MY LIFE SO FAR

I published this on my birthday in 2009 and every year since, but I still think it tells my story so let’s go again…

Today 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.

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(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.

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

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

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I noticed immediately that the driveway made a PERFECT stage:

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

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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!!!

The One Sunny Day

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What a wet winter this has been…and still is.  One sunny day seems like a miracle, and the most recent one coincided with Sidney Day which meant more fun…the usual early departure…misty sun along the river…

Playground action all morning…”who’s that trippy-tropping on my bridge?”

a great slide…

producing some static electricity in the hair department…

lunch with the dinosaurs…

and a piece of art making me reflect on another morning activity…

home past the falls…

and just north of town, at the end of the day, the sky seems so big…

 

Old School

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That’s a phrase now, “old school”…meaning the way things used to be done or even how things used to look.  My brother Doug was here the other night and the talk turned to his blog about a real old school in the Alameda/Alberta district in Portland.  He was writing a blog post about the Old Vernon School in Portland which he “published” this morning (https://alamedahistory.org/2017/03/11/old-vernon-forgotten-neighborhood-ghost/)…take a look for a fascinating story of land development, neighborhoods, shifting perceptions.

Originally, many public schools across the nation were big wood-frame schools, buildings that occasionally burned down with disastrous results.  The trend in the 1920’s and 30’s was to tear town such schools and replace them with brick buildings, and Salem was not immune.  When one of these schools came down it was a total shift in the surrounding area as schools always serve as community centers, in a way, and there was usually a shift in the resulting land use once the school was gone..  I wonder if you know of old East School in Salem?  Here it is in it’s glory days…

Many photos of the developing neighborhood around the school were taken from the top of the school building, like this one looking east along Marion Street

and here’s a view of the old State Capitol building in the upper right before the dome was added…with Center Street, Chemeketa Street and Court Street visible…

and seen from the old State Capitol building, East school is the large white building on the left in this photo (you can see the turn in Center Street as it heads out to the State Hospital).

…And here’s East School ready for demolition…

Have you guessed what sits on the East School site now?

 

Artist in Residence at the Annex

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I’m having fun this month, doing one of the things I love to do…drawing.  In 2010 I was lucky enough to be the first Artist in Residence at the Annex at Bush Barn Art Center.  The luxury of having a project-oriented studio was new to me and very exciting, and I so appreciate this program that Salem Art Association has as an on-going part of the community arts and education arm of the organization.  This winter I’ve been lucky enough to reprise my experience in the newly remodeled Annex and the same sense of excitement is in the room.  I started February 13th and work on until March 8 and urge you to come down and draw or chat or sew.  I’m formally there Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 to 3, plus some other times too.  The beautiful new Annex is open during Bush Barn open hours and my work is on view.  The other day there were 4 artists sitting at a table drawing and talking and it was fascinating and fun.  Here’s some images of my day to day work…come on down…

Day one was setting up…I’m using plant material as my starting point and the Annex sits in a beautiful rose garden…some plants were saved for me and I brought them inside…

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Paper went up on the walls, panels have been prepared…

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luncheon has been served on rose plates I made in 2010…

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witch hazel has crept in…I’m working with wax and graphite and ink and gouache

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Elizabeth even brought me some witch hazel in bloom from her own garden…

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Lindsey came and brought some plant material from Gaiety Hollow…

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Kay came to sew…

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Christine and Katy, Corrie and Jim and Jo…

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one morning I found something somebody had left for me…

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See you soon…

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SRH and “Nasty Women”

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Thursday was Sidney day and though it had a fort in it…

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it was more about trains…

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Harry was playing…

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but we got dressed and headed out…

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this week to Eutectic Gallery

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to see the “Nasty Women” show…interesting from the perspective of one who has no cultural perspective…

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or rather, from one who has a particular cultural perspective…”why is Elmo gray”

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As you know, looking at art is a strenuous activity so off to Laughing Planet for some lunch and frolic with our friends…who were playing leap frog until the chips arrived…

