Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Collage 107

Last night I was reading this passage: "The council of war, at which Prince Andrei had not managed to speak out his opinion as he had hoped to, left in him a vague and disturbing impression. Who was right -- Dolgorukov and Weyrother, or Kutuzov and Langeron and the others who did not approve of the plan of attack -- he did not know... Can it really be that, for court and personal considerations, tens of thousands of lives must be risked -- and my own, my life he thought."

He is witnessing the commander in chief with all the column leaders, discussing whether or not to attack Napoleon's army. Prince Andrei and a few others are aware that this is a half-baked plan but either do not speak up (fear of some sort) or are not paying attention to the discussion. He is realizing that this decision will affect so many people, perhaps even himself, yet the decision-makers seem so egotistical or disinterested.

It rings true how so much is decided by leaders with limited information and even less wisdom who also have their own agendas. This is Tolstoy at his best -- reaching the universal truths. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 221-222 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/21/10

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Collage 106

A nod to the little Princess Liza, who Tolstoy compared to a squirrel-
Her tone was querulous now, her little lip rose, giving her face not a joyful but an animalish, squirrel-like expression....
-p. 26 in P/V translation

Lynn Waskelis
from page 218-219 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/21/10
pages 172-173 in Pevear/Volohkhonsky translation

Monday, June 28, 2010

Collage 105

What in the world was I thinking/feeling when I made this one? A figure missing their head? Sometimes I wish that I could correlate the collage to the text on that page. But alas, I can't.

I continue to plod through the book (in English). Last night I was reading Part Three, Chapter XI. This is a scene where the tsar has been to visit the troops and has fallen ill. The war is uncertain, with some wanting to go on the offensive against Napoleon. Here is a long passage that I enjoyed:

"As in the mechanism of a clock, so also in the mechanism of military action, the movement once given is just as irrepressible until the final results, and just as indifferently motionless are the parts of the mechanism not yet involved in the action even a moment before movement is transmitted to them. Wheels whizz on their axles, cogs catch, fast-spinning pulleys whirr, yet the neighboring wheel is as calm and immobile as though it was ready to stand for a hundred years in that immobility; but a moment comes -- the lever catches, and, obedient to its movement, the wheel creaks, turning, and merges into one movement with the whole, the result and purpose of which are incomprehensible to it.

As in a clock the result of the complex movement of numberless wheels and pulleys is merely the slow and measured movement of the hands pointing to the time, so also the result of all complex human movements of these hundred and sixty thousand Russians and French -- all the passions, desires, regrets, humiliations, sufferings, bursts of pride, fear, rapture -- were merely the loss of the battle of Austerlitz, the so-called battle of the three emperors, that is, a slow movement of the world-historical hand on the clockface of human history."

That perspective always make me feel so insignificant. Is that the narrator's intention? How stupid we all are, thinking that we are all the center of our own universe? -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 217-218 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Collage 104

An homage to the words and the page, an attempt at simple and direct...

Lynn Waskelis
from page 215-216 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10
pages 169-170 in Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Collage 103

Lynn found a wonderful old book published in 1971 called "Friends Together: Celebrating the Gift of Friendship". For me, this project is about friendship. Here is one of the entries entitled "To Be a Friend" by Robert Hardy Andrews.

"In India 2500 years ago, a man named Guatama Buddha walked the roads and preached and taught. His teachings are still remembered by five hundred million believers in Asia and the Orient.

I am not a Buddhist. But I find no disloyalty to my faith in accepting advice as practical today as it was when Buddha first offered it. In a mango grove in Bihar he told one of his disciples that five things are necessary to achieve release from unhappiness and fear. These, he said, include: restraint, proper discourse, energy in producing good thoughts, firmness in pursuing them, and acquisition of true insight. But first of all, and above all, he said, the seeker must learn to be a good friend.

When people asked for a definition of friendliness, Buddha answered, "It means to have hope of the welfare of others more than for one's self... It means affection unsullied by hope or thought of any reward on earth or in heaven."

Buddha admitted that such generous wholeheartedness would not be easy. Yet in the long run it is intensely practical. "Compassion and knowledge and virtue," he said, "are the only possessions that do not fade away."

"To be a good friend..." How simple it sounds -- just five short words. Yet how much they represent! Think how much it could mean, a flowing out of new forces of friendship from person to person, and eventually from land to land.

