Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AMBUS retreat in Grants Pass

Here we all are (except for Pat, who was home with the flu)! What an awesome bunch of women! Creative, supportive, honest, funny, and wonderful!
I had a great weekend....I miss seeing my AMBUS friends/artists on a regular basis and that synergy of our group. That little bit will go a long way....

More show postings as they near....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AMBUS retreat

Friday, November 13th, my art group, AMBUS, will be having our annual retreat! (Sorry, Bob, that I will be missing your birthday!) I am excited to see my AMBUS friends, catch-up, and plan for the upcoming years! AMBUS will be showing at the Glen & Viola Walters Cultural Center in Hillsboro, OR for the months of February and March of 2010..... More details as the date approaches. As a group, we will also plan for other shows....Stay tuned for other news from AMBUS!
I am not so excited by the prospect of driving over the Cascades during a winter advisory..... 6 - 12 inches of new snow predicted to fall. Yikes! Not quite ready for winter driving... just hope all the other drivers are careful!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It has been a while since I have run across the following sentiment.... Since I hadn't, I was hoping that I was living in a naturally beautiful, as well as culturally educated, place in Oregon. Oops. Maybe not.

The following letter-to-the editor was in today's paper, the Bulletin:

"Are you sure the story about the latest addition to the White House "art" collection is correct? It looks to me like the piece pictured is more likely something one of the children did in preschool than something that would be on loan from a prestigious museum. After all, how much talent does it take to cut out some pieces of colored paper and paste them onto a white background? I've seen better "art" than this hanging on refrigerator doors."
                                                                        Jeff Keller, Bend

Ouch. I cut out pieces of colored paper and paste them on to papers of white backgrounds. I like to think I am being Henri Matisse-like, but on a smaller scale, and in my own different way. The writer obviously does not understand intention as it relates to the creative process.

Ah, how to respond to those folks who don't "get", or appreciate, modern, contemporary, even historical, art? I do find it unfortunate that significant artistic movements (music! dance! visual arts! architecture!) are not mentioned in history lessons, for those movements result from context. How many of you learned about the Beat Generation in your US History class? What about all the Modern Art burgeoning in the 1960's and beyond?

I recall reading the referenced article on the art the Obama's are choosing for the White House and was delighted to see the more culturally diverse, and modern pieces included. Sadly, this writer's ignorance seems to extend beyond his knowledge, or lack thereof, of art.

Speaking of cutting and pasting, I am working on more of my decorated paper collages. My AMBUS art group has been accepted into another exhibit, so among my experiments, I  hope to create some keepers for the show. Details to follow..... I know I have the winter to keep busy! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art Hopping, and Fall Festival Time

Friday night offered up Art Hop, a semiannual event, which is an exaggerated version of the monthly First Friday Art Walks. For Art Hop, both visual and musical artists are paired with local businesses, guaranteeing a continual stream of lookers and listeners. Initially, I was a bit disheartened at the turnout, for it was a cold evening, spitting rain. However, I tend to head out early, before the crush of folks, and indeed, they did materialize.
I am always impressed by the First Friday ArtWalks, and the Art Hop, for the well-heeled and beautiful people of Bend congregate in all the venues of downtown. Where are all these beautiful and seemingly well-off people the rest of the days?  I delight in people watching as much art viewing, and music listening. A particularly busy place was at the High Desert Gallery, in its new location at the Oxford Hotel, showing off the 2009 Plein Air Painters of Oregon Annual Show and Sale, in a rather bland space. The art and people and music made for a sensory delight. Music was provided by the Anvil Blasters, a crowd pleaser wherever they perform. I know several members from my days of contra-dancing.
From there, I wandered into almost every business that was open....I was drawn in to hear the music as much as seeing the art. And, it was fun to see inside some of these shops, ones I usually do not frequent. It seems that many storefronts that were vacant a few months ago are now open and in business.
I wandered into the Patagonia Store. On display were the fabulous photographs of Mike Putnam, which show off this beautiful area of Central Oregon, with its mountains, rivers, forests, of which I call home. I was happy to see Rod, the owner, at work, and chatted with him briefly. (He also owns Fleet Feet Sports of Bend. He is an accomplish ultra-runner, and an all around super nice guy.... He coached the Trail Running class that I took this summer .... of which I mention in my other blog!). After oohing and aahing over the photos, the clothes, the footware, the books in Patagonia I headed out into the weather. More music, more art, more cookies! No wine, however, for I had a full week of subbing, sensing that any wine would keel over my exhausted self. Later in the evening I was drawn in to the sounds of a song I had heard a week before during the last scene/closing credits of Mad Men (one of the few TV shows I watch and tape to watch)....."I owe my soul to the company store....". The whapping sounds on a stand-up bass with a guitar player singing that song drew me in to a realtor's office. Many other appreciative audience members lounged around the handsome space. I grabbed a few Hershey kisses wrapped in fall colors, to be disappointed tasting the butterscotch versus chocolate flavor I would have preferred.
My last noteworthy stop was at another high-end shoe and clothing store, to my delight, had an author on hand for book signings. I missed her talk the previous evening due to other commitments, so I was pleased to chat with Naseem Rakha, and talk about her book. If you are a fan of OPB as I am, you may remember her name from her days of reporting at OPB.... I told her that we have lived in similar places, and even attended the same college. As a writer/journalist, she has an eloquence with her language that I admire. I ran back to my car to fetch my wallet, so she could sign the book I committed to buy. This seemed fitting, as I ended my Art Hop with the literary arts!