 

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(they kinda made a mess…)

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cupcake choice …

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and a little mugging with my hat…

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and a video moment I include here because when I played this back for him he totally cracked up when the chocolate frosting hit his lip…

and then nap time when I commune with Harry…

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The Deckers

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The other morning I was sitting with a group of friends, sewing, and the talk was of memory and aging (and politics, but that’s another whole ball of wax…) and this morning I was tidying the bedroom and walked by this photo, as I do daily, but was drawn in today.  As I gazed at my parents, long gone from us (my Dad died 18 years ago this month) I thought what a very nice photo this is, and how fortuitous that the photographer (my brother Bruce) caught them at what was arguably one of the happiest moments of their lives together.

They were retired, they had moved far from the place where he was born and where they together had lived most of their lives…(Chicago) and here they were in Sequim, Washington, in the far west, on an adventure once again: building a new house…their dream house, building new lives and new friendships.  Survivors of the Great Depression and World War II, part of the generation that returned from war and built new houses and suburbs (and began the urban sprawl engulfing us)…here they were again, building a house.  A house with a view of the Straits of Juan de Fuca where they watched the giant ships through telescopes and binoculars…a house where each had a large office/workroom, where she had a pantry and a big modern kitchen.  Hats off to them…to June and Howard!

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Clay Lohman at JSMA

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We were heading to Eugene and wanted to see Clay Lohman’s installation “Camo Cubes” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.  Parking is very limited and we had heard that we might apply for “movie star” parking due to my knee recuperation..What a delight to drive up and find…

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We met with Curator Danielle Knapp who led us to the Clay Lohman installation in the midst of a VERY busy museum day (Danielle is on the left).

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We knew about the camo cubes from a visit we made to Clay Lohman’s studio in 2013.  In this exhibition there hangs the last painting he made before he turned to quilting, which…if you step back two steps is suddenly superimposed on the Camo Cubes themselves…

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The giant over-sized squares of the traditional quilt pattern “Tumbling Blocks” are sewn together in a giant over-sized WIP (as quilters call it…work in progress, hence, NOT quilted).  Lohman’s parents were quilt collectors and one of his grandmothers was a quilter so he had always LOOKED at quilts, but he spent most of his artistic life making paintings and collage, clay and prints.  Five years or so ago he decided to leave painting behind and sew full time.  There is a video loop playing in the installation

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and one part of the video shows Lohman with a version of a giant Tumbling Blocks quilt-top-as-curtain…

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and as Lohman begins to pull it aside…

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he reveals his studio…

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here it is on utube.

In the video version the cubes are smaller than the Camo Cubes, and he hasn’t yet begun using camouflage material which, it turns out, comes in a variety of colors and configurations…

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the squares themselves are very keen…

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as a 2D artist, as a quilter, there was a lot to think about for me in this show.  Is it an engineered space?  Is it architecture, engineering, sewing?  Is it a quilt?  Does the camo make it masculine or do the tumbling blocks pull it back to feminine? Does the fact that it isn’t “quilted” say something about gender or process?  Does the scale make it masculine?  Go take a look, you won’t be sorry…and watch the video…my favorite part is the interview with Clay Lohman made by his wife painter Julie Green where she says to him…”in 30 seconds tell me if quilting is feminine or masculine (this is not a quote)…and Lohman says…’In 30 seconds?’ ” and just laughs.  A thoughtful and thought-full presentation.

 

Fort Day

As the political bad news swirled around, we concentrated more on forts and cats yesterday.  Sidney had been to visit the fire department on the weekend and was imaginatively involved.  The power of the big trucks, the number of axes apparently lying around, the hoses and hats and boots…wow.

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During nap time I got out the backyard quilt to do some work and discovered the new cat Harry is a quilt lover…

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and after nap time we went straight to fort building…

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which included using the quilt I was sewing on as part of “Harry’s fort”…

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Phyllis and George had sent along two friends for Sidney…

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and then we were off home after a day of calm and laughing, stories and play.  Each Thursday there is more light as we zoom pass the falls heading south.