Try as we may, there is no other form of security. As Buddha said, "Friendship is the only cure for hatred, and the only guarantee of peace." -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 213-214 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10

Friday, June 25, 2010

Collage 102

But his instinct told him otherwise. Before the officer had time to finish his last words, Prince Andrei, his face disfigured with rage, rode up to him and raised his whip:
-p. 167 in P/V translation

Lynn Waskelis
from page 211-212 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10
pages 165-167 in Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Collage 101

When we had completed the first 100 collages, we spread them out on the wall and tables. In part it was to celebrate getting to 100, but also in part it was an opportunity to look with fresh eyes. Lulu had used purple earlier in the series, and I felt like purple should be re-visited. This piece includes purple wax paper, some kind of Indian script and origami paper.

Another reason I dislike Anatole so much is that in an earlier scene between Helene and Pierre (page 207 of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation), Pierre is recalling, "I've been told that her brother Anatole was in love with her and she with him, and there was a whole story, and that's why Anatole was sent away." What else could it be besides incest? This book really does have it all.

My friend Carol Odell received the collate materials that Lynn mailed to her and she is eager to get started. Not to be a spoiler, but she lived in Japan for some time and is partial to origami. Let's see what she does with her piece! -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 209-210 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Collage 100

"As always happens with lonely women who have long lived without the society of men, on Anatole's appearance all three women in Prince Nicolai Andreevich's house felt equally that their life had not been life until that moment. The power of thought, feeling, observation instantly increased ten-fold in them, as if their life, going on in darkness till then, was suddenly lit up by a new light filled with meaning." Here is another one of those sweeping statements about women that I find so offensive! I have to remind myself that he wrote this book over 150 years ago, and that society has changed in my lifetime, and so much so over the course of multiple generations. Yet I find myself shaking my fist at these kinds of statements. Anatole is such a snake, and the only one who seems to see through him is Princess Marya. She decides not to marry him. You go girl! Although her other option isn't so great, either, to continue living with her abusive father. You spoilers have clued that she has a happier future... now, if I can just keep on plodding through this tome!

I had the pleasure of working on Friday in the studio with 2 artist friends, Chris Chou and Joan Ryan. Chris made 2 collages and Joan made 1. Chris works in a completely abstract way. She made her pieces, then asked me to read the pages to her (in English). She had never heard of the book. She is from Taiwan and English is her second language. Even with no knowledge of the story, she was able to make an interesting interpretation of her collages. I was her scribe, noting everything she said.

Early on Joan asked many questions about this project. She is an art professor and a very talented artist. On Friday she said that she now sees this project very differently -- she now sees it as a piece of performance art. She has promised to write about her views when we post her collage.

Another friend, Carol Odell, has agreed to contribute to this project. Carol is my mentor and I absolutely love her work. She works in encaustic, oil and print-making. She asked if she must limit herself to 2-D and acrylic paint. I told her that Otto has already stepped into the third dimension. Lynn mailed her the page yesterday, and she assures a quick turn-around. I am out of town, and can't wait to get back -- to see what Otto has done with #120 and #137. His envelope arrived a few days ago. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 207-208 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Collage 99

I'm posting this entry nearly two years after this collage was made: a distillation of our favorite materials then: the painted music with added color, an old map, and the War and Peace text cut into a spiral and strewn about the page.

Lynn Waskelis
from page 205-206 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/14/10
pp. 160-162 in Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

Monday, June 21, 2010

Collage 98

Earlier this month, Lucy expressed some doubts about this project, saying said she had an uneasy feeling that we are somehow bluffing, and that the project has its questionable aspects.

What do you mean? What could be questionable about reading War and Peace and at the same time wrestling with its themes and art in this way? Are you concerned that we are somehow trivializing Tolstoy's great achievement? That we may be suggesting that our art is in anyway comparable to his? Or do you just feel uncomfortable about tearing up a copy of his great book? (If that's the case, bear in mind that this particular copy was printed on low quality paper in, I assume, the Soviet Union, and would have disintegrated all by itself fairly soon anyway).

On the other hand, one indisputable merit about this project is that it's driving several people to read and discuss Tolstoy's book in what looks to me like a thoughtful way.

