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.

At A Glance

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While in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art the other day I went up to the corner on the second floor where new work is often shown, and found these three nice prints, gifts of Greg Kucera and Larry Yocom of Seattle.  Collections Curator Jonathan Bucci had alerted me to the Louisiana Bendolph print “Shared Legacy” which was donated in honor of artist Marie Watt.  I had seen the show of Gee’s Bend prints back in 2000 or so at Kucera’s Seattle Gallery but had forgotten how really nice they are…certainly referencing the Gee’s Bend Quilts but also Korean pojagi construction.

Additionally Kucera/Yocom have donated this handsome Kerry James Marshall print “Untitled (Young Woman)” in honor of artist Stephen Soihl

and this print by sculptor Martin Puryear …

and hanging with these is a perennial favorite from the museum collection…a lithograph by Faith Ringgold “The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles”…

So even though Louis Bunce has departed there is still a museum full of artwork to go see…

 

 

 

Farewell to Louis Bunce

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The Louis Bunce show “Dialogue with Modernism” closed at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art Sunday, with curator Roger Hull leading one last gallery tour.

Here’s Roger talking about Portland painter George Johanson’s portrait of Louis and one of Bunce’s beautiful Harold Street paintings (on the right)…

and here’s a snapshot of Louis talking intently with painter Willem de Kooning in de Kooning’s Long Island studio in 1972, with Portland sculptor Manuel Izquierdo on the left and Portland painter George Johanson just behind Bunce…Bunce and de Kooning were old friends from “back in the day” when Bunce lived and painted in NYC…

and Bunce’s studio on Harold Street in Portland…

The four years of sleuthing, of archives, of visits with collectors…all came to an end…all the things Roger found and put in the show, and all the things that got away…

What a fascinating process as we’ve slowly come to know Louis…a terrific painter and a person who had a lot of fun…(here with George Johanson)

the last paintings…

curator Roger Hull

painter Louis Bunce…