On Wednesday, May 16, the Salem Art Group held an informal reception at the Art Annex, inviting guests to stop by for a visit from 10 am – 2 pm and join in a conversation. Here’s what the promotional materials said about our group and the goal of our show:
Each month a group of eight Salem artists meets to talk about their work and exchange ideas. Over the years the “personnel” has changed but the core purpose has remained the same: support of creative work in a changing world. The group supplies each other with honest critiques, new ideas, reading and visuals in support of ideas, information about media and techniques, and moral support. They attend each other’s openings, they collect each other’s work, and they occasionally make work together. This exhibit will allow the artists to show the work they do, and for the public to see their serious work, as well as the fun that is part of Salem Art Group. Incidentally all eight artists are women: Tory Brokenshire, Dayna Collins, Nancy Eng, Bonnie Hull, Susan Napack, Kathy Shen, Katy Vigeland, and Kay Worthington.
The Annex was a hub of activity for the entire four hours.
During the reception we saved a wall for an interactive, spontaneous project.
We each contributed five art prompts, which were put into a bowl. We took turns drawing a prompt, and doing what we were instructed to do. Prompts included: Draw a shadow; create a diagonal trail; hang it up; draw a shape within a shape, within a shape, within a shape; color an emotion, and home.
Show and Tell: Salem Art Group in Conversation runs through May 31 at the Salem Art Association Art Annex.
My friend Tory and I talked about forming an art group for quite awhile and pulled the trigger in March of 2011. We sent an invitation to six artists, asking if they would be interested in a monthly outing where everyone would meet at a prearranged destination to sketch, journal, paint, take photos, or just sit — hopefully a cup of coffee or tea would be involved. Our first outing was to Mt. Angel Abbey, where the day was spent exploring the campus and visiting the Rare Book Room.
We decided early on that we wanted to limit the size of the group to eight members, ten at the most, so we would remain small enough to take field trips and schedule weekend art retreats. At first, we tried being official and organized, keeping minutes from meetings, setting up attendance requirements, and even coming up with a mission statement (Tightly knit group committed to support, friendship, community and art). Most of those things fell by the wayside as no one wanted to be encumbered by unnecessary administrative tasks.
Though the membership has changed over the years, the current group of eight, whose work is shown here, remains engaged in their personal art practices and supportive of each other as group members…and they have a lot of fun.
Our group was invited to create an exhibit at the Salem Art Association Art Annex that showcased our individual talents, but also celebrated being a member of an art group, something that united us. The result:
At the entrance to the show, is a wall of studio photos, highlighting our personal spaces.
The exhibit space is divided into walls featuring our art.
The piece I submitted, Singed by Fire and Light, was from my Evoke show at Guardino Gallery in 2015, and represented my recovery journey since 2000. It has been hanging at my husband’s office, so it was nice to have it back hanging in public view.
This show was perfectly timed to celebrate our current crew of eight women, as Kathy Shen, one of our original members, is moving this summer. During this time of transition, we have invited three new members. To save you from doing math, here it is: We have eight, one is leaving, three are joining = ten.
Next up, a post about our reception, which was held on May 16th.
How do I put into words my experience earlier this month. Imagine spending five days with artists who all love ripping apart old books. Fold in an instructor with mad teaching skills. It didn’t hurt that the class was held in the center of Whidbey Island at the Pacific Northwest Art School. The class was titled Making Abstract Art from Discarded Books and the instructor was Sante Fe book artist, Melinda Tidwell.
In the spirit of using few words, I’ll share a series of photos with captions in my attempt to convey how I spent my week and some of the work I created.
This pieces I created in this class fit nicely with my What’s Your Story project as well as my Salvage Collage pieces. Now I’m ready to start doing a better job of ripping apart my vintage books.
I met Pat Wheeler at the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) in 2009. I had signed up for her The Architecture of Memory: Paintings and Constructions class, using plaster, acrylics, and cold wax. I was hooked. I proceeded to take Pat’s class for several years to hone my skills, but also to be in Pat’s presence and experience her energy, passion, and welcoming spirit. Pat and I became friends and I view Pat as an important mentor in my art journey.
