Art Street!

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This is an art event that I just attended in Sacramento, CA and it will only last another few days through February 25, 2017. I love the concept – it’s an old warehouse building scheduled to be demolished (along with all the art that was created in, around and on it). M5Arts are the artists behind the project. They did the Art Hotel last year, which was also later torn down after that event. Art Street has about 65,000 square feet of space in which 100 artists and performers have turned into a unique art experience. And it’s free to the public! Art installations are hanging, sculpted, lighted, painted on walls and interactive with audio effects. Some need the viewer to actually engage with the art to experience it. There is even a giant kaleidoscope! My words can’t express as much as the pictures, so I will let them tell the story. After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words! But… to get the full experience, you will need to do that yourself in person and it will all be demolished soon!

The location is 300 1st Ave., Sacramento, CA  95818

The hours are M-F 3pm-9pm & S/S 11am-9pm

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Outside murals

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Finishing touches… mural on outside of Art Street building

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My favorite installation – I loved this! By Francesca Gamez & Shaun Burner

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By Bryan Valenzuela

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Light art by Robert Emerick & Rene Steinke

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By Jared Tharp

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Oil painting by Jeff Muser

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Masking tape art installation with under lighting

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Graffiti art by Hot Carl & PIER

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Wall mural by Miles Toland

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Hanging installation by Bailey Anderson

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Cyanotype by Melissa Uroff

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Cyanotypes by Melissa Uroff

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By Waylon Horner

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Installation by Lin Fei Fei

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Wall mural by Jose Di Gregorio

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Hanging geometric sculpture by Jose Di Gregorio

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Collage wall of found objects by Nathan Cordero

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Signs from Sacramento Women’s March To be archived in California State Library, SF. (Of course I had to pose with my hoodie!)

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The Sketchbook Project and My Suzie Q

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The Art House in Williamsburg, NY has a unique ongoing creative project called the Sketchbook Project where artists create sketchbooks that are housed in their Art Library. Thus far they have over 35,000 sketchbooks from over 135 countries for visitors to checkout & view. It began in 2006 and claims to have the largest permanent collection of sketchbooks in the world. It’s a great opportunity for artists to share their art with the public. The books all have a theme, which are randomly assigned to the artists that participate. Visitors check out and view the books on site, but can look at as many as they want.

The books are also available through a traveling library where the Art House packs up a large selection of sketchbooks and travels to cities around the US in pop-up libraries. It functions as part gallery and part library. You can go to their site to see where the next event is or to participate in the next sketchbook event. It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or professional and the creator can “draw, write, collage, cut, print or photograph.”

You can get instructions on how to add a sketchbook to the collection by going to www.sketchbookproject.com. You can sign up for the current project until Jan. 17, 2017 and the deadline to send in the completed book is Feb. 14, 2017. The cost of the sketchbook and to participate is $25. Some of the current themes are, “A story worth telling,” “Guidebook to the past,” “Essentials,” “Half and half,” or “Clasp my hand.” To see a video of the project click here. The Art House also offers other art challenges such as a “Portrait Swap” or a “Print Exchange”.

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Two images from other “Friends of Friends of Friends” sketchbooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I participated in the Sketchbook Project several years ago and was assigned the theme “Friends of Friends of Friends.” Many of the topics are humorous and a bit obscure, but that allows for many interpretations. It was fun to create the sketchbook, but I underestimated the time it would take to fill the 80 pages. As a watercolor artist I realized the pages would warp even if I only did one side. I could have glued in watercolor paper, but it would have made the book very thick and I wanted to avoid that. Although, once I saw the book collection at an event I learned many artists did exactly that. They added fabric and collage, fold out pages, cut up pages, removed pages, etc. Just about anything goes as long as the book can fit on the shelf.

