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Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to Stan Lee, the One and Only! -- And: Stan (and Me) Through the Decades!

I don't know how he does it, but then, Stan has accomplished so much!  But this one has always amazed me. How does he stay so... well... so STAN!

During the course of my association in this industry, from the days at the Dallas Fantasy Faire as the Co-Chair when I was young and green, to being an assistant editor at DC (still young and green),  to editor at Marvel (just green), and now to being publisher and artists agent (whatever is not green), it just worked out that at least once a decade or so--sometimes more--I've had the fun of having my photo taken with Stan Lee (with varying degrees of success mind you). 

Here is a choice selection. You'll see what I mean.  :-)

During the Dallas days. My first pic with Stan.

Marvel Christmas party.
Marvel Christmas party 2. 

Harvey Awards a few years ago. Also with Michael Golden.

Recently in Charlotte. Here with Michael Golden and Mike Zeck too!

What always tickled we was that with each passing event,  how Stan never really changed that much. But hair, weight, and other statistics were always in flux when it came to me! (I particularly like the first photo where I'm sporting that cool Mullet.)

I almost want to stamp "Presented by Stan Lee" on the back of each one. It's an unequivicable seal of approval you know?! 

It's a reminder to  me what a constant Stan has been in my life/career now for some time. Even before I edited a single story,  why, I knew the name--In fact from the first time I stole one of my brother's "Spider-man" comics when I was six or so! 

I guess that's why to this day, whenever I do see Stan, it still makes me giddy with delight.

My photographic record aside, in truth, believer, Stan deserves all the accolades coming his way today on his 93rd Birthday. Since his days at Marvel to the present, Stan has been a champion of so much I love about comics, helping propel our industry to new levels. 

If anyone has a legacy it's him. And in return, we love him.

So, here's to you Stan, and Happy Birthday!  You're the Man! 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays from Eva Ink Artist Group

Here's Hoping All the Batteries Are Included!

Happy Holidays from Eva Ink Artist Group!
(Michael Golden, Renee Witterstaetter and the Gang!) 

And wishing you a 2016 to break all records!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Michael Golden Captain America "Civil War" Comic Debuts This January! Get Yours!

Limited Edition "Civil War" Cover.

For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2015

New Orleans— Long tauted as THE artist to come to when you need a picture that says a 1,000 words, illustrator Michael Golden’s dynamic Captain American and crew limited edition comic book will be made available to Wizard Comic Con New Orleans VIP’s this January!  Just in time for the movie release, we might add!

Here are the details:

Civil War #1 Wizard World Comic Con New Orleans Captain America VIP Exclusive Variant Cover by Michael Golden

(W) Mark Millar (A) Steve McNiven (CA) Michael Golden
Written by Mark Millar


A conflict has been brewing in the Marvel Universe for over a year, threatening to pit friend against friend, brother against brother--and all it will take is a single misstep to cost thousands their lives and ignite the fuse! As the war claims its first victims, no one is safe as teams, friendships, and families begin to fall apart. Civil War, a Marvel Comics event in seven parts, stars Spider-Man, the New Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the entirety of the Marvel pantheon! Civil War - the cross-over that rewrites the rules - begins here in this double-sized first issue!

Michael will be present at the show and available to autograph copies of this collectible comic! 

Captain American close up. 

For more information on how to get  your exclusive Michael Golden cover, go to: http://www.wizardworld.com/civilwar1.html

For more information on artist  Michael Golden, contact: evaink@aol.com

Cap Pencils.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Limited Edition Suydam Cover featured on "Infected by Art" Coffee Table Volume!

Suydam cover for the new deluxe coffee table book.

For Immediate Release

November 29, 2015

“Infected by Art” Deluxe Collector's Volume Features Limited Edition Arthur Suydam Cover!

New York, NY— “Infected by Art,” the new deluxe hard-cover coffee table book featuring the world’s finest  fantasy, horror and sci-fi illustrators, has just been released with a limited edition run of 500 copies, featuring the stunning cover work by  award  winning  artist / writer,  Zombie King, Arthur Suydam. 

