Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Day Looking at Art

On Friday I sat in as a juror/selector for art for the County of Alameda, my home county in CA. I had been asked to sit in on this call as one of the two artists who would be looking at the work. The Arts Council for the county has three calls to artists out...this one which was due a month ago and two more, that I am submitting work to, that are due tomorrow. Since I was not eligible to enter this current one, they ask me to be there.

What an interesting day. This is all percent for arts money that is being used to purchase work. We were looking at work for one smallish office which only had a budget of $2500 to purchase work for the office which is a central starting point for people seeking building permits. There was one person who was in that office and then two others who are also located in the same building and are in the planning department. There was another artists, a painter and then one of the Arts Commission members who is an architect. He could discuss and voice his opinions but is not a voting member. And then there were two staff.

One of the Superior Courts has $60,000 to spend for art so they had already taken a look at the works and made some preliminary selections. The staff had reduced the number of works to view from over 1000 to about 230 pieces.

It was a very interesting process. We each had a list of the work, along with the artist's name, the medium used, and the retail price and size. Since our budget was so low, pieces of work over $2500 were excluded from our consideration. The first go-round viewing the work was fairly quiet as we each noted if we felt the piece was a yes, no, or maybe. Had a brief lunch break and then got down to business of running through them all again, this time with discussion about why we liked something. We got to hear other people's views about the work. Some, solicited no comments from us as we were all clearly a no on those pieces...the comments were on the maybes and the yeses. In the end, we turned in our choices on the sheet to the staff. They will tabulate and see which ones we are clearly interested in and contact artists to bring the work in.

In a month, we will reconvene to look over all the work we have selected, in person, and then make our final recommendations. Our recommendations go to the Arts Commission board who usually approves the recommendations.

We saw all sorts of work. A lot of "archival digital images" or what used to be photographs. Since there is so much work being done on the computer, the way these were put together was really interesting. One person created panels that were 36 x 60" and had three images (actually they were like strips of images) in a triptych on the one piece of fine art paper. One of the pieces had three different views from a freeway, but they were images of the freeway itself. Another had three images of the ground, but various kinds of ground. Lots of mixed media. One person had created two different plaid patterns out of was interesting but I am not into all over patter which this was. One piece was painted with beads added. There were no other textiles in this bunch although there was one painting that had fine embroidery added to the work.

It was really great to sit in on this process. I called a good friend afterwards and told her that both she and her partner need to submit their work for consideration to the next calls that come out. There is absolutely nothing to loose....and so should you!

Our county is now using an on-line service which collects all the artist information. Each artist uploads images and then chooses which ones to submit for consideration. We also submit our resume which is uploaded from our files and also our artist statement. Then, with the push of a button, the entire package is submitted to the council. Last time I did this I had to submit slides, 10 copies of the slide list, ten copies of the packet which included artist statement, application, resume and whatever else they wanted. Everything had to be numbered and put together into ten different packets with only one set of slides. That was a real pain! This is so much easier!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Feeling Better

Yesterday I woke up actually feeling good! I was so excited! I fooled around with email and then was about to get ready to go down to the studio (I haven't been there in ages!) and my good friend called to see if I was going to church. Sure, tomorrow, I, today she said...I said oops I am ushering and reading a prayer...I had best get myself going! So I did and I got there on time but was tired afterwards. Still not up all the way.

But, today! I got down to the studio to take pictures of my new color blocks that had been in open studios as I am determined to get them all cataloged and up on my website.

Meanwhile, I keep having fun with my little collages, which are 5 x 6" mounted on 8 x 10 mat board. Several have found their way to other homes. They cost $20 each (plus tax if you are in CA) and $5 for shipping. Just let me know if you are interested.

So, the new ones are:

Wisdom Words 10: They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. Native American proverb

Wisdom words 11: to know the road ahead, ask those coming back. Chinese proverb

Wisdom Words 12: A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. Chinese proverb

Wisdom Words 13: The absent get further off every day. Japanese proverb

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Turn

Well, I have had my turn at being sick, sick, least I knew what was coming and that it would last about 12 hours and then I would be exhausted for another day...but now I am much better.

I have a very appreciative daughter and son-in-law. I am trying to be the grandmother I had never had not had my children. My own mother was very formal and did not play with the children...I get down on the floor and have fun. It's about not needing to be the center of attention. But I also think it is a generational thing too. My family moved around so I did not see my grandparents very often. My maternal grandmother would come and stay with us for several months at a time (when we were in Japan and Hawaii) and it was fun to be with her. My paternal grandparents were very formal and my grandfather would pay me a nickle if I would be quiet and not say anything...what a message! Oh well, new generations, new times, and a very close relationship with my daughter's family...for better and for worse!

