Sunday, June 18, 2006

Weekend with the Arts

This weekend was pretty productive for doing and being around art for me. What I accomplished:

1. Worked a little more on my encaustic, getting the red stripe in the middle. It has a little texture and I'm proud of my straight lines, given I'm working with heated wax.

2. Started a knife minimalist oil painting of a marin sunset that is 24x30".

3. Started two other 24x30" oil paintings. One will be an abstract (a knife painting) and the other is a painting of koi fish, specifically 7 of them (the water is with a brush and the fish themselves will be with painting knives).

4. Laid down 6 layers of clear wax on four (count 'em, four!) 12x12" encaustic paintings, on wood supports. I'm going to do a series of images on "connectedness", in wax, so I wanted to get those going, to begin to build up the thickness of it.

5. Walked around the de Young Museum Sunday afternoon. Got in on the last day of the Arts and Crafts Movement exhibit and then walked around to the other galleries. The first picture below is from the observation deck at the top of the museum (great view all around the observation deck) and the second photo is a picture of a blown glass sculpture I liked...of fruit. Lit up, it looked very neat. I like glass art. It is so translucent. I think one of my favorite exhibits was an installation of all kinds of pieces of completed blackened charred wood hanging from various wires - and the wood came from one of the churches burned down in Atlanta. It was called "Anti-Mass".

It was both a very productive art weekend as well as inspirational.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Still Life Grill

On Sunday, I went over to Lisa's. She has wanted for a long time to be able to sit around with other artists and do a still life. I was her volunteer even though I have never done a still life and have no affinity or desire to do one. *But*, I love a challenge and I love trying to face my fears so we decided to make an afternoon of it.

Lisa set up a very nice (but detail rich!) still life. I completely failed at my first attempt but did decide to pick portions of the still life I thought I could handle, did an initial drawing and began painting the background. I had only brought painting knives with me, which further challenged and frustrated me.

However, Lisa began a very nice still life and here is her in-progress piece:

Lisa has an active imagination and doesn't often do subject matters so traditional and accessible (in fact, I think she has done one landscape - in her classic expressionist style, and maybe this still life), so this was really different for her. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. I got overwhelmed with frustration and stopped but after the background dries (Lisa painted hers in pastels and may use acrylics on top of that...I paint in oils), I'll bring it home and see if I can turn it into something or if it is just a failed attempt. On the positive side, I think I'll be that much less afraid of still lifes next time I attempt one.

Then we cooked a delicious barbecue. I made a great salad, then we barbecued cherry balsamic london broil steaks, great grilled veggies and fruit, polenta, and paired it with a lovely bottle of red wine.

It was a great afternoon doing what we love to do.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

di Rosa Preserve

On Saturday, Lisa, Elizabeth and I did a road trip up to Napa to visit the di Rosa Preserve. The di Rosa Preserve’s 217 acres feature three art galleries, an outdoor sculpture meadow and a 35-acre lake set in the Carneros region at the southern edge of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

The lake was beautiful and on one porch kind of section looking out at the lake, all these swallows had built little nests in the aluminum roofing and were busy going in and out of their nests and out over the water and back again.

We went on a 2-hour guided tour of the gallery, the main house (all chock full of art of all kinds), and the chapel building (more art, of course) and we loved all the unexpected sculpture scattered everywhere outside throughout the property.

I thought one cool installation was a pile of life-sized real statues, all thrown in a pile (as in the photo). But what I couldn't take a picture of was hanging high above this pile was a life-sized angel statue, glancing downward and slowly rotating in a wide circle. It was kind of cool.

Of course, everyone takes a picture of the unexpected car hanging from a tree.

There were just so many unexpected sculptures all over the place. Rene di Rosa collects art from northern californian artists (some pieces have become invaluable because he collected them while the artist was an art student at Chico State and they only later became well-known) and they refer to it as "funk art" but his tastes are really eclectic and cover a wide range of subjects and styles. There were paintings, and photographs, and electronic art and installation art and sculptures - everything you could think of (and a lot you never thought of!)

I thought it was a *great* experience for being inspired how creative artists can be using different materials to express different things.

Then we went and had a picnic lunch at a really small family-run vineyard I like to visit and support, called Arger-Martucci. I like quite a number of their wines and just love their small and family-oriented atmosphere. We ate a picnic lunch at their picnic table by their pool and sampled what was on the list for their wine tasting, talked with "Dad" for a little bit. It was hot and sunny and the wine was good and it was just a perfect napa kind of afternoon.

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