Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Best-Laid Plans...Gorges State Park, North Carolina,

Tom wanted to see a waterfall when we went to North Carolina.  He settled for looking at a wall with water falling over it as he sat in a parking lot.

The first problem was that we are from Ohio which has mostly flat terrain because the ice age glaciers smoothed most of our state.  As a result, it is hard for us to estimate how long it will take to drive a distance in a mountainous area.  One and a half hours would have been much more than enough  time in Ohio to get to Gorges from our location.  On the twisting roads in the North Carolina foothills and mountains, the actual time was closer to two and a half hours.

Our youngest son, his family, Tom and I finally arrived at Gorges' picnic area where we ate a late  lunch.  We were hungry.  We were hungry an hour earlier.

There was a waterfall trail close to the picnic area but the trail was listed as strenuous.  Anything strenuous is too much for Tom's scooter, even his new one.  As it turned out, it was almost too strenuous for me.  But I made it back to tell the story so all is well.

Here is a view of Bear Wallow Falls from the lookout at the lower end of the steeply sloping rocky trail.

It was the upward climb back to the parking lot that almost did me in.  Besides being steep, rocks half embedded in the trail offered tripping opportunities and so did the roots of the trees clinging to the exposed rocks and bedrock.

We were short of time since we were due back for a supper with several additional people but we did take time to stop at the park headquarters and look at the view from the walkway around it. Next time Tom and I will look at the exhibits inside

The  water continually falling over the tall wall is behind the V of timbers on the building's porch.

My son walked ahead of me, turned a corner, then returned.  "You'll like the view from the back of the building."

He was right.

We'll visit the park again but next time we will stay in a town closer to the park and plan to take an entire day to explore  Tom will find that scooter-friendly trail he knows is somewhere at Gorges State Park because he read about it on the Internet.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bertha Robertson, Textile Science, and Edith Head

Back in the Olden Days when I was sixteen, I took Textile Science as part of the needletrades curriculum at Whitney Vocational High School.  Bertha Robertson was one of my teachers.

She was an admirer of Edith Head.  I had never heard of her.  There is much we don't know when we are sixteen.  My best friend and I would sometimes go to a late afternoon movie at a second run movie theater after school.  The tickets were considerably cheaper than at the first run theaters and the theaters were respectable, safe for young women to go to.  We probably saw some of Edith Head's creations.

In Mrs. Robertson's Textile Science class we did some simple experiments  with the commonly used fibers of the time...cotton, wool, linen, rayon and the relatively new one, nylon.

The second class Mrs.  Robertson taught was Pattern Design.  That was the one I really enjoyed.  We learned to adjust a basic pattern to our exact measurements and then how to change the pattern...move the darts, the waist lines, add fullness to create flared sleeves and skirts, etc.  In sewing class I made a sundress and jacket using what she taught us.

Strapless evening gowns, often organdy,  multiple nylon net petticoats under full circle skirts with poodles embroidered on them and conservative business suits with straight skirts and snugly fitted jackets because we had to dress properly to succeed were popular.    Often a movie date outfit was a two-piece knit outfit which was a short sleeve pullover-like  sweater top but longer in length, and a straight, narrow skirt, both sweater and skirt the same color.  We would wear  black pumps (high heels to us) with it.  Sometimes we wore a narrow gold-colored belt.  Snug bodices on dresses and nylon stockings with seams down the backs were also in style.  Suitcases were hard-sided.  Hats were important.

Unknowingly, I recorded some of these styles when I drew the Senior page for our 1955 yearbook, The First Lady.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio, October 13


We stopped in to see our friends, Andy and Wanda, at the Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival  before heading down to Cincinnati for the performance of Nunsense.  A year ago, I bought the GRANDCHILDREN mat from them.

They have a wonderful computer driven machine which creates a wide variety of  photo mats. Favorite snapshots can be inserted in the cutout letters.  One of Andy's big contributions to their business is programming the computer.

