Monday, March 30, 2009

Me, paint in a store window? Report on exciting SWAN DAY and GASP update

Presented by Muse Art/Design:

Thirty artists - one each day in April - will create an original work while you watch. Works will be exhibited as they are completed, ending with a celebration and auction of the artwork to raise funds to purchase art supplies for Portland classrooms.

All events are open to the public. Come see Portland artists at work, bid on your favorite works of art, and support Portland artists and public schools!

I will be the artist in the window this coming Friday, April 3! Come by and watch while I paint. (No heckling allowed.) I love it that new experiences keep coming along to challenge me! This one is in an excellent cause, art supplies for Portland kids! Hope you can come see me and/or other artists who are participating.

For more information visit "An Artist a Day"!

april 1 - may 15, 2009 muse art and design, 4224 SE hawthorne blvd

This past weekend I spent a great two days at the Portland SWAN DAY celebration. Swan is short for "Support Women Artists Now." This is an international grass roots annual celebration, founded by Fund for Women Artists, based in San Francisco. We had wonderful women musicians, film-makers, speakers, and more. Many visual artists participated as well. I was fortunate to be asked to host a collage-making table, in addition to getting to show my work.
I provided magazine pictures, some collage papers and photocopies of old letters, glue and medium, and supports. The participants supplied the magic.

My daughter participated with me the first day while I did the second by myself. Both days were extremely busy. The Swan Day Exhibit was with the Energy Trust's Better Living Show at the Portland Expo Center. What an incredible turnout for both events! Thanks to Ana Ammann and the other organizers who worked so hard on this unique event!

got to facilitate collage making by adults, teens, and young children. Some were experienced artists, others new to collage. I was blown away by the creations people came up with in our small working space. I want to share them with you!

Part of Swan Day Exhibit

This talented family produced three great collages.

One of the above family. See her collage below.

Great subdued but powerful color (the green is what the collage lay on when I photographed it.)

Here's a collage with a 3-D element

The artist poses with the above collage

One boy's modern abstract collage--cool!

Another young person's unique collage

This little girl jumped into collaging with great creativity

Here are her two finished pieces. She painted the leaves and branches on the left collage.

This girl juxtaposed bright color and a black and white photo--very effective.

The Buddha and a saint co-exist beautifully here. This person was one of those who used some acrylic glaze on their collage.

Another talented family at work

A blurry look at this young woman's first collage

A very young man did this great architectural piece

A nine year old boy made this abstract collage. Wow!

This cool surreal collage was done by a young teen boy whose family says he is devoted to art. It was fun to watch his process as I could see his focus and creativity at work.

A detail of a multi-textured collage by an experienced collage artist. Love the way she used a magazine picture of a towel in the lower part.

Had to resort to my phone camera after my battery went out--this is the first collage of a preschool girl. I think it won't be her last.

A rich collage by an experienced artist

By the end of the second day, I was exhausted and hungry. But I was also emotionally inspired and energized by the enthusiasm and creativity of the people of all ages who made collages at Swan Day. Thanks, everyone!

GASP (Garage to Art Studio Project) update:

The amazing Steve has returned to town! He and another talented re-modeler, Arturo, and I met to plan what we will do. Architect Dan is doing some final drawings and then Steve and I will brave the City of Portland permits office. (Alas, it must be done...) A final cleanout to the garage, a permit in hand, and we're good to go. Yaaaay!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beach Trip, Hooshing, and Art

A Trip to the Coast

We just got back from a few restful days at Newport, Oregon on the coast. As a child I loved my family's visits to the beach, partly because it seemed like a mysterious and separate world there. I remember lots of amazing shells on the beach, agates to collect, and little shops, musty and strange. We knew when we were getting close to the beach by the strong and compelling smell of the ocean. Everyone wore their oldest clothes. When my brother's and my clothes got worn out or ripped, my mother would always say, "Save it for the beach."

Along about the late 70's things began to change along Oregon's beautiful coast. Suddenly, it seemed, people wore new clothes in bright colors to visit the myriad of specialty shops that blossomed on the sidewalks. Upscale restaurants opened up, as did chain stores along the highway. At that time you could still find lots of used bookstores and independent restaurants in Newport, though much of the mystery was gone for me.

Now, I can rarely smell the ocean. There aren't any shells on the beach or many agates at Agate Beach near where we stay. The ocean, of course, is still there and sometimes we can see whales from the picture window at my parents' condo. I now view the beach as somewhere to walk along when it is warm enough. I have my favorite shops and bakery. I go to the Outlet Mall up at Lincoln City where I can stock up on books from the Book Warehouse for very little money. Sometimes I even find clothes or shoes at the mall. We sleep a lot at the beach and watch movies on TV--something we never do at home.

