Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ArtBiz Coach Alyson Stanfield

In the photo of us all taken last Friday, Alyson is the only one wearing a bright color. The rest of us are in black or grey, wonder if it comes from living in Oregon in the winter?

Alyson Stanfield featured my bronze Bear fountain head as the cover photo for this week's Art Marketing Action. Let's see what this kind of exposure does for Mr. Bear.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Meeting With Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield of made a whirlwind visit to Oregon. Two stops in Portland and then off to Hood River. It is part of her generous spirt to want to meet us, hear our stories. She acted as a catalyst for getting us out of our studios, meeting other artists and thinking of new ways to sell our art.

We met with Alyson at the home of the talented painter Annie Salness. Annie not only opened her home but made a delicious lunch that allowed us to linger and continue talking after Alyson left. Annie let us see her studio with both finished paintings and work in progress.

I fell in love with a small painting of a yellow lab on a leash, pictured above. Annie packs a lot of painting into a small canvas. We both went to the same art school, California State University at Long Beach. Small world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The One That Got Away. Celtic Cross Sculpture

It's always strange to meet an artwork or commission that got away. I worked up a bid for this Celtic Cross several years ago. Nothing came of it, and I forgot about it. Driving up past Calvary Cemetery there it was, completed by someone else. I felt a mixture of disappointment and relief.

It is beautifully executed, cast in a honey gold concrete.
Whoever created it did a excellent job.

(That translates in my squirrel brain to " Oh my God, this is/was SO much work! - Looks like the master was actually carved. -NO pinholes or craters from casting it! -Good mix design, consistent color, that has a nice depth. -- It must weigh several thousand pounds. This was so much work. so much worksomuchwork..... Thank God it got away.)

The style is Romanesque. Wonderful enigmatic figures that look like a dimensional Lynda Barry cartoon. I will try to find out who carved and cast it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sour Spring Smoothie

On route to the studio, I had to pull over. Fast. The ugly low restaurant building, home to Voodoo Doughnuts, is painted the exact color of the blooming plum trees. It's perfect- for a week and a half, once a year.

Don't know if it's synestheia but the color hit me like a sour berry smoothie. The pink is a true pink. The problem is that the emerging foliage is an orange based rust to burgundy. Those colors mixed ten thousand times on each tree hits me like an anchovy in a milk shake. Or that last pink glazed doughnut sitting alone in the fat stained cardboard box. Can't look away though.....

Any spring color wrecks on your way to work?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Morning Light

I was resting before going to work. Yes, I lie down before and after... I opened my eyes to see these lights on the wall above me. Daylight savings and spring light combined to shine just when I needed motivation and inspiration to go finish work on the giant Corinthian Capital. Las Vegas faux granduer never stops. Thank god...

Standing all day on concrete (or cardboard on concrete), contorting into awkward positions to reach every surface of the capital is hard. Did I mention that I'm sculpting it upside down? It is so big it had to rest upon the top for stability.

What is exhausting is the noise. Chop saws, grinders, band saw, table saw, air tools in concert, then intermittant. Just when it begins to be quiet and I take the ear plugs out, it starts all over again. That's why I'm craving stillness and quiet. Before and After.

iris reticulata

Subliminal colors in the garden.

You see the gold crocus from a good distance. The iris reticulata is a different visual experience. Their colors are quieter but when the sun backlights them, they are so beautiful.

And tough. Spring rains and then no more water or care. Forgotten in fact, as they are over grown by the miscanthus and other grasses along the drive. Wack the grasses back in early February and voila! Another year's show of blues and purples.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Portland Chinese Garden

Last weekend was the plant sale at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. Got the intensely fragrant Lonicera fragrantissima, the rose mutabilis, and another Stewartia pseudocamellia

The daphne and its cousin edgeworthia are in full intoxicating bloom right now. You walk over a small bridge or turn a corner into a wall of fragrance. The smell is a physical presence in the cold air.

Too many determined gardeners for good photos, here are some shots from an earlier visit.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish

Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be


Sound advice for any of the visual arts too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stay With Me Wood Carving - progress

The rest of the studio is empty and clear. To clear room for dance and movement once a week all my sculpture maquettes, drawings, and work in progress gets compressed into one corner. On top of the work benches. It keeps me honest in my mess in that it gets organized each week.

You can see a cartoon face for The Big Mother in the background, and the face of Stay With Me beginning to take shape.
There's still a great deal of work to do, but once the carving starts to look back at me, I know I can bring it to completion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thinking About Sculpture Tools #1

Don't be satisfied by the meagre array of tools your local art store. Even Sculpture House no longer offers much variety.

The tools you use are part of what makes your art unique
. Take the time and make yourself a new tool that does exactly what you need it to do.

The search for creating good forms and textures gives you permission for that ongoing collection of interesting rocks, bones, fabric, wood, any surface that catches your interest and inspires you. Keeping a good photo reference file of textures, both real and other artist’s interpretations is valuable. Look at not just what they made but try to understand how they made it. What tools did they use? To make your own tools all you need is a clear idea of what you want the tool to do and some scrap aluminum or hard wood, a saw, some files and sandpaper. When shaping the tool, it's helpful to keep a center line drawn down the middle to help keep the balance equal.