To the right, you can see three different styles of mats suitable for a graduating SENIOR.  There is the choice of the word SENIOR or the year or simply rectangles for favorite photos.

I saw one mat with the word FRIENDS cut out.  That may be my next purchase.  If you are interested in having a mat with your child's name cut out on it or BAND or SPORTS or...There are endless possibilities... Andy and Wanda's  website is

Waynesville's Main Street was crowded with a wide variety of craft booths and with people who had come to buy.

Here are a few of the booths.  The range of items was extensive.  These caught my eye but Tom was more interested in those involving woodworking.  I wish now I had taken at least one picture of his favorites.


And Ohio State Sweatshirts
                                  Totes and quilts
The leather bags and purses always catch my eye.  When I am ready to replace a purse, I generally buy them at a festival.

Where there are crowds of people, there is an opportunity for food vendors and there were plenty of those as well.  Sauerkraut is an important ingredient.

Tom picked a winner when he chose these Sauerkraut cookies.  Full of sugary richness, no one would suspect that one of the ingredients was sauerkraut.


In the hand he is holding close to his body he has a cabbage roll.  We always eat them when we come to this festival.  The tomato sauce adds just the right touch of sweetness to the vinegary flavor of the kraut.

Our parking spot was unique this year.  We parked inside an automatic car wash slot.  Three motorcycles were parked in front of us in the same slot.  This parking lot was a money making project for the Bread of Life Ministries.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nunsense, Delightful, Rollicking Nonsense

According to Lizanne Ingram,  the director of The Glenmore Playhouse production of Nunsense by Dan Goggin,  the play is a valentine to nuns Dan Groggin actually knew. She says directing this play was a labor of love for her because she has also known many loving, brilliant nuns.

I don't often use the word "rollicking" but it is a perfect description of this play.  This coming weekend promises to be a house sellout as was last Sunday when I saw the play.  The action centers around the sisters' need to raise money to bury the last four of over fifty sisters who died from poisonous soup accidentally served by their cook.  The remaining nuns did not die because they were away from the convent at the time. The Mother Superior decides to do a  song, dance and comedy skits program to raise the money to bury the four.

It cannot have been an easy play to cast.  All of the actresses must complement the others and project vibrant personalities. In addition, they must be able to dance, and sing as well as act.

Because my son, Ray, is the "Master Carpenter" for The Drama Workshop, I hear extra tidbits.  For instance, one night, a light blew out shortly before a performance.  One of the usually unseen but important crew members rushed off to get a replacement bulb and Sister Mary Robert Anne, (Amy Waldfogle) stepped in and entertained the audience with ten minutes of stand-up comedy and commentary.

Sister Mary Leo, played by Kate Stark, a veteran dancer, had never tried dancing AND singing, AND acting.  Her performance was certainly didn't look like a first time effort.  She danced "Soup's On", The Dying Nun Ballet.  Very funny.

I sat beside a lifelong friend of Sister Mary Hubert (Karen Sowards).  Because of Karen, her friend was at The Glenmore Playhouse for the first time.  Karen provided her friend with lots of laughs.  I loved her performance of "Holier Than Thou", musical instruction on becoming a saint.

Seventeen high school students attended because the theater director at their high school, Dianna L. Davis,   played  Sister Mary Regina, the Mother Superior.  I have a feeling they see her in an entirely new light.

I didn't hear any stories about Sister Mary Amnesia,( Catherine Shultz). but I wonder if this is the first time she has been called upon to be the "straight man" for a ventriloquist dummy.  She took its comments with good grace.

As always, the snacks at Intermission followed the theme of the play, thanks to the imagination of the Cindi and Gregg Dietrich who are in charge of Hospitality.

Chocolate covered wafers marked in inches, clearly rulers.

Update...July, 2014

My son, Ray Persing, who is a member of The Drama Workshop, recently updated me on  awards which the group and individuals associated with the group have received for their production of Nunsense.  A partial  list follows.