So I decided it would be easier to use colored pencil, but that actually took longer than painting. I had to give thought on how to interpret the theme and fill all those pages. I decided to loosely link myself as a ‘friend’ to all my pets I’ve had and then link them to their ‘friends’ and then to the world at large. So it went from a very personal view to a more global view. In the end I began to have a hard time finding 80 (or 40) ways to tie it all together. I used the balance of the pages to make cut out paper dolls holding hands that encircled the earth.  It was the best answer for the fast approaching deadline. The result was a fun collection of my pets and a view of my relationship to the world via friendship links. The project was a good stretch of my creativity, problem solving and imagination!  Below are a few of the pages:

1-butterfly      2-me

13-tire-swing       14-clouds

18-earth-people       19-earth-people

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That was over 5 years ago now, but the reason this project comes to mind was because I was notified that someone checked out my book. I had actually forgotten about the project and now as I recall the theme it brings a smile to my heart which replaces my tears of grief. You see, one of the first ‘friends’ drawn in my sketchbook was my beloved dog “Suzie Q” to whom I recently had to say good bye. She was a rescue from the shelter, a mix of Chow and Great Pyrenees. I got her when she was about 8 months old and she lived a good long life of 16 1/2 years. She was a beautiful fluffy golden white color, very sweet, but shy. Sadly there is never enough time with a beloved pet. I miss her terribly and have so many fond memories of her. She was with me through some tough times and brought a lot of joy to my life. She often looked like she was smiling with her mouth open and her spotted tongue hanging out. Below is the image I used of her in the sketchbook. I was able to get her to pose with the book before I sent it off to Art House. I love that photo of her sitting with her portrait. As I think of all the fond memories and feel the hole in my heart I am grateful that she is memorialized in my Sketchbook with my many other ‘friends’ before her…and on this Thanksgiving eve I am thankful she was in my life.

4-suzie                                 Suzie Q smiling.jpg

 

 

Taking Flight

My intentions after coming back from the New York watercolor show and after completing my big commission were to spend the summer creating many new paintings for the upcoming studio tour and make some blog posts.  But…the universe had other plans for me.  Just as Spring was ending I broke my wrist, which made my summer plans nearly impossible. I had to give priority to healing if I was ever to paint again.  Now that I am on the road to recovery (but not quite up to painting) it’s a little easier to type, so I decided to share my inspiration for my paintings with you.

I have always loved the beautiful patchwork of the quilted farmlands and delta area of the Sacramento, California area.  The meandering river across the agriculture and the velvety rice fields as seen from the air are amazing.  I started painting this view to capture the feelings it evokes for me; a natural beauty that is fragile and ever changing depending on drought, season, time of day and human influences.  I sought out small aircraft pilots to take me up so I could gather photos to paint from.  I’ve had some wonderful experiences and met some interesting people.  Taking flight is almost more fun than creating the actual painting!  I have had some memorable flights in some historical planes including a  1940’s Piper Cub.

Piper Cub

Piper Cub

 

Aeronca Champ

Aeronca Champ

Recently I flew in an Aeronca Champ, which was a WWII training plane, owned by a family of pilots.  It was originally purchased to commemorate a family member’s 60th birthday who had flown the same kind of plane in WWII.   I heard some wonderful stories and family history as I flew with the pilot, and felt honored to be a passenger.  I learned that during the war the tandem passenger seat behind the pilot was often removed so that an injured soldier could be slipped feet first into the tail and transported to safety.  To think that this very plane may have saved a brave soldier was very humbling.

RadioTV tower

The tops of those radio towers were fascinating to see from that perspective!

We left out of a tiny private airport on the Sacramento delta late in the day so that I could get the long shadows that add some drama to my aerial paintings.  My task was to get some good photos to use for a large commission I was starting.  The challenge was that the ranch I needed to photograph was below five tall radio/TV towers.  We needed to carefully fly around the towers and their many wire cables.  I was also trying to include the river, small town of Walnut Grove and the iconic landmark, Mt. Diablo.  I had to put my trust in the pilot that he would get us back safely and just enjoy the ride.

Town of Walnut Grove

Walnut Grove, CA

We flew over the Sacramento River, the towns of Walnut Grove, Locke and Isleton, farmlands, pear orchards, marinas, bridges, dairy farms, wildlife preserves and breached levees.  The vegetation was beautiful and varied.  There were rows of trees and crops, manicured homes, gardens, fields, wild delta areas with patterned islands of cattails and marshlands.  There were labyrinths of man made duck hunting ponds and sloughs choked with beautiful water hyacinth.  There was a lone boat gliding past a string of tiny delta islands shaped like teardrops floating like gems on a necklace.  All the while Mt. Diablo was watching us.  It’s no wonder pilots love to fly over the delta – the view is breathtaking!

