Portland Art Day


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It’s been a while since we had the luxury of just random looking, but today was such a day…we started with Fay Jones…up for another week at Laura Russo Gallery…the work had much in it that “spoke” to me…acrylic on paper…strange narrative…intriguing cast of characters…I love her work.

Fay JOnes 1

Fay JOnes 2

Fay JOnes 3

Fay Jones 6

on to George and Phyllis Johanson’s for a delicious lunch…

lunch 2

and an equally delicious studio visit.  George has been working on a series of reductive lino-cuts…a series of 24 images.

GEorge Johanson 1

George Johanson 2

George Johanson 3

He’s only printing 10 of each, and is printing them all by hand (without the press)…reminding him of some work he did as a student some years ago.  (And hand quilters take note…we agreed that the inconsistency of the hand, the slight stitch here or pressure there…made the work MUCH more interesting…)

George Johanson 12

He’s come up with a very ingenious system to “register” the prints..

George Johanson 9George Johanson 10George Johanson 11

In this method the first thing he carves in the block are the white lines he wants on the surface, then he carves out the second color, then the third…etc….thinking backwards from the finished image he wants.  As he cuts more and more away the block ends up not resembling the print at all…

George Johanson 9

The prints are absolutely gorgeous…he’ll show them next spring at Augen Gallery, and there will be a book…

Geotrge self-[prtrait

George Johanson 8

George Johanson 4

George Johanson 5

George Johanson 6

George Johanson 7

“the gesture”…

George Johanson the gesture

a gesture we saw repeated over at Blackfish in a painting by Clint Brown…


where we also noted the good books by our favorite author…

Roger's books

and then hopped over to Upfor Gallery to see Ben Buswell’s enigmatic and sort of yummy pieces…

Ben Buswell 2

film/Ben Buswell

and though it looks like embroidered silk organza, it’s actually emulsion coated film stock, cut and heated…the Columbia River…

Last stop was Butters Gallery where the Carolyn Cole show was up (and only slowly did I realize we were in the old NWAW–Northwest Artist’s Workshop space.)  NWAW was a floor below PCVA, the iconic gallery that brought the work (and the persons) of Alice Neel, Jack Tworkov, and many many others…from NYC to Portland.

Carolyn Cole

…by now, you probably can guess the next stop…


I was still thinking of the two life masks in George’s Studio…Louis Bunce (on the left) and the young (he was 33) George Johanson…

life masks

and recently we ran across the photo of the day they made the masks…

masks 2




Quilt Report…


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The leitmotif (recurring theme) in my life these days is the sewing, as I get ready for two quilt shows this fall.  I sew in the car, I sew in the morning, the afternoon, the evening, occasionally in bed.  I have a little spot staked out on the couch that catches the bright daylight and is near the fire and a good lamp for evening…with a table at hand for “materials” and a cup of coffee (or a scotch for late at night.)

coffee set up


I’ve come to think of quilting as a repetitive and totally compulsive activity…slightly cheaper than slot machines…but with the same eye/hand compulsion.  The difference is that at the end you come out with something tangible and nice if you are a quilter…if you are a gambler??  (Luckily I don’t know about that life.)

My friend Martha had the inspired idea of suggesting that I make my own upholstery fabric…quilted…with, in this case, some images from a painting of mine that hangs nearby.  I collected it from Jim McDonald this week and am pleased…


Meanwhile I’m finishing a rescued vintage quilt for, maybe, a baby girl as yet unborn.  (…I rescue quilt tops the way some people rescue puppies…)  I’m starting on the black bird quilt and the Diebenkorn quilt for the November show…things are piling up nicely.

Vinatge Girl

Vintage girl detail



Quilt shelf

I haven’t started the weird fabric challenge quilt for my quilt group, but the stack is ready to go…

fabric challenge spring 2015


The Snail Blog/”Couples”


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I haven’t written about the Snail Blog lately…my friend Ellen’s counter-move in response to this blog.  She sends me a post card almost everyday with the small (and sometimes overwhelming) details of her life in Vermont.  She has become a postcard collector, and sends the cards in series…one recent series, for instance, was “Bridges”. But this series…numbers 1739 through 1760…has been the “Couples” series. IMG_5052 The fun of collecting I suppose, and the fun of receiving I KNOW, is the interesting and wacky combinations that arrive in our mail box…Here are some couples for you to ponder… The Hoovers Sonny and Cher Rembrandt  Manet Joan and Bob Caillebotte Bonnie and Clyde IMG_5057 Clintons   Lillian Gish Men with hats, men without hats, men without hair, women with guns…well, I’ve loved this series…and just about everyday has this moment in it when, amidst the ads and bills, I find this in the mailbox…



“Our” Museums


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Last week in Washington DC we visited three of the many wonderful national museums there, all available to citizens and visitors from other countries (and there were MANY such visitors last week) FREE of charge.  We were in DC at the Smithsonian Archive of American Art (more about that soon) researching Portland painter Louis Bunce.  But in our free moments we visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, and the Hirshhorn Museum.

