August 29, 2009
I have been for the past 12 years involved in, and am a leader within a variety of groups that do “men’s work;” experiential weekends, groups, and the like. It has been life changing. As a part of this blog, occasionally I would like to reflect on some of this labor of love; insights I’m finding along the way as to what it is to be a man in the 21st century.
Along these lines, I read a poem last night by Leo Dangel that made me smile that I want to share with you.
Passing the Orange
Man in Blue Holding an Orange by Kathleen Elsey
by Leo Dangel
On Halloween night
the new teacher gave a party
for the parents.
She lined up the women
on one side of the schoolroom,
the men on the other,
and they had a race,
passing an orange
under their chins along each line.
The women giggled like girls
and dropped their orange
before it got halfway,
but it was the men’s line
that we watched.
Who would have thought
that anyone could get them
to do such a thing?
Farmers in flannel shirts,
in blue overalls and striped overalls.
Stout men embracing one another.
Our fathers passing the orange,
passing the embrace – the kiss
of peace – complaining
about each other’s whiskers,
becoming a team, winning the race.
August 29, 2009
Posted by abiggerworldyet under Curious Endeavors 1 Comment
FDR and Fala
In sixth grade I did a report on FDR. I honestly can’t remember much about all his years in office, but what I do recall is that FDR had a Scotty dog named Fala. I thought that was really cool. The little dog was so prominent in the life of FDR that it apparently traveled with him everywhere. Fala’s even immortalized in the FDR memorial (apparently the little dog’s nose is shiny in the sculpture because everyone pets it).
Well, I recently dove into dog ownership and got Scotty myself. Dan Callis has had one for years so I quizzed him while he was here and that pushed me over the top. I’ve been trying to keep it on the down-low, but let’s just say when you get a puppy word travels fast. My housemates (two awesome grad students I couldn’t do this without) and I named her “Bonny,” Scottish for “lovely, or beautiful.” She’s fallen asleep twice in the workshop with me (which I could get use to), and has peed twice in the studio (we’re working on that).
What would a studio be without a dog in it?
Me and Bonny
She enjoyes grabbing a small fox toy she has by the throat and thrashing it about, and sleeping under the hydranga or next to St. Francis in the back yard. She’s also quite humorous skidding across wood floors or marmolium.
August 27, 2009
So I have always named my car. There has been, in order: Bernie, Oscar, Evinrude, and now Os-Car (I think my current vehicle is somehow a grandchild of Oscar). As far as I can tell it seems the activity of naming your car is quite a common endeavor in America in the 21st century. Perhaps we name our cars as our ancestors named their horses. I have even discovered as of late that many of my students have named their computer. The closest I have gotten to a name is saying “Good Puter,” or “Bad Puter,” to my Mac.
Olana, Frederick Edwin Church's home in New York State
As mentioned in an earlier post, while on sabbatical I am reading a book a month on a given artist. I have discovered an interesting phenomenon, that of the three artists I’ve read up on so far, two of them have named their homes.
Pierre Bonnard, an artist whose paintings flicker with light was a French painter whose work falls on the line between the impressionists and post-impressionists. Bonnard was about “decoration,” creating shimmering surfaces of paint and light. In his prime he had two homes to paint in so he could capture two different types of light; one in the north of France in the countryside of the Seine Valley Normandy, and one in the south in Saint-Tropaz.
The house in the north was bought in 1912 outside Vernonnet and was named “Ma Roulotte”. It was a short distance from Monet at Giverny. Another impressionist Signac was attracted to the light in the south as well and called his home “La Hune” or the crow’s nest. I can’t find if Bonnard named his home in the south as well, but my guess is he did.
Reading up recently on Frederic Edwin Church a Hudson River school painter following in his mentor’s Thomas Cole’s footsteps in the 1800’s, I was struck that he too had named his home as well. It was named “Olana.” and was a Persian style home in upper New York State. You can check out the website for the estate at: http://www.olana.org/index.html.
The Bartholomew Estate, Tim Timmerman's home in Oregon State
What strikes me is that these artists named their homes. I’m wondering did all folks named their homes particularly in the 1800’s and around the turn of the century?
Well, when purchasing my current home in Oregon I looked at the archives found in city hall and found in about 1940 my home (that was built in 1908) was referred to as the “Bartholomew Estate”. So I guess if this place ever had a name there it is….
