Sunday, February 14, 2016

EASY DOES IT

(Incredibly) Fragrant Winter Daphne in bloom now

3:00 pm Pacific Time. Portland OR_2.14.2016

Dearest Readers,

I’m four months now in Portland, and overwhelmed with the mounds of options I’ve uncovered for living happily here. My first draft for this blog enumerated all my new commitments, appointments and invitations to join groups. It was exhausting just to list them.

My tendency in life when confused has always been to dive into the self-imposed morass of choices, struggle and search, until I pull out the ones that satisfy. It’s a way to corral my intimidation of being in an unfamiliar city without old friends, and cover my head under a heap of busyness.

Time instead to sit and think. Trust and wait. Smell the flowers (like the sensuous Winter Daphne above), and walk the dog. 
Hapenny Road in Peacham Vermont

Last year inside the quiet of rural Peacham Vermont, I realized that four simple things seemed essential for my contentment. I reiterate them here:
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Painting---Walking---Helping my neighbors---Hugging my kids and grandkids
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Holding granddaughter Miss Iva Hazel a day after her birth

In my studio at home

That’s it. That’s the core of my joy, along with big chunks of solitude, quiet, and socializing.


Etta and my grandson Henry have figured out how to live this simple way.
They eat and play, sleep and love.  I’m getting the picture.



Monday, February 1, 2016

CHAPTER FIVE-ARTISTS WHERE ARE YOU?

L to R Linda_Jay_me_Manya_Christine

5:00 pm Pacific Time
Dearest Readers,

 1. Meet the artists of the Shambhala Meditation Center in Portland who are also in a discussion group on aging that I’m attending. That’s me in the center. Yesterday Christine and I met at Jay’s home studio to share our work and get to know each other as artists. It was inspirational! Seriously. We may continue meeting on a regular basis for support and encouragement. Hope so.

I’m three months now in Portland, acclimatizing, acculturating, and sniffing around for a community of artists. The great installation artist Ann Hamilton describes herself as “a maker”. So am I---a maker with a need to share my creativity and ideas about the visual life with like-minded souls. Things are taking shape. This is my adventure in finding Portland art and artists so far:
Alberta Abbey performance space and studios
2. The Alberta Abbey, a former Baptist church just up the street is always locked up tight with code pads, no buzzer and not a soul in sight. I heard they offer an open model drawing session on Sundays, but  I can't get in, and they don't respond to questions on their website. Strike out.


Cully left, me on the right in front of her backyard studio

2. In early November I contacted Portland artist, Cully Renwick
through my Barre VT artist friend, Janet Van Fleet. I visited Cully’s cool, sunny studio in the South East section of town, not far from me, 
Cully in her studio near her latest paintings on white architects' mylar

Cully spends her winters in Texas, so we will resume our friendship in the Spring, I hope. 

PAM and Sculptmall in downtown Portland 
Together we took public transportation to the landscape show, Seeing Nature, at The Portland Art Museum downtown. 
My favorite painting in the nature show at PAM by local artist, Shirley Wolf
I was in heaven, surrounded by contemporary paintings and a very funky, room installation of fruit-themed wallpaper designed by David Burns and Austin Young entitled Paradise: Fallen Fruit
with artworks on the walls and sculpture selected by the two artists from the museum's collection.

My daughter Ayla and grandson Henry in front of the Paradise: Fallen Fruit wallpaper installation with NW Native American masks 
3. The next weekend my daughter Ayla and grandson Henry returned with me to PAM for Portland’s annual Wordstock, a 2-day book festival with author readings and workshops for kids and adults.

Ayla and Henry at PAM in Kenny Scharf’s 1980’s “post-apocalyptic”, disco-throbbing room installation, Cosmic Cavern.
Henry Adams painting in Cecelia's studio
4. On the home front, Henry and I are painting crazy colors over an old painting of mine. He loves mixing colors and covering the surface with brushstroke jabs and streaks. It’s washable paint, so I say, “fire-away!”

5. This week I peeked through the window of a cool cubby of a space called Good: A Gallery on N. Mississippi Avenue in my neighborhood. I got excited. 

It was filled with excellent bronze sculptures.  Unfortunately, I’m too late. A couple living next door told me the space has permanently closed and the pieces inside are the work of the owner. 


Further along N. Mississippi I went inside the Fresh Pot coffee shop. Like so many caf├ęs, they offer wall-space for artwork, like these black and white drawings on paper. 

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Thought bubble:
I worry about ageism and lack of contacts in a big city full of young talent. In the past I discovered that being new in art meant being “young and emerging” or “mid-career”. Old and emerging artist seems an oxymoron.  (Ignore that last comment, people, it’s just my worry-mind trying to erase the fun I have in painting!)
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6. Portland holds First Friday and some First Thursday gallery “art hops”. Former Atlantan and artist-participant in my Hand to Hand Project, Harold McNaron now lives in Portland and has invited me on Facebook to view a 2-person show he is in, on First Friday March 4th at 12x16 Gallery. Yay. I’m getting out!  
My sunny studio
Storage loft for paintings
7. Meanwhile. I’ve set up my studio in my cute little house. It’s actually very ample with loft space for storing artwork, a long wall, space for my worktable and lots of natural light and ceiling fixtures. I just finished a revision to my last oil painting in my series “Becoming a Tree”, initially completed just before I left Peacham Vermont. I added giant falling pinecones that please me. I gathered samples from my Portland neighborhood walk route where evergreens are abundant. Like me, this painting is blending the old and the new–a Vermont spruce with Portland seed-carriers.


Becoming a Tree No.7_8.5 in x 14 in_oil on canvas_2016