Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hiroshige and Friends

From left: Tari Brand, Kate Savage, Siobhan McClure, me.

I met my Slamb Sisters today at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena. First we had lunch at the cafe so that we could chat and catch up with each others' lives. We've been good friends for eighteen years.

Next we visited an exhibition of Hiroshige woodcut prints currently on view at the Museum. Four rooms as tightly packed with framed woodcuts as the two walls above! Hiroshige was prolific!

Here are two prints in closer view. Visually descriptive of Japanese life during the Edo period, these small prints are full of color and amazingly precise detail.

At the Norton Simon Museum, each visitor receives a souvenir at the door when leaving. Today's was a beautifully produced photograph of a sculpture from the Museum's collection, Buddha Shakyamuni.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Collages: Mine and Others

My collage series, Six by Six, has blossomed to 25 mixed media collages.
Here are my latest two:

Six by Six, Number 24, 2010
intaglio, screenprint
6" x 6"

Six by Six, Number 25, 2010
intaglio, screenprint
6" x 6"

I'm inspired to continue making collages due to two recent discoveries: First, a new book published this month by Lark Books (the publisher of my screenprinting book) called
Masters: Collage - Major Works by Leading Artists. The book features the collage works of 40 artists, each with an eight page spread including examples and text about the artist. The book is juried by Randel Plowman.

Randel Plowman's blog, A Collage a Day, is my second inspiring discovery. He makes and posts a new 4" x 4" collage daily, each available for sale. His work is terrific!

Father's Day, 2010

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful bonus Dad, Robert V. Shuff.
I love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Francisco Toledo: A Favorite Mexican Artist

Bird with Shadow, 1999
Etching/Metal, 8" x 5"
Francisco Toledo

Self-Portrait IV, 1999
Etching/Metal 13" x 10"
Francisco Toledo

I love the rich fluidity of his work. These examples are etchings; Toledo creates profound images with gouache, too. I got to see some favorites again this week at the Museum of Latin American Art, where they are on view in a permanent collection show.

And - just discovered - he has a website:

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Great Read

Just finished this wonderful novel written from the perspective of a dog and recommend it to you. My favorite sentence comes toward the end and makes sense in context: "I love Denny so much." Such a perfect expression of doggie love. So pure, so sweet.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Felipe Ehrenberg at The Museum of Latin American Art

Traci Durfee, Jamie Kivisto, Roger O'Leary-Archer and I met at MOLAA this afternoon to see the show of work by this Mexican artist.What an exciting exhibition! He worked in all media: sculpture, stenciling, hand printing with vintage stamps, painting, drawing, photocopying, book making, and adding imagery to found papers. We were all jazzed by what we saw and the ideas we got from his work. Off to our studios for all of us!

I'm Home From Kansas

I'd forgotten how beautiful Kansas is in early summer. A lush landscape of rolling hills covered in rich green grasses, flowering trees and wildflowers. And then, beginning at dusk, the sparkling light of millions of fireflies.

On Monday, I left Oswego in my rental car to drive south to the airport in Tulsa for my flight home. It was a two hour stint and heavy rain fell the entire time. That was value added, as far as I was concerned. Somehow, rain gives an added depth to all that color.

From Oswego, I took Highway 59 through Chetopa and across the state line into Oklahoma. Then through Welch, Pyramid Corners and Vinita, where I turned onto Route 66. Yes, the Historic Route 66. It took me through White Oak, Chelsea, Bushyhead, Foyil, Sequoyah and Claremore. Outside Claremore, I turned onto Route 266 which headed straight toward the airport.

Along the way I saw longhorn cattle, buffalo, llamas, donkeys, horses with new colts, chickens, pigs, barbed wire fences, white picket fences, old hand built stone fences, corn fields, wheat fields, soy bean fields, large vegetable gardens, many clumps of wild orange lillies, tall grasses, and short grasses. Most of the time, I was in sight of another car or two on the road. Sometimes not.