This page of War and Peace has Bolkonsky in Bruenn. He has been sent there as a courier to deliver news of the Russian-Austrian victory at the Battle of Duerenstein (November 11, 1805). A few days later Bolkonsky will play an active role in the Battle of Hollabrunn, and two weeks after that he'll be gravely wounded at Austerlitz.

These actions are the first in War and Peace in which Tolstoy illustrates the different motivations that drive various participants in war. In Tolstoy's view, too many officers are interested mainly in currying favor with superiors and avoiding danger. The result is that the Russian and Austrian armies are disorganized and poorly led on the field, which leads to the disastrous defeat at Austerlitz.

Bolkonsky is the exception, an officer who cares about the war and the common soldiers. On this page, one can tell that he is embarrassed and impatient at the antics of some other officers and the diplomat Bilibin, who he visits in Bruenn. They are more concerned about about the pleasures of town (theatre, society, and women) and the presence of the Austrian Emperor than about the thousands of exhausted and ill-equipped soldiers nearby retreating from Napoleon's armies. -- Otto Mayr

Otto Mayr
from page 203-204 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/1/10

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Collage 97

I don't think that Masha is superficial. I think that her father is a monster and that she has been psychologically abused by him. And continues to be abused him through this scene. It is painful to read.

So then the question is: is she spiritually advanced, or is she so beaten down that she is entirely passive?

Here she is, thinking/speaking from her heart: "Desire nothing for yourself; do not seek, do not worry, do not envy. The future of people and your own fate must be unknown to you; but live so as to be ready for anything. If God should see fit to test you in the duties of marriage, be ready to fulfill His will."

Her decision not to marry: was she unable to leave her abuser [her father], or was she wise and avoided the never-do-well Anatole? -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 201-202 of original text
made 5/7/10
collage, acrylic paint

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Collage 96

"But what an extraordinary genius!" Prince Andrei cried suddenly, clenching his small fist and pounding it on the table. "And what luck the man has!"
p. 157 in P/V

Genius and chance...

Lynn Waskelis
from page 199-200 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/7/10
pages 156-157 in Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

Friday, June 18, 2010

Collage 95

Lola Baltzell
from page 197-198 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, embroidery thread
made 5/7/10

On the left edge I used embroidery thread. It also includes some sewing pattern. I love the effect of the transparent sewing pattern. It gives color, texture and line. My favorite things.

Here is a very brief passage from Volume One, Part Three, Chapter III that struck me. The scene is the little princess (Liza, Lizaveta, Lise) and Mlle Bourienne helping princess Masha prepare for meeting her suitor Prince Anatole. It is a painful scene in so many ways. Princess Masha is described as having beautiful eyes but otherwise quite unattractive. The narrator describes how the two women "undertook to dress her up in all sincerity, with that naive and firm conviction of women that clothes can make a face beautiful." Much of the time I find myself shaking my fist at Tolstoy; I can't stay his depiction of women!

Had it not been for this project I would have ditched this book long ago. But I keep plodding along. I can barely keep up the pace, to read where we are working. Even so, I feel compelled to finish reading this book! -- Lola
Yes, Lola, I second Otto's comments!

I find that Tolstoy observes and comments on the superficial thoughts and actions of both men and women for a purpose - and that if you read certain characters carefully, they are on a journey. And really, haven't we each, as human beings, been (and continue be) susceptible to some degree of superficiality at some point? And yet part of our journey is to grow in our self-awareness and become more genuine and true. I don't think Masha is superficial - she's trying to survive in a superficial world, and recognizes that she doesn't fit in! Tolstoy will take good care of her! ~ Lulu

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Collage 94

Colour is a basic human fire and water, a raw material, indispensable to life.
-Fernand Léger

Lynn Waskelis
from page 195-196 of original text
collage and acrylic paint on paper
made 5/7/10

Collage 93

Recently I was invited to participate in an art show in my town at our local cable TV studio. I delivered a painting tonight and met the manager. He asked if I was interested in becoming a member, and said that any resident of our town can have total access to the studio for free. They teach people to use lights, camera, and editing. They also have a huge auditorium where you can show your film. I thought -- huh -- maybe we should add a video element to this project! Otto is way ahead of the rest of us on this one. It would be cool to film us at work. The film can then become part of the archive, a part of our project. Now, all we need is someone interested in doing that part of the project!

