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what Does Saint Barbara Think of This?

I was planning to take you on a stroll through the collages of 2007 in my date book, for that year and I will, but first look what popped up in my email this morning!

This is the church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Spain, built in 1912, abandoned for some years and then discovered by a group of skateboarders who "saw the church's potential for their type of worship." They formed a collective titled "The Church Brigade" and installed a halfpipe where the pews once stood. What would Barbara think? Well, she was a pretty adventurous girl who was open to new things so I'm going to guess that she's there, enjoying the fun. I hate to see a church fall into disuse, but I also try to practice reduce, reuse and recycle so I'm celebrating. And doesn't it look pretty? I love all the colors, and the big owl over what was once the altar.

But let's talk about me. I've talked before about the notebooks I started keeping when I quit teaching to work full-time at my art. That was in 1989. I filled 23 of these little books.

This provided relief from my painstaking pen and inks. I'll never give up my pens but it's liberating to just flip through a magazine tearing out images with little thought beyond "Hey, that looks nice." I even started working in the abstract. I'm sad to say that Daler Rowney no longer make these books and I haven't found a substitute.

In 1997 I started filling my date books with the same torn paper collages. Here's what I did in 2007.

Jasper Johns!

Complementary colors!

There are other things in these books--dates and appointments, ideas and plans for new work, and notes that I have no idea what I could have been thinking of. Look at this picture from the New York Times sometime in August or September--an article titled The Struggle for Iraq.

The caption says; "Sleep Calls One and All; American soldiers with the First Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment slept yesterday at a home being used as a patrol base after returning from night operations south of Baghdad. The effort aims to clear areas considered violent for U.S. Forces."

I couldn't stop looking at this picture and I still find it compelling, although I also feel I'm invading their privacy. Should I thank them for their service? I want to kiss their foreheads and pull the covers up to their chins. This was 2007--15 years ago. I hope they all came home safe.

Maybe under the care of Saint Barbara.

February 10, 2022

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