A week ago, I received an email from Pat, asking if I could step in for her and teach both of her Pacific Northwest classes: one at OCAC and the other at Sitka. I was humbled, honored, and a bit overwhelmed. Plans were set in motion. Pat wrote a letter to her enrolled students and class descriptions were revised. Pat and I were in steady contact, collaborating on how I could best represent her in the classes, while bringing my own interpretation and teaching style to the classes.
I was out of town during all of this, taking a class on Whidbey Island. Throughout the week, I was furiously writing myself lists, making notes, reading Pat’s messages and her sources of inspiration. My version of the class began to take shape, starting with Pat’s process, folding in the way I have used Pat’s original process, yet made it my own. I’ve taught my own version of the plaster class myself, but somehow, stepping in for Pat, has a certain reverence to it.
If you aren’t familiar with the process, it is a wonderful experience. Here’s a snippet from the class description:
Dayna works in layers, revealing color, texture, and what came before. Using paint, plaster, charcoal, graphite, scraping, sanding, staining, writing, concealing, and revealing, Dayna will take everyone on a journey of discovery, building up a surface, then tearing a portion away, never fully revealing what came before. Look closely and you’ll see word fragments and decomposing texture. Dayna intentionally utilizes the concept of pentimento, where traces and shadows of earlier layers of paintings are revealed.
A few shots from various stages of the process.
Registration is now open at both OCAC (class runs May 30-June 3) and Sitka (class runs from June 5-June 8). If you have any questions about the classes or the process, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will miss seeing Pat this year, but I’m looking forward to her return to the Pacific Northwest next year.
Once a quarter, on the second Thursday of the month, Studios at the Mill host Art After Dark where we fling open our doors, serve refreshments, and celebrate the arts in our neck of the woods.
We are located on the second floor of the Wool Warehouse at the Willamette Heritage Center, which is across the street from both the Amtrak station and Willamette University, in the heart of Salem. We have 10 artists and everyone opened their door on the evening of April 12th. My studio is located in the NW corner, overlooking the Mill Stream, which runs through the WHC campus. Here’s one of my windows looking up from the outside.
I use my studio at the Mill for special projects since my painting studio is at my home. I love having a space devoted to working with paper, ephemera, book covers, black and white photos, and scraps . . . . all of which I call Salvage Collage.
Of course, I spruced up my space for this quarterly event. It is ever evolving and I love moving things around, touching everything, hanging things, and getting side tracked auditioning various pieces for ongoing projects. Here are photos of my spiffed up studio:
It is always more fun when people are added to the mix.
Our next Art After Dark is Thursday, July 12, 6-8 pm. If you’d like to be added to our studio newsletter e-mailing list, please send me your e-mail address: email@example.com
My mom died suddenly on March 13 after a brief illness. She passed on her own terms, peacefully and after saying goodbye to family and friends. I felt lost and sad. I found myself in my studio a few days after her passing, mixing oil paint with cold wax, and beginning to find my way back to myself.
About a week ago, a friend contacted me and said she was unable to attend a workshop in Portland and wanted to gift me her place in the class as she felt it would be a healing place for me to be. I met Kathleen two years ago on a cruise to South America and we hit it off. We were both artists, so we had endless conversations about creativity and various mediums, and in one South American port (neither of us remember where we were), we spent the day walking, talking, and taking photographs. We stayed in contact and became even better friends.
At first I felt mixed about taking the three-day class, then I realized it was exactly what I needed. Kathleen knew.
The class was taught by Serena Barton, an artist I have known for several years and always loved her work. I told Kathleen I would be honored to take her place and I packed my bags for the three-day class in Portland. I’ve worked in oil and cold wax for several years and have taught it myself, but I put on my student hat and just showed up, ready to immerse myself into the process.
Serena is an excellent teacher, and her methods are wild and free. I love this photo of her demo space.
I started slowly, just laying down paint, with the idea of working looser and wilder than my usual careful self. I painted so many things, all of which got covered over and transformed by the third and final day. These are all starts, none of which remain.
I learned some new things, like applying India ink as the first layer, which I transformed so much, none of the India ink even shows, but I know that initial bold mark making is in there somewhere.
Studio views of the class.
Studio views of the space.
Here are the pieces I completed (or are in process).
Thank you Serena, for three great days of art-making, and thank you, Kathleen, for your generosity and friendship.
. . . . I would not have believed them. But it happened last Sunday.