Association of Community Theatres - Cincinnati (ACT) Awards

"ACT legend has it that The Orchid Awards are named after the orchids that were given to each female attendee of the first ACT banquets.  Today, the Orchid Awards are ACT - Cincinnati's way to recognize and encourage excellence in over 23 performing and production areas.  Orchid Awards are given to those who have been nominated by adjudicators who have attended ACT member productions through the ACT Adjudication Program.

The adjudicators simply nominate those areas of a production they feel are outstanding or excellent examples of the craft.  Everyone involved in the production is therefore eligible to be acknowledged by an award.  If at least two of the three adjudicators considers a performance or production area of outstanding quality and nominates the same performance or production area, the person or persons responsible for that area is awarded an Orchid.  Orchids are therefore highly coveted acknowledgements  of the best a production has to offer."

Orchids to...
Excellence in Choreography - Lauren Kinker
Excellence in Chorus - Linda Abbott and Cast
Excellence in Dance Execution - Lauren Kinker and Cast
Excellence in Direction - Liz Ingram
Excellence in Ensemble - Liz Ingram and Cast
Excellence in House - Ray Persing and Megan Bush Schultheis
Excellence in Music Direction - Linda Abbott
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Regina - Dianna L. Davis
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Hubert -Karen Sowards
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Robert Anne - Amy Shaffer Waldfogle
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Leo - Kate Stark
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Amnesia - Catherine Fields Shultz
Excellence in Orchestra - Linda Abbott, Marsha Moore, Eric Day, Charles Kleesattel
Excellence in Overall Performance Quality - Liz Ingram
Excellence in Set Construction - Ray Persing and Crew
Excellence in Stage Management - Tobie Braverman
Excellence in Vocal Direction - Linda Abbott

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Portrait and Figure Studio, Molly, October 10, 2013

This is the model we worked from.  Molly was a great model, able to sit still for twenty to thirty minutes at a time.  We give our models fifteen to twenty minute breaks before they return to their pose.  Have you ever tried to sit still in the same position for twenty minutes?  It can be harder work than a person might suppose.

After the first half hour this is what I had on the 140 weight cold pressed watercolor paper.

I started by drawing the figure with a Deep Vermillion Revel Derwent Water Soluble pencil.  Next time I will use a paler color since when I painted over the lines with a wash of Permanent Orange the Vermillion mixed with it to create a brighter color than I wanted.  I also could see that the features of the face needed to be downsized a bit.

During the next twenty minute session, I wiped out some of the redness from the vermillion and started the downsizing process.  I refined the body shapes and also that of the shape of the chair.  I could see that the waste basket that Molly was using as a hassock needed reshaping.

This is the final sketch.   It is about 11 by 9 inches. ( 27.94 by 22.86 cm)

Back home, I wanted to see if I had the head proportionately close to what Jack Hamm suggests on page 27 of his book, Drawing the Head and Figure.

Tracing of the sketch head.
Tracing from the Jack Hamm book.                                                                                                              

I did decide that if I had continued to work on the sketch, I would have adjusted Molly's jaw line a bit and changed the shape of the back of her head just a little. Overall, I was pleased with the sketch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Drawing the Scary Monster

This is a 12 inch tall (30.48 cm) Godzilla I have had for twenty years.   My grandchildren who are now adults once played with it in the bathtub.  It was great for bathtub play since the tail twists off so the water can be easily emptied out.  My eight year old art student was interested in drawing it so  I set up a scene for him to use as a starting point.

The balancing of the monster was a bit tricky.  The fire house and the library below his feet are from a set of nested stacking blocks. The building to the far left is a box covered with scrapbooking paper which could possibly be interpreted as a modern skyscraper.

The  student decided to use an 12 by 18 inch sheet of drawing paper.  (30.48 by 45.72 cm)

The first problem to be solved was getting the monster the right size so the buildings could be part of the drawing.