I was struck anew how, with each visit, one’s “reading” of a collection produces different reactions…different attractions to the mind and eye.  I offer you here works that I looked at and enjoyed without respect to location, chronology, influence or intention.  Just…here’s what I liked last week.

Aaron Douglas, 1936 “Into Bondage”

Aaron Douglas

lots of things crammed into a space…(and R told me that once, when he was teaching, he read every single thing that he could read in Charles Bird King’s “The Poor Artist’s Cupboard” and wrote them down in order as a departure for class discussion…)

Things crammed togetherheadsartist's cabinet

…comments by “outsider artists”…

Motto FinsterMotto 2Motto 3

Winslow Homer’s beautiful beautiful painting “left and Right” in which two ducks have just been shot and are falling through space…with the hunter and the red firing of his gun  just barely visible…and the beautiful blue wave reaching up…

Homer full painting

Homer L&R 2Homer, L&R 1

Geraniums…Rubens Peale with his geranium, painted by his brother Rembrandt Peale…

Rubens Peale

Matisse’s geranium…

Matisse geraniums

Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis from 1952…un-primed canvas and poured paint…

Frankenthaler '52

Morris Louis

a painted David Smith sculpture “Aricola I” also of 1952…before Greenberg got to it… (era critic Clement Greenberg was the executor of Smith’s estate and since Greenberg himself liked the minimalist approach, he had all of the paint stripped from Smith’s painted sculpture, alas.)

David Smith

George Bellows!!!


Bellows bridge

Edward Hopper…

Hopper 1Hopper 2

Christo’s first wrapped windows in New York…




Gaugghin PinkGaugin pink 2Gaugin pink 3


Dots and stripes…

Stripes and dots

…and another great thing about the National Gallery…comfy seats…

National Gallery 2

NG Stieglitz:Dove

…copyists in the historic tradition…

copyist 2copyist





Calder 3

Degas’ “Madame Camus”…

Degas...Madame Camus

Eric Fischl…

Eric Fischkl

the joys of looking at Marden, Diebenkorn, Guston…

Brice Marden "Cold Moountain"DiebenkornGuston

Betye Saar (the only fabric piece I saw, BTW) “Dat Ol’ Black Magic”


Ernesto Neto, “The Dangerous Logic of Wooing”…fabric, foam pellets, rice…


Rice 2

Rice 3

Louise Bourgeois, “The Tapestry of my Childhood, Mountains in Aubusson”

Louise BourgeoisLopuise Bourgeois detailLouise Bourgeois detail 2

Katherine Hepburn’s Oscars…




William Merritt Chase, painted in 1895, just a year after Salem Photographer Myra Wiggins was in NYC studying painting with him…

William Merrit Chase

A fantastic Shadow piece that I can’t find the artist for…

shadow play 1

…and I could go on…but I won’t.  Think about visiting “your” museums one of these days, yes?







Kristin Kuhns at Salem Public Library


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Save the DATE!…and that date is Saturday, April 11, 2015.  10:00 a.m.  Artist Kristin Kuhns and the Salem Public Library will be unveiling Kristin’s two pieces for the entrances (one on each floor) to the children’s room at the library.  Library staff was intent that when Children enter the library they know EXACTLY where to go…and there will be no mistake.  Kristin has been working on the project for a year and the work has included felling trees, building a wide variety of fauna (all native to Oregon),  constructing trees for habitat for the birds and animals she has made, hand painting and finishing all the “critters” while also making a program for installation.  Bases needed to be made, giant drill bits and the logistics of attaching the pieces to the Library’s concrete walls, all a bit overwhelming to me… but well within Kristin’s range, impressive and beautiful.  Take a look at the progress as the year has passed…

CR entrance

CR concept drawing

CR the tree

CR bark removal

CR sources 1

CR bunny at the begining

CR begiinning of painting

CR studio

CR beaver

CR birdCR little owlCR baby bat

CR sources 2Kristiin with hawk

CR Crows:ravena


CR tree 1

CR Kuhns and fawn

CR fawn

CR "The Trees" in the studio

CR Trees ini studio 3


CR poster

You won’t want to miss it…!!