In this piece, I used some text from a Hebrew source. I think it's from a Passover service book. We have talked amongst ourselves -- what is OK to use, what is verboten? I had a birthday recently and my good friend Julie gave me a used Hebrew service book as a gift, to use for collage. She is Jewish. She gave it with the express purpose of me tearing it up and using it for "art". Is that OK? Is that disrespectful? I love religious stuff and have used parts of the Bible freely in other work. Would I ever use the Koran? Personally I wouldn't. That seems over-the-top somehow.

It's a good question, isn't it? When are you disrespecting a text -- like War and Peace itself? -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 193-194 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 5/7/10

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Collage 92

My husband Mark Natale, our official Team Tolstoy photographer, is quite partial to this one. He really liked the red stencil. Lynn brought in a stack of them, but to date we only used that one design one time.

I got an amazing email a few days ago from Otto in Berlin. He made a youtube video about his collage #137. I will say no more as it will be such a fun posting. You will see his first contribution in a few days with #98.

We're entering the summer now so getting together regularly in the studio on Fridays will be more challenging, and I want to keep the momentum going in order to continue posting one image per day. To do this, we're going to "allow" some off-site work. I'll be away at a conference next week so will take some materials with me. Lynn is traveling this week, Lulu will be away most of next month. So in the interest of moving this thing forward... What I like most about this project is working side-by-side. So we'll see how it goes working individually. I have also asked a few artist friends from the studio building to contribute. Some of them are professional artists, real heavy-hitters who are very excited to participate. How fun is that?

I was up late last night with one copy of War and Peace in English and the other in Russian, cross-referencing. It's kind of a funny job for me because I care so little about what happens on each page. Lulu has done a lot of that work, and strangely enough, so does Lynn, who doesn't know Russian at all. She says she just counts paragraphs and is guided by the French. I say that she's just brilliant! -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 191-192 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, stencil
made 4/7/10

Monday, June 14, 2010

Collage 91

For the Byzantine Spectator

The foremost aspect of colour
its value as light
the gold and silver of lamps
the sheen of silk
the icon's enamel and jewels-
all receptacles (and images)
of light.

from I Send You This Cadmium Red...A correspondence between John Berger and John Christie

Lynn Waskelis
from page 189-190 of original text
collage and acrylic paint on paper
made 5/2/10

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Collage 90

I was in the studio by myself on Friday and completed 4 more collages. That brings us up to 128 completed collages. This summer will be challenging to work together in the studio due to everyone's travel plans, so if we need to, we'll work on them outside the studio, but what makes this project so special to me is working side by side in the studio.

The next few collages all have a heavily religious feel. One of my favorite sources of ephemera is a huge box of cast-off materials I picked up in a second-hand store in western Massachusetts. It contains all kinds of curious things. Sometimes I try to puzzle together the person who it originated with. She certainly had a strong Christian leaning. She had a huge collection of Russian icon postcards which are coming up in this next series as well as many poems and religious instruction pamphlets.

On this particular piece I introduced stitching. Lynn had brought in needles and embroidery threat that she used as a teenager. You can see stitching along the top and right side of this piece. Emma is interested in clothing design and uses a lot of stitching as well. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 187-188 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, embroidery thread
made 5/2/10

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Collage 89

"Today I'll try to reply to your blue only with words, without a colour...The blue which is aerial and not dense, is what I call to myself an Aegean Blue. It is the blue of the cross on the Greek flag... The Aegean blue has depth and total indifference...Blue is perhaps jewel. Blue is perhaps adornment. Blue is also modesty-the robe of the Madonna...Yet blue, as we're saying, is also space, emptiness, infinity. So how does it become jewel or adornment?...Jewels are by definition small, but in them is a luminosity which offers a message about the infinite. A blue dress ceases to be purely blue when it follows the form of a live body. Blue is sad, blue is memory and nostalgia, but blue is also affrontery and impudence. And that is what I love about the colour. - John Berger from I Send You This Cadmium Red.. A correspondence between John Berger and John Christie

Lynn Waskelis
from page 185-186 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 4/30/10

Friday, June 11, 2010

Collage 88

Here I introduce an ensō (円相), a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void. I went to a show at the Guggenheim in New York in early 2009 which addressed the influence of Asia on Western artists in the first half of the 20th century. This symbol was used by many of them as Zen had a huge influence on so many artists of that generation. It is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.

