Portland Art Day


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Off to Portland today on the Louis Bunce trail…and other artistic endeavors.  A beautiful sunny day at the end of spring…we visited a Portland collector to look at his Louis Bunce paintings that R might borrow for the 2017 show of Bunce’s work at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.  He has some real beauties and we had a fun hour…with me doing a little peeking at other things on the walls…

This big blue Bunce painting is new to him and looks wonderful in the house (what…no view of the whole thing?  egads…)

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…and then I turned around and found this terrific Fay Jones diptych…


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But back to Louis Bunce…a beauty from 1958…IMG_4169


…and he has some wonderful Clifford Gleason paintings on view that were a delight to see…

Clifford Gleason

Clifford GleasonClifford GleasonClifford Gleason

…as R often says, “an art historian’s work is never done”…


…and not only does this guy collect art but he gardens too and sent us away with a bag of fresh radishes…



and then on to coffee…



Dayna Collins’ show at Guardino



and a happy hour G&T plus a bowl of Brussels sprouts and BBQ tofu at the Bye and Bye…YUMMY!


Home we go…long day which began with ukulele graduation…I borrowed the hat…



Brief Quilt Interlude


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Memorial day weekend, the travel quilts are finished, back to work on the show quilts…low blogging energy today…so…here’s the “ugly Fabric Challenge” quilt which I quilted in the car down to and back from Asilomar.  Twice as year somebody in the quilt group produces some less-than-ideal fabric, everybody gets a piece and goes away and makes a (usually) small quilt.  June is the reveal month and here’s mine…


The fabric this time was mine—a value village 5-yards-for-$1.89 score–TOTAL, not per yard, but really not a fabric I wanted…alas.  It’s the flowered stuff…(“but it was so cheap…”)


and for the back I used a nice piece of Indian cotton…also VV…


and I finished the rescue quilt I’ve been dragging around with me in the car for a few months…and it came out really good I think.  I used a piece of very old pink fabric and turned it wrong-side out to make it lower volume.  Any new fabric I auditioned just didn’t look good…



and now back to the blackbird quilt.  I’m showing you now, because right now it looks pitiful, but I think it will be good when I’m done…


Guess I’ll go plan a picnic for two for tomorrow!



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Back today after a week away…Carol and I took a road trip down to the Monterey area to Pacific Grove, location of the beautiful Julia Morgan-designed conference center Asilomar (which means refuge by the sea).  Built originally for the YWCA, it now functions as a site for a variety of conferences in a continuous rotation.  We were there for the West Coast Uke Festival, but other groups were mental health professionals, Mathematicians, etc.  The drive from Lincoln City reminded us anew how terrific the Oregon coast is…



First night at the Crescent Beach Motel…cute 50’s motel with every room right on the beach…




on we go …the curvy road thing…


and a stop in Fort Bragg to see Carolyn and visit her studio (her new show opens in June…)

studio 2015


and then we headed on to Sonoma for the night and to see a quilt show there the next morning…



before the final leg or the journey south to Asilomar.  Built between 1913 and 1928, seven or eight of the original buildings designed by Morgan still stand…and are in use.  Here’s the Lodge (check in, bar/cafe, store)…

The Lodge

and the place we stayed is called Stuck-Up Inn…

IMG_3885 (1)Stuck-Up Inn


where we had a GREAT room…


There is a lot of wood and windows and light pouring in…fireplaces everywhere…


and the classes and meetings were fun…here are the “chordettes” in the chapel before the first night performance…


and our teachers, left to right: Heidi and Daniel Ward, Paul Hemmings, Kevin Carroll, Del Rey, Jim D’Ville, and Dave Egan.


My favorite class was Del Rey’s Memphis blues class…




We played and played, met some terrific people, took two hours off for lunch in Carmel one day…


and then packed up and headed home…tired, calloused fingers…a few new things in mind…


We stayed in Grants Pass one night with Judy, and met Denzel and Bubby


and then headed home the next morning AFTER finding and photographing Lopuis Bunce’s 1938 “Rogue River Indians” mural in the post office…


We Passed the San Luis Reservoir and Lake Shasta, and the drought is real…

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Good to go, good to come home…





Rick Bartow


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Luckily I’m giving you plenty of time…Rick Bartow’s show “Things You Know But Cannot Explain” is on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus through August.  If you love painting, if you love sculpture and construction, if you love Oregon, if you love the authentic point of view, if you understand aging and illness and the compulsion to work–or if you don’t…this show is a must see.  Put it on the top of your “to do” list.

I look at a lot of art work, and have been doing so for many years…decades, even.  It becomes clear after awhile that there is such a thing as an “authentic voice.”  Much work is “good” and “nice” and even “terrific.”  But really, only a few artists have an “authentic voice.”  For me this means the work transcends style or trend or movement…it is work about one eye and how it sees…one life and how it is being lived.  When we look at such work, we  FEEL it.  If the artist has died, we still feel it.  It is visceral.

The absolutely compelling work that is included in the current Rick Bartow show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene is such work.  As we move through the gallery we become certain that it is the artist’s eyes that are looking out at us through Bear or Crow.  The screeching pain and wail is familiar.  We know it to be true…two things always abiding in the same moment, and they are both here: the inward person/the outward person.

Though I wish I knew Rick Bartow, I don’t, and yet I do.  I’ve sat at the table he painted at Cafe Mundo, I’ve heard his words and chants…seen videos of the beautiful carved totems, and this work…now on view.  Please go.

On the evening of the opening, a beautiful sunny evening, we stood for a while looking at the beautiful Ellis Lawrence building now known as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene…

Schnitzer Museum, U of O

tree on Schnitz

and finally the moment arrived…words were spoken, songs were sung…

Rick Bartow

and then we all flooded in.  At least a third of the show is new work and pretty amazing work it is…

Anxiety, 2014

Deer Magic, detail

Deer Magic, 2014

Crow Post, detail, 2014

Bear Medicine, 2014

Frog in Orange Britches

You won’t be sorry.


Currently on View


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We went to “the Museum” last night…in our neighborhood that would be the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.  There’s a loaned Andre Derain oil on view that is lovely, “Montreuil-Sur-Mer…Derain a fauvist who painted often with Matisse, was 29 when he painted this.


Plus a nice Robert Rauschenberg screenprint from 1970, “Features from Currents”…a 2014 gift from Chan Beals to the museum.

Features From Currents, 1970

We also saw Willamette faculty member photographer Alexandra Opie’s show Echo…she’s been working for a couple of years with Collodian and Daguerreotype processes and the photos, all portraits, combine layers using 1870’s orginal photos superimposed on 2014/15 persons.  My favorites were the self portraits…(here keep in mind the additional layer of glass and reflection in well-lit a museum setting…)


Alexandra 6

Alexandra 3

Alexandra 5Alexandra 4Alexandra 1


and of course this portrait of favorite former student Reva Main with unfortunately me in there too…


We also took in the student show and I liked the Kassie McKay drawings…just white paper and a fine point pen.  In her statement about the drawings she speaks of the LONG process and the shifting thoughts about the objects and the context, drawings influenced by a year studying abroad and traveling light, plus examining her surroundings closely…

Kassie McKay

I liked these photos of the wood process, tree to lumber…and I thought I had noted this artist’s name but did not…apologies.  Better get over and see these shows…


But we were really in the museum for the gala moment celebrating the graduation and completed theses of 13 (!) graduating art history majors…it was a fun evening…


a delicious meal and then the fun of guessing the art historical references in some tableaus…


I bet you figured this was Michelangelo’s “Pieta”, right?  How about this one?


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…




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