Yesterday, I took some pictures of an old, locked house along Nye Beach, one of Newport's historical areas. This represents the beach I remember. How mysterious! How I'd love to get inside that place!

Some Mystery Still to be Found

Look at all the stuff in here!

More cool stuff!

Of course moaning about the Good Old Days is a sign of incipient cronehood and it's all relative. My grandmother's family took a memorable trip from Eugene to Newport about 1914. It took several days in my great-grandmothers old crank-up- the- engine car. Once they got to Alsea, they took a ferry to Newport because in those days there was no bridge!

Newport was having a real heyday around this time. My grandmother's photographs show lots of young folks on the beach. Those not sporting modest bathing suits are wearing their street clothes--long dresses and hats for the women and suits for the men. In one picture you can see a big sign in the background announcing the elegant Hotel Nicolai.

Here's my grandmother in front of the little grocery store at Nye Beach

Here's the same store today.

A shop I truly love at Nye Beach is Jovi. Here you can find all sorts of objects of beauty and wonder. The owners, Veronica and Jodie, carry things you won't find in other shops. The shop is always changing and I always feel wonderful and inspired after I visit.

This corner of the shop promises spring and picnics.

Jovie carries some of my work as well as that of other artists in a wide range of styles.

Another corner of Jovi

All in all, I'd say the beach is still an amazing place. We are lucky that our Oregon beaches remain public and that the ocean still reminds us of the wonder of our planet.

I Learn the Art of Hooshing

I finally broke down and ordered a copy of the out of print Book of My Desire, Interior Alchemy by Rebecca Purcell. I've been wanting this book since I first heard of it a few months ago. (The book was published in 1998, but I'm a little slow sometimes.) In the book, Purcell explains how she learned the most important decorating concept she knows. She describes working on displays in Atlanta and learning the concept of "hoosh."

"Hoosh was a localism that meant display. As in:

"The top of that armoire needs a good hoosh."

"That table looks great, it just needs a little more hooshing."

"Heavens, it's already ten o'clock. I have to get hooshed."

"Hoosh that cabinet."

A hoosh is an arrangement that works, that has a sense of balance and its own internal coherence. At home, this means taking disparate objects and furnishings that you have and making something whole out of it, something with weight and presence. Hooshing also involves transforming things: finding great collectibles and turning out cunning fakes with staining and aging techniques and some Do-It-Yourself art."

One night last week my daughter and I got inspired by this and stayed up too late hooshing various areas in the house. Here are some pictures of the hooshed and unhooshed:

A bit of the pyramid shaped hoosh on the mantel.

My grandmother's overnight case atop a stack of art books

For quite a while I've had a hoosh in the nonworking fireplace in the living room

Closeup of above

This dining room area needs a hoosh

Part of other side of mantel.

We've had these two old light fixtures over the mantel for ages. Behind each one is an orange-size hole with capped off wiring. When hooshing the area I got the idea to put a small celestial globe on top of one (shown above) and an ornament I collaged years ago of the same size on the other. To me part of the fun of this activity is using things I already have. I've got a lot of cool stuff hidden away. Purcell gives ideas on how to bring your stuff to light without creating chaos.

Desktop hoosh

More hoosh needed here--the library books need to go Somewhere Else and the candles and vases need a plate with some other small items.

Altar area in progress. Note the plaster hand emerging from the handmade pottery cup.

Interesting bunch of objects--now hoosh 'em! The right arrangement could make these disparate objects look great together.

Bedroom dresser hoosh in progress. The assemblage by Sonia Kasparian needs to be rehung slightly above the rest.

Vintage family china and silver could use the hoosh of smaller items added in and something to tie it all together, like a long necklace, old ribbon or ?

Latest from The Art of Life Group

Civil War by Sarah

While Cindy has been working with prompts, Sarah has been painting without prior plan. After she finished this piece last week, she realized that it had overtones for her of what she'd been discussing with her grade school students that day--The Civil War. Her trees are close but seem at odds with one another. In the actual picture there are blues and grays as well as bright red...hmmm. Subconscious at work?


Cindy's prompt for the above piece was:

"Prepare a piece in a Gothic style. Using green colors, evoke a sense of loneliness and place the subject in the Black Forest."

Jodi used a prompt for this week's painting. Her was:

"Create a portrait of a deceptively skinny man with a nude pose. The picture should include knee-high bots, and feature contrasting colors."

Jodi brought the next two pieces to show us. She did these at a painting workshop in Hawaii. The workshop was based on expressive art and painting freely. The first detail below e is of one of her dogs, and the second of childhood memories.



Sarah worked without a prompt, but again felt her piece may have been influenced by the day's class--in this case it was Geometry!

Cindy's prompt this week:

"Prepare a piece in a pre-Columbian style. Using green colors, evoke a sense of kindness."