How about yours? Does your house have a name?
August 21, 2009
A contact sheet of images from Milepost 5 in Portland (from their site)
While Dan is visiting I decided it would be fun to expose him to what is going on here in Portland. We decided to explore: “The Manor of Art at Milepost Five” (website: http://www.milepostfive.com) For a week there is an extensive art exhibition show at an old convalescent hospital in which the directors gave free reign to artists who signed up to take over rooms and create works of art.
Here were some of my observations:
• Individuals will spend a lot of time making all kinds of stuff.
• Artists who do skate, punk, graffiti art like volumes of disturbing characters and to paint on walls.
• Vandalism happens.
• Some folks will draw just about anything.
• Thrift stores are as much as a place for PDX artists to go for art supplies as Art Media.
• Individuals are working through some sexual issues here…
• Bad art happens.
• Art is a safe place to work out your stuff.
• Art smells.
• Folks like putting things in toilets.
• Artists need to keep in mind the word “safety” when creating installations.
• A little good art does not make a lot of bad art good (this is Dan’s quote).
• Curators are a very good thing.
There were some gems in the lot if you can negotiate the bathrooms, peeling walls, stairs, drapery, and twenty-something angst. One that Dan and I really enjoyed was Gabriel Liston. The childhood delft-like imagery he did particularly on small books that he manipulated seemingly with encaustic media were exquisite. His and handful of others made the trip worth it.
He has an impressive website. Check out his work at www.lastwater.net
A blue book tile by Gabriel Liston
August 20, 2009
Dan Callis dear friend and mentor learning to work in glass.
Little did I know twenty two years ago when I saw a series of small painterly works by Dan Callis, then a graduate student at Claremont, that this painter of sheep and the disabled would become my teacher at Biola, mentor and life long friend. When viewing his work I remember thinking, “Oh this is an artist who is a Christian that I LIKE.”
Dan has been a big brother to me in many ways encouraging me to major in studio art (rather than graphic design), and letting me use a part of his studio as my own for two years after I graduated from undergraduate. In addition he was my cheerleader and shoulder to cry upon with every rejection letter I received from graduate MFA programs I didn’t get in.
Dan and I often don’t see one another for a year or so but when we do we launch into talking about every single book or musician that we are finding of interest as of late; not only that we prattle on about every corner and aspect of our life, laughing, crying and nodding at one another in sympathy.
For a week Dan is here with me in Newberg as I teach him how to work in kiln worked glass. Kind of ironic twist in that last week I was in a glass workshop myself, and this week I’m leading one, all be it for one person. It has been a delight to see Dan revel in the colors of this media as he works to translate several of his paintings into glass form.
In December I will be going to southern California to work in his studio. My relationship with Dan is a friendship I cherish, as we have been able to connect in art and life over that span of many years. It reminds me of the medieval mindset that friendships that have the most value are those you have had the longest. There is a richness to draw upon with those blessed appointed family members indeed.
Check out more of Dan’s work at: www.dancallisart.com
August 16, 2009
Deborah Horrell in her studio with some of her work.
Well, it was an absolute delight taking a workshop on pate de verre this past week in Portland with Deborah Horrell; she is a very talented lady and is very open with her methods, techniques and know how, which as a teacher I really appreciate. I was telling her that I’m struck that artists with ceramic backgrounds (like she has) tend to be much more forthright and giving in sharing their techniques than many painters who come across very afraid of giving away their methods. I think in part if an artist is talented enough, the technique is only a small part of what it takes to create their art, their talent is the real lynch pin in their work. I think as artists we can function with an attitude of abundance with one another or scarcity. I tend to resonate with the artists who approach life with a “share the wealth” mentality with one another and think the art world would be a better place if more artists shared resources and techniques with one another rather than viewing the art world as a dog-eat-dog world.
Check out the wonderful video OPB did on Deborah at: http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/episodes/view/1022
In my quest to work on creating more of the objects that I use in my work and relying less on assemblage or found objects, I’m excited about integrating the methods and techniques that Deborah so graciously taught us this past week. Keep your eyes peeled. I now have to do some running around and get some various materials and tools so I can get to work in my studio! Why is it the idea of buying any new tools makes me very happy?