Some more Wisdom Words for your enjoyment. Again, these at 5 x 6" mounted on 8 x 10 mat board and are ready to frame, sell for $20 with $5 postage. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing one.

Wisdom Words # 7

Wisdom Words # 8 SOLD

Wisdom Words #9

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Sandwich Generation-make mine ginger cream!

Yesterday I took my father out to go to a class on cataract surgery which he is having next week. He did not bring his hearing aids so he could not hear the woman who was talking, nor could he hear the audio visual presentation. Because he has macular degeneration in addition to really bad cataracts, he cannot see at all out of his left eye. And his right eye isn't much better. So he couldn't read the booklet they gave us and could not see the TV screen either. After that, I spent time explaining everything to him and then drove him around running several errands.

I had been so tired from a very busy weekend that yesterday morning I went down to the studio for just a couple of hours in order to move everything back where it belonged so it would be back in working order and then took off to take my dad out. It takes me about 40 minutes, depending upon traffic to get to his house from mine. My studio is about half way there but out of the way.

So, after I dropped my Dad off yesterday at 5pm I got a call from my daughter. She was dreadfully sick, vomiting and spending too much time on the toilet. Her husband was also pretty sick but not quite as bad as she was. Jacob and Ashton were ok but could I come over and help with the kids as both adults were too grammy to the rescue!

Got there, fixed some food for Jacob, fed Ashton, played with Ashton, stayed out of the parent's way and then just as I was going to get Jacob to bed he started vomiting and vomiting and vomiting. All over the floor, all over the bath room, all over his clothes, all over the towel we got, etc. So into the bathtub he went while I cleaned up messes and cleaned him up. Then got him out of the bath and he proceeded to vomit all over me and the bathroom so back into the tub he went. I had nothing to change into. Yuck! Finally got him to bed and before I could even get him settled in, he started vomiting in bed...which of course meant clean bedding including mattress pad, sheets, and pjs and back into the bathtub to clean him up again. Got a big tupperware storage container for him to hang on to and that worked. Every 20-30 minutes he was up vomiting again. At one point mother and son were both in the bathroom vomiting together...

I ended up spending the night there just to take care of Jacob. Fortunately, Ashton did not get sick. But I was up until after midnight and then up several times during the night to empty the bowl and comfort a sick child. My husband's car was at the shop so he couldn't bring my pj's , robe and slippers over so a friend came to the rescue and brought them over. Finally I got into something dry and was able to avoid more stuff on my clothes.

This morning I took care of the boys and then finally left their house at 10am to come home, shower and change and then go off to Berkeley to pick up my father for more medical appointments regarding his eye surgery. Finally got him back home at 3: 30pm, stopped by a scrapbook store which has neat things, stopped and got a Foster's freeze ice cream and then headed home. Just as I got off the freeway I got a call from my daughter...Mom....where are you? Can you come help us some more because we have no energy to fix dinner or whatever.

So, super grammy to the rescue again. This time it was to cook chicken flavored rice, wash dishes, feed Ashton after his mom nursed him, play with Jacob who just wasn't going to eat, get clothes out of the dryer ( oh yeah, all the stuff got washed last night including my clothes), threw the ball for the dog for a while, changed poopy diapers, etc. I finally got home at 7:30 to a husband who tells me he is sick and has spent too much time on the toilet too and now has chills and fiver...

I think I will run away!

Tomorrow I am supposed to have the day to myself except that now I have to get the car from the shop. At least my dad doesn't have another medical appointment until Thursday and then that is it until his surgery date.

But in the meantime I am three days behind in doing critiques for my on line class. Well, I do plan to get those done tomorrow....

So, since I have fallen in love with Paul Newman's ginger cream sandwich cookies, I guess that is the one I will be!

But, in the meantime, here are some more of my Wisdom Words collages. They are again $20 each with $5 for mailing.

Wisdom Words #4

Wisdom words #5 SOLD

Wisdom words #6 SOLD

See you all tomorrow!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wisdom Words Series and the end of Open Studios

I have started a new group of paper collages. These have been a lot of fun to do and I call the "Wisdom Words" as I have searched for various quotes that I have found to be so true, funny, or just plain important to remember. These have been incorporated into the collage. Many have raised images, image transfers, rubber stamping, stamps, images from my own photos and images from my huge collection of cabinet photos. Each of these sell for $20 plus $5 shipping USPS priority mail. Just let me know if you want one. I will be posting new ones each day! Each of these is mounted on an 8 x 10 mat board and is ready for framing. The actual collage size is
5 x 6".

