Deconstructing the Avant Garde: Ed McCartan’s Art Retrospective

When my dad moved into the nursing home, I didn’t think an art show would be possible. I shelved the idea of a gallery opening. His amazing work has only been shown publicly at outdoor art shows once or twice, more than fifty years ago. He has always been a humble man and he remains unrecognized for a large body of artwork created during his lifetime.

Ed McCartan Self-portrait

Ed McCartan’s self-portrait.

Then Hospice took over. They came up with an idea to do a retrospective at the nursing home where he is living, the Evansville Manor, a few blocks from my parents’ house in Evansville, Wisconsin. Danny and I had to go.

Drawing had helped my dad with the transition into the nursing home. He would sit in the window of his small room and sketch from photographs or from a book of animals. A few weeks before the show, he stopped drawing.

Ed McCartan Art show 2

Dad and Mom.

My mom had framed many pieces over the course of the last year. He had forty paintings to show. We set them up in order from earliest to latest work.

Ed McCartan with Linda and Pat Zielinski

My cousin Patrick Zielinski and his wife, Linda, helped Danny, my brother, Joe, and me set up.

Ed McCartan art show

Ed McCartan Art Show

Ed McCartan Abstract art

Tug Boat by Ed McCartan

Art Show Ed McCartan

The show chronicled his early days on the farm in the town of Lake Five, our life in Madison, and family vacations, to the avant-garde and deconstructed drawings of the last year, due to dementia.

This was the portrait room. Why the bird painting? Dad painted it after my brother, Joe, was born. Three hungry mouths to feed. Danny noticed a lot of humor conveyed in Dad’s artwork.

The Portrait room Ed McCartan

Three hungry mouths to feed

Portrait of Patty and Susie


American Family Insurance recognized Dad for designing their logo. My brother is standing in the back. Yes. He got all of the height in the family.

American Family Insurance and logo designer Ed McCartan

American Family Insurance and logo designer Ed McCartan 1

Family and friends attended the show. Steve Pagelow, Joe, Danny’s sister, Lori Pagelow, Mike Siemion and you know the rest. I’m showing off my double jointed elbows. AKA Susie Slicer on the court.

Lindau McCartan family

Ed and friends

Ed McCartan art show 3

My cousins, Eileen Soto and Dan Kieliszewski, and Uncle Ted Kieliszewski drove from Milwaukee. DSC08852

Dad really enjoyed seeing his artwork again. I loved the old show cards which became billboards when he worked at Hansen Outdoor Advertising as their art director.

Mom and Dad Art showShow cards by Ed McCartan

How did Danny end up in a show card from the early 1960’s?

Danny skiing Ed McCartan show card

It was ironic to see the drawings he did while quarantined in the Air Force for rheumatic fever. That’s why he’s in the nursing home. Dad’s heart is functioning at 15% due to valve damage from that disease.

Ed McCartan in the Air Force drawings

Ed McCartan art show 4

He painted quite a few abstracts

Ed McCartan 1

Ed McCartan 2

and many watercolors.

Ed McCartan log cabin

Ed McCartan Edmund Fitzgerald

His drawings and watercolor sketches filled six tables. I only picked a few of them for the show. Somewhere there’s an album filled with the logos he designed under his own name, McCartan Advertising.

Ed McCartan drawings

Ed McCartan drawings

The ones he drew since having dementia are wonderfully distorted.

Our deer Friend Ed McCartan

Ed McCartan drawings with dementia

Ed McCartan and dementia

Ed McCartan drawings

Pope Francis by Ed McCartan

After growing up surrounded by art, it was amazing to see it all displayed. The next day, I discovered another stack of drawings and large watercolors in his office at home. Who knows what I might find in their attic?

That Monday, my parents celebrated their 58th Wedding Anniversary.

McCartan family

I know my sister, Patty, would have loved to have celebrated with us. Ah, the life of a working girl.

I’m so thankful to Mercy Hospice and Evansville Manor for hosting the event and for American Family Insurance representatives for stopping by. My dad, Ed McCartan, is truly a gifted artist and appreciates everyone’s effort.

I talked to my mom today. Dad is drawing again. Yay!

Do you have a hobby or life’s passion? Is there something you would love to learn how to do?

Feel Like Summer is Slipping Away?

Once the 4th of July has been celebrated, the lazy days of summer accelerate at warp speed. Soon, our shadows will stretch, the leaves will begin to change and the kids will head back to school.

