Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm back from Arkansas where we held a Memorial for Mom on the 27th in Hot Springs. Her wishes were to have the extended family and close friends gather informally to celebrate her life. That was exactly what we did and she would have loved it. One of her friends, Kay, who couldn't attend, wrote something to be read which I'll repeat here:

"I think the conversation that will forever stay with me and sums up the wonderful attitude Marian had about life and people was when she told me she knew her time was getting shorter and she just wanted me to remember she's had a wonderful, wonderful life and to remember she loved me! That was Marian."

Yes, that was my Mom.

After the Memorial, all the relatives (except for Bob, who was happy to have quiet time at home) went to Garvin Woodland Gardens to see the extraordinary light display. We had such a good time! I love each and every one of these terrific people and am so grateful to have had them all there.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebration Time

Classes are done and grades are in! The Semester Break has begun! Yippee! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Honoring Romare Bearden

With all the media hype these days about "art star" Damien Hirst and his tedious spot paintings, I was thrilled to read a recent article by Holland Cotter in the NYTimes about Romare Bearden. It is the centennial year of his birth and quite a few exhibitions of his work are appearing around the country including several in New York. Bearden is the real art star, in my opinion.

Here are some interesting facts about Romare Bearden I learned from Cotter's article:

1.  Bearden was fortunate in being part of a culturally alert family, in getting a multilayered education and in having talents that extended beyond art to writing (he was a jazz lyricist) and social organizing (he became a founder of the Studio museum).

2.  For almost three decades, until he was in his late 50s, he held a full-time job as a case worker in the New York City Social Services Department, with studio time available only at night and on weekends.

3.  His generosity toward other, often younger artists was legendary.

4.  The making of art did not come easily to him.

5.  More than a decade of art making would pass, and a string of formal experiments, before Bearden would finally claim collage, considered his genius, as his primary medium.

Here are some examples of Romare Bearden's work:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Printmaking Class Update

It's that time of year again - the end of fall semester. I thought the screenprinting group was particularly remarkable this term...quick to pick up on new skills, industrious and self-reliant, able to sort out problems, mindful of using time well and meeting deadlines. Here are some views:

Last work day of the semester

Oscar Rangel and his excellent poster

Paula Isenberg, a painter, created a screenprint based on a series of her paintings.

The last assignment involved layering with transparent ink. Janet Pineda very successfully 
pushed the see-through and watercolor qualities of her inks to their fullest strengths. 

Jack Roberts, an independent study student, focused this semester on 
portraying world disasters. Here is his print about 9/11/2001.

Jennifer Warren has a couple more layers to complete on this piece, but it is already wonderful. 
You can detect her excellent drawing skills. She teaches art at a socal high school and 
I think her students are lucky to have her.

Now, on to the Intaglio classroom. This is the area where Breanne Patterson sat for at least six hours on the last work day. I took this shot at 9:28 p.m., two minutes before the end of class when I turn into a pumpkin. Breanne swore she'd finish cleanup by 9:30. I was dubious... what do you think?

Here is Breanne. She wasn't done with cleanup quite at 9:30, but she was finished really soon after.

I'll post some more prints from this semester soon....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Novels About the Northwest

The Jump-Off Creek, by Molly Gloss, is a wonderful read about a women homesteading on her own in Oregon in the 1800's.

Brian Doyle's Mink River is a story about the people in a small town on the Oregon coast. There is a bit of wonderful Magical Realism and a lot of history packed into the story. I loved it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taos and Santa Fe

Valerie guessed correctly where we were - Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here are some more pictures of that beautiful part of the world...

Inside the Taos Pueblo, which has been active for over a thousand years.

Joe, Lynn and Roger at the Gorge Grill in Taos.

At The Railyard in Santa Fe, which is now a large outdoor park housing public art, 
Site Santa Fe (a contemporary art gallery), outdoor activity space, beautiful natural gardens, and restored historic buildings. It's such a good example of successfully updated public space. 

The very popular "Yard Dog,"by artist Don Kennell, is installed for only a few months at The Railyard.

The Georgia O'Keefe Museum, presented as Georgia O'Keefe might have painted it.

A corner of artist Gustave Baumann's studio, housed at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.
Note the rich colors.

A Gustave Baumann woodcut.

BAMB! Up went the Christmas lights in Santa Fe's historic square the day after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where Was Waldo?

Or, actually, where were WE? Joe and I travelled last week to share Thanksgiving with friends/family Roger and Lynn O'Leary-Archer. Can you tell from the pictures where we were?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anne Ryan's Black Line Woodcut Prints

I've written about Anne Ryan's collages and now I've got to exclaim about her beautiful woodcuts. They are created by cutting an image into the wood with lines only, inking the surface in multiple colors through dabbing, painting, and rolling, and then printing the plate onto black paper. Wow!

You can see more examples here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Quick Trip

A couple of weeks after Mom died, Joe suggested we fly to Portland for a long weekend as a sadness antidote. What a great idea!

We arrived mid day on Thursday, so we headed to Paragon's in the Pearl District for lunch. Here is Joe looking out the window while we wait for our meals. (I have to get his picture on the sly because he doesn't really like to pose.)
All weekend, the weather was cool, dry, breezy fall perfection. Since Portland has a lot of trees, colorful leaves graced the sidewalks everywhere.
Occupy Portland marched around the town one afternoon. Their camp was in a park just around the corner from our hotel. They invited all the homeless people to join them in the park. Even without the homeless people, Occupy is a huge group in Portland, many more than just this guy in my picture.

The Portland Art Museum had great shows. This is a detail of Chris Burden's Boatsa group of five or so in the main lobby.

