Heidi Preuss Grew: Into the Wilderness


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Make a point of seeing Heidi Preuss Grew’s new show of work in clay at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, up until May 11, 2014.  The work is funny, beautiful, sad, mysterious…thought provoking.  The narrative thread is strong, and yesterday I went to hear her talk about her work in the gallery, hoping she would give us a few clues about her process and her thinking.  She did.  The figures are all “portraits”… sometimes of individuals, sometimes portraits of gestures and postures.  The figures evoke feelings and, it must be said, recognition from viewers, and a certain fondness for some of these “persons” emerging from the clay.  Here Grew talks to a large and interested group…

Heid Preuss Grew

The show is called “Into the Wilderness” and so is this group of Limoges porcelain figures…

into the Wilderness

Heidi with duo

duo detail

Heidi 3Heidi 2


Just this year, her 15th in Oregon, Grew has begun to think of herself as a “Northwest Artist.”   She has combined ther figures with burls and other natural items to excellent effect…saying that in every case the burls she was given or found (burls being tree irregularities resulting from disease or injury to the tree root or trunk) were as good as anything she could make in expressive terms.


narrative detail

narrative 23

narrative 3


from Joseph

Grew almost never uses color, feeling that conventional glazing removes detail from the figures…these aren’t “pots” after all, but sculpture.  BUT…there is one colorful figure in the show…


The recent winter show at the Hallie Ford Museum, “Breath of Heaven, Breath of Earth,” featured many small objects from from collections of ancient near eastern cultures, including some intriguing small carved cylinders which were used to emboss clay strips…early transactional receipts and documents.  Grew, who bases most of her work on drawings, made drawings and a cylinder of her own…don’t miss these filmic little wall pieces…

brown 3 brown 2 brown 1

seal and drawing

Look for more of Heidi Preuss Grew’s work this fall in a show at the museum where her work will be featured with the work of Oregon artists Rick Bartow and Frank Boyden.





Lee Kelly, Tom Prochaska, Sara Siestreem


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Portland Art day…had to pick up my birthday painting…a little painting by David Selleck called “Doplar Radar” which totally cracks me up (you’d have to know my family and their love of weather reporting)…


and then on to see Lee Kelly at Elizabeth Leach…and they are handsome,

LeeKelly 1

Lee Kelly 4

Lee Kelly 2

but we were completely beguiled by the platforms that all these “Pavilion” sculptures have…

platform 2 platform 1 p[latyform 3

then on to Augen to see the Tom Prochaska show…

Prochaska 1

where I was captivated by these little filmic narratives…

Prochaska 3 Prochaska 2

though this took my heart…thinking back to my Sonja Heine days…

Prochaska 4

At Augen I LOVED the work of Sara Siestreem…so calligraphic and so perfect pitch for me today…

Sara Siestreem 1

SS 2 SS 4

SS 3

SS 5

and these very painterly small George Johanson paintings from 2000…the Vista Bridge and a city view…

Vista Bridge view

I like this Rebecca Ripple sculpture at Upfor Gallery…sort of an Ikea approach to sculpture…you can almost see the instruction sheet…

Rebecca Ripple

…and art viewers, these shows just opened so you have a full month to see this work!

We stopped by the farm to see the new chicks…Golden Comets…just delivered today…


…and the other little chick…the “little dude”


but it was a rainy Saturday…

rainy day


so we headed home.  Fire in the fireplace, lemon-mustard chicken in the oven.




Another Party Day….


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My last birthday celebration was today, for this year anyway…a delicious lunch, a beautiful pavlova, and a present that matched my outfit…

lunch the cream that refuse to whip dessert

birthday present

and after laughing a lot and giving my heartfelt thanks, we whisked away to Portland.

Rain the building

Rain the agency

David Savinar of the Rain Agency and President of the Maryhill Museum board, along with trustees Anne Avery and Matthew Johnston, was hosting a reception for sculptor James Lee Hansen, whose show is currently at Maryhill until July 27th, 2014.

The event was lots of fun with many well-wishers there to see the Hansens…


but at a certain point my eye fell on the window sill…

horses 3 horses 2 horses 1

Here’s art historian Roger Hull with Steve Grafe, curator of the Maryhill Museum.