The drive was a special interlude between there and here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Driving in Circles (Zigs and Zags, Actually)

Eighteen Amish families have migrated to rural southeast Kansas from Pennsylvania within the last three years. They've built homes, cleared land for farming, started gardens and opened stores. Southeast Kansans are excited to have new people and activity in the area and, during this trip, we heard all about the growing community. So on Saturday afternoon, we decided to go see things for ourselves. We knew only that the settlement is located near Bartlett, which is about ten miles from Oswego.

We headed toward Bartlett with my aunt Janet as navigator. She has lived in this area all her life and knows it well. In that sense, we were in good hands. However, Janet has a well-deserved reputation as, let's just say, a fine giver of vague directions. For example: "Go that way and in a while there will be a funny looking tree after a curve and then you turn when you see a barn."

So, we were hopeful we'd find the Amish community but not confident. Janet directed us out of town via a gravel road and we zigzagged from one rural crossroad to another looking for the specific road Janet knew would get us there. "I think I'll remember the name of it when I see the sign," said Janet. The fact that some roads weren't marked - certainly not Janet's fault - became a compounding factor in our lengthening adventure.

At long last, we spotted a house with a horse and buggy out front and no motorized vehicle in sight. Bingo! We'd found an edge of the Amish Community. Soon, we discovered a plant nursery and general store where we enjoyed visiting with some of the new Kansans.

As we left for home, Janet said, "Hmmmm. I think we should go that way," and pointed across a field. Fortunately, at the next crossroad, Karyn (who was driving) saw the sign for Altamont Road, which told her everything she needed to know to get us home. It was a great afternoon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Report From Kansas

We are all having a good time in South East Kansas. Here was our day yesterday:

A visit to beautiful downtown Oswego, population about 2000, for "Pie Day" at the bakery. On Thursdays, if you show up at noon, you can order a slice of the fresh out-of-the-oven pie. It was peach pie this week, with ice cream, and it was delicious. Twenty people were there for Pie Day; several had known each other since grade school days.

Next up: The new Oswego Farmer's Market. It is small because it is new, but it is growing quickly. Several Amish families ride an hour in their buggies to sell flowers, garden goods, and homemade breads. Another woman sells casseroles; I bought one of her lasagnas, which we'll have for dinner one day soon.

This is Art. He sells produce from his huge garden and cutting boards made by hand in his workshop. Art makes caskets, too, if you want to know. They are said to be the best around. (He doesn't sell caskets at the Farmer's Market.)

The huge community pool at the park clears out, mostly, by late afternoon, so my cousin, Karyn Carpenter, and I stopped by to do our laps. Karyn grew up in Oswego and was a lifeguard at the pool when she was in high school. I used to swim there when I was a kid, too.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Night in Kansas: Be Careful What You Wish For

Like I hoped there would be, hundreds of fireflies lit up the dark sky in Oswego last night. Lovely! Like a visual John Cage concert. But next, a major lightning storm came over, delivering the loudest cracks I've ever heard. We are certainly in Kansas, Toto!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fireflies and Lightning Bugs

I grew up with these magical creatures lighting the night sky like moving lanterns. I miss them! But I'll see them again soon and will try for a real photo...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sophie, The Arts Sophisticate

Beautiful Bougie

We had dinner at Utopia last night before the final Symphony of the season. Utopia's canopy of bougainvillea over the patio eating area is stunning, especially after dark with little lights twinkling in it. What an ambiance!

I'm reminded that it's now the beginning of Bougie season in Southern California, when you can see the showy vine at its finest. So, here are some shots from our neighborhood:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Meet Our New Friends, The Woods

Joe has been busy at the swap. We love these two hand carved
wooden people, about seven inches tall.

And then he found this wonderful rusty weathervane. He plans to
rejuvenate it before putting it back to use.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tornado Hits Studio

Or at least it looks like it! I've had a great week working on projects... three screenprints in progress, collages in assembly stages, and some exploration of ways to move forward on a couple of new ideas.