamgirl's gallery show in L.A. last year featured 13 of them including another duco (a black one) called The Demon.

The Art of Amy Crehore

My Mobile site

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

People and Their Houses

Lovedaylemon has the most beautiful vintage set on flickr of people standing in front of their houses (such as the gothic victorian house above).
Us Outside Our House

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Grandfather's Trip Around the World, 1926

click on image to enlarge (detail of larger photo, copyright Mark Lowrie)
Hawaii, 1927. One of the girls is playing a pineapple uke. This photo looks as fresh as if it were taken yesterday. And, in a way, it is that fresh. My good friend, photographer Mark Lowrie from L.A., recently found a treasure box of negatives of his grandfather's trip around the world. His grandfather's name was Robert Henry Lowrie and they called him "Bulldog". He was an engineering teacher in Honolulu. When he got divorced in 1926, he decided to take a trip around the world. Mark had read his grandfather's journal many times, but he didn't realize there were photos, too. The contents of the box were so amazing, that Mark decided to put together a book:
"This book is a combination of his day to day journal entries and recently discovered photographs of the journey. Following the trade routes by ship around the globe, there are period photos of Japan, China, the Philippines, Ceylon, the Mid East, Europe, and a road trip across the United States. He flies across the English Channel, (the year before Lindy crosses the Atlantic), meets the President at the White House and the Pope at the Vatican (refusing to kiss his ring)."
How cool is that? Here's the link to Mark's book:

Gus Cannon,100 years old, playing banjo

thanks, suprovalco — A mini-documentary with a short clip of Gus Cannon playing ragtime banjo- "Walk Right In"- at age 100! He had a jug band called Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers in the 20's and 30's. Read more about his career and life: LINK

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Crehore Artwork

Above is a quick (distorted) scan of a recently painted headstock. I tried to scan the painted banjo head, but it didn't work. This banjo-uke is finished except for the varnish, tuners, etc. When done, I will take complete photos. I am drawing up designs for more ukes, plus working on some complicated canvases at the moment. More often than not, art takes longer than you would imagine. I experience many ups and downs during the process, especially when I'm charting new territory for myself. It can be frustrating and exhilarating...from one day to the next. Just like the weather.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Very First "Wizard of Oz" Book 1900

The cowardly lion had glasses and a bow in his hair and was featured on the cover of the very first edition of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. This was the year 1900. W. W. Denslow was the illustrator. Dig those flying monkeys. They don't seem scary at all.
"W. W. Denslow's original artwork consists of black-and-white line drawings, but the illustrations were printed in color. Some appear in full color and others in only one. Each locale of the story has its own color scheme: Kansas is gray; East, blue; West, yellow; South, red; the Emerald City, green; and, the areas between sections, brown. Because their publisher was concerned about the expense of producing the book, Baum and Denslow paid the cost of including the full-color plates." Read more about the author and illustrator at the Library of Congress exhibit website. Looks like they may have had a little falling out later on.
Here's more about The Cowardly Lion character (wikipedia).
I painted a few lions myself for my solo show in Los Angeles last year.
I have to say, they are fun to paint and, in our imaginations, they make wonderful, complex characters. Maybe it was the Wizard of Oz which made me think lions might be fun to lounge on and hang out with. (?!)
The Art of Amy Crehore

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Original "Alice" Manuscript - None Compares!

Lewis Carroll's art Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board British Library, Add. MS 46700 - all above images: Copyright © The British Library Board
What could be more beautiful than the original manuscript? This is the original version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, the pen-name of Charles Dodgson, an Oxford mathematician. It is called "Alice's Adventures Underground" and it is a treasure of the British Library. The book is in their online gallery and you can look at each hand-written, hand-drawn page (all 91 pages). Here is the link:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poorly Framed Photo Makes Great Art

Poorly Framed
Originally uploaded by stevechasmar
That's exactly why I like this.
The head is cut off and the pose
is a hoot. I used to compose my own
art photos cutting off the tops of heads
..but, never the entire head. Wonder why I
never thought of that?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Crehore Piano at auction this week

This is interesting.There are a few bass viols and a piano made by Benjamin Crehore, an ancestor of mine, in The Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Up for auction this week is another piano that was part of the Boston Library collection (detail shown above). Partial description:
Federal Mahogany Inlaid Benjamin Crehore Piano, Milton, Massachusetts, c. 1800, ht. 34 3/4, wd. 84, dp. 23 in. Note: Benjamin Crehore (1754-1831) was born in Milton, Massachusetts, and was the first instrument maker in New England to build pianos. Lot 381
Previews all week at Skinner Skinner, 63 Park Plaza, Boston, MA
Auction time: March 7, 2010 11 AM Auction #2494
News for antique instrument lovers in NYC: The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments reopened yesterday at Metropolitan Museum after an eight-month hiatus. Showcasing more than 230 works of art. LINK
A daylong exploration of early music on Saturday, March 13, 2010—
Early Music Exposed—at the Metropolitan Museum will celebrate the reopening of the galleries.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Trompe l'oeil Banjo Uke

Uke Design Drawings copyright Amy Crehore 2010
Here's the sketch for the head and headstock of the antique Slingerland birds-eye maple banjo uke (1920s) that I am currently painting. This one is a lot like my
black tuxedo uke, but it is blond-color. I have created an original design (shown above) where the little pierrot is popping through the head. Looks a little bit like trompe l'oeil. I am having fun painting it. I will show you photos of the finished ukulele when I'm done, so stay tuned.
These vintage ukes are like "found objects" to me - transformed into fine art objects. Each instrument is lovingly restored to playability by my luthier (I wouldn't have it any other way). This one is in excellent shape. The banjo heads, for me, are just like painting on stretched canvas -complete with their metal and wooden frames. Each one is different and unique. For more info on this hot little jazz age instrument- Wikipedia: Banjolele or Banjo Ukes.
I am also currently working on some regular canvases and a letterpress print project. Although I play vintage music now and again, my main concentration is painting. I feel like my art should reflect everything that I am interested in.
If you'd like a Banjo Gal print for $40, be sure to order by midnight March 3, PST.