Written by Todd Spoor and Aaron Raymond and on Bud Plant’s “highly recommended” list,  “Infected by Art” features over 300 images of work’s  in the categories of fantasy, horror illustration and science fiction broken down into five categories competing  for  prizes.  Winning artists  were selected  by a  panel-jury comprised of   four  all-star judges, this year including: Suydam, horror  legends Basil Gogos and Sanjulian, and sci-fi cover artist Ken Kelly .

The books dust jacket explains it all: “The art comprised within is simply the most imaginative thought-provoking and creative art on the market today.” Featuring artists from the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, etc. -- truly making this a world-wide collaboration of exceptional works.

Suydam was selected  to join the alumni of distinguished judges for this year’s installment of “Infected by Art,”   based on his groundbreaking  work  on Marvel Zombies and a sequence of zombie  themed titles over the last ten years which helped prompt a worldwide zombie  pop culture explosion,  extending to TV, film, gaming, merchandising (Note: Hot Topic), and making the word "zombie" truly a household word.  Listed in the book of  the "Top 100 Greatest Comic Artists of  all  Time ,”   Suydam and contemporaries, the likes of Richard Corben, are credited with revolutionizing comics in the  70s  and  80s themselves, by first introducing painted fine art techniques and a fresh, mature  storytelling  into U.S. mainstream comics, helping to open doors for the  writers and artists in the  years that followed. 

The most recent in a line of books on this celebrated artist has just been released as a deluxe coffee table volume, entitled "The Complete Cholly and Flytrap," from Titan Publishing, while previous books on Suydam include "The Art of Arthur Suydam," from Vanguard, and "The Art of the Barbarian" from Eva Ink / Heavy Metal, among others.

Suydam comes by his painting instincts naturally: Great Uncles on his father's side, James Suydam and Henry Suydam were both among the dozen artists who won  American  painters recognition on the world stage  for the  first  time  at  the outbreak of the  Civil  War,  circa 1861 and became  known as the Hudson River Painters --a collection of landscape  artists credited with reinventing the world of fine art at that time. In the  20s and  30s, E.H. Suydam became one  of America’s most  celebrated  architectural artists with artworks now hanging in the
White House, Museum of New York and the National Academy Museum  and  more.  It's a fair bet,  that Suydam’s mother, Juliette, a native of Montreal, herself an avid painter may have contributed  to instilling an appreciation of the arts into her three sons, as well.

Zombie King, Arthur Suydam’s own work graces both the front and back cover of 500 limited editions of “Infected by Art” and additionally is featured in a beautiful three page spread of  never before published, unedited,  master works, including the  complete  wrap around cover painting  for his much  celebrated  “The  Walking  Dead"  #1 " variant cover ,  all in the intro section of this culmination of today’s top illustrators .

Publisher: Authorhouse, 2013

Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket 

Dimensions: 9x11

Pages: 308pg

Color: Full Color

ISBN: #9781481760843

Back cover features a Suydam Album Cover.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ten Questions with Artist Michael Golden

Michael Golden after one of the appearances, this one in Australia. 

This past October, Michael Golden sat down with reporter Jimmie Tramel of the "Tulsa World" for a brief 
interview before the Tulsa convention. Here are "10 Questions with Michael

1.)  Tell us about your cover illustration for
the Wizard World Tulsa convention and what you wanted to achieve with it.

MG: I wanted to cover all the bases. I wanted to give the audience a glance in one
image of all that's going on-- Halloween , Octoberfest, The Wizard World Con--
all  in town, and that everyone--man women, child and beer drinker--can find
something to be a part of this weekend.

2.) Those buildings in your Wizard
World Tulsa illustration are “real” buildings in
downtown Tulsa. Can we assume
you went online for photo references?

It's a photo montage indeed, but not
really. It's one where I redrew images, and then manipulated them, then reined
them, and then designed them to make it look like a scary Gothic castle rising
as the skyline.

3.) You could have gone a different routes with the
illustration, but you opted to
“monster it up” because Halloween is around the
corner. Why do we love

Because it taps a primal fear, and because
it's also paradoxically,  fun. It scares us and we enjoy it.

4.) You are slated for a 12:30 p.m. Saturday panel on storytelling.
You can’t be an artist
in the comic industry without also knowing how to tell a
story, correct? (Note that you can attend this class in storytelling at many of
Michael Golden's appearances.)

