Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family Trees

In Juliana Coles online class, Book of the Night, we were tasked to honor our ancestors.  If we could chat with them we were to ask questions.  Although none of these gentlemen are actually ancestors (I don't have any photos to refer to), I have created a family tree using the great photos that you see.

There are many relatives that now are long dead that I would like to hold a conversation with.  One in particular, Uncle Cliff, my favorite great uncle, is a man who I have many questions for. Uncle Cliff drove a Studebaker, was married and divorced and lived on an orchard ranch in Wenatchee, Washington.  Cliff sold the ranch and moved into town with his partner, Frenchy. I remember the in-town home somewhat.  Cliff and Frenchy painted their dining room a shade of brown.  When they were painting the crown molding the paint started to run.  Liking the effect, they let the paint run completely around the room.  I have often wondered if Uncle Cliff was gay.  There is no one living that would be able to affirm this, not even my 95 year old mother who isn't remembering things all that well now.

The journal spread that I completed is called Family Trees.  The ghosts of men represent other male family members who might have known Cliff.




7 comments:

Roberta said...

I really like this piece. It is very interesting and powerful. A great story. How little we know about our history.

Connie Rose said...

What a terrific piece! Love the photos, the colorway, those written-on drips. Speaking of gay men, my new doc (P.A. actually) at the clinic I go to is gay, obviously so (I guess I have pretty good gaydar), and I loved meeting with him. I enjoyed him so much I'd even consider letting him tinker around with my naughty bits if the need ever arose. Definitely wouldn't let a straight man anywhere near this straight gal's lady parts!

Catherine R said...

Sounds an eccentric anyway! I love the social history recordings people have made in the UK - spoken memories of people now old about how the common events in life were treated when they were young. Birth, poverty, illness, death, childbirth etc. Another series recorded memories of women who were wives abroad during our Empire days. Fascinating stuff. If you don't have old diaries, then so many things one would like to know about ancestors are gone forever. Unless of course they got the wrong side of the law, or had property - UK records are amazingly far-reaching here. Plus details of travellers on ships or in the Forces. Could take up your whole life and we are for creativity now - each day only has so much time!

irene said...

By the look of this piece, it looks like you are liking this course. Ahh wouldn't it be something to be able to talk to our ancestors. Your uncle Cliff sounds like he has some stories to tell. Love the one about painting the chair. I have done extensive interviewing of my grandmother who immigrated from Japan and from other family members as well as other Japanese people who have lived through much of history (for a book). I find it fascinating. BTW what did you use for your background?

Claudia Mazzie-Ballheim said...

Those black lines between the men are tree trunks, right? They also keep the men visually isolated, separated from one another, which is what a family secret like this can do. That's what your image made me think. Thought provoking.

back.roads said...

This is beautiful! I like doing genealogy and this gives me the idea for adding art to my many 3-ring binders...binders filled with boring statistics and paperwork. I like the interesting story about Frenchy and Cliff liking the dripping paint effect on the crown molding. Sounds very different...and artistic. :-)

Michele Unger said...

I can't wait to see this in person, John. It's very moving and even without knowing the story behind it, it seems very personal and deep. I love the layers of meaning you are able to achieve in your work. Every details builds to the whole.