Tag Archives: art

Mary Hamilton: Apparently our favorite artist

Dean and I were first introduced to Mary Hamilton’s work when we went to Pittsburgh’s annual “A Fair in the Park” when we lived in Pittsburgh. Her artwork was on the poster advertising it and we picked up a free copy while there (it turns out she does the posters most years). That could have also been the year we bought a print — but since we were poor back then, I don’t know how we were able to afford it. It is possible that once we were settled in Alexandria and had a little spare cash we went back to Pittsburgh and bought our Wolves Dining Out (Observed) print. That also must have been the year we bought the cat print for Neal and Marie. Anyway — we first heard of Mary Hamilton in Pittsburgh in 1984 and fell in love with her linocuts. Ms Hamilton’s work is whimsical, magical and colorful and it appealed to both Dean and me — which is very rare. We bought the Wolves, Dining Out (Observed) directly from her and she told us to make note that the wolves were eating peas and were very messy eaters.

The year I was pregnant with Clare, and we were paying a visit to Neal and Marie in early summer, I wondered what we could bring them for a host/hostess gift. We both wished that we knew where to buy a Mary Hamilton print since they loved the cat print so much. I did a bold thing (for me — I hate talking to strangers on the telephone) and called the telephone number on a card that came with my Wolves Dining Out (Observed) print. The next thing I knew, I was talking to Mary Hamilton herself. She told me that the only place nearby that I could purchase her work was at P Street Gallery in Georgetown (now closed, alas). So I did another rare thing — I drove to Georgetown, parked the car and bought a framed print. This one was of two children in a tree. Marie loved it — maybe Neal did too, I don’t know. It is possible that Dean went to P Street Gallery with me at a later date and we bought our “The Invitation” print. Otherwise, I don’t know where it came from.

The Invitation
The Invitation

Now we have this thing called the World Wide Web and I can find her work on Google Image search, Pinterest, Facebook, and elsewhere.

Somewhere, perhaps at P Street Gallery, I bought a box of greeting cards with Ms Hamilton’s prints on them. I only gave them to very special people (or Dean since he could give it back to me if I wanted it) because I loved her artwork so much. I recently came across the 4 remaining cards and plan to get them framed either individually or as a quartet.

I am not sure of the reason for this post except to show off our collection of Mary Hamiltons. I’m also thinking of planning a trip to Pittsburgh in early to mid-September to maybe buy more…

Funeral-con(versations)

Having a conversation with a distant cousin of my husband about graphic novels is about the last thing I expected to happen at my mother-in-law’s funeral service, but it happened. I noticed one of my sisters-in-law talking with a woman who I knew was somehow related to my husband. I remembered her from a past family gathering, but didn’t recall exactly who she was. I think she sent us Christmas cards for a few years, but since we never reciprocated (I quit sending Christmas cards to anyone long ago), stopped after a while. She owns a company called WriteBrain Media that promotes companies in a variety of ways. She approached me and wondered if I might be interested in some of her outsourced work. She and another entrepreneur had also just begun another venture called The Devil’s Candy Store. As we talked, I also learned that her husband (whom I also remember meeting many years ago) is an artist whose work includes familiar Star Wars illustrations.

We talked about Neil Gaiman a little. She mentioned that she and her husband once had a booth next to Charles Vess at ComicCon. She said that Clare should contact her husband if she was really interested in pursuing art as a career — he might be able to help her out.

We’ve not communicated since the funeral — over 5 months ago — even though we exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers. I think I was a little intimidated. Not by Denise — she’s a lovely woman and highly approachable. But by the life she and her husband have — it seems more glamorous than my suburban work-from-home mother kind of life. They seem to be in Holly Black‘s league. Even if she’d emailed me with a web site proposal, I doubt I would have accepted. My work is nowhere near as professional (flashy?) as what an artist or author would expect.

It just goes to show, you never know who you’re going to meet in a church basement in a small town like Pingree Grove.