Category Archives: Finds and Encounters

Stunning Work of Kate D. MacDowell

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Stunning Work of Kate D. MacDowell

Photo of
Communicable, 20“x15 ½ “x5 ½ “, hand built porcelain, cone 6 glaze, 7/2008

Kate’s skills are exquisite, but it’s not the skills that made me stop and look in the middle of a busy day. It’s what the artist is saying with her unsettling but beautiful porcelains, or rather what she makes me see in them – a beautiful, ever renewing world around us, enduring and fragile at the same time.

The Art of Richard Mayhew at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

The Art of Richard Mayhew: Through Jan. 10. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., San Francisco. (415) 358-7200. www.moadsf.org.

Despite not liking San Francisco in general (especially driving there), I want to go see Richard Mayhew’s bright abstract landscapes. They are so full of mood and personality!

“I feel fortunate that I found an element, a life, that I love,” he said. “I know Toni Morrison, and she told me once that she enjoyed writing whether someone read it or not. That’s how I feel. Although I’m pleased when people share in the experience.” –Richard Mayhew

Terri Hill’s watercolors

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Terri Hill presented her unusual approach to watercolors at the FALC meeting today. She starts with an underpainting – an abstract shape in primary colors that will later shine through the finishes artwork, unifying and complementing Terri’s vibrant colors. What else that underpainting does is suggest very natural highlights and shadows as if created by objects not visible in the painting. The result is nothing short of magical.

Terri painted from her own photos, but what I loved was that she was using them as a vague reference, an idea for the subject and composition, but not as something that should be copied.

In an odd way, watching her working on a background that progressed from an abstract to gently moving water helped me to overcome a creative block with one of my colored pencil pieces. Where nothing seemed to work, to the point of not wanting to even try anything anymore, I now see many new possibilities – so nice to feel free again, thank you, Terri!

Still life with Bobbie Dixon

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Bobbie Dixon was today’s demonstrator at Campbell Artists’ Guild. It was a chamber sort of a demo – with a table easel, and everybody sitting close to it to see what Bobby was doing. She showed how to transfer a small photo to a masonite (I think) of a bigger size first. Since the same can be done with a small sketch and a bigger final image, I paid attention. My usual method of enlarging by laying a grid over the sketch and another grid over the bigger tracing paper regularly leads to a situation where I loose focus going from one square to another and draw a wrong part in a wrong place.

Bobby seems to have a solution for that: she folds the photo into halves twice horizontally, then twice vertically, then folds it again so that you only see one square at a time. I am going to try it with the next drawing. If you see only one square, there is less chance to get distracted from what is in front of you, right?

The painting turn out great – raw, unfinished, still breathing, yet with all main components already in place. And Bobby graciously raffled it for CAG members.

Kings Mountain Art Fair 2009

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

We came to the fair unusually late this time and found out that there were more opportunities to park close to the trail that lead to the fair. It was almost chilly, and taking a shuttle ride in an open trolley didn’t look even remotely appealing. Not that walking up and down hills warmed me up, but it was definitely better. The ground was dump in some places, like it was raining earlier here.

When we later talked to Terry Steinke (which is always a pleasure, just like seeing his wonderful etchings), he said it was just low clouds from the ocean that condensed on trees so much it actually felt like a drizzle if you were standing under a tree. What felt so nice to me, was not doing any good to unprotected artworks on paper, and even some glazed ones and their mats were warping.

There was a lot of glass art, and diffused light made it even prettier than on a sunny day: Dehanna Jones, Sue Marek, Dan & Eve King-Lehman, and a few others who didn’t have business cards or anything else to help remember them. Why do artists do that?

New great finds:

  • Esther Barr who creates almost animated animals in an ancient repousse technique
  • Chunhong Chang, a Taiwanese artist whose beautiful paintings combine traditional European and Chinese techniques. Classic small Dutch paintings meets Ming Dynasty art.
  • S. Fuess and her colorful horses in oil. She does not limit herself to horses only, it just happens to be my favorite subject that I notice first and that I remember better than anything else.
  • Paul Wisdom with metal art that almost always incorporates bamboo in some form.

Artists whose work I was glad to see again:

  • Joseph Battiato with all sorts of stoneware pots
  • Ginny Conrow and her elegant crystalline glaze porcelain, Bruno Kark with bold, large ceramics of which vases in the form of folded tubes are my new favorites
  • Nancy Chien-Eriksen and her most wonderful eclectic collection of dragons, horses, and other creatures
  • Timon Sloane and his pastels full of emotion and color
  • Sharon Spenser with new bronze sculptures that now harmoniously incorporate organic materials.

Got ourselves a new Aryeh Frankfurter’s CD, “The Twisting of the Rope.” Haven’t listened to it yet, but I am pretty sure it will be good. Everything by Aryeh that we had so far was good.

When we were leaving, ocean clouds were almost touching the ground. My attempts to shoot it without a tripod resulted in a series of images that showed varying degrees of camera shake. Still got some useful reference for future drawings.