Today Mendocino County is 73 degrees and we are armed with shovels and wheelbarrows. Tired backs and sunburns tomorrow!
Plant! Harvest! Share the extra! From The Beat Gallery
A huge big thank-you to all our friends who attended our opening at Mendocino Art Center last weekend. We had such a great time, and the center appreciates all of our support. Makes us pause and count our blessings…
And with the beginning of the week (right after slacker art group, which was phenomenal as usual,) I was ready to plow into preparations for the open studio event up here over Memorial Day weekend. The studio was in disarray, and still not as functional as it could be, so I dug into my side of the room.
With my new-found passion for having several work stations going at once, I did a little rearranging and total de-thugging. I now have four(!) work stations where I can assemble, paint, and explore to my heart’s content.
The top photo shows where I can work on the laptop, my “explore” corner (currently art journals), my new watercolor desk, and a new assemblage area. The corner comfy chair has a small table for laptop where I can ‘you-tube’ away with inspirational techniques or hook into some music. I have reached studio Nirvana….
For a more in-depth tour of my pride and joy, come visit Anderson Valley Open Studio Tours, Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28. We will be open from 11-5 each day.
Also coming up is the opening for the Influence and Inspiration Project exhibit, a collaboration between Alexis Moyer and myself at Edgewater Gallery in Fort Bragg, Friday May 4th, with the show continuing through the month of May. We still have a couple of spots open for the Influence and Inspiration workshop on May 5th at Edgewater, so let us know if you are interested in attending, at www.myartmuse.net
In the last post I mentioned that this piece has a story behind it…well I better get to telling it because it is not often that I work on a piece like this, and the piece is gaining attention, I think, because of the story:
Mrs. Sayer’s Magic Cats
When I was just out of high school I had a very vivid dream. It has stayed with me over 40+ years.
I dreamed I was walking down a country road late at night. This road had no sidewalk, just a drainage ditch full of grasses that marked the edge of the road. I kept hearing this noise, “vvvvvvuuuup zing, vvvvvvvuuuuup zing….” I wondered what the noise was and turned to look. It was an amazing sight! Hidden along the road in the ditches were cats. And from the ditches running up into the sky were wires. Wires from the ditches disappearing into the night sky and every once in a while a cat went zipping up the wire, “vvvvvuuup zing!” as they rode the wire up to the moon.
It was a great dream, odd for sure, but not upsetting, just very odd and vivid.
I got one of my first jobs a few months later at a rest home. It was run by wonderful people who cared for their staff and clients. I worked on the cleaning crew during the day. The job was hard work, but not traumatic in that the residents were pretty together and some well-off. Mrs. Sayers apparently had plenty of money, she lived in a private room surrounded by her own furnishings, big heavy drapes at the windows, it was more like entering someone’s parlor, than an institutionalized room. And Mrs. Sayers was eccentric to the nines! I loved that. Her comments were often head-shakers and always brought us to laughter.
One morning I went in to start cleaning her room. She was sitting in her big leather chair, grumbling. “Good morning, Mrs. Sayers, how are you, today?” my usual greeting. She looked at me and said, “I didn’t sleep a wink, last night, for all the noise…” Really? what was all the noise about, I asked. “Those cats!” she exclaimed. What cats? There are no cats here…I said as the hair started raising on my neck….
“All those cats! It was a full moon, you know, and they ride wires to the moon when it is full…the ditches were full of them! The noise went on all night!”
I’ve heard that in the late teen years young women can have a certain small clairvoyance. This was an instance that finally came out into an art piece…..those magic cats!
As I write this I can hear Michael in the background entering all of the ‘junk’ purchases we made last year into QuickBooks. Each entry is accompanied by a “que-beep” as it makes its way to the list of items that were purchased and added into our tax information for Mr. Dean, our tax man, to work his tax magic.
All that stuff….which brings me to today’s comment. We are asked at every exhibition, “Where do you get all that stuff?” So I have broken it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here’s the orthodox list:
Friends and family- My darling cousin sent us a bag of drawer pulls via her husband, (my real cousin) today, via his 4 hour drive over! Now, let me see….next time can I send back some homemade jam? oops let the cat out, Debbie…
Ebay and Etsy-This is Michael’s world. He is a closet shop-o-holic. He finds so many cool little items there. He prides himself on never paying more than $7. (I know this is not always true…) But I overhear him talking a seller into free shipping all the time! oops, family secrets are out, Michael….
Yard sales-These are a desert of plastic junk these days, but sometimes….a real sweet antique shows up….like the vintage chess men Michael bought that were handed over in the (huge) copper pot that they didn’t charge for… We sold the copper pot on Ebay for enough to buy much more junk!
2nd hand stores- Like yard sales, you have to be willing to sift through some funky plastic junk, but the books can be a find…and my pal who works at one got me the metal folk-art kitty in the piece I just finished below.
Antique stores- This is the fun finds when we are on vacation. Last year my sister gave me a carry-on suitcase from her closet so we could lug all the good stuff we found while on our visit (with the cousins.)
And now the unorthodox list, or the list of shame…
The dump-We are rural, real rural. Garbage doesn’t magically disappear from our driveway. We will be spotted checking out the “metal” pile every 6 weeks or so…please, just don’t call out, “Hey! What’s up you guys?” when we are trying to go incognito….
Michael’s garage finds-Michael paints houses for the basic money we survive on. His clients are constantly telling him to ‘take what he wants,’ they just want to be rid of the stuff in the garage. Our cool headboard at the top is from someone’s garage. It was an old stair railing…
Our driveway-okay, not so inspiring , huh? But a lot of rusty nuts, bolts, and washers can be found on our ranch. These little embellishments can come in handy…
Here’s the folk art cat piece called Mrs. Sayers Magic Cats (there’s a story behind that) and our really cool headboard is at the top of this post.
You all are officially invited….
Hope you can make it!
Michael and Susan
This week finds us editing pieces for the Mendocino show. Trying to find a cohesive representation of what we are currently doing is always challenging. Especially when we are constantly using differing materials on our surfaces. I often sneak around this problem by using similar frames.
But that brings up the point of frames, we don’t like using new frames. We like real wood, even if it a bit “used.” A frame can be cleaned up and given a new life. But that brings up another point. Those of us who prefer used, good quality frames, are you finding that these frames are skyrocketing in price? That was the case for us last year. Then earlier this week we went frame hunting and had better luck. Are the prices dropping, or did we just hit a good day? Anyway, it seems to be working out….
Below, I have used a great old frame. Re-painting and collaging have given it a new home. It’s one of the most ‘transformed’ frames I have done. It would be interesting to see what other artists are doing with their frames. Maybe in the ‘comments’ section of this post….?
Find us at the opening of the Mendocino Art Center’s opening next month, April 14, 5pm-8pm. The show runs April 4-29. We will be in Gallery 10.
‘A Universal Mind’ -Susan Spencer
Add It Up-Michael Wilson
This week finds us buzzing around the studio. We are getting ready for a solo show at The Mendocino Art Center in April. I must say the wonderful support the center has given The Beat Gallery has been great incentive for our studio to keep pushing forward in a media that employs common objects in an uncommon art form.
As artists, we often live in a vacuum of our imaginations and our work environment. We are solely responsible for the product of our efforts, and that’s good news and bad. But beyond the walls of the studio we need to take pause and recognize that a whole world out there is cheering us on, wishing us success for putting ourselves out there.
More later on the particulars of the show…