The next morning, Bob and I wandered downtown to view the Fall Festival. Bend loves its downtown festivals, and it seems every festival brings the same art vendors, so nothing pulled at us. Plus, the number of vendors seemed down. As with the night before, it was the music that interested me. Later in the day, I went back to hear Shawn Mullins, a guy you usually have to pay to see. He was awesome... and a great crowd despite the cold. (It was around 33 degrees!! But, we know how to keep warm living in Bend.) Between acts, I wandered over to the local's stage and was mesmerized by Mark Ransom and the Mostest with their driving percussion, danceable bass lines, jazzy keyboards, and guitar virtuoso playing. Other enthusiastic audience members pulled me onto the dance floor, so I was able to keep a bit warmer by dancing instead of just feet tapping. Eventually, I wandered back to the main stage to hear BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, "the World's Greatest Cajun Band". As they are from Louisianna, I wondered how they were enjoying the freezing temperatures.... I thought I heard a band member muse that there should be heaters up on stage. Bendites were oblivious to the cold as they happily danced to the contagious tunes. I jiggled on the sidelines until I noted the time, and it was close to bedtime! The party swung on.... and young folk were coming out, no doubt for their own night-club action!

Now, not as inspired as I had hoped after an artfilled weekend, but today's weather (6 inches of SNOW!!) provides perfect studio time!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Return of AMBUS Artists Exhibiting!

Good news! AMBUS has been accepted to exhibit at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, in Medford, OR, in 2010, as part of their 50th year celebration. The 12 of us AMBUS artists have been busy putting together a proposal for exhibition - "The Shape of Memory". And, busy creating art for this show! Stay tuned for more details as the date becomes closer....
PLUS, a big shout-out to our President, Di, for putting together the very professional packet, AND working on our newest website. Check it out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cutting Paper

Cutting paper strips! Cutting paper squares! Another one of my obsessive activities! Some days I go into my studio and simply cut paper as I listen to OPB (NPR). Each little square presents its own little composition: perhaps a microcosm of the original paper, or a piece that desires new arrangements. For now, I arrange my cuttings into color palettes, according to ideas of how I want to arrange them. I view them almost like little strokes of paint which to manipulate into compositions. I have painted quite a lot in my artistic life, but somehow, I prefer the direct manipulation of my materials, with my fingers, instead of paint application with a brush (although, I have used many finger friendly painting techniques!).
So, I am cutting. Cutting squares and circles. Symmetry. Order. For pattern. Repitition. Sense a theme? Is it a phase? Whatever.... I am enjoying my cutting and pasting!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boston Terrier Mask

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My First Boston Terrier Mask

My first Boston Terrier mask.... as a present to Bob. This one is not for sale, but I am making lots others that will be. I am having fun making Boston Terrier masks! BTs are soooo cute! I know, I am biased! But, each one, as is everyone, a bit different! Oh, the possibilities! Watch out for other doggies, too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Collage Experimentation

Lately, I have been experimenting with collage. My current studio space is small, smaller than what it has been in past years... so, I have scaled back my work to 2-dimensions! Not sure how long this phase will last, but I am having fun playing with blocks of color. I have created and decorated lots of paper through the years: marbled papers, paste papers, bubbles, stamps, string, stencils, rubbings.... Plus, I have a large supply of purchased decorated papers that I use for my paper mache' creations. Each paper has a story, and I - a memory of that paper. Each scrap is precious. My capricorn nature delights in methodically cutting each shape, and organizing pieces into color schemes. I was hoping that collage work would free me, allow for more loose and organic abstract work, but instead, a certain structure compels me.

Rupert Watching, watercolor portrait

I did this watercolor portrait of Rupert around the same time as the one below. These are small paintings, on watercolor paper postcards. I have done a few watercolors of Albert, the younger and more rambunctious Boston Terrier, but not quite worthy, or ready to be seen!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Watercolor Portraits

One day, I got the bug to play with watercolors. Many years have passed since I have brought out my watercolor paints, but all my photos of the doggies provided instant source material. I simply LOVE the boston terriers! I have been converted from a big dog lover, to a little dog lover, and these boston terriers, with all their quirks, simply have stolen my heart. Because of this, Boston Terrier art shall dominate many posts here.... but, stay tuned! Other critters, and experiments, ahead!