In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. There is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists believe that the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 183-184 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 4/30/10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Collage 87

In this one I tried to mimic the way Lola uses India ink and uses smaller pieces of a collage item pieced end to end to make a strong mark or line that goes across the page. We steal from each other shamelessly. Something you're not supposed to admit to doing in the visual arts. I'm not supposed to say: I want to make collages just like Lola or Lucy. But I do.

Lynn Waskelis
from page 181-182 of original text
collage, acrylic paint and India ink on paper
made 4/30/10

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Collage 86

I hardly recognize this as my piece. For so many years my work was very tight with neat, clean lines. Whether painting or collage. Since starting this project, I learned about a technique using acrylic paint and vaseline. You apply vaseline and paint over it with acrylic paint. After it dries, you wipe away the vaseline and paint on top of it. This gives a smeary, loose effect. It is unpredictable -- I like the element of surprise.

On page 206-207, Pierre is talking with Anna Pavlovna, an "older" woman. She asks him whether he is angry with her for speaking her mind, then pauses for his reply. The narrator comments, "as women always pause and wait for something after referring to their age". That is spot on. I do that all the time. Busted! All of us middle-aged ladies want to hear, "but you don't look that old!" -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 179-180 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, block print

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Collage 85

What a delight to have added blue. It opened up a whole new range of possibilities!

I have no idea what was happening on this page of our original text. It probably falls somewhere in the war scenes of Part Two. It doesn't matter to me at all. With a few exceptions, I always work abstractly, non-representationally. I started my "artist" life relatively late, about 20 years ago. The first painting I did was a landscape, as was the second. At that point, I ditched any attempt to work realistically. With the exception of a few self-portraits in the last few years. But that's another story.

If you want representational, use a camera. Photography is a perfect medium to capture "what is". I take lots of photographs, too. But I am interested in the process of art-making. A photograph is a moment in time. Art-making is your energy, your soul expressing itself.

A few months ago I happened to notice that the source page I was using included the word "Boston". Apparently Boston was some sort of parlor game -- as well as the city which Team Tolstoy calls home. I attempted to write "Boston" in Russian as part of the collage, but it looked so wrong. So I worked over it. Took it right out. Responding to the text is of no interest to me. I love the sheer volume of this project. I am bored by representational work. Give me abstract -- it is visually interesting -- and everyone responds to it differently. That is exciting. That is compelling.

Lola Baltzell
from page 177-178 of original text
made 4/30/10
collage, acrylic paint, India ink

Monday, June 7, 2010

Collage 84

"As from the clouds appears the full moon,
All shining, and then again it goes behind the shadowy clouds,
So Hector, at one time appeared among the foremost,
And at another in the rear, commanding; and all with brass
He shone, like to the lightning of aegis-bearing Zeus."

This is a quote taken from Homer's Iliad. Because I had read War and Peace a few years ago, I've chosen to follow Tolstoy back to Homer and read the Iliad for the first time. Like War and Peace, it's long been on my "must read" short-list. Tolstoy compared his novels to Homer's epics, so including the Iliad in the big tent we've pitched seems justified. War and Peace rests on the nightstand for now, but given that we have more than 600 collages to go, I hope to reread it with the Iliad fresh in my mind. -Lynn

Lynn Waskelis
from page 175-176 of original text
made 4/30/10
collage and acrylic paint on paper

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Colage 83

This is where we introduced blue acrylic paint into the project. I remember feeling a little constricted, confined by the palette. We agreed that it was a fine time to start with a new color, and voila! Here you go.

So, what does Tolstoy have to say about free will? In Volume I, Part Three, chapter I, we see Helene and Pierre together. He has just become a count and is suddenly the man of the hour. Everyone wants to be his friend, everyone wants him as their son-in-law, he is a hot marriage prospect. Does he choose? Does he fall in love with Helene?

"And at that moment Pierre felt that Helene not only could, but must be his wife, that it could not be otherwise. He knew it at that moment as certainly as he would have known if standing at the altar with her. How it would be and when, he did not know; he did not even know whether it would be good (he even felt that it was not good for some reason), but he knew that it would be.