For ME, personally, I consider it THE priority of my job, to be a storyteller,  not
an artist, not a writer, but a storyteller. Artist draws pictures, writers write
words, but if you do it all well, you are a storyteller.

5.)  You co-created Rogue of the X-Men. Why do you think the
character has staying power?

For those that don't know, Rogue is a character that can take your life force by
touching you. But behind that is a great vulnerability. A  great and scary
power-- the ability to rob people of their very essence of who they are, what
they are and even what they could become. It scares her. It's something we can
all identify with in every relationship we've ever had or started to enter, in
that we cannot control being part of someone else and what it will do to either
them or us. It's the unknown. And that's scary.  It's why initially she was such
a great villain, but adversely to that, it's what makes her such  vulnerable
character. By virtue of dealing or not dealing  with this, she can never have a
true relationship, because being part of someone makes her even more vulnerable
and destroys the person she is having the relationship with as well. Fear is
paralyzing. Something everyone can relate to. She taps into what love is all
about. Rogue taps into that psychological and emotional relationship and the
responsibility there in. But then again, she IS just a comic book

Rogue as she looked in her first appearance. 

6.) Is there any character or title you would
like one more crack

No, I'm in the position to do what I want . Every character or property
I've been privileged to be part of has been a challenge and a test of my
abilities to do my job. I'd like to think I did it successfully and in a
satisfactory way every time I've done it. I've always wanted to break barriers,
try new things, test new waters and challenge my abilities in a new way. I
approach every job the same.

7.) If you were responsible for writing your
own bio, what would you list first and why?

That I'm a storyteller. It is my Number One Priority. It is the be all and end all 
of what I do and what I choose to do in 
life, and what will hopefully live beyond me. I don't want to be remembered as an 
artist. A storyteller, yes.

8.) What should the people of
Oklahoma know about Michael Golden that can’t be found in a professional

We'll leave that for my unauthorized auto-biography. LOL

9.) Which artists are in your Mount Rushmore of comic book

First and foremost I'd probably put Alex Toth. He is in
my opinion what this art form is all about. He is the one who purposely and
effectively blends all of the disciplines that we exercise. Jack Kirby who
understood the dynamics necessary to make the two dimensional storytelling
medium come alive. After that I would segue into artistic appreciation of the
disciplines such as Charles Dickens as a writer and storyteller who could make
the time and character of that time and place come alive to any reader. I add
him because it's about storytellers. Beyond that, Stan Lee, who understands how
to meld those classic storytelling principles into the modern super hero
context. He was Shakespeare all over the place. He's part of my storytelling
class in that context. He took Shakespeare's melodrama straight out of the
book--among other sources-- and turned it into Marvel Comics.

10.) For you, what’s the best part of the convention

Meeting the fans. Just that simple. The fans that have known my work over the years, 
that they have passed on to the younger fans--always a pleasure to see them and interact,
that's always rewarding. As is meeting the new people discovering comics and MY
work for the first time-- something that conventions give an outlet
for--creating this whole new experience for them and for us as the creators. 
That's what the conventions are all about.

For more information on Michael Golden, contact evaink@aol.com About Michael Golden: One of THE storytellers in the industry, influencing generations of comics fans and professionals, Michael Golden boasts creations that are some of the most licensed and enduring in the industry Co-Creator of Rogue, Bucky O'Hare, Micronauts and "The 'Nam," among much more, 
Golden is known as one of THE artists on such characters as Batman, Doctor Strange, 
G.I. Joe and the Punisher. Golden's recent covers can be seen on everything from "Spawn" to
the "Walking Dead," to World Wrestling  work. Recent covers include works on
"The Walking Dead," "Deadpool," and "DareDevil," to name a

In short, no history of comics is complete without
touching on the influence that this legendary artist has had on this industry.
Recent books on the colorful life and vibrant art of Golden include "Michael
Golden: Alchemy" "Modern Masters: Michael Golden" and "Excess: The Art of
Michael Golden," and "Michael Golden: Dangerous

In addition, having served as both Senior Art
Director at Marvel Comics and Senior Editor at DC Comics, Golden's lectures and
classes in storytelling are sought after world wide, with recent venues
including places as diverse as Spain, France, Russia, Norway, Brazil, Chile and
China. With recent gallery shows mounted in New York City, Maryland, Spain and

This year's cover of the Tulsa magazine. 