The Horner Collection


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We stopped in Philomath the other day to check in with Irene Zenev at the Benton County Historical Society Museum.  There they also house the Horner Collection, formerly at OSU but transferred in 2008 to Benton County.  On the Horner Colection website is a nice slide show of the moving of this collection…the result of the collecting of John Horner…

Mr: Horner

And the challenge of the collection is that includes sooo much.  We were there, for instance, to see a Louis Bunce PWA painting (the predecessor of the WPA in the depression)…”the Butchers”…1934 (Bunce actually worked in a meat packing plant as a young man…)

The Butchers

but we got to see much much more, including the beautiful new storage system…

Modern shelving

fabric & rugs

the 1965 departmental computer from OSU…(and your iPhone has more power and capactiy than this unit!)

computer outside

computer inside

the original sign that inspired Bernard Malamud’s novel title “The Fixer” (Malamud spent a year at OSU long ago)


some Darrel Austin paintings from the WPA years…

Darrel AustinDarrel Austin 2



detail of a Yakima tribal canoe being returned to the tribe…

Yakima canoe detail

and then the amazing Taxidermy collection…(I forgot the picture of the full sized adult Moose…)



taxidermy 2


along with this photo showing a float in a 1910 parade in Corvallis…the Taxidermy collection out for a ride!

the taxidermy float

Amazed and delighted we said our goodbyes and headed for the beach where Saturday was sunny and mild, and Sunday was not too blustery for a bike ride…

lunchbike ride

My Life So Far


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I published this on my birthday in 2009-13, took a year off last year, but I still think it tells the first part of my story, and I love the old photos of the little me…

Today (3-23)  is my birthday and I’ve attained a certain age.  I have plans, things to do, places to go.  But today I’m looking back.


(I tried to cut my own bangs–oops.)

For a few years after “the war” I was an only child.  We lived in an apartment in Chicago where I played.

buggy-me snow-me1 bike-me

I REALLY wanted to be a “cowgirl.”  I dreamed of the far west.  I idolized Hopalong Cassidy.


While I was running around the suburban streets pretending to be this and that, my parents were building a new house and having a new baby (or three…).


I noticed immediately that the driveway made a PERFECT stage:

driveway-1 dress-up-me

Time passed and many new houses were built filling up the street.  New brothers arrived, new cars.


Eventually they all moved into a bigger  house, but by then I was gone, starting a new life.  I moved to the far west to be a cowgirl.

Here’s to another year of fun, out on the ranch…!

Totally Random Friday…


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No organized thoughts tonight.  No real focus.  So many things and events, moments, people, streaking through my brain…images to tell the tale…a visit to the Saward Collection…


Henk Pander…

7800 Insterstate Henk 1

William Givler…

William Givler

George Johanson…white paintings…


George Johanson 1

Harry Widman…

Harry Widman

Ruth Patterson Hart




Sidney 1

Barbara Rowland…








Salem Sketchers…



the taxes…


Reading and thinking…


early morning…





Big red Grid quilt



Uke teacher’s notes…

ukulele teacher notes


confluenceConfluence 2confluence 3



My life

I’m thinking I might need to go to the beach to reorganize my thinking?




Roger Hull/Myra Wiggins


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Just a reminder…This Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 2:00 PM at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem, Roger Hull will give a lecture on the photographer Myra Wiggins…”Art References, Art Echoes in the Photography of Myra Albert Wiggins.”

Hull has curated a nice show of Wiggins’ photos now on view (until April 26)  at the museum.  Wiggins grew up as Myra Albert here in Salem.  She was early to have a camera and took it with her everywhere, including to NYC where she studied painting with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League.  Included in this exhibition are some of the images she made of her apartment and studio while she was in New York, her wedding photo made here in Salem and some other Salem images, as well as the photos she went on to make that earned her an international reputation.  She was a member of Alfred Stieglitz’ group the The Photo-Secession, one of three in Oregon (with Sarah Ladd and Lily White).  She photographed seriously until about 1910 when she turned back to painting.  See you there!!



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