Barbara Rowland, 1948 – 2015


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The photographer Barbara Rowland was such a talented presence in our art community.  I met her at the first Project Space, some years ago.  She walked around and around Salem taking photos, was never without a camera.  Because she was a wily photographer she was also good at avoiding being photographed herself…but I did get a few shots of her…here she is with Phil Krug on the mezzanine of the old Metropolitan store…site of two Project Space events.

PS 3 Barbara and Phil


PS 3

The very first year of Project Space I was doing a time-based project, mapping the sun’s passage over the course of the month.  Barbara often came by to check the progress and chat, and took my favorite photo of myself…

Barbara me

Barbara was talented, lively, funny, compassionate…I’ll miss her eye.  The Hallie Ford Museum of Art owns a few of her photos.  Barbara’s son Craig lives in Salem and has the photo archive of Barbara’s work.

After a long year struggling with lung cancer, Barbara chose to use the Oregon Death with Dignity option and left us two weeks ago, surrounded by her family.  I’ll miss her and her particular point of view.



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Well if you blinked this week you’ve almost missed it…Mary Lou Zeek’s current POP-UP gallery show, “BLINK”, which is a nice show…four rooms of painting, sculpture, work on paper…a wide variety of artists represented…a handsome show.  I went to the artists’ reception and of course it was too crowded and filled with friends for very good reportage on my part…but here are some miscellaneous impressions…you still have two days to get on down there!  First the work…Carol Hausser…

Blink 3

Paula Booth…

Blink 8

Elizabeth Bauman…

Blink 2

Patricia Giraud…

Blink 1


Blink 5


Blink 6


link 14

…and the people…

Blink 10

Blink 11

Blink 7

Blink 13

BVlink 12

Blink 9

You still have time to check it out!

Blink 4


Clay Ball


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Last night was the annual Clay Ball art auction to benefit the Salem Art Association.  Money was raised, art changed hands, friends were greeted…


But the fun this year was the hats…glamorous or fanciful…Clay Ball 2

Clay Ball

Clay Ball 1

Clay Ball 8

some chose to wear “virtual” hats…(including Clay Ball originator Mary Lou Zeek who was thinking about her upcoming pop-up art show BLINK coming February 23))

Clay Ball MLZ

And, of course, there was a hat competition judged by Janet Ogdahl (who owns the nice shop Ma Valise)

Clay Ball...JAnet & Wally

but I think everybody in the room pretty much agreed that the winner HAD to be this guy…Andy?…with this topical hat for Salem (and as Janet pointed out, the theme was “Over the Top”…)…we’re having a little trouble with owls, just now, here in Salem.

Clay Ball 5

owl hat

No more photos…the lights in this dining room are orange subverting my photographic urge…it was fun…

clay ball  8

Around Town Wednesday


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We were out and about today and here’s what we saw…we drove by the storefront where Mary Lou Zeek’s new “pop-up” show BLINK opens on February 23 (in between Magoo’s and the OLCC store on SE Commercial Street).  The gala is Tuesday, February 24 from 5-7 and should be fun.  She has a new idea this year…a “work-on-paper” room in the rear of the galley where lots of us will have drawings up…hope you can come take a look.


"Night Studio" "Drawing Board""The Masked Woman Reflects"

we noted Bruce West’s nice sculpture has been sited downtown at the corner of Liberty and State…nice to see it out and about…

Bruce West 1a

even though it might be slightly too close to the trash can and the light pole…?

Bruce West 2

And then who should we spy…they keep moving this banner around but it’s always fun to run across it someplace…


Well today was Kate Brown’s inauguration day as governor…taking over for the newly resigned John Kitzhaber…sad moment…but on we go.


and on the way home to watch the news, we noted the media was in full swing…

camera man


Here’s Joe Donlan, just about ready to go on air…


with the guys setting up the Tracy/Joe chairs



so we raced home to catch the news, and there they were…

Tracy aND JOE

Time to cook dinner…over and out from your reporter around town…


“Sketching” Around Town


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Drawing is one of my favorite activities, and this weekend in Salem there were some fun opportunities, if you like to draw with a group…and sometimes I do.  (My brother How turned me on to the Urban Sketchers blog a few years ago…the tag line is “seeing the world one drawing at a time”.)  Saturday morning about 25 of the “Salem Sketchers” met at the Ike Box.  (Ike Box used to be a funeral home, back in the day.  For some years now though it’s been a youth oriented coffee place, and place that offers free spaces for community groups…like us.)  The second Saturday of every month the Sketchers meet in a different place, fan out and draw for an hour, and then reconvene and share the drawings.  So after brief introductions and grabbing a coffee the group settled in for an hour…


worker 2




A lot of people drew other group members drawing, which was fun…

Melody's Robin



drawing of Phil

and some of us drew the room…

meeting room

Including me…

my view 2

(the faces are my view of the departed souls from the old days…but I used some of my compatriots causing one person to ask if appearing on the screen meant she was dead??  Nope…artistic license?)

