Sunday, December 22, 2013

31 Days of Thanks Day 9 MJF and Aspen

31 Days of Thanks Insight into who has influenced us, our art, and our business throughout the years.

I met and married my husband Michael. We were both hard workers and we both were ready to have an adventure. He accepted a job in Colorado and off we went. Right away I started getting involved with the arts in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Other than the Art Train I never really had my work in a gallery. I was in lots of shows but I was never really represented by a Gallery before the Prince of Peace Chapel. I was involved shortly after the gallery opened. They are still going almost 30 years later.

Tom Ward was and still is Co Chair of the Gallery there. He is also a very talented set designer. He was very encouraging to me about my work. At the gallery I always pitched in and helped with whatever needed to be done. I remember him saying "I wish the others were like you!" In other words I was no prima donna.

I was also represented by The Redstone Art Center, which was at that time owned by sculptor Eric Johnson and his wife Sherry. Eric is famous for his marble sculptures.

Shortly after we moved there I went to work for the Aspen Council for the Arts. This gave us access to many opportunities we never would have had. After leaving the Arts Council I joined the team at the Aspen Times and at first worked doing pasteup, then moved into typesetting. This was the beginning of pc's being used instead of typesetting machines. Working for a newspaper was so much different than working for a commercial printer. With the newspaper its here today and gone tomorrow. At Hamblin Co we might work on a job for several months.

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes was, and still is, writing for the Aspen Times, she was a mentor during my time there.

It was in Aspen that I started doing this more "flattened" style of drawing for certain things. This is a drawing I did for a wedding invitation. The wedding was held at the Wheeler Opera House, the large building in the background, the other buildings all had significance to the the couple, like the Historical Society, the Sardy House B and B, K's House and I don't remember what the other house was.

How I describe it is as if you are walking and stop in front of each building and look at it, rather than looking at the scene as a whole where you would see the buildings in 3 d.

This is a style I continued to use a lot once we moved to New Bern, which was also a precursor to the buildings I do on clay.

M and I were early on pc users. We got our first one with money we got for our wedding - it was a Kaypro and used CPM and 5 1/4" floppy discs! I just mention this is passing because like so many people computers and the internet play such a role in our lives today.

During the last year we were in Aspen I started drawing birds and adding color to just the bird - it was exciting to be doing something different.

We met a lot of interesting and influential people during our time in Aspen, most of whom I am not mentioning here. We learned a lot.

Thanks Aspen it was fun!

- Jan Francoeur

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