Another show was taken from the Museum's huge collection of Japanese woodblock prints. It was an extensive, gorgeous show including both traditional and non-traditional subject matter and styles by historial and contemporary artists. This is another surreptitious shot of Joe.

In another nearby park, a large chess set is always in use. This father and son were having a good time playing. A crowd watched them for quite some time.
We had another meal at Pastini's in downtown Portland. My salad was delicious and I've now duplicated it at home: greens, white beans, tuna, thinly sliced red pepper, red onions and celery, capers, garlic, lemon and a red vinegar dressing. Yummm!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marian Hughes Shuff, 7/20/1918 - 10/1/2011.

My mother died on Saturday afternoon, October 1st. She died comfortably at home with Bob by her side.

She was a remarkable person and a woman ahead of her time. In her early twenties, she took flying lessons and flew a solo flight. In her mid twenties, she went to graduate school and began a career in personnel management. She married my father when she was twenty-eight. When that marriage ended in divorce twelve years later, she raised her children as a single mother while teaching and going to school toward a doctorate in education. She became a university professor and met the colleague who was to become her second husband. When she and Bob retired, Mom began taking art classes and became a prolific and celebrated regional artist.

As a mother, she was the best. Despite not having a dad at home during most of our young years, my brother and I shared a happy childhood full of closeness, fun and good times with a Mom who made sure we knew how much she loved us. She let me wear her beautiful bracelet, which we named "The Courage Bracelet," whenever I had to face something that scared me. When my brother's mathematical abilities became evident, she made sure he got the advanced education that kept him challenged. Mom subscribed to Ms. Magazine from its start and encouraged me and all my female cousins to read it. When I became a leader of a campus protest group in college and the administration sent her a letter admonishing me, she wrote them a reply that stated she believed in what I was doing and supported me totally. Due to Mom's influence, my brother and I both made risky career changes in our adult lives because we weren't afraid to try. Throughout our lives, she has been our champion, our problem solver and our friend.
You can see Mom's art on her website, here.
You can read her obituary, which she wrote, herself, several years ago, here.
My cousin, Karyn, wrote a wonderful tribute to Mom on her blog, which you can read here. And my cousin, Megan, wrote a letter to Mom before she died, which follows:

Things I learned from my Aunt Marian, in no particular order:

* that children could be adored.  I always knew my parents loved me, but I knew Marian adored Walt and Annie.

* that in some families, (lucky) kids got to drink one pop a day.

* that the road not taken doesn't matter.  Once a decision is made, it shapes the path, so go with it.

* that you could get married at 50 and actually have over 40 years of marriage together!  Who would have thought it?!  (Since I got married at 40-ish, I'm shooting for 50 years.)

* that a painted threshold is an important first impression, one that many overlook.

* that having central air conditioning is an important selling point for a house.

* that people have definite preferences in how they put the toilet paper on the roll - some like it over the top and others like it flat against the wall.

* that Bill Clinton was an up and comer - and she and Bob recognized it early on.

* that you can be a single, divorced mother in the 60's and be successful professionally, personally and in all other ways.

* to follow your loves - in her case art, Bob, friends, and so many other things.

* that in a big house there is room for everything so it's actually easier to keep clean than a small one.  (This was in answer to my question of why they built such a large house in Arkadelphia).

* to exercise body and mind if you want have a chance of living well into your nineties.

* that a comfortable chair, coffee and a newspaper or book every morning - next to your husband who is doing the same, is a wonderful way to start the day.

* that always showing interest in everyone - especially nieces and nephews - is very beneficial for the recipients of that attention.

* that a book called "Our Bodies Ourselves" existed and began changing the way I thought about myself as a young woman and provided lots of good information.

* That politics is interesting and important to discuss, but always from the perspective of a Democrat!

* That parties are important!

You've lived a life worth emulating and I'm so glad to have had your influence in my life.  For the big things and the little, I love you.

Mom, enjoying the afternoon on her 90th birthday

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good News, Bad News

My Mother was put on hospice two weeks ago. I flew to Arkansas to be with her, as did my brother, Walt, and niece, Susan. My cousin, Karyn, drove in from Kansas. We had been warned that she would go at anytime.  But what we feared would be a sad gathering turned out to be a priceless gift of time for all of us, including my stepfather, Bob. Mom rallied and we all sat around her bed talking, telling stories, laughing and being together.

My Mother with her granddaughter, Susan Stromquist


 Walt and Karyn (and stranger) waiting for take-out at the popular King Kone
located up the street from my parents' home in Hot Springs.

 Anybody know what a "Pickle Fizz" is???? (We forgot to ask.)

I'm home again and in touch by phone. Mom is comfortable and happy and Bob is with her. We know it won't be long. Please send your best thoughts our way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Skies Smiling at Me

I swim daily at an outdoor pool. When I do the back stroke, I study the sky. Each day, the sky is always different.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance

These are two from a series I created during the fall of 2001, in response to the tragedy on September 11th.

Cry (1), 2001
mixed media on paper

Cry (2), 2001
mixed media on paper

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Feast for the Eyes

The Moeller Fine Art Gallery in New York is currently hosting a terrific on-line show of woodcuts by Lyonel Feininger from his own collection. They are mostly small - not much larger than 2 x 4 inches. You can sign in (using the sign-in "woodcut" and password "feininger") to view twenty or so images at Take some time and treat yourself!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Underbelly of the Printmaking World

I know it comes as a surprise, but the printmaking world is not all glamour. Here are some pictures taken in the middle of last night's busy class session. Things can get pretty messy. Amazingly, the rooms were spic and span by the end of the evening.