Sunday, January 29, 2012

Summer in January

January has given Socal a month full of fine weather days and Saturday was yet another one with temperatures in the 80's, sunshine and a light breeze. Wowzy. Joe and I headed down to the beach to have an early dinner on the patio at Belmont Brewing Co.

Years ago, we lived just a few blocks from BBC and ate here several times a week. It's been a favorite place for a long time.

True to form, I ordered a salad. This one is made of arugula, blackened scallops, strawberries, mandarin oranges, blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts and a vinaigrette dressing. Delish.

A band of wild parrots roam this area. They are a vibrant green, so they blend in with the leaves here, but they are all hanging out in the branches, squawking like a Congressful of politicians.

Cyclers head east on the beach bike path in the foreground; Belmont Pier stretches toward the south. The Pier has been a popular fishing spot for years and years.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Do Try This At Home

Thanks to YouTube, we've come a long, long way in the educational "audio-visual" genre. Remember film strips?

Here are two wonderfully creative how-to vids about printmaking found on YouTube: 

The first is a four minute stop motion production made by artist Armenio Rodriguez and friends from the Los Angeles based La Mano Press who demonstrate how to carve and print a woodcut. Here is the link.

The second is a quite different but equally inspiring presentation by Jared Roth of artist Bridget Henry demonstrating how to create a reduction wood cut. It is ten minutes long, so save it for later, when you can relax and enjoy the whole thing. Here is the link. 

Thanks, Loren Fierman and Pablo Sandoval!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Think It Looks Like a "Max"

Our poor old work horse of a pressure washer finally died during the last week of fall semester's screenprinting class. Definitely an untimely death as far as we were concerned, since most students were feverishly finishing their final projects and screens were hard to clean without one. But we all got through it. (Except for the pressure washer, of course. Sorry, buddy.)

Today, I'm excited to report that we've scored! Our shiny, new replacement is the top of the line! Steel parts, strong joints, 400 dpi motor, fine design. Now, what should we name it?

Our shiny new pressure washer

Pablo Sandoval tries it out.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, John Montich

Unsuspecting, photographer John Montich arrived at the Long Beach Museum one recent Saturday to have lunch with Joe and me. He knew the three of us were celebrating his 65th birthday, but little did he know fourteen more of his closest artist friends would join us!

John Montich, me, Joe

Terrill Cascia, Judy Chan, Jean Clad 

John Sanders, Bill Livingston, Mike Hamlin

David Braunstein, Terry Braunstein, John Montich

Gail Werner, Cynthia Evans

Lynn Shaw, Doug Pennington

Carol, Slater Barron, Mark Laurila

Sue Ann Robinson, Mike Hamlin

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hammer Museum: Art and Salad

I had this salad at the Hammer Cafe the other day. It was delicious! Butter lettuce, slices of roasted beet, carmelized onions, walnuts and goat cheese with a vinaigrette dressing.

Even better than the salad was the exciting art: Now Dig This! Art & Black Los Angeles 1960 - 1980, one of the shows included in Pacific Standard Time, a broad ranging documentation of art  made in Southern California from 1945 to 1980.

I went to the Museum with Judy Chan and we both came away richly inspired and anxious to get back to our studios. Thank you, Hammer!

Apparitional Visitations, 1973
Suzanne Jackson

 Family, 1967
Samella Lewis

Untitled, 1974-76
John Outterbridge

 America The Beautiful, 1968
David Hammons

I loved the photo negative-like quality of the figure in this image and others by Hammons. They are actual body prints, created by covering his (or another) body with grease or butter, pressing it onto paper and then adding a layer of pigment to the paper, which stuck to the greased areas. After seeing his work, I tried this process at home using my hand for the trials and got some interesting results which I hope to put to use soon. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Flying Cow

Here is Joe's best swap find from the weekend. How could I not love the person who walks in the door with this curious amalgam of iconic features from China????

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brothers, in a Way

A photograph of this striking drawing from 1903 of Gustav Mahler (artist unidentified) appeared in the L.A. Times recently. I was immediately reminded of my favorite photograph of Muddy Waters, a similar profile view. Each image so wonderfully captures the artist's verve.

One of my favorite songs from this CD is "Baby, Please Don't Go," written by Joseph Lee Williams. On paper, the lyrics seem ordinary and tame. It is what Muddy does with them that makes the song so great.

Baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go
Bay please don't go down to New Orleans
You know I love you so

Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
I get you way'd out here, and let you walk alone

Turn your lamp down low
Turn your lamp down low
Turn your lamp down low
I beg you all night long, baby, please don't go

You brought we way down here
You brought me way down here
You brought me way down here
'bout to Rolling Forks, you treat me like a dog

Baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go back to New Orleans
I beg you all night long

Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
I get you way'd out here, and let you walk alone

You know your man done gone
You know your man done gone
You know your man done gone
To the county farm, with all the shackles on

Baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go down to New Orleans
You know I love you so

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Work From My Studio

George Washington's Choppers, 2012
Annie Stromquist
photo-etching with watercolor

I've been working on a series of etchings based on abstracted teeth. This is the first finished one. The text on the left side reads: 

Washington suffered from poor dental health in his younger years and lost his teeth at an early age. He had two sets of false teeth  made by the most prominent American dentist of his day, Dr. John Greenwood. The dentures were created from hippopotamus ivory and gold.  The upper and lower plates were joined by metal springs which pushed the plates against the upper and lower ridges of his mouth, holding them in place. Washington had to actively push his jaws together to chew. If he relaxed his mouth, it would pop open. Some historians wonder if this is why he looks stern in so many portraits.

Joe's Finds

I never know what Joe is going to bring home from the weekend swaps and that is half the fun. Today, he found one of the iconic Obama posters by Shepard Fairey (which we'll hang so it is visible through the front window when the election heats up), a Japanese wall hanging with a gorgeous bird motif, and these fantastic wooden vessels:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Helen Frankenthaler

I am sorry to read of the death of one of my favorite artists, Helen Frankenthaler. Her non-objective, color oriented works have always inspired me. She was curious, prolific and versatile, exploring printmaking alongside her primarily medium, painting.

Many art historical accounts miscredit Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis with originating Color Field painting, in which oil paint was thinned with turpentine and applied to raw canvas. I was pleased to read Roberta Smith clarify this in her NY Times tribute to Frankenthaler on December 27th. Noland and Louis visited Frankenthaler's studio and saw her working this way before they experimented with the process themselves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Gorgeous day here in Southern California! I'm spending time in the studio - such a pleasure. Hope you are spending your first day of the new year in happy ways, too.