me at Ike



table 2

And then Sunday the nature sketching group met at the Straub Environmental Center…a different vibe and also very fun.  In this case everybody brought something to draw and we all sat around a big table sharing tales of…now this is geeky in a good way: favorite erasers, favorite pencil sharpeners, good gesso, odd geese marooned in flocks of Canada geese, owls, mixing colors in watercolor…you get it.  But mostly just drawing…

Straub Center 2 Straub Center

Kathleen's flowers

Bonnie L's flower

Debbie's flowers

Denise 2

Boonnie L. 2

Denise's color chart tools

here’s mine…

my flowers

my drawing




True North, The Wild Pear…and on…


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There are beauties about living in a small place, partly born out in being able to know the people who do fun things around you.  In the last few days I’ve been able to appreciate Salem from various angles.  On Saturday we went to the CCTV studio


to be the audience for our favorite band True North.  Kristin Grainger, Dan Wetzel, Dale Adkins and Suzanne Pearce Adkins were taping a 30 minute spot to run for two weeks on a show called “Local Roots” and they needed an audience to make the performance lively.  It was super fun to watch the TV guys taping and the band playing amid cords (not chords) and cameras…etc.  True North’s most recent CD “Elsebound”


has stayed up in the top 10 of the charts for months…for good reason.  I was particularly watching the bass player Suzanne Pearce Adkins providing dimension to the sound, and having to smile and be charming while the other three were singing and carrying on admirably…and singer/song-writer Kristin Grainger was wonderful…

SPAKristin Grainger

Dale Adkins playing guitar and banjo…


and just watching the three cameras switching back and forth…totally fun…


TN 3

…and I forgot to mention Dan Wetzel whose vocals and musicality are amazing (and to think I EVER played ukulele in front of him… with the wrong music to boot..gulp)




and the audience was full of local luminaries, including Ron Jaecks who recently made the national news when he was attacked by an owl while running in Bush Park…


Okay, from the sublime to the merely interesting…on Sunday I made a quick (!!) visit to Salem Hospital’s new Urgent Care center on Bellevue…truly amazing in that you can make an appointment…in and out in 30 minutes…AND the waiting room provides an amazing view of Pringle Creek…almost at flood stage Sunday…

UC 3

UC 1UC 2

and then tonight the gala “soft opening” with friends and family of the much loved local restaurant…The Wild Pear…forced to close 4 months ago due to water damage.  It is looking pretty elegant in there…better go take a look when they re-open Wednesday…

WP 1

WP 2

It was “old home week” for us…

WP 3



224 Cedar Street


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Some houses are iconic for a family.  Often they are houses that aren’t grand necessarily, but are places where life has been interestingly lived.  There is such a house for the Hull family.  It’s in Wallace, Idaho, a place totally unlike anyplace I’ve been…a place out of the big box-internet-fast food-stream of modern life.

Wallace in the winter

It was a mining camp to start, rough and tumble.  It grew with mining commerce, supplies, services (it still had 5 houses of prostitution on my first visit…cozily called “rooms”).  It was decimated by the 1910 forest fire called “The Big Burn” (DO consider reading Timothy Egan’s terrific book called “The Big Burn”…just a mile or two up King Street from the Hull house was the famous Pulaski Tunnel).  The fire roared over Moon pass from Avery, blasted into Wallace from the east and destroyed about one third of the town.

Here’s Ed Pulaski outside the tunnel where he and his crew took the shelter that saved their lives…



…and here is Wallace after the fire.  The movie “The Big Burn will show on OPB channel 10 in Oregon this Tuesday, February 3, at 9:00 p.m. with lots of photos and details.

Wallace after the fire

Luckily, though, it didn’t destroy this house, built in 1890.  These two photos were taken in 1894…224-1890-1

We know from left to right in this picture are Helen Campbell (Powell), Mrs. Henry White, Mrs. George Trask, Mrs. A.B. Campbell, Mrs. Slawson, and Mrs. Mason…(if I had to guess I think I’d say it was Mrs. Campbell’s house…)


and here’s the house a decade later with cement sidewalks and mature plantings.

224...before remodel

In the late 1920’s or early 1930’s the house was purchased by R’s grandparents Elizabeth Piatt Hull and Harold J. Hull…

224...HJ & Bess 1935

and the family story goes that Grandmother wanted to make a few changes which included the front roof line in order to add a much bigger wrap around porch, and the finishing of the third floor and adding windows there…

224...vintage snow

224...vintage snow 2

224 after remodel

The grandparents lived in the house until 1963 and it was the scene of many gatherings of the young grandchildren… Hull cousins in the kitchen cousins in the diningroom

224...Christmas with HJ & Bess

in 1963 the grandparents moved to an apartment, and R’s parents bought the house.  Here’s Christmas of 1963 or 1964…(Carolyn, Jonathan, R, Melissa, Jennifer and Chris.)