Here's the finished version of my little boat I was working on in an earlier post. Keep your eyes peeled for where it shows up in a finished piece!
August 12, 2009
Gary City Methodist Church
My friend Nancy in San Luis Obispo is notorious at sending me various curious links… she just sent me this one today and I thought I’d pass it on here. This is a site that has a number of wonderful photos of abandoned houses of worship that are literally falling to pieces: http://weburbanist.com/2009/08/07/faith-alone-7-stunning-abandoned-churches/
There is something hauntingly beautiful with these images. Looking at them I think of those that valued their faith enough to create places to gather, celebrate, and work out that faith in community; whose lives are now passed. Thanks Nancy for the link!
August 12, 2009
Here is a glass pate de verre boat I'm working on constructing at the workshop I'm taking with Deborah Horrell
This week I’m privileged to take a glass workshop with one of the top glass artists in Portland, Deborah Horrell. Deborah is an expert in a traditional method of glass called pate de verre (or “paste of glass”). Developed by the French in the late 19th century it is a method where you apply ground up glass or “frit” by carefully packing it as a layer to the sides of a mold you have created from a positive. The glass is then fired in a kiln to a point where the glass adheres together, after that point the glass is carefully removed from the mold, cleaned up and you have your finished work; a unique one of kind hollow sculpture.
I have worked in a number of glass techniques, but I’m very excited about learning this method and applying it to the sculptural aspects of many of the pieces I have in the works for this sabbatical year. With it I can create a number of the sculptural forms, figures, and animals I wanted to be a part of some of the painting/sculptural pieces I am developing. An advantage of this technique the work will be considerably lighter than an object that is solid cast and the pate de verre technique has a very distinct light, and if need be, lacey quality that is quite unique an beautiful.
Keep your eyes peeled for work I will be integrating pate de verre work in!
Explore more of Deborah’s wonderful work, and you’ll get the idea. Her work is beautiful and she’s a delightful person to boot!: http://www.deborahhorrell.com/
August 10, 2009
I often tell my students that if you use anything creatively in mass or with extreme repetition it can help create an intriguing work of art:
• One toothbrush not so interesting, two thousand, pretty curious.
• One safety pin: ordinary; a jacket made entirely of them: extraordinary.
Visiting Astoria Oregon this past Friday, the “Astoria Coffee Company” was a splendid place to hang out and sketch, have a good conversation or to have a pastry (http://www.astoriacoffeehouse.com/). Not only did they serve Stumptown Coffee (what many would argue is the best coffee in Oregon), they also had some fun quirky decor including a wide range of globes, and walls two shades of green that my friend Lisa remarked “…would never be seen together.”
What I enjoyed was that the Astoria Coffee Company had two works of an artist who had taken the “bubble” elements of levels and created some very fun sculptural works for the walls (Dear artist I’m sorry I don’t know your name, the work was not labeled! Tell me it and I’d be happy to credit you!).
The work to me was a testimony that once again, anything in volume in the hands of someone with some technical know-how and a good eye for composition, can create a nice work of art. Granted for many of my students where the, “technical know-how” and the “composition skills” come in is all the work indeed….
August 6, 2009
Posted by abiggerworldyet under Curious Endeavors
| Tags: garage shop
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What was a garage... is now a shop....
It’s taken about a month, but I’ve finally got my garage up to par to be a working space to build the assemblage end of my work, make molds, and create sculptures that would be too messy to work on in the studio (there has been a plaster figure for a piece that has been waiting about a year to be worked on). Setting up the garage as a shop has been one of those projects that I have been “meaning” to do for now three years.
After gutting the garage and putting absolutely everything that was in it in the backyard; the work began sorting, throwing things out, recycling, and cleaning up. The garage was then fixed up a bit and a large rack built for storage of items and art. From there tables were built, bins for wood, and the like. All this wasn’t the easiest to do in July as the Portland area was receiving record heat. Let’s just say for a while there I was only working mornings, and hiding in my basement in the afternoons and evenings.
It hasn’t been really since I worked at Grand Canyon Univeristy in Phoenix that I had a working shop to use. It’s nice to now have it now in my backyard! Keep your eyes peeled for what wonders are going to be assembled or created there…. Hmmmm….
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