The Artist Gatherer Hits the Road
Since my handcrafted book “Lincoln Slept Here” was conceived as a travel journal, it was time to leave my studio and hit the road. My husband Ken Smith photographed the places and events where I posed with facsimiles of my hero.
Over 30 years ago, Ken snapped a photo of me next to the LIncoln larger-than-life bronze sculpture at the entrance of the San Francisco Civic Center.
In 2013, we travelled to Springfield, IL for the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Celebrations and special exhibits took place in the impressive Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Historically accurate exhibits with realistically rendered figures of the Civil War era highlight the Lincoln family, the assassin John Wilkes Booth and former slaves and abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. I hugged the actor “Mary Lincoln” and apologized for history’s inaccurate maligning of her. Some think this it cheesy but this was live theater and I was under its spell.
I bump into Lincoln without trying. This colossal Augustus Saint-Gaudens' “Standing Lincoln” is adjacent to the Chicago History Museum, which houses a Lincoln collection including his deathbed. In the Smithsonian Galleries, Lincoln looked down on me along with other historical figures.
President Lincoln on the Battlefield of Antietam.
Alexander Gardner, photo, Smithsonian Museum
Lincoln trailed me in New York, where my main targets are art museums. On an accidental ferry trip to Staten Island (We meant to go to the Statue of Liberty), Ken and I happened upon contemporary photos of Civil War sites and reenactments.
Since I interpret history through my art, I want to be faithful to facts and use original sources of photographs and illustrations when I can. Quotes and descriptions are taken from historical records: books, films, videos, museums, and websites.
The “Strange Fates of Lincoln" portable museum is a vehicle for me to tell stories though building, drawing and painting. I gather information, report events and probe ideas. The hunting and gathering never stops.