On May 17, 2014, from 2-4:00 pm, Mr. Hull will moderate a panel discussion of the show, and Hansen’s work, at the Maryhill Museum.  The panel will include sculptor MJ Anderson, Bruce Literal, and art historian Libby Dawson Farr.  Outside was evidence of the rain itself…ahhhh Oregon.

gutter rain






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Our quilt group meets the first Tuesday of the month.  I’m the newby and haven’t been to see everybody’s work and sewing room yet….so was bowled over today when we met at Ethelwyne’s house in the country.  She had the welcome sign out for us on her porch…


and we saw her sewing room…


with interesting bits and pieces of old quilts…Ethelwyne’s great grandmother, grandmother and mother were all quilters.  Here’s the only section of a quilt of her grandmother’s that she could save…and with the left over bits she made a flower basket hanging…

Great Grandma grandma basketxs

we grabbed a coffee and she said she just had a few things to show us (here was the pile, obscuring the big chair) at the end of the show and tell…

Just a few things

Ethelwyne is an amazing and fearless quilter who uses tradition, but also embraces anything from the modern quilt world and has produced a body of work that is beautiful, meticulous and fascinating.  I can’t tell you all the wonderful stories…one or two per quilt…but I can show you a few images…she went to Illinois to find the Amish quilters and found a woman selling fabric in a small cabin with no light of electricity…a small cabin FULL of solid color fabrics.  Ethelwyne asked the woman to choose two colors and her favorite pattern, she bought them and went on her way…later producing this beautiful Irish chain quilt…all meticulously hand quilted.  As the narrative unfolded this morning it became very clear that Ethelwyne’s skill and confidence allowed her to tackle any project, and always she was in it for “the total experience.”  What fun.

irish chain

here’s a quilt she made with her daughter’s old dresses and then quilted each house differently…by hand…


houses hand quilting

She took a class from Kaafe Fasset and decided to go for “the total experience” so she had him shop with her, then she made a quilt…but there was so much fabric leftover she made a bunch of quilts…

trying to use up all her Kaafe

Kaafe circles

lollipop flowers

lollipop 3 lollipop 4 lollipop 2



flower baskets

This quilt is made of African fabric…three different pieces she traded and bartered for…

African fabric

And here’s the label…

elephant label

then the little quilts…

ties Stack Stack 2

a piece made from her grandpa’s work pants…

stack 3

from a class with Freddy Moran…


and then she got out a few of the heirlooms…this beautiful and amazing piece of embroidery that was her mother’s…


heirlooom 3 heirloom 2 heirloom 1

another piece of her grandmothers she hand quilted…

hand quilting

and backed with feed sacks…

feed sack backing

…and this quilt of her mother’s she was given “once I was a grown-up”…though she isn’t entirely sure of the origin the signature blocks include one freom her great grandmother, one from her grandmother, and one from her grandfather…

gift from Mama quilt

and absolutely inspirational morning…








Francis Bacon at PAM


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On the way home from the farm we stopped to get a last look at the Francis Bacon triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” on view at the Portland Art Museum until March 30th.  These paintings were bought last year by collector Elaine Wynn at a Christies’ auction.  Christies estimated the sale at a possible $85 million, but the final figure Wynn paid was $142.4 million.  Sharp intake of breath.

The paintings are portraits of painter and long-time friend of Bacon’s Lucian Freud.  I kind of didn’t really want to see them, but in fact, they are terrific…they were painted in 1969 and split up to three collectors in 1971-72.  Reunited by an Italian collector in the 1990′s, they have been out of the public eye for a long time.  If you have a chance…get down and take a last look before they go away again for a while.

Bacon 1

Bacon 2 Bacono 2b

Bacopn 3Bacon 3b

Baconb 4 Bacon 4 b

Bacon and Freud Freud

Bacon on the left, Freud on the right.

Nearby was a big Hockney landscape…


with a sign reporting the fun news…in June of 2015 the Portland Opera will present Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” using the Hockey 1975 sets and costumes, and the Portland Art Museum will concurrently have a show of Hogarth’s original “The Rake’s Progress” etchings and some of Hockney’s “Rake’s Progress” paintings as well as drawings for the sets and costumes.  Sounds like a fascinating combination…

a quick look at “Salem’s Renoir, ” turned down by the mayor because she was…ahem…nude…eek!

Salem's Renoir


Then a quick stop at a little gallery on E. Burnside…Nationale…to see Amy Bernstein’s nice paintings.  I’d picked up a postcard someplace and wanted to see them…dead white background and the images looking like a comic-book narrative…nice…

Bernstein 1

Bernstein 23

Late breaking chicken news-notes:  the coop got painted…

painted coop

and everybody settled in for the night…

night coop


“Pullet Shut”


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Today at the urban farm there were a few projects to be worked on: move the chicken coop, install the new automatic door on the chicken coop, and move the composters.  R, Z and A got to work, while I played with Sidney…good division of labor from my point of view.