We were on vacation in Los Angles last week to see an uncle, visit museums, art galleries, and just do some general tromping about. The sites we wanted to visit were divided by neighborhoods to minimize the time spent in the car. On a whim, right before we left for the airport, I googled “flea markets.” The Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market, of course, popped up. It is held one Sunday of the month. Guess which Sunday it was being held? (Insert gasping and hyperventilating.)
We arrived early (they have different entrance times and prices, we were there by 8:00 am), got our bearings, and set off for the Orange Area: Antiques and Collectibles. This was important because there are 2,500 booths, so we needed to narrow our focus.
My focus for the market was black and white photos, paper debris, and any sort of ephemera; I rounded up a smattering of everything.But the mother lode was a scrapbook I saw, walked away, then had to go back and purchase.
The scrapbook belonged to Virginia Anita Bugg, and chronicled her early 1930s high school experience on through getting engaged and married. The scrapbook was crammed and crumbly, so when I got home I carefully deconstructed each page into categories: letters, photos, gum wrappers, menus, ticket stubs, dance cards . . . . I even discovered a smashed celluloid doll toward the back. Take a look:
I’ve already integrated the pieces into my studio and I’m looking forward to creating new lives with the remnants of Virginia’s life.
Back to the Flea Market, some photos of roaming about.
And the rest of my bounty:
Last October, I taught a one-day workshop titled What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black and White Photos. It was very successful and I had several artists tell me they wanted to take it if I offered again. I decided to turn the one-day workshop into two days and to hold it at The Art Studios at Mission Mill, where I have a studio.
I limited the class size to four participants so we would have plenty of room to move around in the smallish classroom. Both workshops filled quickly as I contacted everyone who had mentioned they were interested.
The two workshops were a blur of energy and activity. Rather than try and share the individual workshops, I’m just going to post a series of photos which represent the frenzy of creativity that took place the last two weekends of January.
On our first day, everyone created a series of backgrounds using acrylic paint, a variety of pencils, inks, plaster, and stains. On day two, mixed media collages were created using vintage letters, envelopes, and ephemera, and then a black and white photograph was added – either the photo of a stranger from my stash, or a photo of a relative, brought by the student.
Show and tell. Just a sampling of the collages created over the two weekends.
Once a quarter, The Art Studios at Mission Mill, host Art After Dark/Open Studios. Our most recent event was January 11th. I was the featured artist in the studio gallery/classroom and I decided in addition to hanging some of my recent work, I would offer a mini workshop on creating a modified What’s Your Story mixed media collage. I set up some of the walls in the gallery as teaching walls. One wall told the history of the project, another showed samples of possible backgrounds, and then one wall showed the progression from blank 140 lb. watercolor paper to finished mixed media collages. (The other two walls were my most recent work using old, defaced books, but I’ll share those pieces in a separate post.)
I created three small sample collages, done using original letters, envelopes, and an assortment of ephemera, along with photocopies of black and white photographs.
With my guidance, guests were invited to create a little mixed media collage.
All ages participated, and Alex sat and read old letters to us during the evening.
Of course, sometimes the adults found it difficult to resist reading the letters.
Some of the collages created during the evening event.
All of this was a great set up and preparation for last weekend, when I taught the first of my two-day full length What’s Your Story, Real of Imagined workshop. I’ll be doing a post about my workshops in the coming days.
The past year has been the most exciting and exhilarating of my art career. It all stared in the fall of 2016 when I told people, I have nothing major on my calendar for the upcoming year. I plan to just play and explore. And then everything changed . . . .
I’ve blogged about most of these events, but here is an abbreviated summary of my 2017 art life.
Spare Parts Show at the Salem Public Library
Art Featured in New Book: Cold Wax Medium
Solo Show at Guardino Gallery: Waterlines
Salem Art Association Mentorship Program
Taught an Oil and Cold Wax Class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology
Private Master Class with Pat Wheeler
Two Person Show at Borland Gallery
11th Annual Day of the Dead Show at Guardino Gallery
Artist in Residence at the Salem Art Association Art Annex
Salem Art Association Panel Discussion
What’s Your Story Workshop
Symbols Show at the Art Annex
Guest on KMUZ Talking About Art
Sitka Art Invitational
17th Annual Guardino Gallery Little Things Show
BEST IN SHOW Something Red Art Walk
It was a great year. And I’m not making any proclamations about 2018. Mum’s the word.