June 1, 2013
You all know about best laid plans. Shall I just say I’ve been super busy? That is a good thing as it means I am doing what I love. Just realized I spoke about my grandmother’s beading and I am working on a new piece, “Earthly Treasures” and have been sorting beads and faux pearls for weeks. Thank you Gra’mare for all those old faux pearl strands you cut apart, beaded and pearl bags that were falling apart, broken jewelry. She did magnificent bead work. Spent one whole morning sorting everything into color and kind and stored each in a see through plastic storage box. That was late last year.
For the sculpture, I am gluing each pearl, INDIVIDUALLY, using Industrial Strength E6000 adhesive over a rigid foam base. The old faux pearls represent the substrata. Next up will be assorted beads in pale pinks and mauves to represent sub-soil. Top layer will be deeper pinks, bronzes, and antique golds for the top soil. This “core” sample will be topped with feather snow on the mountain top around silvered trees. Found a divine glass dome at Restoration Hardware that will house the whole sculpture. At 20-inches high, it should show really well.
At the other extreme, my second piece for the CAEA-South Members Show is a small, only 7-inches high, sculpture called, “If It Walks Like a Duck.” Made with an old child’s tennis shoe, an orange plastic mini baseball cap, old puzzle pieces, and wired wood for the puppet handle, it is a whimsical addition to my assortment of work.
Have begun working at Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in their after school children’s program and with their “Treasures” program for seniors aimed at low income groups. It all helps round out my experiences with different age groups. A highlight was when an aid with the kids asked if I had worked at Spurgeon Intermediate School. Another former pupil who is almost finished with her student teaching as a secondary art teacher. I was soooooo thrilled. She told me all about how wonderful my classes had been and how they influenced her future. Makes my heart feel full. If you have never had the opportunity to visit Bowers Museum, it is one of the top cultural museums in the country. Fabulous exhibits of art and artifacts from China, the near east, other regions of the world, jewels, costumes, you name it. Their traveling exhibits are wonderful and their collection of Pacific Island artifacts is awesome.
This summer promises to be full. As the Pacific Region Vice President for the National Art Education Association, I have a board meeting in Reston, Virginia in July. Preceding that, I will be conducting a summer leadership conference for my region in Vancouver, British Columbia—Canada is part of our NAEA. It is the first time one of these meetings has been held out of the country so everyone is super excited. It will be my first visit there—three times to Victoria, but never on the mainland. Vancouver is one of my Uncle Guy’s favorite cities. He even contemplated retiring there but they opted for Hawaii instead. Will have an extra three days to explore with my friend, Cindy Allen, president of Nevada Art Education Association.
Am in the process of planning a trip in October. Will be going with my friend, Susan, to Paris where she is renting a small apartment. We will also spend a few days in the south of France visiting some friends of hers. Hope to have time to visit Arles, Avignon, and Les Beaux. Sasha and I found Les Beaux in 1999 and fell in love with it. A petite town built into the side of a limestone cliff. At the very top are the remains of a Roman lookout. Just below that, the remains of a feudal castle, and then the town. Many of the buildings front old cave homes, in the same vein as Cappadoccia in Turkey. After two weeks with Susan I will fly to Marrakesh where my sister, Trici, will be working on a commission for a London designer. We will be staying in his staffed villa complete with chauffeur, cook, maid, and guide. I am in seventh heaven. Had originally planned to go to Istanbul to see her—it’s been six years—and then this came up. Did I hesitate? Hell, no. Another new place to visit. We should have a fabulous time even with her working on the drawings he has commissioned. Will spend two weeks with her before returning home.
Once home, will attend the CAEA conference. This year is a first. Three simultaneous conferences will be held in the three areas of the state. We will be on the campus of Idyllwild Arts Academy, one of my favorite places in the world. Hope to be presenting one or two workshops—waiting to hear. They are also hosting an art show for our members that will be up for the month. We are hopeful that having shows of our members’ work will help educate the public that art teachers are artists, too. I was amazed when in Ft. Worth at the national convention to find out that many states do not require a degree in art to teach it on the secondary level.
