Retouching Memories

Nostalgia is not a sensation that I enjoy as it’s a longing for something that can never be had again. Therefore, if some memory from the past creeps into my thoughts, I immediately redirect my attention elsewhere.

But today there was an exception. I have many photos that are not stored the Marie Kondo way. More than stored, they are stashed using a Here and There method. This can make finding a particular photo rather complicated. But the plus side is that when you least expect it, some long forgotten photo suddenly resurfaces. Like today. While looking for something in my overdosed archive cabinet, I came across a little box of photos. They were mainly of the family and thus taken for sentimental reasons. But then there were four small black and white photos that I’d hand-painted more than 40 years ago while in San Antonio, my hometown. At the time, I enjoyed photographing the city especially areas of historical charm—not the monuments but places on the edge of time that were slowly slipping away.

Hearne House, work in progress (the house is located at 300 W. French Place)

Monte Vista is a historic neighbourhood in midtown San Antonio. Development began in 1890 and was completed in the 1930s. Influenced by the Gilded Age, the homes were big and majestic. But not all the houses in the area were designed by important architects such as Atlee B. Ayres or Frost W. Carvel. On the periphery of Monte Vista are numerous homes that, despite fine architectural elements, suffer in grandeur and often are in a state of decadence. But decadence, for an inquisitive mind, can be intriguing—it’s like a whodunit. Because you wonder what brought on the decline.

Art House, work in progress

So impressed by the allure of decadence, I spent the morning driving around the neighbourhood taking photos of lonely buildings thinking I could “resuscitate” them by taking their picture then painting it.

Double Dormers, work in progress

Although I took the photos more than 40 years ago, I can still see that morning in my mind and remember my enthusiasm because I was curious and ready to make new discoveries. It is undoubtedly a memory worth remembering. So it’s the right time to take these photos out of their box, put them on the wall, and let the reminder remain.

Corinthian Columns House

For frames I will use old books (mainly outdated manuals) whose pages have been glued together with watery glue. Once the glue is dried, a niche the size of the photo is carved out with a sharp blade then all recovered with a light layer of papier-mâché to finish it off (a great way to get rid of old love letters). Once dry, the frame can be painted before affixing the photo.

making frames from books


Related: the Roy and Madge Hearne House + All about Dormers and Their Architecture + 25 of the oldest structures in San Antonio + Sidewalk Storytelling: A Guide to San Antonio’s Historic Neighborhoods + Kelso House restoration Foundation

Related: HOW TO MAKE CARDBOARD FRAMES– How to create beautiful photo frame only using cardboard video + How to make photo frame at home with waste materials video + Make Picture Frames Out of Cereal (free) Box Cardboard! + DIY Old Book Photo Frame

About Art for Housewives

The Storyteller....
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