Salem Sketchers

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For a couple of years an intrepid group of local artists has been participating one Saturday a month in what is an international movement of urban sketchers…very casual, very fun.  Each month they draw at a different location…I’ve dropped in and out, but decided to join today, even though the weather was iffy…(58 degrees on June 10th…yikes…thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon and it almost NEVER thunders in Oregon).  The group was led up to the terrace over the restaurant Orupa at the Water Place building and at first there was some watery sun…

I chose this view…

and everybody settled down to work…

Katy and I were at a table under an umbrella…

Uh oh…

and then the rain started and this person captured the moment…boing!

Still, in spite of the rain, it was a jolly morning…(Happy Birthday Jessica!)

some people headed inside…

Mike Bergen showed us his new book

and then “the reveal”…

duly photographed…

Way too much fun…better think of coming along…the second Saturday of every month.  In July the sketchers will be in the Gaiety Hollow Garden and in August at the Rogue brewery in Independence.  COME!  it’s free fun.

 

Creative Thinking When Zoning Fails

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“Densification” “Infill”…modern words.  These words weren’t part of the vocabulary 25 years ago when we bought this little beach house…

Across the street was a heavily wooded lot with huckleberries, salal, shorepines, rhoadies…it looked like this…and birds lived here…”habitat.”

For 25 years we rolled up to our house knowing that one day we’d drive in and find something different there…and it finally happened.  The people to the north bought the lot and for a couple of years left it alone, but plans were afoot for a garage with an apartment above for their children and one day we drove up to see this…trees all cut down…

and Friday, after a two week absence…

The thing to keep in mind here is that all but one house on Ebb Street is one story, and this garage is taller than the one two story house.  And here is the old view from inside, and the new…

We, on the other hand, were not allowed to put on a small front porch so made do with a pergola…

But, hilariously, I put a photo on Instagram this weekend and have received suggestions to think of it as an Italian villa…Roger and my brother suggested a paintings by Sassetta and Giotto…

and Rachel thought maybe just an Italian villa…

…so now, we are amused.   Sort of.

 

 

 

Art and Life, Again

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We took a little trip back to the 1950’s this week when we headed to Palm Springs with John and Kay to see the Abstract Women Painters of the 1950’s show at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  The show started in Denver and has been traveling but was in it’s last week at Palm Springs.  Since Kay’s son and daughter-in-law own a house there where we could stay, we collectively thought it might be the perfect four-day getaway mini-vacation, so off we went (R communing with the Louis Bunce mural in PDX)…

arriving after dinner but in time for a swim and a hot tub moment..

First, The House:  The house is in a development made by developers George and Bob Alexander called Racquet Club Road Estates in 1958-60.  There were three basic designs in the development of 350 houses, designed by architects Palmer & Krisel and one model looked like this…

similar to “Rancho Relaxo” ( a “model A with side entrance” ) which looks like this:

here’s a detail of the “Breeze Bricks” (oh, that’s Kay)…

The houses are small…about 1200 square feet, essentially each a 35 foot square box.  An original kitchen looked like this…

and the updated version at Rancho Relaxo looks like this:

Kay and John had the master with ensuite bath, R & I bunked here…

the living area:

of course, the best, a pool…a salt water pool… (and since two of the days we were there it was 110 degrees, we spent a lot of time in the pool):

(BTW this house is available to rent on VRBO # 710203)

Okay, now to the art.  In four days we saw a lot and were pretty amazed at all we took in.  The Palm Springs Art Museum is a lovely small museum and the show looked wonderful.

Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell are two personal favorites of mine and these paintings were smashing…energetic, lively and intricate.