Tulsa Weekend Magazine Connects with Michael Golden Graphics!

Michael Golden's take on the Tulsa Icon. 
Tulsa,  Ok-- For two years in a row, the Tulsa Weekend Magazine has tapped renowned artist Michael Golden to grace the covers of their weekend special editions that coincide with the yearly Wizard World convention that takes over the beautiful art deco buildings of Tulsa's downtown area.

Thanks to reporter Jimmie Tramel, we've also been told that the magazines news office has pretty much been converted into "Michael Golden Central." His Tulsa Driller piece for the 2014 magazine hangs proudly on the newsroom's wall.

"Michael Golden is our go-to guy for illustrations. The title wasn't given to him. He earned it. There's a difference in doing a job for the sake of a paycheck and doing a job because you take pride in your work. It's clear that he takes pride in his work," says Tramel.  "He was presented basic ideas for illustrations each of the last two years and went above and beyond to exceed our expectations on both occasions. This man is a pro's pro."

Tulsa Newsroom.

We're waiting to see the new  Zombie/Halloween/Octoberfest piece on the wall next, Jimmie.

This year's magazine cover by Michael Golden
Both of these images are available as signed and numbered prints from the artist. Contact us at: evaink@aol.com.

"Walking Dead" #1 with Exclusive Variant!

"Walking Dead" #1 O'Barr Color Version.
James O'Barr "Walking Dead" #1 Black and White Variant.
New York-- Debuting at the recent Wizard Louisville, "The Crow" creator James O'Barr has provided a striking image in the latest run of "Walking Dead" exclusive variants offered in conjunction with Wizard Conventions and Skybound. This limited edition variant was only made available to VIP's at the show, however, it's not too late to get your copy!

The piece featuring our hero Rick Grimes surrounded by a horde of zombies is being offered in both color and black and white versions in a limited edition.

As for the interior story, a lot of you know it by now! But here's the synopsis in case you don't:

(W) Robert Kirkman (A) Tony Moore (Cover) James O’Barr
Black & White, 32 pages

How many hours are in a day when you don’t spend half of them watching television? When is that last time any of us REALLY worked to get something that we wanted? How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED? The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled, no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start to live.

Rick Grimes is not prepared for this. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never shot anyone and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family he must now sort through the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. All the while fighting for his survival. How did this happen? How did things get so bad so fast? How will things ever return to normal after everything he’s seen? From the guys behind BATTLE POPE and BRIT comes something COMPLETELY different.

James O'Barr's limited run of 150 each of the  "Walking Dead" covers are available at his appearance while supplies last. Each comic will be signed and numbered as Artist Proofs, and come with an Eva Ink Artist Group Certificate of Authenticity. 

For more information or to reserve your copy contact us at: evaink@aol.com

Friday, November 13, 2015

Suydam's "Adventures of Cholly and Flytrap" Finds New Home at Titan Books! With BONUS Material!

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2015

Arthur Suydam's Groundbreaking "Adventures of Cholly and Flytrap" Finds New Home at Titan Books!

London-- Long considered one of the ground-breaking stories of it's time, Arthur Suydam's "The Adventures of Cholly & Flytrap" is now available for the first time as a complete edition form Titan Books, featuring bonus material and remastered pages, never before available.

Arthur Suydam is an award-winning writer, artist and innovator. His work on the smash hit series "Marvel Zombies" (Winner of the Spike Scream Award for Best Writer, Best Artist and Best Comic of the Year), helped prompt a worldwide zombie explosion. Also known for his work on "Deadpool," "Batman vs. Predator" and more, Suyam's awards also include the Spectrum Gold Award, the San Sebastian Film Festival Lifetime achievement Award, the University of Maryland Lifetime achievement Award and more.

Listed in the "Top 100 Greatest Artists," Arthur and contemporaries like Richard Corben are credited with revolutionizing comics by first introducing the techniques of fine art into mainstream comics.   For Suydam, this illustrative knack came naturally. His Great Uncles on his father's side: James Suydam and Henry Suydam were among the dozen artists known as the influential Hudson River Painters who helped gain American fine arts recognition on the world stage circa 1861.  While the artworks of  architectural artist E.H. Suydam hang in the White House, Museum of New York and the National Academy Museum among others. His mother, Juliette, a native of Montreal, was also an avid painter, so the love of his craft was instilled in him at an early age-- clearly shines through in the lush and evocative pages in "Cholly and Flytrap."

