SRH and “Nasty Women”


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


it was more about trains…


Harry was playing…


but we got dressed and headed out…


this week to Eutectic Gallery


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


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






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…





(they kinda made a mess…)


cupcake choice …


and a little mugging with my hat…


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…





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!


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…


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).


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…



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



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


and as Lohman begins to pull it aside…


he reveals his studio…


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…




the squares themselves are very keen…





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.


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




and after nap time we went straight to fort building…


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


Phyllis and George had sent along two friends for Sidney…



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:










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…


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)…


I love these Bunce paintings…



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…)

bad-dreams-1 bad-dreams-2


goodbye Duplex friends…


Time for lunch with the dinosaurs and a cupcake break



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!


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…


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




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


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


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


and this nice sort of Marsden Hartley-esque pastel…


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

Ant Proctor’s “Self Portrait”


Thea Phillips’ “Hairpiece”


Genevieve Lawrence’s “Landscape and Residency”


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


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)…


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.




Louis Bunce: Dialogue with Modernism


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On January 20th, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (in the Paulus Lecture Hall) art historian/curator Roger Hull will give a slide talk about the work of the Portland Painter Louis Bunce (1907-1983) as the show opens its two month run at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem.  Available on that occasion (and afterward) will be copies of Hull’s book on Bunce (also titled “Louis Bunce: Dialogue with Modernism”).

The show and book have been in the works over at our house for the last three years, and we have come to know Louis Bunce pretty well.  We’ve driven by his former homes in Portland, we’ve gone to read his archival material in Washington D.C. at the Archives of American Art, we’ve visited many of the collectors who own his work, we’ve talked to former friends, students, colleagues, relatives…now when I say “we” of course, it is Roger Hull who has looked and thought and talked and written, while I have been lucky enough to tag along on some of these adventures.  I’ve come to know that the work is beautiful, varied, thoughtful.  But knowing that, looking at hundreds of images, is NOT the same as being in the same room with the paintings.

This past week the show that Roger Hull has carefully curated has been going up over at the Museum and Friday I got a sneak preview.  Come take a look:


Because Roger Hull is an art historian and a writer, and because his shows are usually whole-career retrospectives, the work is in chronological order which develops the narrative as well as letting the viewer see the artist’s progress.  The show begins with Bunce’s self-portrait from 1932 and some text and moves to the first room with other paintings from the early 1930’s.



Louis Bunce loved the Oregon landscape, most especially the Oregon Coast, and thematically, coastal painting figures all through his work, even into the most abstract paintings.  He traveled the state, he summered in Mosier, he lived in Salem.  His work is deeply Oregonian.


and on we go.  I won’t give you details here…you need to come see the show and the paintings loaned by the Whitney Museum in NYC and the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio as well as loans of beautiful work from collectors all over the west coast








and these three courtesy of the Portland Art Museum…



Here’s George Johanson’s portrait of Louis Bunce from 1975…Johanson was a student of Bunce’s, a friend and later a teaching colleague at the Museum School…


Look forward to seeing you the 20th…


The Snail Blog surges into 2017


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I don’t think I’ve mentioned the Snail Blog lately, a postcard-a-day that arrives from our friend Ellen in Vermont…(card number 2401 arrived yesterday)  This is such a delightful peek into a parallel universe, and Vermont is certainly that…a different life and like any good serial we have come to know the cast of characters…N.N., John and Cynthia, the grands.  The cards are arranged in “series” (she collects old cards with possible future series in mind) and during the Christmas season we had the “Mother and Child” series followed by the “Winter 2017 series”…apropos of Oregon weather at the moment.  Someday I would like to put ALL of these cards up as an installation…a section of a life…So here’s a peek…Ellen is alive and well and reporting in daily…xxoo Mrs. Crockett …


Red and White Quilts


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Over the weekend when I was in the “sewing cottage” I got looking at some weird old Red & White blocks I had put up on the design wall…


and that reminded me of the terrific catalog of the amazingly beautiful show of red and white quilts at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC in March 0f 2011…”Infinite Variety” presented by the American Folk Art Museum…the 653 quilts loaned by the collector Joanna S. Rose.  The show was open free to the public for only six days…March 25-30, 2011.  In 2015 the catalog was published “Red and White Quilts: Infinite Variety”…


Can you even IMAGINE what it must have been like?





and then I got wondering why, in all my wanderings and searchings over the years I had only ever seen one red and white quilt, which I didn’t buy (maybe Mrs. Rose had already bought them all?)

On Monday we went to Etcetera Antiques in Salem, a fixture of a store run for 50 years by Cindy Day who is so very knowledgeable.  We went to pick up a Louis Bunce painting her niece is loaning to the upcoming Louis Bunce shows at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Bush Barn Art Center.  Cindy told us the sad news that she is closing her store at the end of February and moving to Portland, opening two stalls at Stars Antiques Mall in Sellwood.  While R and Cindy were talking about paintings I prowled the store.  She is beginning to organize her move and things are chaotic…and on sale.  At the bottom of a stack of stuff on a chair I found…!!?..yep, a very nice red and white quilt…handquilted…in perfect condition with no stains or musty odors…



and when I got home I grabbed the “Infinite Variety” catalog and found the pages relating to this pattern…”Snail’s Trail” or “Indiana Puzzle”??


I folded the “new” quilt and put it on a chair where I stared at it off and on, only hours later realizing it has a wonderful anomaly…can you see it?



Now I’m thinking red and white thoughts again…




Studio Addict


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The first week of January.  Snow.

In an effort to get the year started right, I’ve been in one studio or another of mine every day.  In both cases I entered into long reveries about studios and how lucky we are who have them…alternate realities really.  They don’t have to be clean and tidy (though they CAN be), they don’t have to have “decor” (though they CAN if you want…)…(my first studio had 16 foot ceilings and no windows, no tables, one chair…you HAVE to have a chair.)

Once you have a studio though, you’ll probably always have to contrive to have one…they are refuges for ideas (or no ideas on some days).  And I like to see other people’s studios, ways of arranging work space and idea space, inspirations and oddments hanging around.  I have two studios…one for 2D, painting and drawing and storing work, one for sewing…

My 2D studio is Studio H at the Studios at the Mill….quiet, serene, all mine.



studio-h-1  studio-h-window



My sewing “cottage” is at home in the back garden…path

…it was formerly my painting studio but I moved things around.  Today when I sat there working away, listening to the freezing rain pelting down, I felt guilty to have so many places to stay warm and dry and work.

So studio appreciation set in…for one thing, check my plywood floor…


…remnants of the 2D days…



some art work lingers…this painting is called “First Snow” from 2009…





…fabric begins to intrude…






and as it begins to get dark I can see the house…and think it might be time to “go home”…





And tomorrow is Monday…on we go…