Hull Christmas 1964

I arrived on the scene in 1970 and we went up to Wallace twice a year for a couple of decades.  R, Z and I always stayed on the third floor…224-3rd floor windows

224 windows

and I somewhat shyly roamed the house with my camera only once…

224...2nd floor bathroom

(Here’s Jo Darling who used to come help R’s Mom…)

224 kitchen with Jo Darling

After R’s parents died in 1994 the house was eventually sold…we all went back a time or two, but in the summer of 1995 we had to say goodbye…

porch with plantings

and by 2009 it was still a nice house, but lacked the Hull touch…(and that great red roof)

porch 2009




Wild Women 2015


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The annual Wild Women show opened at the River Gallery last night with Sloy’s paintings shining out like beacons…

Sloy 1

this one is called “opposite dimples” and there’s a nice article about the making of this painting in the current Salem Weekly. 

SLoy 2

One advantage of Sloy’s paintings is they are BIG in a room of small work…but really, it was so crowded you couldn’t see much…Wild Women 1

there was wine and deviled eggs (!) and music though…


and by the time we’d strolled down the street for a kale salad and back…things had calmed… (hi Jon, hi Irene)

Irene and Jon

…the show is up until Feb 27th so there’s plenty of time to head to Independence and take a look.

Art All Day…Again…


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I’ve used the headline “Art All Day” before, and it seems to refer to a day like Thursday…a day filled up from morning to night with a wide variety of art work to consider, which for people like us is about the best possible day.  We headed to Portland early and the first stop was the Laura Russo gallery to see a couple of Louis Bunce paintings…including this Portland view of 1939…

T:Bunce Portland view



and while there we looked at the current Sally Haley show with some of the earliest of her paintings I’d seen, my favorite being this self-portrait from the 50’s…

T:Haley self portrait

but best of all was this pair of paintings from the 1950″s…one of Sally Haley’s and one of her husband Mike Russo’s.  At that time they were sharing a studio and would often set up a still life and both would paint it…what fun to be able to see them both…Haley first…

T:Sally Haley

then Russo…

T:Mike Russo

I wandered in the gallery a little, being surprised by this BIG crocheted head by Jo Hamilton

T:Jo Hamilton

this nice small Jay Backstrand…


and this BIG Jackie Johnson painting I loved…

T:Jackie Johnson

coffee break…T:coffee

Now we headed south stopping briefly at 12×16 to see Cary Doucette’s new work on paper…

T:Cary 4

and these sort of Matisse-ian cutouts…

T:Cary 2T:Cary 1

In January of 2017 the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem will present a large show of the work of Portland painter and teacher Louis Bunce, curated by Roger Hull.  I won’t recite all the Bunce details here, but let’s just say this…Bunce (who died in 1983 after a long life as an artist) was prolific.  For an historian that means there’s probably a lot of stuff out there to see…if you can find it.  Thursday we were meeting with with Jon Bunce (Louis’ son) who was very kindly letting Roger (and me, as his documentarian) see what remains in 2015 of the Bunce estate.  First Roger was tasked with removing the clown…

T:the clown

That done we moved into the storage unit with a jumble of paintings and prints.

T: R in storage

My photos were purely notational as the space was cramped, I was using my cell phone and there was one light bulb…but a LOT to see…here are some of my favorites…

T:sweet little turq

T:small pink

T:late shoreline

T:head 3T:head 2T:head 1


T:storageT: drwg 1946


T:Bunce, ornage one

T: red on right

We managed to see most of what was there except work on paper, and Jon (who was still called John when Louis made this drawing in 1951)

T- Jon:Superbpy

kindly invited us back…

By now it was dark and rainy and rush hour so we raced back to Salem arriving JUST in time for a terrific lecture at the Ike Box presented by the Salem Photo League…

T:SalemPhoto League

which for this first in the 2015 series was a lecture on Salem photographer Kathryn Gunnell…

T:Kathryn Gunnell

presented by the talented Kylie Pine, curator and archivist at the Willamette Heritage Center.

T:Kylie the best

T:Kylie 3T:Kylie 2T:Kylie 1

and the crowd was interested…


the images were fascinating…

T: image box

T:Gunnell signed

early selfie…

T:Gunnell selfie

Mama, 1942…

T:Mama's birthday 1942

the old Thomas Kay house (long gone, sadly…)

T:Thomas Kay House

and many many more…T:G1

it was lively and a fascinating look into Oregon photo-history.  When Gunnell closed her photo studio in the 1930’s she painted her car with scenic views and drove around the state making short films of the scenic wonders of Oregon…some which still exist…


By now, even the intrepid were beginning to feel the need to stop…but what a day!



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