I've felt this a few times in my life, but not about people. It happened when I was first introduced to yoga in late 1993. I took my first class, and immediately knew that I would be doing it the rest of my life. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
page 173-174 of original text
made 4/30/10
collage, acrylic paint

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Collage 82

Lucy Arrington
page 171-172 of original text
made 4/18/10
collage, acrylic paint

In this image I was trying to get loose and just make an image without feeling compelled to make any reference to the text. I kept trying to forget that the scene is of Rostov confronting Telyanin about a stolen purse. I was taken with Tolstoy's simple yet compelling description of the thief's realization that he was caught.

"Yes, it's a nice purse. Yes, yes," he said, growing suddenly pale, and added, "Look at it, young man."

He knows he's caught, but he's still bluffing, or trying to...

I still have the uneasy feeling we're somehow bluffing, but haven't yet been caught out. What are we stealing from Tolstoy?

We're saying, "Yes, it's a nice project. Yes, yes, "we say...

And I honestly believe it is a nice project, but it isn't a simple project, and it isn't without its questionable aspects.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Collage 81

Today Team Tolstoy consisted of Lynn, Emma and I. It was Emma's first visit to the studio. It is a really wonderful way to get to know someone, to work side by side on a project that we all care a lot about. We finished 8 today which brings us up to around 125.

Lynn determined that Book One has 372 physical pages, and Book Two has 374 collages. Total of 746 collages!!!! -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 169-170 of original text
made 4/23/10
collage, acrylic paint, India ink

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Collage 80

Otto Mayr, one of our collaborators and college friend from Berlin, sets the record straight regarding yesterday's collage. He wrote the following email:

"Und die ganze Welt hoch" means literally "and up with the whole world!" Rostov and some of his hussars are joking around with a German innkeeper, who earlier says "Hoch Oesterreicher! Hoch Russen! Kaiser Alexander hoch!" A more idiomatic translation would be "Hail Austria, hail Russia, hail Tsar Alexander" and a moment later, as a cheerful, almost mocking, afterthought, "and Hail the whole world!"

You will see Otto's first contribution in a few weeks, #98. He is currently working on #120 and 137. I love the reach of this project.

I picked up the book again last night. I just started Volume I, Part Three, chapter I. Pierre's father Count Bezukhov died in Part One, while Part Two was taken up with the war. Now we are back to the story of Pierre, who is the only heir in spite of scheming by a few other characters. He is now a wealthy man, and a real "catch" of a husband. Prince Vassily (again) is scheming how he can get Andre to marry his beautiful daughter Helene. Everyone is suddenly his best friend and flattering him. The narrator comments, "He so constantly heard the words: 'with your extraordinary kindness,' or 'with your excellent heart,' or 'you yourself, Count, are so pure' ... that he was sincerely beginning to believe in his extraordinary kindness and his extraordinary intelligence, the more so because, deep in his heart, it had always seemed to him that he really was very kind and very intelligent."

Flattery will get you everywhere! at least with Pierre. -- Lola

Tomorrow promises to be a strong showing in the studio. Lynn, Lulu, Emma and I will all be there. I am so eager to get back to it.

Lola Baltzell
page 167-168 from original text
made 4/24/10
collage, acrylic paint, ink

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Collage 79

One of my favorite source materials is the old German book that another artist gave to me. I used it extensively on this piece because Lulu pointed out that the page contained a lot of German. "Und die ganze Welt hoch!" Unfortunately I don't remember what it means. I also used a bit of map that Otto send from Berlin.

I haven't been reading War and Peace for the last week or so. I am ready to delve back in. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 165-166 of original text
made 4/23/10
collage, acrylic paint, stencil/printing ink

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Collage 78

In anticipation of my trip to Paris, last week I started reading Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. He is a wonderful essayist. In the chapter entitled "The Crisis in French Cooking", he interviews a writer, Jean-Philippe Derenne who wrote a booked called L'Amateur de Cuisine. His first book was an analysis of plants and animals and the chemistry of what happens as you use heat and cold to prepare them to eat. He is talking about his second book which will be about what gets thrown out, what gets discarded -- the world of the rejected. Gopnik comments, "... religion depends on being able to find the holy in the ordinary. It's putting together things banal in themselves which nonetheless become transformed into something transcendent."

This project, through the process of collage, is putting things together that have been cast off by others, pulling people together, to transform elements, maybe even to transform ourselves. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
page 163-164 of original text
made 4/18/10
collage, acrylic paint