One of Arthur Suydam's other definitive works, "Mudwogs," will also be available to grace coffee tables! It's slated for a hardcover treatment by Titan next year.

For more information visit Titan books or  visit arthursuydam.com.

Editorial Reviews


     "Hilarious! Disturbing and compelling. A comic MASTERPIECE!” 

Crazy gorgeous. Some of the wildest storytelling, beautifully illustrated!”  

“I consider Suydam one of the greatest artists of our time! 


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Comics (November 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782767673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782767671

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Not Forgetting: A Scavanger's Story

On "The Hunt" in Chile.

It's time for a confession...

I have sifted, scanned, perused, and walked away many times empty handed from many an indoor flea market, out door flea market, garage sale, yard sale, estate sale, street fair and thrift shop (and sometimes not so empty handed)... it's like playing the slot machine for that one big score. Holding out for that one good hand. Optimistically playing the lottery. Knowing, of course, that the odds are always against you, and that someone has plied that machine with quarters before you. But, you go anyway.

Because...you never know....

The trick, like any addiction is deciding when to walk away, don't you think?  Realizing that you are talking yourself into that Cabbage Patch doll that you really don't need, don't like, and that you would never get around to  putting on ebay. That the plastic Mickey Mouse, no matter how old, really isn't worth THAT much. And although collectible, empty Avon bottles just aren't your thing. (I mean, my dryer collects lint. I don't save that either, although sometimes I think the patterns are pretty. But, you have to draw the line.) 

Crafts fair in South America.

That's the easy part: Figuring all that out. That comes with YEARS of training for your "sport."

The real trick is getting "the eye". Distinguishing Depression Glass from Oatmeal cups; Knowing what marks to look for on the bottom of a plate, or recognizing the ting of real crystal;  Reciting the history of Halls or Fostoria or Ruby glass and remembering which of your relatives collects which; Seeing that one Goebel statue amongst the imports from China or that Eisenberg or Weiss pin hidden in the tin and paste wannabes; Experiencing that thrill when the Steiff elephant at that flea market in Amsterdam still has the original tag and button;  Getting a leather bomber jacket for 5 euros at the same place!; Walking past all the "tourist" items in Moscow to get to the area in the back where people unwrap parcels teeming with artifacts, separated from the cold ground by the thin veil of a bed sheet;  Trying to negotiate in foreign languages that you don't remotely speak!; Getting the bead on a yard sale sign from 100 yards away and putting the blinker on as easy as batting an eyelash!

No matter if you are going to be a tad bit late for whatever it was you were doing before that: "It will only take a minute."

It's the thrill of the chase. 

And if you survive and endure and get ready for all of that, The REAL trick is knowing when you've found something special. No hesitation. In the zone. You run to the cash register (sometimes cigar box) as quick as possible. As if the Junk Patrol or maybe even those guys from "American Pickers" are  going to walk in at any moment and proclaim that the price is just "Too Low!"

Finds from the Moscow Flea Market

But of course, I'm being silly.

That's not the real confession...

The real confession of why I frequent these dusty bins of forgotten objects  is that it probably really has nothing to do with any of the above...

For a little explanation: I do come by these scavenging instincts naturally.

In the beginning, one Spring,  I remember my Kindergarten teacher had very small feet and she'd give us her old shoes to take home to play dress up.  The school was in the little church, which still rests across from the cemetery where my Father and my Grandmother are now buried. The shoes were old fashioned and beautiful and fancy in a way that even then, they just didn't make shoes any more. They sparked a curiosity.

Each Summer, later on, visiting the neighborhood garage sales, I marveled at odd little items and learned their origins or uses. It  became a hobby. If the Murray's had a sale across the street, or the Morrison's a few blocks down, I was there!  Mom was usually tagging along--although not always...

It was a time when it was safe to roam the streets like a miniature modern day pirate looking for gold.

