Tuesday 1 August 2017

Newsie Blues (or Neutral Blues IV)

Hello all!  I've one more excursion into blues/browns/greys before I offer up something completely different.  This is still part of the series, I'd say.

Even though there are no Oxides involved this time, we are back to the Paper Dolls.

The crackle background, created with PaperArtsy Fresco paints and crackle glaze, had been hanging around for a while wondering what to do with itself, so in the end I got out some bits of ephemera and collaged away to my heart's content.

Of course, the unexpected little stories started to bubble up as I was creating...

This rather dourly dapper chap, buttoned up so smartly and holding himself tightly in check, immediately won my sympathy because he has his dog with him.

I felt there had to be something behind that rather stern expression.  Anyone who cannot bear to be parted from their canine friend can't possibly be as self-important as he appears at first glance.

Clearly he's concerned in commerce, perhaps - given the ephemera which surrounds him - in the trade of advertising, still in its early days.

He's always in search of the authentic, though too often caught up in that old conundrum of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

But, in fact, he does know about value.  He remembers earlier days, when he was far from prosperous.

He started life in one of the tenements of New York city, making a few cents a day as one of the "newsies".  And Charlie Conlon was one of the sharpest newsies out there.

As a newsboy, you were always in competition with the gangs trying to sell competing newspapers and broadsheets.

You had to look out for yourself in order not to have your meagre day's takings pinched or, worse, the papers you had spent some of the previous day's carefully hoarded money on might be snatched and thrown down into puddles so that you'd be left without the means to earn anything at all that day.

So to have a dog with you, as a companion, as a lookout, as protection, was a huge boon. And the slightly lop-eared street mutt which attached itself to him one day, and whom he nicknamed "Eyepatch", became Charlie's dearest friend in the world.

One of Charlie's best sales techniques, and one which gave him great pleasure, was to make up little rhymes or ditties about one of the headlines in the day's paper.  And it was thanks to that habit that he got a break.

One of the Wall Street gents stopped to listen to him one day as he was selling on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway just opposite Trinity Church - a prime spot won and defended against competing newsies by Eyepatch's ferocious growls.

The businessman asked who'd given him those rhymes to say, and when Charlie replied that he'd made them up out of his own head, the man bought up the rest of his day's papers and took him to one of the new Hot Dog Carts for a frankfurter.

The man's business involved writing advertising copy, and he had spotted the value of this street smart urchin with his scrappy sidekick.  He offered Charlie a job on the spot as an office boy.  From there, it was a short step to writing copy, and becoming one of the most valued staff writers.

But Charlie never forgot where he came from and, for all his success, he was never quite comfortable in the smart suits and natty hats.

Next to all the college-educated chaps who swanned in and out of the advertising offices, he always felt he had to stand tall and defend his patch, keeping himself to himself and not sharing secrets.

Eyepatch had seen him through the tough early days, and after his faithful defender died, Charlie made sure never to be without a canine companion.  His dogs were the only creatures he ever really trusted, with whom he could just be Charlie Conlon, without worrying what they thought of him.

That was authentic friendship.

So those are today's words and pictures.  I hope you enjoyed the journey through the neutral blues series.  Here they are all together - definitely a series, I think, don't you?  An itch that needed scratching once I found myself back in my craft room.  If you missed the details on any of them, check out Part I - the reluctant portrait-sitter, Part II - the pairs of radiant children, or Part III - the miracle of light and dark, for the full encounters.

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments.  It's been nice to be posting so regularly again, and I'm back in a couple of days with - a rarity round here these days - a two-post day.  Hitting the ground running, you see.  Got to make up for lost time!

And you won't believe your eyes when you see what colours are coming up next (clue: no blue, no brown, no grey).  See you soon!

"Headlines don't sell papers. Newsies sell papers. Without newsies, nobody knows nothin'."
From the musical Newsies by Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein

I'm going to make this one final entry at Tag Tuesday, where the lovely Chrissie has chosen My Favourite Colour Combination as the theme.  Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of time to play along - it's just I know I'm taking a break from blue & brown for a bit!


  1. Love all the series!!!!!!

  2. this is very fine and lovely tag for a good guy;O))

  3. this is a great end to a great series! looking forward to the colour... I wonder...!!

