Created as a wedding gift, "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue...And a Six-Pence in her Shoe" is a collection of four paintings with a secret. Each gallery-wrapped canvas features five individual paintings depicting aspects of the bride and groom's courtship. Nestled inside the fourth work is a small bronze sculpture of the bride's wedding shoe with a six-pence tucked inside. 20 oil paintings on 4 stretched canvases and bronze sculpture with white stain patina, 8 in. x 8 in. x 2 in., 2013, private collection.
In elementary school we used to sing the song "Friends are Like Flowers in the Garden of Life". When my mother retired from her decades-long career as an elementary school teacher, I wanted to celebrate her accomplishments with a painting and the song sprung to mind. Mom's first year of teaching was in 1970 and her first class photo shows her wearing a blue jumper with a Peter Pan collar. She was especially proud of that class because one of her students went on to become a quarterback in the NFL. She would frequently parade the photo out when we had company, and as kids we were able to brag that our mom was Bernie Kosar's Kindergarten teacher (which won us points with all of our Browns fan friends). She would go on to cultivate the minds and manners of thousands of children by teaching them to read, add, subtract, and strive for perfect penmanship. To this day I try to lace my handwriting as beautifully as she did her own. To create the painting I enlisted family members to fold the origami flowers and cranes. If you look closely you can pick out ten digits and the first three letters of the alphabet in the background. "The Kindergarten Teacher" or "Friends Are Like Flowers in the Garden of Life" was presented to Janette Crowley at her retirement party in 2014.
As kids, my parents would drive my sisters and me to Youngstown, Ohio to visit my grandparents. We would pass by a store along the highway that sold yard ornaments - everything from plywood kissing cousins to life-sized giraffes and polar bears. We always wanted to stop to look at the fiberglass menagerie but never did. Until one day my Mom decided she wanted a set of pink flamingos. They were plastic blow mold with metal sticks for legs and we put them in our front yard because my Mom thought it was a funny joke. My Mom was a second grade schoolteacher, and one summer her teacher friends kidnapped the flamingos and sent fun little ransom notes with clues about their whereabouts. They were safely returned at the start of the school year. From then on, people would buy my mother all sorts of flamingo themed items: glassware, tea towels, salt and pepper shakers. My Mom liked flamingos so she didn't mind the parade of pink gifts. When she passed away, our family began sponsoring a bed of flowers at the Whetstone Park of Roses near our home. My father insisted we name the "Flamingo Kolorscape" roses in my mother's honor.