Wylee Whitesquirrel of Arden

Wylee Whitesquirrel of Arden
Children's book written and illustrated by Rhys McClure

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rhys McClure D'Arensbourg

An article written about one of my paintings.Years pass by and suddenly you are "discovered".

Welch: Art is where you find it

By Hanaba Welch

Monday, January 2, 2012

In front of our house at the farm is an old John Deere tractor. All other yard ornaments pale in comparison. It looks really good when it snows.

Be careful where you park a tractor in case it never starts again.

By any other name, the tractor is an "objet trouvé," that famous French art term for a "found object."

Of course, it's not like we found the tractor somewhere. But when it comes to calling something a found object, the term means finding the object to be art rather than finding the object.

The longer you neglect a tractor, the more picturesque it gets, and the more it lends itself to being an objet trouvé. Still, much depends on who's looking at it and the going price for scrap.

Meanwhile, here's a story with an objet trouvé theme: In New Orleans in the 1970s I baby-sat once for an artist who let dirty dishes stack up in and by the sink. Then she painted them, and I don't mean she painted them instead of washing them, except that's exactly what she did. For still life compositions, dirty dishes trumped fruit and flowers.(She could've changed later, but she was in her dirty dishes period back then.) Whether her stuff sold or not, as long as she had a kitchen clutter painting in progress on her easel, who could fault her for letting the housework go? Art first.

I remember only her last name. Did she ever become famous?


Believe it or not, I just found a New York artist named Jane D'Arensbourg, who designs jewelry. One of her Facebook entries indicates she made the November 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Somehow I don't think it's the same D'Arensbourg.


Wow. A little more research, and I've unearthed two salient facts: Jane D'Arensbourg was born in, of all places, New Orleans, and she puts a torch to Pyrex to make jewelry! There you have it. Another way to turn dirty dishes into art. Use a torch.

Looking at her picture I think she is at best a descendant of the artsy D'Arensbourg I met, perhaps a younger sister of the little boy I baby-sat in that rather quaint apartment off St. Charles Avenue. I like to think so.

It's enough to make me want to do a quick pen and ink study of our kitchen counter and then add calculated dashes of color. My artist's eye is looking at dishes to be washed, a bowl of fruit worthy of a Dutch master and some objets trouvés — Folgers coffee containers, a potato atop a Dannon yogurt container, a jar lid, a cellphone case, a tractor bushing, a pill bottle and the potholder I made in the first grade.

Did I mention the fruit bowl is Pyrex? And me without a torch.

Better I go take a picture of the tractor.

I know right where to find it.