Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Barbara Jean Goes to School

Barbara Jean
16x20, mixed media
 email for info
I recently purchased a 1934 copy of a book, English for Business Use by Charles
G. Reigner, to use as background for the Paper Dolls series. Turns out it's a textbook well-used by a girl named Barbara Jean Crook. In addition to taking copious notes and recording assignments and test dates, Barbara Jean did a fair amount of
doodling in the margins and she signed almost all 400+ pages. Sometimes she inscribed just her first name, other times her initials, practicing almost as if she was perfecting her signature or autograph. Usually in pencil, occasionally red, and sometimes using a fountain pen. Twice she "auditioned" a different last name... Thornburg. (Wonder who he was?)

As I worked, I mused about Barbara Jean Crook and her life -- what was she studying? did she have a friend in the class?? did she live with her parents??? what was she daydreaming about as she signed her name over and over??? -- and the piece took on a vintage feel. Her signature is here probably 50 different times. Watercolor, fluid acrylics, transfers, inks, and the Chinese characters for friend and good. The cradled board has deep sides and they are finished so framing is optional. Double-click on the images to see larger versions.


BrandNewStudio said...


Virginia Floyd said...

What a fabulous painting! Love the story of Barbara Jean. The book pages make a wonderful background. Well done!

Kathy Cousart said...

Fabulous- especially love the kicked back heel. This is wonderful- love the connection that you can feel!

carol morgan carmichael said...

Cool piece Mitzi!!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

I LOVE Barbara Jean! Great use of layers and collage.