The full range of texture in your sculpture is what draws the viewer closer. It’s what makes them want to touch your art and be touched by it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dichroic Light

Afternoon sunlight in my office. It's coming in through two panels of dichroic glass from Bullseye Glass Co. The small glass tiles both reflect light -the shadow, and transmit light (the violet glow.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lilies Inspiration and Sculpture

The rectangular relief panel is actually much bigger (17 " wide x 44" tall) than the lily rondel ( 15")

We went to the last Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. After 21 years, unable to find a buyer, the sponsors are closing both it and the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Losing the two biggest garden shows on the west coast will have a major impact on all the nurseries, landscape designers, contractors, and related small businesses such as my own. Damn. Hopefully some entrepreneur with jump in and continue the shows.

I bought Eudoxa from B&D Lilies for the garden. Their Conca d'Or (top photo) is spectacular in color and fragrance. I leveled part of the lawn just so one can sit in a chair next to them. Their fragrance is divine.

Waiting another year to see them and inhale their smell, the anticipation is way better than Christmas.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Orchids in NYC

Meet Marc: All About Marc from The New York Botanical Garden on Vimeo.
The scale of the NYBG green houses is amazing. Marc Hachadourian is the Curator for Glasshouse Collections of the New York Botanical Garden. Vimeo interview with him has this great quote: "Horticulture is the slowest of the performing arts."

Photo from Chaotic Exotics in California

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fairwell to Jaipur

Funny to fall in love with a place I will never see.

That's the power of art. The paintings from the Garden and Cosmos allowed me a small window into another world and another time.

Most of my travels begin with a wooden log or blank page. It takes a different kind of courage to begin with a void and see where that journey takes you.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jaipur Architecture - The Hawa Majal Palace

Another aspect of the paintings from the Garden and Cosmos is their constantly changing perspective: frontal, ariel, etc. But looking at The Hawa Majal Palace, a palace built on hills, there are hundreds of vantage points. Each one telling another story like Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities set in stone.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gardens and Cosmos in the Real Jaipur

The buildings and landscapes featured in the Garden and Cosmos show? The painters are not making it up. I found photos of the Amber Fort and other buildings in Jaipur. The forts and cities really are pink and elaborately ornamented.

Now imagine those fantastic miniatures, all the work done with those very fine brushes, enlarged and carved from stone existing for hundreds of years in a dry inhospitable climate. A desert dream.

Anonymous's link to the Merhrangarh Fort at Jodhpur is here

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Solitude and Art

"Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it."
Thomas Merton

Solitude could be a another word for creativity. It certainly is a requisite for getting any work done in this studio. There is so much anxiety about carving. Worrying about how long and slow the process is grinds up against the fear of removing too much too soon. It isn't until I relax into the process and just enjoy making a mess that the art can begin.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

28th Breitenbush Jam Contact Improvisation

The 28th Breitenbush Jam is happening this week, March 5 through 11.

Contact Improvisation dancers from all over the USA, Europe, and even New Zealand are flying in to converge at Breithebush Hot Springs, Detroit, Oregon. Eight days of dancing and soaking and relaxation with good vegetarian food.

Jacqueline McCormick ( above left) and Carolyn Stuart (above right) are facilitating the 2009 conference "State of Inquiry: How does a state of inquiry inform our dancing?".

We will focus on, share and explore out personal investigation and its relationship to our partners.

What / how can we learn from each other?

What unfolds as we embody our curiiosity, physically and verbally?

We wish to honor our diversity, your perspective is unique.

Come as you are, bring your curiosity.

Garden and Cosmos - The Royal Paintings of Jaipur

Just saw Garden and Cosmos - The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. it's amazing. If you can get to Seattle, go see it. Images above from the web.

The paintings were meant to be seen from a low angle, as the royalty was seated on cushions on the floor. From that low view point, all the gold and silver paint comes alive with sparkle and shine. The detail is so fine that magnifying glasses are supplied in the gallery so you can appreciate it. (Bring your own magnifying glass if you can so you don't have to share.)

Viewing the work becomes this dance of approach the painting, genuflect, then hold up the magnifying glass and zoom it in and out on any section that catches you eye. All sections will catch your eye. By the last gallery, which features painting of enlightened beings floating in the void between the worlds, I felt as if the top of my head was floating away. I can still feel the intense colors, salmon, pink, mint green, lavender grey and a hundred shades of green. Pattern on top of pattern, painted with the tiniest brush in the world.

The Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian says : This groundbreaking exhibition of newly discovered Indian paintings from the royal court collection of Marwar-Jodhpur (in the modern state of Rajasthan) has three sections devoted to the garden and cosmos leitmotifs, with an introductory gallery about the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur and the origins of its court painting traditions in the 17th century. Produced for the private enjoyment of the Marwar- Jodhpur maharajas, virtually none of the 60 works on view in "Garden and Cosmos" have ever been published or seen by scholars since their creation centuries ago. Strikingly innovative in their large scale, subject matter, and styles, they reveal both the conceptual sophistication of the royal atelier and the kingdom's engagement with the changing political landscapes of early modern India.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Carving Reflects Kamakura Influences

Thank God for my reference library. Working on the little queen, I had this funny feeling that I've seen this shape before. Not Korean.....

I finally found it in "Masterworks in Wood: China and Japan, by the Portland Art Museum. It is Japanese, 12th - 13th Century. It represents a Shinto Deity. You can still see the tree trunk. That funny gesture of saluting while holding onto his pant leg breaks the formality with its quirkyness.

It's not so much that this inspired that. It is more like parallel play. Now that the little queen exists, they begin a dialog. Good to know there are other wonderful carvings and carvers out there.