And the little treasures I'd see never failed to fascinate: Made me wonder what someones life was like that they would use an iron "like that," or make toast in something that looked like a filigree doorstop; Or the little souvenirs that said Paris or Rome or Egypt? How did they get here? And by whom? When? Why?

Mom and I exploring Costa Rica. 

Mom is/was into more specific collecting-- mostly certain patterns of dinnerware or glassware, and we'd go searching antique stores and the like.  She loved going through the racks of plates and piles of textiles as much as I did. Willow Ware was also a particular favorite. I was drawn to old books, Fiesta Ware,  Siam Silver and Big Little Books, along with anything else that had character. Still am.

My Mom has always been the kind of person who spends money on others and hardly ever on herself. In fact, my Mom is one of the most selfless people I know. She talks herself out of buying things constantly-- even if it's something she needs, much less something she might just "want."

For many years, my Dad, took it as a mission to encourage her to just "Go Ahead." 

He would always make sure that Mom had something of her Miss America pattern (the pink was harder to find) under the Christmas Tree or for Mother's Day, because he knew she was that way.

He never forgot...even when he he was working long hours, or after he became too sick, he'd always direct me as to what I was to find for her.

You know, over the years, that Miss American Depression Glass pattern has become more and more rare, to the point that I hardly see it anymore. And in the year's since Dad's passing, it seems to have just gone away entirely... Or: Did we just buy it all, Dad! It's possible! 

Somewhere along the way though--and I'm not sure when-- it's gradually gotten harder and harder to get Mom to scavenge...I think half the joy in finding a beautiful object is adding to it's story, realizing you are the next block in it's journey. Then sharing the tale.

But, does it change at some point? Do we start to feel our  patchwork puzzle is complete...or, does it happen when we lose the people to listen?

Maybe? Only she would know.

Long after her shelves were full, and she seemed to lose  interest, I'd continue to go on my own, always lured by the pull of a hand written sign, proclaiming a window of "Saturday, 10-2" or a funny old antique store facade with painted on shaky letters,  that served as a magic magnet for these forgotten objects that needed saving from the Island of Misfit Toys (things).

Many times I'll find a piece of Depression Glass, or the Hall's Fall Leaves, and I'll buy it for Mom, not because she needs it, but simply because seeing it makes me think of her...

Oh...sometimes, in Autumn,  I can still get Mom to stop for some year end sales, even though she'll complain that she doesn't see as well anymore, or can't walk as fast as she once did...And this coming from a women that's still chooses to have a job in her 80's!

"I have enough stuff," she'll say.

But then she'll see something that will make her laugh.

Revisiting Summer at Texarkana Lake. 

Sometimes she repeats stories I've heard before, when certain objects make her recall. I've heard some people be short with folks when they do this, "You've already told me that," they'll say.  But I don't mind. I want to hear.

"That framed old photo--the one with the fancy frame? Photographers would come around when we were young and you'd pose in your own house, put on your best clothes, and they'd deliver the photographs later in frames like those." She has a similar one of her and her sister in her house;

"See that old washboard, when I was growing up, we didn't have indoor plumbing for the longest time. Washing clothes was such a chore." Or the Singer sewing machine. "Most of my dresses were made out of flour sacks on a machine like that." I still remember my Grandmother making her own lye soap when I was a child, even though she no longer had to.

And the the look on Mom's face when I almost bought a pressure cooker for canning, "When I was five, I came home from playing and Mother was in the kitchen, a big bloody gash down her arm. The pressure cooker had exploded, and the neighbors came and rushed her to the hospital. She almost died." I didn't buy the pressure cooker that day.

Or the increasing rare occasion when we would find one of these little bone china Dutch shoes she collects. "A little boy down the street gave me the first one when I was 7," she'll say. "Probably from the 5 and Dime.  I collect all I see now." Although she doesn't remember exactly which the first one was.

The photos, to me, are the most haunting though. Why... how...did they end up here? Didn't someone in that family want them? Maybe it's easy to forget something... but someone....

When did they just become "artifacts," their eye-witnesses lost in time, without the benefit of someone to "recall?"

Mom on the right, and her sister, Sandra.

And that's when I realize that a very large  part of the reason I love just looking with my Mom and listening is because it opens a portal, a dialogue, into the past. Into understanding...