I’ve learned how to slow down this special time of year while the days are long and warm. Want to know my secret? Make time for yourself and get outside!

These are a few of the hikes I’ve taken in Colorado this summer.

Fitness challenge hikes

Join the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Create some memories while exercising your body and I’ll link you up. Take a couple of pictures while walking, running, biking, swimming, cliff diving, or dancing (the very best exercise), and post a picture or two on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WRFChallenge. I’ll include it here on the Wild Ride. Continue reading

Me and the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge


Deanne is taking the challenge! She has found a brand new way to exercise. *Hint* She lives near Lake Michigan.

Originally posted on dmswriter:

Last month, Susie at challenged readers to her 90-day Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. It’s easy, really – exercise at least two or three times each week, and make one of these an outdoor adventure.

I’ve talked about my exercise routine before. It’s not always easy, but every morning, I lace up my shoes and head out, rain or shine. Or snow. Or ice. The only thing that stops me is lightning or extreme cold.

Temperature readings tell me what to wear on my walkAnd since it’s July in Wisconsin, you’d think I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Did I say July? In Wisconsin? When it’s normally in the 80s and slightly humid? Not today, happy readers.  (Bottom number was the outside temp this morning…)

According to the chirpy TV weatherman, living near Lake Michigan brought luck, though: inland areas of Wisconsin were close to the freezing mark. I felt really good about that – not!–…

View original 254 more words

Amazing Outdoor Photos from WRFChallengers

Have you wanted to commit to exercise, but can’t seem to get into a routine? Here’s what’s working for me.

Take the 90 day Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. It ends on September 8th with a Wild Party. It’s super easy. Really! Exercise two or more times a week and get outside at least once. That’s all! You can walk around your neighborhood or scale a mountain. It’s up to you.

Post photos on Instagram and Twitter of your outdoor adventures and tag them #WRFChallenge. I’ll continue to feature some of them here. Or you can blog about your own adventure and link it to Join the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge, so more can join.

Here’s what the WRFChallengers have been up to!

Ginger Calem ran with an eagle in Texas.

Continue reading

Friday Photo and an Invitation!

Happy TGIF Wild Riders!

Want to have fun and get one of your Instagram or Twitter posts featured? Tweet or Instagram your photos while walking, running, hiking or having any kind of outdoor adventure. Include the hashtag #WRFChallenge. I’ll pick a few to post here on the Wild Ride.

It’s summer. Time to enjoy the longer days and explore the great outdoors. It’s easy to let it slip away.

ChautauquaIf you haven’t already joined, it’s not too late to be a part of the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Exercise two or more times a week. Once a week, go outside to exercise your body.

There are many ways to share your adventure. Post about it on your blog and link me up, email me to guest post, or meet me and the other Wild Riders on Twitter or Instagram at #WRFChallenge.

On September 8th, I’ll host a party! You know me. I’m all about parties. We’ll have a Wild Rider Fitness Challenge Day where we can look back on our summer of fitness fun.

Adventure awaits, right outside your door!

Have you been enjoying summer? Do you have plans to get outside this weekend?

A Passionate Lifetime


Imagine living without the internet, television, or electricity. It’s hard, right? My dad, Ed McCartan, grew up in such a place; A farm located miles away from the closest town, Lake Five, Wisconsin. He went to school in the classic one-room school house and graduated, the only one in his class. Although he is quick with a smile and a joke, it’s possible his shy manner came from this isolation. Somewhere along the line, he discovered art. He bought a motorcycle and commuted to Milwaukee to attend the Layton School of Art. Continue reading

Wild Rider Fitness Challenge – A Guest Post by Maggie C

I would like you to meet Maggie C from, What Rhymes with Stanza? She has taken the 90 day Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Maggie has written a wonderful outdoor photo essay about the pet-ometer and how it keeps her going. I can see where it is an excellent motivator. I think you’ll really enjoy this. It may motivate you too.

Take it away Maggie C!


Thank you, Susie, for hosting the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge!

I’ve actually been taking daily walks for about a year now, but the Challenge is motivating me to “step up” my game. I have difficulty sticking with any kind of healthy endeavor, it seems, so having kept at it this long is pretty amazing (or perhaps I’m just easily amazed).

The secret to maintaining my exercise regimen this past year has been my Pet-ometer. He doesn’t measure how many steps I’ve taken in a day, but he lets me know when it’s time to walk,


and — if I don’t get my rear off the couch soon enough — he lets me know it’s REALLY time for a walk. Continue reading