Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ball Jar Memory

The last day of July and it's shocking how quickly the summer is passing. One month to go and the kids will be back in school. Two months plus a few days and we'll be in Vermont for our family's annual trek through the mountains. According to Einstein's theories of relativity there's the phenomenon of time dilation in which the passage of time seems to slow down for an object moving near light speed. For example, if one had a twin sibling who rocketed into space at near light speed, upon their return they might perceive the passage of only a year according to their clock, but to the stationary observer ten years might have passed by their clock. It's actually been tested in particle accelerators! My point is . . . as one approaches middle age, doesn't the passage of time seem to move more quickly? In fact, the whole of 2007 feels as if it has just zipped by. Yesterday we were celebrating its start - and I was beginning this blog - and here we are poised to start the eighth month. Wow!

But enough brooding . . . It's time for a final image for July, an image inspired by one of the blogs I read regularly, Chronicles of Me, by BohoGirl. Seeing her photograph of a Ball canning jar and an old patent medicine bottle reminded me of my paternal grandmother's bottle collection and prompted me to paint that image, again tackling the difficult exercise of pulling glass from the paper with a few brushes and watercolors.

Visiting my grandmother in her Eastern Shore home, I remember seeing her collection of antique bottles that she kept on shelves in the windows. Like stained-glass in a church, they would capture the sunlight and scatter the colors in a riot of hues. When the glass was clear, she would fill the bottle with water and add food coloring to continue the patterns of greens, reds, and blues.

The Ball canning jar of course reminds one of a time when families actually canned everything, from produce to meats - yes meats! They've also been appropriated for storing just about anything one can imagine, from paint and motor oil (like my father), to iced tea or formaldehyde-preserved lab specimens. I even remember in the 1980s there was one of those faux-"country" restaurant chains - "The Black-Eyed Pea" - that served all of its drinks in Ball jars. Sadly, the Ball Corporation no longer produces glass jars, having sold off the glass-making arm of the company and moved out of its long-time headquarters in Muncie, Indiana.

In the end, I'm fairly happy with the final product, despite my ever-present misgivings about the quality of scan vis-a-vis color reproduction. In addition, I tried something different this time, tweaking the painting with two photoshop macros just to see how the original would look given a posterized and sepia treatment. Obviously I have too much time on my hands.



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3 comments:

Boho Girl said...

Brian,
Wow...I am so impressed by your painting skills. What an artist you are.

I am touched that you were inspired by my photograph and that these bottles brought up such good and tender memories for you.

I collect vintage medicine bottles and jars...so you might see more photos on my blog that may inspire you.

Keep painting...so impressive.

Denise

One Wink at a Time said...

I get first dibs when this (original) goes up for sale! Or any, I'm not picky. I like these only a teeny bit less than the ketchup bottle and s&p shakers.
I too, collect old colored glass bottles and have my collection on my kitchen window sill. This month, around 7pm, they create awesome rainbows on my far kitchen wall. I love that.
As for time passing at warp speed, it's a crime. I detest knowing that the rest of my life will most likely be a blur.

One Wink at a Time said...

Forgot to say, I appreciate how difficult glass can be in watercolor but it's a challenge that's quite rewarding when perfected. As you well know ;-)