Oxbow Marina (2)

Oxbow Marina, Isleton

One of the many memorable sights was the Oxbow Marina in Isleton.  It is a big loop on the river where there is a marina of boats and a resort.

Pear pool

Pear shaped pool

Nearby was a home with a pear shaped pool!  The steps into the pool was the stem of the pear.  It was obviously owned by a pear farmer.

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere

A surprising sight was the “Bridge to Nowhere” where long ago the levees were breeched. The land was allowed to be reclaimed by the river and is filling in with marshland making beautiful colored circles of vegetation in various sizes.  The bridge once led to other farms, but now it’s a dead end to the water if one attempts to cross.

Sacramento River

Sacramento Delta

Bridge on Steamboat Slough

Bridge on Steamboat Slough

I captured some great photos from that flight, which allowed me to complete my commission (shared in an upcoming post).  My painting that was accepted into the American Watercolor Society Exhibition was from the same flight.  If you look carefully in the lower right corner of that painting you can see the little airport I flew out of.  The painting, “Diablo’s Delta” is currently touring the US for the next year in the AWS Traveling Exhibition.  View my “Upcoming Shows” to see if it’s coming to a city near you.

Many thanks to my winged friends who share their passion with me and let me take flight with them so that I can share my passion with you!

Note – all photos are copyrighted by the artist and may not be used without permission.

Inspired by Norman Rockwell

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Norman Rockwell was an early inspiration for me. My mother introduced his work to me when I was very young. She purchased a wonderful book showing all his art, and as I turned each page I was in awe discovering each of his illustrations. I couldn’t imagine how he painted so realistically. I loved how he captured so many expressions in his subjects and I was fascinated to learn that he often posed his subject on a stool and then turned the pose upside down to recreate “a fall”. It was also fun to learn that he often used neighbors, both adults and children, in his art. So I was thrilled when the Crocker Art Museum featured a show with his work. They also exhibited every Saturday Evening Post cover that Rockwell was on. I went to the exhibit twice and took my photo in his famous self portrait pose. The museum set up the exact same scene so visitors could pose at his easel. It was fun to reenact that painting! I found his art to be even more amazing in person.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has over 900 pieces in their collection and has ongoing traveling exhibits across the country. Check the website nrm.org for upcoming exhibits or plan a trip to see the museum. If an exhibit of Rockwell comes to your area it is definitely worth a visit (or two)! What artists have inspired you?

Leaf Shadow Etchings

Often I am asked where I get my inspiration from…

As an artist, I am always observing my surroundings, which contain many inspirations.  I love to watch the clouds and their ever-changing shapes, light and shadows.  My favorite clouds were in Saskatchewan, Canada where my ancestors immigrated to.  The prairies there are called the “Land of the Living Skies” because the clouds change moment to moment.  That was my inspiration for my painting called “Prairie Skies.”  I love to look up at the trees as I take a walk.  The leaves and branches against the blue sky are wonderful in the sunlight.  Sometimes the leaves are glowing and transparent.  My tree and blossom paintings were inspired by the neighborhood trees on my walks with my dog.  I try to notice the small things around me that others may miss.  When I travel I love finding old doors that are aged and peeling.  They have such character and history.  I try to imagine the comings and goings of those who have gone through them over the years.

Sometimes it seems I am looking through a different pair of glasses than those around me, in tune to a different song.  I notice patterns, colors, shapes, light and form.  A recent inspiration came from the beautiful leaf shadows that were etched on the sidewalk.  The leaves had fallen and after a heavy rain they lay wet and stuck to the cement.  Once raked up, only their “shadows” were left hinting at their brief presence.  It was a soft subtle pattern of greys.  To the unaware pedestrian this “art” would be missed and gone in a few weeks, but I captured it for you here.  Perhaps it will transform into one of my paintings as a background, one never knows!  It is one of those little jewels of inspiration.