Wisdom Words 1 "One does not discover New Lands without consenting to lose sight of the Shore for a Very Long time." Andre Gide SOLD

Wisdom Words 2 "The more you give, the more good things come to you" Native American Proverb SOLD

Wisdom Words 3 "A man without a smiling face must not open shop."

Additionally, today was the last day of Open Studios...two full weekends of interesting people, issues with my studio mate and 6 sales of my work! What was so very nice was the fact that I received many compliments on my work from other artists who are not fiber people but painters and sculptors, etc. That really feels good!

I met several more people from the studios where my studio is...only two of the many at the foundry are not live-work...all the rest have people living in them. One artist there, who makes electric cars and is 32, bought a piece of mine. We then had a fascinating conversation about how to apply fabric to the car he is creating that will be a bright green snake with the car as the head of the snake. We discussed various ways of coloring the fabric and how he is going to do this! It really sounds interesting. It has been fun to meet so many young artists who have new visions.

oTmorrow it is back to the studio to get things back in order to create! Find things my studio mate moved, clean up a dye pot that got broken, and start work on the design wall. Those batiks are calling me....liz....liz....liz...come to us! Well, I must answer, right?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

East Meets West

Tonight was the opening reception, which, unfortunately I was not able to attend, of a Running Fence-reclycled show. The show is at the Palette Art Cafe in Healdsburg, CA and runs until July 13. Dianne Smith, a fascinating woman who owns lots of the Christo running fence panels that went through Marin and Sonoma Counties in 1976, has a group of artists who use the fabric to make art.

I had completed a rather large piece which included the running fence fabric and also some of the orange squares from the Gates in New York. Hence, the title, East Meets West. It has its debut this week at the show. If you are in the area, do stop by and take a look at the work.
Today was the second weekend of the ProArts Open Studios tour. Do come by my studio tomorrow between noon and 6pm at 4401 San Leandro St., Oakland, CA studio 27. There are three of us at the studio with all different work. I am happy to say that I sold three things last weekend and one today and had some nice people coming through. We have food and wine!

Friday, June 13, 2008

San Franciso Bay Area Arts Town Hall

This past Monday I attended the SFBA Arts Town Hall meeting with Marion Colemen. It was at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a beautiful building and area in the heart of arts in San Francisco. SFMOMA was right across the street and the grounds are filled with fantastic water art, gardens, grass to relax on and fascinating high rise buildings.

I took a bunch of notes during the plenary session, the topic being "The Arts in the Bay Area--the Future is Now" with a rather distinguished panel of presenters.

Michael Morgan, the music director and conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony had some fascinating comments which are apropos to any art. He raised questions about the need for us to decide who we are and where are we likely to fit? What impact do you want to have? Of course, young people want to impact the world, as an older person, I will settle for impacting my neighborhood. The need to collaborate rather than competing between various arts providers was also discussed. He made the statement that if you are not doing something for the next generation of artists, you are failing. One of the negatives from our area was that he is not seeing the connections with other groups and artists.

Favianna Rodgrguez, an printmaker and social entrepreneur, a Chicana, spoke a lot about art by women of color. She also spoke a great deal about immigrant art. She felt that technology is an artist's tool. Strengths in the Bay area of at multi-culturalism (some schools have over 50 languages spoken in them) and the redeveloping for people who are there. She felts that we are not fully taking advantage of technology, that artists are not collaborating with community organizations, that we need to reach out more to artists under 35, we need to work for long term impact and that we need financially viable models.

Moy Eng, the program director of the performing arts program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation spoke about the need to support cultural appreciation. She also felt that groups really need to collaborating when chasing the money. One big challenge she discussed was the fact the the new generations feel everything is, music and movies off the Internet, etc. As artists trying to make money, she raised the question of how do we deal with this.

Alan Brown, who studies audiences and patterns of cultural participation was really interesting. He states that we need to understand how cultural participation is changed. He also felt we need to understand how people express themselves creatively. He felt we need to reach beyond in order to grow, to reach out, and to collectively reach out for a central purpose int eh arts. He indicated that people's taste is changing much more rapidly due to the Internet and that, with technology, come fragmentation. For instance, he said that there are few places for people to come together to discuss art they have seen, be it a play, concert, poetry reading, art show, dance, etc. Where is there a place to b ring people together right after an event to process as a group? He said we are lacking the social aspect of an experience. He also indicated that we need more opportunities to have critical discussions about the arts.

