Friday, April 25, 2008

More Open Studios Coming Up

Mission Open Studios 2008 will take place Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th, 11am to 6pm. Three Art Explosion Studios, ActivSpace, 1890 Bryant St. Studios, CellSpace, LiveArt, The Blue Studio, and Workspace Ltd., along with individual artists will open their studios giving an opportunity to view and purchase beautiful, challenging and affordable art. Opening Receptions will take place on Friday, April 25, 7-11pm at the following studios:

Art Explosion Studios, 2425 17th St.
Art Explosion Studios, 744 Alabama St.
Art Explosion Studios, 2345 Harrison St.
ActivSpace, 3150 18th St.
Workspace Ltd, 2150 Folsom St. (great website)

Hunters Point Spring Open Studios, 400 Innes Street, SF, Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, 11am - 6pm. Over 160 artists' studios will be open for the 17th Annual Spring Open Studios at Hunters Point Shipyard. Pick up the premier issue of the Shipyard ART Guide, the new magazine-style program with full listings and articles about the artists. Preview Parties will be held Friday, May 2 at Gallery 101 in Building 101, where you can view the collective talent of the Shipyard Artists. A portion of all sales will go to support STAR, Shipyard Trust for the Arts. Please RSVP to attend the Friday night Preview via e-mail at

If you live in the Bay Area, I'd strongly suggest attending this one. The developers are shutting down the buildings, one by one and evicting the artists. I just read that two more buildings have been shut down -- for "polution" -- and there's no place for the artists to go. In the 40 years that I've lived here, I've seen SF go from a city with a strong labor movement and a vibrant arts community to one where the labor movement has been destroyed and the artists are barely holding on. We've changed from a working class but still cosmopolitan and diverse city to a city of the very rich and the very poor and little in-between. So, go and enjoy the art while you can. In another ten years, I'll bet that none of us can afford to live here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The morning after

Friday night went very well - lots of confusion in the beginning as the artists who were supposed to set out the food didn't - so some of us pitched in (guess who?). I had some great conversations with people, met some local bloggers including SF Mike who writes one of my favorite blogs, sold some work and had the usual frustration at those who came and treated us as a "eat all you can" buffet. Most people are nice but it only takes a couple of demanding and selfish types to mess up our plans to have enough food and wine for the weekend. In this case, it was a couple of older men, well dressed and obviously affluent, who stood by the food table and scarfed down two huge sushi trays, a tray of cheese and crackers, two bottles of wine - and then, went into the kitchen where I was setting up another food tray and demanded that I put out more food and open more wine for them! I almost said that this is not an "all you can eat" event but refrained but pointed out that this was the end of our food and that we were also down to our last two bottles of wine. They made some comment about how we should then buy more and I snipped back (by that time I was snippy) that they were certainly welcome to donate to our food budget as we met all the costs out of our own pocket. I smiled a shark smile at them and they backed down but we may change our policy for the fall show. The costs of hosting these events is going up all the time and we are hit in the pocketbook just like everybody else.

The auction for Suicide Prevention was a success and I really enjoyed most of the people that I met. It was refreshing to talk to a lot of people about art and to see so many who were engaged at looking at what was on the wall. The young lady that I sold my two lilies too (the ones in the post below) was charming and her friends were full of energy and enthusiasm about everything they were looking at. The next two days were quiet but I had a steady stream of friends and other people just wandering in so I wasn't bored. I'll post some photos later and hopefully, will have time this week to look at what's around the galleries. I've been so preoccupied with "our" show as well as school that I haven't gotten out and about as much as I'd like. Still, each opening that I do is another milestone in my journey toward thinking of myself as a full-time "painter." One good thing about being in my studio for two days and not being able to pick up a brush was the time spent in evaluating how far I've come since I retired. Well, let's say I HOPE that I've gotten better but I'm hardly the most objective judge of that.

I know that Gallery 415 has some installation art that I'd like to see and I haven't written about the new show at Lincart or anything at 450 Sutter or Geary St. I've also been thinking about trying to interview some local artists. Eva Lake was here last month and gave me a lot of new ideas.

Link to Mike's blog:
Eva Lake:
Pictures to come.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

All cleaned up and ready for the party

Slightly crooked shot of the wall beside the doorway - old work and new work. I decided not to try and hang more of my small pieces. Getting them lined up is very difficult!
"At the beach" - She looks very nice against the brick wall and is the first thing you see and you enter.

A rare tidy moment! Well, I don't have a messy studio because it drives me crazy if I can't find things but this is mega-tidy and will only last for a week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Show! Spring Show!

It's spring at SOMA arts (ta la!) and we will be opening our studios to the public on the weekend of April 18, 19th and 20th. We will be having our opening reception and a benefit for Suicide Prevention on Friday, the18th from 6 to 9 PM with a silent aution whose proceeds go to Suicide Prevention. Then, we will be open from 11 to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. I would LOVE to meet any who read my blog and can make it to the show.

Once a cork factory, then an art school, SOMA Artists Studios occupies the entire second floor of two adjoining buildings, some 18,000 square feet of space at 689 Bryant St (at 5th). This is a wonderful chance to meet, chat and discuss art in a very relaxed setting.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Show coming up.

We are finally getting ready for the Spring Show. I got myself on the jury committee just to prevent some of our more ruthless members from hogging all the wall space. Last year, one artist had eight huge pieces up all year and I did my best to see that doesn't happen again. Of course, the lugging of assorted paintings didn't do my back any good but we've ended up with a very nice show.

I also had a very interesting epiphany. My figurative work is really really different than the other artists in the group. Most of them paint beautiful, soft decorative abstracts. One guy paints landscapes in oils and another women paints SF genre scenes but my work really is different. I try to get at people from the inside out, to involve the viewer in a narrative story and to try to say something about the figure on the canvas other than "oooohhh pretty." I"m not saying that my work is better than everybody else's but this is the first time that I've realized just how different it is. I also got several of my pieces right outside my studio door which makes me very very happy. I also got several of my pieces right outside my studio door which makes me very very happy. Now, it's possible to see a grouping of my art work, by my door, well lit and properly hung.

Go me!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Morning Coffee

I had this photographed professionally because I am so proud of it. Faces are particularly difficult to do and I struggled with everything in this piece. OK - when do I not? But one thing I've noticed that I do and probably have done for some time. I make up stories about "my people." He's African-American, I think, and older and looks (to me) weary but peaceful. Is he having that coffee after a long night shift or is he getting ready for an equally long day at some blue collar job that goes unnoticed in our status conscious society. Does he have family or is he a loner? I don't know but like the people in Hooper's paintings, I can speculate endlessly about his life and hope that those who look at the piece will be interested enough to make up their own stories about him. I have a whole folder of sketches of people sitting at counters or in restaurants. Sometimes I can see a life unfolding before me in the way that people interact over food; I can't put what I think into words but I hope that I can capture some of it in images.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Red Chairs

This is another piece that I revised completely once I started painting in oil. There is something about using oil that makes me slow down and yet, allows a great deal more depth in each piece. I was not pleased with version #1. I thought it was clunky and the figures were badly painted. But I am pleased and surprised at where I ended up with a painting that not only looks more accomplished but has (IMHO) an air of mystery and is a lot more intriguing.

Three Chairs - first version. The figures are too clumsy and the background looks like a bad amateur painting.
Three Chairs - final version. The colors are richer, the composition is much tighter and the background pulls you into the space.