Reading a fascinating book for those who love history. “A Short History of Byzantium” by John Julius Norwich, is a condensed version of his three volume tome on the same subject. Am learning all kinds of things I had wondered about such as: What the Holy Roman Emperor was and how it came about. What caused the split between the western and eastern Roman Empire and eventually the church. My, but it was a bloody period in history. And those old church popes, patriarchs, and emperors. Such a different approach to religion that espoused peace, love, and charity. I had no idea that the eastern empire/church was all Greek! Is giving me more understanding of what I see in Turkey.
Certainly hope I can be more consistent in posting. Your patience is appreciated. Until later.
June 26, 2012
It doesn’t seem possible that four months have passed since first I started on this new adventure. Today would have been my grandmother’s 115th birthday. She only made it to 80 but she is remembered, still. Especially when I am working on one of my projects that involves sewing, embroidery, beadwork. It was from her I inherited those skills through my mother, although Mother did not do much embroidery of beadwork.
For those of you with a passion for the work of John Singer Sargent, you need to read “Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the fall of Madame X” by Deborah Davis. An historical novel, it tells the story of the painting of “Madame X.” She was an American, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, from Louisiana whose father fought in the Civil War. After he died of his wounds, her mother took the two daughters back to Paris where they lived with the French grandparents. Sargent did the painting for free as he thought it would raise his standing as painter of the upper classes. Amélie thought it would raise her standing in society. OOPS! Who would have thought a dangling strap could cause such a scandal?
I also had the pleasure of hearing Deborah Davis speak at the Designer’s Guild about her book, “The Secret Life of Frames: Lowey—100 Years of Art and Artistry.” It was so engaging that I visited Lowey’s Frames in New York last December with my friend Susan. It was a memorable experience. We were treated to a tour of the entire facility from the top down.
5th floor, art conservation
4th floor, gessoing & gilding. We got to try burnishing with an agate burnishing tool. We also saw a 17th century frame about 12″ x 15″ that would have been $15000. Too much? They had created a reproduction that was about 9″ x 12″ that was a mere $4500. It had been gessoed and was ready to be gilded.
3rd floor, matting.
2nd floor, archives—over 4000 historic frames of all shapes and sizes.
1st floor, display and sales.
Needless to say, the company caters to museums, galleries, and collectors. But it was an awesome experience. The second and third generation of the family who owns it could not have been more gracious. The company has been in existence for over 100 years. Next time you are in New York, do visit. Can’t go? Google them. It is an experience, too.
Have finished two assemblage sculptures: :Run, Rabbit, Run: and :Love Is Blind.” When the photos are back—when Sasha has time to breathe between her job up at Idyllwild Arts as Assistant Technical Director for the summer program and her school work—I will post them.
Until then—have a happy and relaxing summer.
February 20, 2012
Well, this is a new process for me. It has always been a battle for me to decide to work on art and design projects or just write about it. For some reason, there is seldom time to do both. However, I will endeavor to write something—anything—to get me started.
Yesterday, I presented a very successful workshop on my PASSION FOR PATTERN art work. This was the lesson written up and published in School Arts Magazine in January. When it arrived, I almost screamed with delight as the publishers had used one of my images for the cover. Talk about excitement. Then, yesterday, one of the women got so excited because she had that issue of the magazine and had shown her students the cover. She didn’t put my workshop together with the article until I showed them my copy of the magazine. She just kept babbling about how excited the students would be when she told them she met the author. My day was made. This is the third time I have done this presentation and it is always so well received.
Now, as you know, I am always sharing new finds with people or turning them on to some of my favorite destinations. If you have not yet seen my sister’s blog from Istanbul, you are in for a treat. Go to tricivenola.wordpress.com. Not only does she talk about her drawing process, she shows each days work. Part art lesson, part travelog, part history, she puts it all in and it reads like a novel. Even my brother, Richard, a professional writer says he wishes his writing was as superb as Trici’s. Can you tell I am very proud of both of their abilities and passions?
Am presently working on two new assemblage pieces so look for new updates as they progress. Run, Rabbit, Run is in the beginning stages of construction. REAL TO REEL is still in the incubation stage but I know what it will look like and how it will work—it is interactive—but I am trying to figure out construction problems.