  4. Another wonderful tag with a fantastic story of a very nice man and his dog. Truly your fave colours as you have used them on so many projects in the years I have known you in Blogland
    Thank you for joining us at Tag Tuesday and you have 3chances to win the owl

    Love Chrissie xx

  5. They are all absolutely gorgeous ! Love them !
    Corrie xx

  6. Lovely and creative collage tag ~ and they are all wonderful ~ like your art style ~ ^_^


  7. amazing crackle Alison .... I adore the background and wow - so much detail to look at too - beautiful work! Hugs rachel x

  8. Fantastic tag, love the pictures and the story. I'm off to be now, so that was my bedtime story for today. Thanks for joining us again at TT, hugs, Valerie

  9. Fabulous back story as ever and anyone who lives the companionship of dogs over all else is ok in my book. Great final tag of the series and can't wait for the colours coming up
    Amanda x

  10. Another great tag and story! Love thewonderful crackled background and great collage with those found relatives etc!

  11. It is another one of you fabulous tags. Today, I have to say I was engrossed in the story as well. It brought the tag and all its details to life for me.
    Yvonne xx

  12. Another beautiful tag Alison, I also love the way you weave magical little stories around the characters too :)
    Donna xx

  13. I love this Alison, I think I may need to get these paper dolls. These tags as a series look so special! xx

  14. Wow, I am in love with your tag series!!! I think today's story is my favorite!

  15. A gorgeous tag and story to go with it. I love all the ephemera pieces and beautiful layout with Charlie and Eyepatch taking centre stage xxx

  16. Beautiful tag and an utterly captivating story - thank you
    Andrea xx

  17. Wonderful layers and neutrals Alison!
    Alison xx

  18. Great made-up story for your beautiful male tag!!! I love the background and how you arranged the ephemera pieces!!! Beautiful tag collection!!! Big hugs

  19. They are all so utterly beautiufl and unique!This last one is no exception! Fantastic art Alison!
    oxo Susi

  20. I so enjoyed reading Charlie's story. I think collage art works so well with building a story. Eyepatch reminds me of the dog on the "His Master's Voice" advertising, I might be showing my age with that remark!
    The whole neutral blues series is lovely. x

  21. What a wonderful story Alison!!
    I was just have done several stories to go with your artwork, maybe compile these into a journal or have published as a book? I think that would be swell!!
    You know i am a fan! Anyway, love this tag and all of the others in the "Blues,Browns & Greys series" Looking forward to what comes next
    hugs my friend,Jackie

  22. Another beautiful tag with a great story, they all make a wonderful collection.
    xxx Hazel.

  23. A gorgeous tag to end (?) your beautiful collection. I love Charlie's story, and I can't wait to see your next creations in... red, hey? ;)

  24. Yes, definitely a series and a wonderful series it has been, I love your blue and brown phases. Your last tag is possibly my favourite, I just love the back story too, I really do hope you write a book one day! Anne x

  25. Oh My Goodness Alison - I got so involved with the story that I had to go back again to see the fabulous details! You really have made the most beautiful set of tags! Hugs, Chrisx

  26. This last tag of the series is also maybe my favourite... Is it Charlie's story, it it all the love you put in it, or the profusion of beautiful details..? I dont know.
    It completes so perfectly a wonderful collection!
    Looking forward to seeing the (bright?) colours you speak about haha! :-) xx

  27. Rounding off the collection perfectly!I am so in love with this colour combo. I love this tag and the very original story behind it! Once again, Alison, this is visually and imaginatively stimulating! Lovely to have your regular posts to brighten my day, even though I always come late to the party! xx

  28. You really know how to work that blue with vintage!!!! Love this tag too. :) Erika

  29. I love your stories almost as much as your beautiful art work

  30. You are amazing Alison, I was totally gone, in your story about Charlie , and saw his whole life, for my inner eyes :) so fantastic, and your creation is doing this clever young chap, and elderly Mister , great honor . Love it !!
    Dorthe, xx

  31. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your yarn about Charlie and his sidekick! So where do these thoughts come from anyway? Took much time spent in NYC perhaps?! Wonderful collage telling the story in pictures! I think I have a few to catch up on! Aren't I lucky? Hugs!

  32. Fabulous ! Alison and always love it when you tell a story through your art . Terrific crackle and wonderful collaging .
    I'm off to see the others in a series next as I'm on catch up and working backwards but what a wonderful series they all make .
    So pleased you scratched that itch

  33. Such a fabulous tag! I love all the colors but especially that dapper young man.

  34. Alison, I´m absolutely in love with your neutral blues <3.
    Each one is a masterpiece! Love, love, love!
    xxx Evelyn

  35. Wonderful blue colours tag, I like the tag that is lively but looks simple. xx

  36. Love your work! You spend so many time to your blog!
    I love seeing and Reading every post! Thank you
    For your inspiration!

  37. I loved today's story--Charlie and his faithful canine pal, Eyepatch. Wonderful story and wonderful tag. And your paper dolls! I saw them for sale at a scrapbook store recently. They were so cool and so hard to pass up. They are definitely not my thing to create with but they have some fun potential.


Thank so much for taking the time to stop by. It's lovely to hear what you think - every comment is so much appreciated.