He raised the question of how are people changed by experiencing art? What is the impact of a single artistic moment on an individual. He indicated that he is developing ways of actually measuring such reactions. Other questions he brought up were What is your value agenda? What is your program trying to improve. All very interesting to think about.

Luis Cancel, Director of cultural affairs with the San Francisco Arts Commission also dropped some big information on us. He said one of the biggest problems artists face in the Bay Area is finding affordable space to create work (not live-work). He also indicated that 50,000 people in San Francisco have liquid assets of over $2 million (this does not include property) and that 296,000 people in the Bay Area have over $2 million in liquid assets. We need to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit to engage those with the money. Curiosity excites the new money people. He also pointed out that CA state government is dead last in all of the US, including protectorates and territories, in supporting the arts.

A blog has been set up for further discussion and can be reached at There is a great recap from someone who paid more attention than I did and also covers all the breakout sessions and other events happening. It is a very interesting look at arts in the future.

In the after noon, I took a one hour workshop on percussion and learned from Zeke Nealy a few basic Haitian/Afro drumming rhythms...I have always wanted to learn to play a conga or bongo drum and am now on a quest to find an appropriate teacher!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Up to my Eyeballs in ART

The past four days have been art, art, and more art.

On Friday, my husband went down with me to the studio to help clean, paint, and move furniture around before open studios on Saturday and Sunday. What a major job! I really appreciated his help. His big shop vac went down with us and I must say, he is a masterful vacuuming guy. He will vacuum for hours with that thing. But he did get a lot of cobwebs, paint chips, pieces of falling apart flooring, etc cleaned up. Then we moved my big table. I also got everything put away, including a huge pile of fused batiks I had been using which had been left in a big messy pile on top of my George table.

And then we went home without getting anything up on the walls. That night I spent time finding what I wanted to take down and also stitching some of my new work to the stretched canvas. Went down early Saturday and started working like a fiend getting everything up...that also meant that I was drilling holes for the screw eyes, putting the screw eyes in and adding the wire for hanging. Fortunately, help arrived in the form of my daughter and her husband. I put poor Dave to work adding screw eyes and doing the wire and then he ended up hanging a lot of them because they were too high for me to reach. Then my daughter went around and added price labels. What would I have done without my family!?

This is the wall (above) that my husband painted. He thought he had white paint but it turned out to be a nice gray which will work well for photographing work. These pieces are all mounted on canvas which I think makes a nice presentation.
This (above) is my design wall with my piece in progress "Whitewashing the War" which will be going into a show in a couple of months. Other pieces have been added to the wall with price tags. You can see the spread that my studio mate did (which I felt was way overboard) but nice.
And above is a view of my big 4 x 8' table, covered, which is hiding tons of stuff underneath. It has paper collages, fabric pieces that haven't been mounted onto canvas yet, and a couple of other pieces.

I did sell three things this weekend which was nice. Hopefully a few more will sell this coming weekend!

Yesterday I spent the day in San Francisco with Marion Coleman at the San Francisco Bay Arts Town Hall. It was really interesting and I will talk about it later and show some pictures from the area.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What Happened to my Groove?

It got daughter's babysitter went off to Mexico with her husband for a vacation so last Thursday, and Monday-Thursday this week I have been babysitting. I am so tired when I get home I am practically useless.

Last Friday I did get 14 new small pieces done and completed them over the weekend.

This is good because this weekend and next weekend are Open Studios and my studio will be open Saturday and Sunday each weekend. Which means I needed some new work to go up.

Meanwhile, back at the studio, I had made a huge pile of fused batiks which are all over the George sewing table. Tomorrow Doug and I go down (when I wake up...and it won't be at 6:30 AM) to paint one wall white which has a been splotch of brown paint on it from the previous people. Then to clean up everything, get everything organized and put up work.

So, if you are in the area, or even aren't, come on down to my studio at the Vulcan Foundry at 4401 San Leandro St., Oakland, CA. My studio space is 27 and I have a door right on the street. We will be open Saturdays from 11-6pm and Sundays from 12 noon to 5 pm this weekend and next. We will also have snacks to keep you going. This is the big ProArts open studios which has about 400 artists participating.

Tomorrow I will take a picture of before and after!

Hope to see you!