Carwash Interval

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Our car wash has been closed for a whole month.  Our new car was sooooo dirty and today, voila, the car wash was open.  They were closed, it turned out, because they were installing a whole new “system” and it had JUST reopened…OMG…yellow and black instead of blue and black, BLUE soap…it was great.  Before the next art blast, coming soon, I thought we’d have a clean sweep of ideas and grime…no kidding, this was too much fun!!  Check it out:

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Heaven!!

Looking at Art

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I guess if you have read this blog a time or two you know that looking at art is a major part of my universe.  Just reviewing this past week, I see all the ways art enlivens my own life and thinking and experience, and I hope this is true for you too.  As we begin to see the loss of support for art thinking, making, and showing at the Federal level looming towards us, it is more important than ever to support the making and looking at art in ways we can.

Roger Hull’s lecture on inauguration day opened the wonderful Louis Bunce retrospective at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, on view until March 26.  R gave a good lecture, well attended and well received…

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Monday he gave a lecture/tour to the museum docents, and Wednesday he walked through informally with SAG, my artist friends (here talking about the work on paper part of the show with Nancy Eng and Katy Viegland)…

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I love these Bunce paintings…

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On Sidney day, otherwise known as Thursday, the three of us went down to Duplex Gallery in Portland to see their last show, Emily Wobb’s “Bad Dreams”.  This little gem of a gallery has been holding forth for four years presenting the work of 63 artists.  R, S and I started going a couple of years ago because A) it was the only gallery open on Monday in the whole city, B) because they had an adorable dog named Otto, and C) because we could see the back of the big deer sign from the front door (there are always reasons…).  Sidney looked at a lot of art and this visit he engaged interestingly in a conversation about bad dreams, why they were in art, and really…what were they anyway (“monsters” for S, “a bridge that I’m driving on that disappears into the water” for me, “the slides for the lecture are lost” for R)…(I encourage you to look at art with a three year old and really listen to what they have to say…)

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goodbye Duplex friends…

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Time for lunch with the dinosaurs and a cupcake break

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before heading to Mark Humpal’s Fine Art to see a  Louis Bunce painting, and then on to 12X16 to see Cary Doucette’s  photos and a group work by a variety of artists from the collection of artist Eunice Parsons.  As I was looking at the photos a small voice said, “Nana, I’m a work of art…look at me”…too true!

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We ran into Suzanne who was picking up a Eunice Parsons’ painting “Mill Race” at Mark’s …especially interesting to us since it is a Salem location…

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On Saturday we went to Bush Barn to check out the three excellent Louis Bunce paintings from Salem collections now on view…

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and while there looked at Jim Hockenhull’s digital prints,

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and Susan Trueblood Stuart’s retrospective…60 years of art making

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which included this lovely oil painting from her student days when she was a student of Carl Hall’s in the late 1950’s…

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and this nice sort of Marsden Hartley-esque pastel…

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Downstairs was an interesting exhibit of Willamette University students examining and interpreting the body through art….

Ant Proctor’s “Self Portrait”

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Thea Phillips’ “Hairpiece”

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Genevieve Lawrence’s “Landscape and Residency”

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and Nastja Nynkaza’s “Playing the Part of a Woman Girl”

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We dropped a piece of mine off at the Public Library for a show about to open Tuesday for the Salem Reads program…”Spare Parts”, and while heading up to sign a form I spotted my lamp painting of some years ago, still glowing away on the mezzanine…(behind Tom Hardy’s birds)…

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humorously placed near a reading chair…lamp-2-1

So in-so-far as there is a point to all this, it is this…WE NEED ART.  We need to make it, we need to think about it, we need to look at it.  And we need to begin to think about what we can do to assure that all this making/thinking/looking is ongoing, in spite of a difficult political culture.  Support your local artists, galleries, museums as a start…more thinking will be required later I’m afraid.