Krasner:

Mitchell:

Frankenthaler:

The show included painters I did not know before, my favorites were Perle Fine

and Mary Abbot

Most of the paintings in the show date from the 1950’s except for this very early Krasner from 1942 (from about the time Krasner would have known Portland’s Louis Bunce in New York…it was Bunce who introduced Krasner to Jackson Pollock, who she later married)

Also in the museum was this fascinating show by sculptor Michael Parker revolving around a video of the construction of, and destruction of, a large cardboard piece on a wooden armature…the sections of which formed the display for many smaller sculptures…

AND, leaving no stone unturned, we dropped R at the Palm Desert outpost of the museum while Kay and I went to a quilt store (John went hiking, taking the Gondola up the mountain to a starting point where he would try to get to 10,000 feet…but the altitude kept him at a slower pace so he didn’t reach the goal, but had a great day hiking in 70 degrees while we sweltered in 110 down below).  When we went to pick R up at the museum he motioned me in, saying he thought I might be interested…and I was.

A few months ago I had read in the NYTiimes of artist Pat Lasch who was commissioned to make a “birthday cake” sculpture for the Museum of Modern Art’s 50th birthday (1979) and then was serene in the knowledge that her piece was part of the museum collection.  When the curator from the Palm Springs museum inquired of MOMA about Lasch’s piece for inclusion in a show they were preparing, it was discovered that Lasch’s piece had been destroyed…a “curatorial nightmare”.

So here was the show of other work by Lasch…

These “fabric” pieces are all constructed with Golden paint…rolled, piped, etc.

AND, of course we had to nose around Palm Springs itself, visiting the oldest house, the Cornelia White House built on railroad ties (1915)

wherein Kay and I found a terrific old quilt…

we did some car shopping…

ate at Trios and Lulu’s

jumped into the rental car and headed to the airport…

now, off to the beach!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Life I Lead

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Life changes in a second or two…we have come to know that.  A misstep, a speeding paint truck, a diagnosis, a sloppy politician who has the nuclear codes, a tsunami or earthquake…poof…our beautiful lives are gone or irrevocably changed.  While we are in these lives though, it is worthwhile to notice them, to be impressed with a sunny day, a hilarious child, people and places to visit and things to think about, a decent cappuccino.

I’ve won the lottery, I know that.  I have a nice house, an interesting, loving and very witty partner, a family and friends so lovable it would take another 10 blog posts to describe.  I have the huge luxury of time to make things and look at things.  Art work, gardens, beaches, studios, books, meaningful work…these are what my life now is made of.  Next week, next year, who knows?  Since I know these will be taken from me by accident or design or just time itself, I want to look at one day…today for instance…so here it was…

Leaving home early and picking up Sidney (with new knee patches and sun hat)

We met up with friend Jennifer Viviano, newly minted MFA from the Applied Craft and Design program, a combined effort of PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) and OCAC (Oregon College of Arts and Craft).  Jennifer was a very successful graphic designer of talent, but was wanting more creative time, a shift of scene from the graphic needs of clients to thinking of things in a deeper and more personal way.

Jennifer toured us through the “Otherwise Chaos” Practium Exhibition at the Bison Building (421 NE10th)…

We liked Becca Gore’s ceramic pieces a lot…

and this terrific cafe (didn’t find the artist’s card)…caught Sidney’s eye…

and then Jennifer’s piece…

plaster base, basalt blocks, porcelain “bones”…and as Jennifer explained the thought process and the actual physical activity of combining a plaster base, basalt blocks  topped with “bones” made of porcelain wrapped around rolled newspaper and auto glass, she explained the serendipity of what happened with the piece…

when one “bone” fell off revealing the charred paper,

and when people at the opening began scooping up the broken glass and throwing on the pile to hear the lovely tinkling sound as it trickled into the blocks…

Sidney found it irresistible…

and Jennifer showed him Maria Garcia’s light piece…

Aaron’s video construct…

the studios

the metal shop

the air stream…the Air Stream?  Time for lunch…

and then a quick stop at Cindy’s studio.  R’s begun the research and writing process about the work of painter Lucinda Parker in preparation for a monograph and show of her work at the Hallie Ford Museum in 2019…and he had to make a quick stop to pick up some files so we ran in to check the newest mountain paintings…pretty nice…