Then, sometimes, as a BONUS, you find among the dust of stacked histories, a "jigsaw shape," for your own landscape in progress, that you didn't even know you were looking for!

The moments don't always come, but when they do, they are grand.

In Texas recently, I stopped at one of those indoor markets-- my Mom as reluctant participant-- and noticed an authentic oil painting stacked in the mix-- The technique of the sky and snow, the tranquil vibe, almost made me feel as if I could hear the rush of the wind, grasp the frame and walk right in...

I asked how much it was. Nobody knew! They wouldn't sell it to me without a price. BUT they couldn't give me a price?!

The canvas was old, so I guessed the piece was probably from the 40's or 30's, with a "Munich" stamp on the back, and writing in German that talked of a "winter morning on the Matterhorn." The artist, someone I had not heard of -- E. Kettemann.

Distinguishing clues.

All little details that piqued my interest even more....

I left my name and phone number. That afternoon, the lady at the shop called back and said they found the owner and he was in the store.  Just happened to walk in that day. The painting had been in the wrong booth. A stroke of luck.

"He wants Fifty Dollars," she said, almost apologetically. "I'll take it," I said, without hesitation.

Someone else had already inquired about the painting, but I had first dibs. I didn't waste a moment throwing on my shoes and heading for the car. Mom in tow. Sometimes these things change in a flash, you know.( Like that Murphy Bed I was going to check out in Manhattan, only to have the owner "text" me--not even call-- to say he'd just sold it to someone else, WHILE I was in the taxi going there, and even though I had an appointment.  Dude!!  Not cool. Just saying. And let's talk about the $40 cab ride while we're at it.)

But back to the tale (and thanks for sticking with me)...

By this time, after my digression, Mr. Kettemann's painting was sitting snugly in the back seat.

So, yes, I know why I love the hunt...

It's not a pack rat thing where your house is piled high with newspapers and soup labels or ski slope schedules from 10 years ago. It's different. It's more seeing what resonates. What says "take me home," and thinking how this artifact, this teapot/figurine/jewelry item--whatever it might be-- has survived wars and earthquakes and kids and whatever happened in it's world, to get to this crossroads in it's unknown travels. That it was held, poured tea, listened to conversations, that only it is witness to now, and can never relate. Was wrapped, unwrapped, saved for...and somehow ended up here.

It's all beautiful, sad, joyful and temporary. All at the same time.

It's the story, for me.

Winter Morning in Zematt at the Matterhorn

Later, I looked up E. (Erwin) Kettemann...well-known German landscape painter (1897-1971), born in Munich, he lived and painted there his whole life, doing mostly landscapes and most of those, winter scenes... His paintings well... they go at auction for ALOT more than $50.

I'd have loved it even so. It whispers to me from decades past of something beyond a monetary attribution-- a sense of peace perhaps, the sound of quiet, a portal to a place somewhere in time... and I wonder what Mr. Kettemann was thinking when he painted it, and did it speak in the same way to the people that owned it before me?

Again... I don't know... But, I'm  happy to have this, and all my pieces, as part of my own puzzle for a time...until the puzzle breaks apart again.

So, by now, you realize the real confession: I am a fool for the sentimental.

My most prized possessions are things that have little value. But they once belonged to my Grandmother, my Mother, my Aunt Margaret, my Father's Mother who died so young, and whom I never met... but when I hold the Milk Glass trinket box painted with pink roses that once belonged to her...I remember.

As for my "adopted" things...I like my addiction. It's a happy one. And often times cheaper than my predominate addiction, coffee, after all! 

It's also an unspoken acknowledgement  that nothing here ever was--that nothing was ever cherished-- with the intention of just throwing it away...Nothing important should be.

Like a "Winter's Morning..."

My Mom...being more into looking at the old Elvis memorabilia that day, didn't really get it at first. "Why are you buying a painting," she said, but on the short drive home, looking back, she finally remarked "You know, it's really very beautiful." I laughed.

She usually comes around.

And then she looked down at what else we found that day-- the small, white, porcelain Dutch shoe, cupped in her hands, and she smiled.

Had it only been in my mind?... I'm sure it was just there-- a whispered:  "Go Ahead." 

(But, , oh... I was being totally serious about one other thing:  I do keep one eye open for those "picker" guys.")

-Renee W.

The Little Shoes.