The new door for the coop, “Pullet Shut”…will open and close according to a timer, allowing the humans freedom from the chore of herding chickens morning and night.  It turns out chickens go into the coop when it gets dark, so the coop door will close, then reopen for a minute or two to allow any slacker a chance to get in for the night.

"pullet chickensdoor oopen 2door close 2

coop 1moving the coop

Chickens do NOT like change…they hid by the garage waiting to see how things went…(this is Red, Toes and Kiwi…Red and Toes are Rhode Island Reds and Kiwi is a Brahma)


This is Pearl… an Australorp…



pulley shut

fitting the plywood

Pearl, Toes and Kiwi

coop and compos nisotrs

…and while all this was going on, Red was in the coop, so was the first one to try getting out the door…

red 1

red 2

It WORKS!  and amid the chaos both Pearl and Red produced an egg…urban farm life is good.



Disjecta’s Portland Biennial, 2014


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Saturday was “Biennial day” and we looked at a lot.  I encourage you to visit the three or 4 venues and see the work.  I’m including here the things that were most interesting to me…so this is not an encyclopedic list.

An early stop was at the Upfor Gallery at NE Flanders and 9th where Ellen Lesperance has a really beautiful installation.  The walls of the entire gallery are hung with silk panels that she “compost dyed” by soaking the silk in soy milk, wrapping bunches of flowers in the fabric and then burying it in the compost pile for a long period of time.  It makes the gallery walls warm and elegant, and provides the perfect background for the tightly controlled framed work.

Lesperance- silk panels

Lesperance whole gallery

the table full of fleeing women

Lesperance- Fleeing Women

Lesperance October 17, 2011

Lesperance Land of Feminye IILesperance 1

the framed pieces are graphite grids with gouache applied in the tiny squares…all on tea-dyed paper.

Lesperance 1 detail

They speak of clothing patterns, needlepoint schematics, layered pattern…beautiful.

At Disjecta (8371 N Interstate)we were delighted to see DE May’s large scale work…

DE May a;; 8

and couldn’t miss the grid and pattern references, (though Dan has been working in this vein for many years, the scale is a pleasant surprise)

DE May detail

DE May 2

at Disjecta I also liked Blair Saxon-Hill’s piece


and the Evan La Londe’s delicious Silver gelatin prints…


and my final favorite was the video installation by Kelly Rauer on three huge screens with patterns and rhythmic sounds that totally hypnotized me…

video 7video 6video 5

video 4VIDEO 3VIDEO 2

video 9video 8legs

go look, stop for several coffees, tell me what you think.




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Across the country in New York City a beautiful new baby has been born, and her name is Colette.  Her quilt was all ready, so once I heard her name and birth date I finished it off.

Q 2

The border is made of bits of fabric left-over from the quilt I made for her big brother Robert, now 5.

C namesignatureCollette's

Here’s a thought for the weekend keeping in mind it is impossible to hold a ukulele and not smile:

“I love a ukulele…”

U me

“I love to strum it daily…”


“I love to hum while I strum…”


“Strum, strum strum…”

U janetU 8u 9

U 6U 4U 5

U 3U 7

Have a great weekend!!

Eunice Parsons at the PNAA


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An exciting day this week when Eunice Parsons brought her papers to the PNAA (Pacific Northwest Artists Archive) at the Willamette University Library.  Roger Hull and archivist Mary McRobinson have been actively collecting the “papers” (correspondence, drawing books, clippings, photographs, exhibition announcements, cassette interviews) of Oregon artists since 1997…an invaluable resource for researchers working on regional art.  Eunice came with artist/gallerist Cary Doucette who has helped Eunice organize the papers.  Eunice and Roger Hull recorded her observations of the materials on hand as a few of the boxes were opened…

Eunice 1 Cary Doucette Roger 1

Box 1

Box 2

Right on top was a letter Eunice had written to artist Ted Waltz and his wife Carol in LA back in the 70′s…

Goose letter

…and then a Christmas card from artist Milton Wilson…

Milton Wilson Chrsitmas card

the box of drawing books…

box of drwg books

rawing 1

Drawing 2

drawing 3

and the prints and blocks of a print that was shown at the Smithsonian Institution …

Prints and blocks

a day of fascinating stories and, when Eunice is in the room, of great good humor and fun.  Eunice will turn 98 this summer and she decided the time had come to get organized, with Cary’s help.   It was a little hard for her to leave these things behind so we got some lunch and heard a few more stories NOT for publication.  Thank you Eunice for this generous and important gift….

Eunice with prints and blocks

The PNAA will further organize the material and provide an on-line finding aid available on the library website for researchers.


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