She’s certain this one is finished…

then some static electric sliding…

playtime (not sure what game they had going…?)

eventually heading home…

and so this day of interest, privilege, fun, family…a day not unlike so many days…comes to an end….and having written about it here I can revisit this day again…

City Day

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Saturday we left home early to hear George Johanson talk about his new show at Augen Gallery (in the DeSoto Building)…the paintings are lovely and lively, as is the painter.  I particularly liked this self portrait…(just above George’s head in the upper left of the painting is Louis Bunce’s life mask, which hangs in George’s studio…) but they are all nice.  Go take a look…

City lunch followed…

and then we took in the show of architect John Yeon’s work curated by Randy Gragg, which recently opened at the Portland Art Museum.  There are some rather fantastic new models of some of Yeon’s famous houses, and these GIANT photo murals of places he worked to save…it’s a nice show…go take a look.  Here’s the Aubrey Watzek House (1936-38)…

and this fascinating description of his idea of letting the balloon frame “show” and just inserting windows in the spaces between studs…

Leaving the museum I was reminded of Dale Strand’s gardening advice to me some years ago…”stake every stem”…

We headed to Sidney’s house and crossing the bridge saw a view of about the closest I’ve ever been to a rainstorm but yet NOT been in it…

then a hole in the storm…

then hail (or “kale” as Sidney later told us as in “there was kale all over the ground after the storm).

It WILL stop raining, right?  We chatted with Sidney while some activity was going on…

and did a sleep over so that we could be on hand for the Mother’s Day Brunch…Yum!!

then home to the Capital City once again for a quick 15 minutes of gardening before the next storm…

and a Blue Apron dinner…

off into the new week ahead…

 

 

 

 

Sidney Day…

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the usual blend of magic and fun.  The day began with a quick chat before the parents headed to work when suddenly Zach noticed that a deer was staring right at us…

and then it started to rain and POUR, so the projected park visit was out.  Sidney gave me some advice on the last little bit of the blue cross quilt left to go…

and while I was thinking about it, the quilt quickly became the base of a fort…

Even though the rain had NOT let up we headed to the grocery store and out to lunch…where else…Laughing Planet…and the dinosaurs were HUNGRY when we got there.

Then, there was some kind of a “hatch” I guess…

which was a bit confusing to some members of the party…

so we moved on…still pouring rain so of course, where else,

We stayed for supper and headed home and only THEN, as we passed the falls, did the sun come out…

and by the time we got home I was all done!!  And now to bed…

 

 

 

 

Kate Speckman at The ANNEX

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Salem artist/quilter Kate Speckman is doing a five week AIR at The Annex in Salem,  She is interested in setting aside some time to think about future quilting projects, especially delving into the ideas of traditional patterns from carpets and how this might translate into her quilting work.  She got her sewing machine set up last week and today we put up a show of quilts in the Annex which will be up until June 8th.  Kate will be in the studio working Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and welcomes visitors.

The work for this show includes some of her own work, some from local quilter Kathleen Leonard, some of mine and some from the Seattle quilter Nifty Quilts.  It’s always a little daunting to face an empty room and a pile of stuff and try to make something out of it, but we managed…here’s the three from Nifty…

Kathleen’s selvedge quilt…

Kate’s medallion unquilted…

We began the “ladder wall”…a couple of years ago Kate took apart an old ladder to use in her home studio to display quilts and she was pretty sure the ladders would work into the show…

Because Kathleen has never shown her quilts before formally, none of them had hanging sleeves on the back so we called in the reinforcements..Eve, Diane, Kathleen and I sewed for HOURS!  and then there was “burying the threads”…yikes!

with the  help of Sam Speckman…Kate’s son home for only two days from hiking the PCT and other trails…slowly the whole thing began to come together…

If you are out and about go by Bush Barn and find Kate at work, or grab a quilting project and go sit and work yourself.  There is a nice blend of traditional quilts and modern quilts…something for everybody.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday 10:00 to 5:00, Sunday noon to 5:00 and closed Monday.

