Spring Promises

“Spring Promises”

Mixed Media

Markers and color pencils on 176 gms, 65 lb card stock

(c) Lemuel


Mallory, First Year Teacher, Makes a Chair

Colorful Chair

Mallory you are already extra-ordinary as first year teacher in a new school– that kind of new as in it has just been built new. How do I know you are already exceptionally impressive, because you are seeking to make your own brand, something recognizable and memorable, and most telling, your trademark has meaning.

You looked at me and started the conversation with a question, “Are you a painter?”

I was in the art supply part of a big box store. I had brushes and paints in my basket.

I thought, being a painter is what I used to hear around the holiday dinner table when the folks referred to how someone in the family earned their daily bread. I smiled at the old-timey reference.

I said, “I am an artist.”

“That’ll do.” You were emphatic and asked me about painting a chair.

Painting a chair? A 3-D chair you sit on or one in a painting?

You smiled that teacher smile. You are good, very good.

You wanted your classroom chair to be special, to stand out. It was a rescue from a thrift store and you knew you could make it sparkle.


Because you will love what you will be doing, teaching, so much in a chair that is full of colors and shapes. It will engage the students’ imagination. It will also make a statement that the learning space is a special space. Therefore, you pupils must be so special too.

It’ll give you a certain dignity too.

Dignity and charm, two good allies for those who dare to teach others.

Mallory, I see you sitting on a stage in your special colorful chair in fifty-years surrounded by your pupils and former pupils. They will be honoring you for your service as a fantastic teacher, a role model of the highest quality.

You will begin your speech recounting your years as a teacher by telling your admiring audience, “Let me tell you about my chair and how I made it.”

You will tell them about your fabulous chair and your extraordinary life.

And they will marvel at you all the more.

I am pleased I was able to marvel at you when we had our brief conversation and how we searched for just the right colors for your chair. I enjoyed your vision and your ideas. How creative you are.

Thank you, Mallory. You touched something in my soul.

Seeing the Potential

Not to drop names, I love the dense writing and intense pictures I find in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Audubon.  I read, stack, and re-read issues for months.

When the stack grows I donate the magazines to libraries and education programs in order to get them into the hands of another person. Then so do a lot of people, to that extent there is a glut and I am sent packing my “donations” back home.

Medieval graphics, bas relief, and acrylic paint

Not deterred I plug into some sweet Jazz for the next act: selecting graphics, then cutting, tearing, most gently excising the pictures from the publications– a grapho-ectomy operation.

It’s a great-circle of graphics re-born from magazines to shoe-boxes to collage to someone’s home, back in the hands of another person.

Potential takes work and going all the way with an idea. Seeing the potential is to transform the ephemeral into ephemera.