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

portraits

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?

Introvert or Extrovert? Maybe You’re an Ambivert.

We all know people who are so shy, we have to pry words out of their mouths. The whole room goes quiet when they begin to speak. We call them introverts. Other people can talk to anyone in any social situation. We label them extroverts.

introverts and extroverts

Introverts and extroverts are polar opposites, so how can we be one or the other? My eyes roll with every debate. Introvert or extrovert? GAH! There’s a gap the size of the Grand Canyon between them. It’s the perfect place for another personality type called, ambiverts. I would guess it comes from the Latin word ambi – both and verts – green. Both green? No. That’s probably not right.

In order to understand this new personality type, we need to review what we know about introverts and extroverts.

Introverts are reflective and happier alone with their thoughts. They energize through being by themselves. They stress out in social situations. If they do go out, they are exhausted afterward.

Continue reading

A Passionate Lifetime

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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

Boccone Dolce, Sewing Machines, Tallboys and Mom

This Mother’s Day, I look back at simpler times and honor my own mother who set the bar pretty high. She is still there to listen to me. When I visit, she pulls out her well-worn cookbooks and concocts gourmet meals. The last time, she made boccone dolce, a layered dessert of meringue and chocolatey goodness. I know!

mom patty and i2I’m not sure I could have survived the drama of elementary or high school without my mom. After skipping home from school, she would greet me with a smile, something warm from the oven, and the question, “How was school today?” I would plop down at the half-moon counter my dad installed in our small kitchen and snatch a warm cookie, its chocolate chips still melted, and would proceed to recount the trivial events of my young life. I always had a lot to say, as you can imagine, but she would listen and hand out Continue reading

My Impulsivity Can Be Surprising!

When my husband, Danny, was invited to go hut skiing the same weekend as our trip to Wisconsin, skiing won. You’re not surprised, are you?

Anyway, last Tuesday, Danny remembered we hadn’t transferred the tickets. I had spaced them out too. Duh! We would lose them on Thursday. One ticket could be used in April, but I couldn’t think of another time to go back.

While taking a walk on the trail near our house, I had a thought. Why should I stick around the house while Danny has fun and my mom’s eighty-fifth birthday is the same weekend? (Danny says I’m the queen of rhetorical questions.) Then BAM! I had a Eureka moment. I’ll surprise my parents!

This being totally last minute, I called my brother to make sure this would be a good time to come. He thought it was a great idea and arranged to pick me up at the airport. I hoped I wouldn’t give them a heart attack. My dad turned eighty-nine a couple of weeks ago and my mom would turn eighty-five on the 9th.

When I arrived at DIA, I had two hours to spare. Security always takes forever, but glancing over the railing, the line was non-existent. What? Was the airport shut down and I didn’t get the memo? Continue reading

“Share the Love!” A New Idea for Valentine’s Day

Cupids and heart Valentine

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, the most divisive holiday of all. Some love it while others hate it. No news there.

But I had a thought.

What if we transform the couple’s celebration of exclusive, romantic love, to a day of inclusivity? Okay. I’m not talking about threesomes, but what if we twist the term, refocus the lens, and define it differently?

How?

We could celebrate a day of sharing the love by sending out positive vibes to everyone we meet. There are a bazillion ways we could do that.

  • Pay it forward. On Valentine’s Day, put yourself out there to help someone who’s struggling.
  • Pay it backward. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
  • Go out of your way to use manners. Hold the door. Offer your seat. Say “Please,” and “Thank you.”
  • Make a few sincere compliments and someone might feel good about themselves.
  • Smile. I promise it won’t kill you and you’ll be surprised at the reaction, no matter where you live.
  • When driving, slow down. Use your blinkers. Let others into your lane. Why not go all out and actually stop at a stop sign.
  • Share the love with friends and family. Think outside the box. Plan an activity or have a get-together.
  • Share the love with yourself. Indulge in a treat or take some personal time doing something you love. Something that says, “I am so good at what I do and I appreciate myself.”

Instead of the FOMO (fear of missing out), on Valentine’s Day, you will feel like you did your part to share the love. Maybe you’ll will even have a story to tell when everything goes back to normal on the 15th. Who knows?

If everyone would share the love on February 14th, Valentine’s Day could become the best holiday of all!

Do you have any other ideas for “Sharing the Love?”

Follow me on Twitter at @susielindau and share your ideas at #ShareTheLove.

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My Secrets Revealed on Podcast

Recently, I played tennis with friends. One of them mentioned, she and her husband would be celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I chimed in that Danny and I would be celebrating our twenty-seventh this October. “Not bad after dating for one weekend,” I added. Their collective jaws dropped.

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Memorial Day weekend, 1987.

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Independence Pass, July, 1987.

I’ve written three blog posts about how we took a leap of faith. Okay, it was more like catapult. At the time, it seemed very logical to get married after such a short time of dating. Later, we wondered what our kids would think. So far they haven’t run off to Las Vegas to get married after meeting someone new. Whew!

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October 10, 1987.

My blogging friend and author Neville DeAngelou has a very popular radio show called The Journey. He read my blog post, “Letting You in on Ten Little Secrets,” and asked if I would be interested in being interviewed. We Skyped a few months ago. I included my story, “Our Secret is Out,” which is based on “Oprah and Me.”

It is really hard for me to listen to a recording of myself, but it wasn’t that bad! I’ve told these stories about a thousand times.

I’d love it if you listened. Click the link below:

 Do you have any secrets to a long lasting relationship that you’d like to share?