 

Jackie Johnson

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Recently we visited painter Jackie Johnson’s studio in Portland on the occasion of a purchase/donation to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.  A generous donor bought one of  Jackie Johnson’s paintings for the museum collection, and on that occasion Jackie offered to donate a painting of hers to go along with the earlier donation.  We hopped in the car with the donor and headed to Portland for a studio visit and a look at what work Jackie has on hand.  I’ve written about Jackie before here and here.

Her house and studio are always fun to visit so the three of us enjoyed trooping down to her studio.

Jackie talked of her New York days when she and her then-husband bought a building in Brooklyn (no doubt the site of a posh condo these days) where the roof was falling in and the plumbing almost non-existent

and of her years as young painter in New York…

here she is during a visit from friend and later gallery owner Laura Russo

She described the work of that time as “difficult”,

and it was…difficult and powerful…

and HUGE.  The Hallie Ford Museum of Art, like most museums, can’t show everything in its collection all the time and storage is at a premium…R was looking for something smaller…but the looking was so much fun…

and we checked some of the show cards out from earlier shows…

and here’s the final choice, soon to arrive in Salem…”Blue Stacks”

We said our goodbyes, grabbed a quick coffee to talk about our visit,

and headed home.

Robots and More…

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We tend to use our Thursdays in Portland with Sidney as opportunities to see some art AND to play, and it often works pretty well.  Sidney, as was his father before him, is a very good sport and we try to find interesting stuff to look at.  We headed to Portland in the usual rainstorm

and after a “No photo” moment in the car…

we mutually agreed on ART-PLAY-LUNCH-ART…we headed to Augen gallery and at the back found a nice “Rain” painting by George Johanson.  So as we were pointing the painting out to Sidney (who knows George and Phyllis pretty well) R got a phone call…from George.  Eerie?..a little…

A deal is a deal though, so we headed to the playground…

and since we had a great parking space in a neighborhood where that isn’t always possible, we skipped dinosaurs for an urban lunch (Pearl Bakery makes a very acceptable PBJ)…

and then headed to Blackfish Gallery because we were pretty sure the Robot show would delight…

“So, you’re saying I can’t touch any of these…?”

Though a variety of discussion topics presented themselves, “how do you start a collection” was at the top of the list.  “one by one”…we had our faves…

they are oddly appealing…then came nap, more play, dinner with the family and we headed home at 7:30 grateful for the light…

and another fun day…

The Varied Life

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I keep waiting for a coherent body of photos, events, thoughts to surface (other than the car wash)…to no avail.  I guess the life I’m leading is chaotic these days, so lets go anyway…we left the car wash and headed east …first stop Edgefield, a destination spot in a former poor farm…odd but true, and now very beautiful…

Our room had tons of windows and was lovely day and night…

and then we headed east stopping briefly at Vista House

Hood River, Dufur, Maupin, Madras, Sisters…over the pass

down into Salem in the middle of a spring wind storm…

Studio time…

We’ve spent some time with the laughing boy…

 

and visited some artists including Henk

and we took Jon Bunce a funny little painting of his boyhood home that Mary Lou Zeek found at a junk sale…

We had a play-date at Sara and Marcus’  house where Sidney fed the fish and made a play-dough birthday cake…

I worked on the cross quilt…

we saw a nice Alden Mason painting at Mark Humpal’s (with a rug made by Amanda Snyder in front…)

and we went to the beach where the view from our living room has looked about like this for the last 25 years…

and virtually every time we have driven up we have expected to see the trees cut and a mobile home on the site…and finally…the day came…

there’s more probably, but not for tonight.