After several false starts, the student solved his problem.  "If I trace around the paper I drew Godzilla on last week, I can draw the new Godzilla inside the rectangle and it will be the right size."  ( He had drawn that Godzilla on a 8.5 inch (21.59 cm) by 5.5 inch (13.97 cm)  page.

He decided he wanted an original monster, not an exact copy of the model he was working from.  This is the sign of an artist.  We take what we want from the model or scene we are looking at and add our own ideas.  The photo below shows what he accomplished at his first session.

By the second week he had more good ideas.  Instead of putting the fire truck in the fire house, he left the fire house empty.  Just the pole the firemen slide down is visible.  The firemen in the truck are out trying to save the town.  He invented buildings and added a two lane road.  The background was colored with crayons so the important parts of the drawing remained important because of their strong marker colors.

After putting the drawing on my easel and thinking about it, he decided to use a fine line marker and add scales to his monster.

The result is this great drawing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Steel Magnolias, Troy Civic Theatre, Troy, Ohio, October 11 and 12, 3013

Six Miami Valley women give their interpretations of  the characters in this 1987 play by Robert Harling this coming weekend at the Troy Civic Theatre.  The performances are at 8 PM both Friday and Saturday.   The play is about the women's close friendships with one another and how they use the power of humor to get through traumatic situations.  The play was opened off-Broadway in 1987.  It is now  produced  in other countries as well as in the United States.

The 1989 American film of the same name and based on this play was  directed by Herbert Ross and starred Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah , Olympia Dulcakis, and Julie Roberts.  The film version  is  different from the play.

Directors of the Troy Civic Theatre version, Rebecca O'Brien and Sonja Hyer, encouraged the actresses in  to develop their own interpretations of the six women.  The result is an entertaining and moving  play with many amusing one-liners.  The play rings true to life.

The action takes place in Truvy Jones' Beauty Shop in Chinquapin, Louisiana.  Here are Clairee Belcher, wife of the former mayor of the little town, who is played by Karen Lohr and Truvy Jones, owner of the beauty shop, played by Nikki James.

Below are three other distinctly different women.  Left to right they are the feisty Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie played by Tina Hayes, the usually timid Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, who rarely smiles as she is smiling in this photo, played by Samantha Persing, and Ouiser (pronounced "Weezer") Boudreaux,a grouchy two-time widow, played by Sandy Ehrlich.

The sixth friend, shown below with Clairee, the wife of the former mayor, is M'Lynn Eatenton, mother of the feisty Shelby.  She despairs of convincing Shelby of anything, even when Shelby's life may be endangered.

Come, laugh and cry with these women as they move through life together, hand in hand.  Remember...Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12, the action starts at 8 PM at the Troy Civic Theatre in Troy, Ohio.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Portrait and Figure Studio,October 3, 2013

We are always pleased when a pregnant woman agrees to sit for us.  We decided the title for the works we produced today should be titled "Three Weeks to Go".

We started with two four minute sketches.  I did mine with watercolor.

6.5 by 8.5 inches (16.51 by 21.59 cm)

6.5 by 8.5 inches (16.51 by 21.59 cm)

Both of the above were painted without any drawing first.

When I started the longer pose, I spent the first twenty minutes sketching with a Derwent pink watercolor pencil.  By brushing paint and water on  the lines they disappeared as I continued on the portrait.

The second twenty minutes were spent adding the general color in a manner similar to what I did in the four minute sketches.  The rest of the time was spent refining the shapes.  At the end I added details such as the eyes, curls, and sandals.

11 by 9 inches (27.94 by 22.86 cm)

These are all painted on white 140 weight watercolor paper.  For the skin I used mostly MaimeriBlu  Permanent Orange and MaimeriBlu Orange Lake.  The pants were painted with Quinacridone Gold with a little Winsor & Newton Warm Sepia added.  The shirt is Stephen Quiller Ultramarine Blue Deep.  The hair and the chair are mostly Warm Sepia.