Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sunday afternoon abstracts

Simple shapes, floating through my mind, and out onto paper with metallic watercolors. 

Djerassi Landscapes (20 July 2024)

I had the pleasure of visiting the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, on their gorgeous 600-ish-acre property, to attend their annual, one-day open house program, a collaboration with Leonardo to focus on arts with a scientific element.  

My dear friend, Sanna Fogelvik, is currently a Resident Artist, so I was able to see their new work, along with the work of other artists in their cohort with diverse practices.

The property is a classic Northern California coastal landscape, complete with second growth redwood forest, and all of the magic that includes.

For anyone who wants to have a chance to see all of the art installed in the landscape, I don't want to spoil the surprise of encountering the pieces, though I can't resist sharing an interior of the Old Barn with our hiking group in it.  The barn contains multiple installations that are deeply satisfying as experiences.  

The art throughout the property is well-placed, very site-specific, and often just perfectly lit by rays of sun coming through the redwood canopy.

Viewing art throughout the guided hike in this landscape was wonderful, and each microclimate had something, from the dry exposed hills to the fairy rings of redwood regrowth.  The art was spaced far apart, with neighborhood-like groups of art when the artists wanted to engage with the spaces, and so it was both a multi-hour hike experience and treats of art spaced well apart - there was no fear of missing something.  It was well balanced, and professionally organized and led. 

The Open House was spectacular - I don't have many opportunities to engage with working artists so closely (outside of my long-distance friend circle, and we are primarily-but-not-exclusively photographers).  It was a very positive experience to see their work in progress (with a glorious emphasis on the process, not only the finished product!), and speak with them directly about it.  The resident artists have diverse practices - dance, musical composition, digital art, analog photography, natural soundscapes, poetry, photography, speculative futures - and also aren't limited to one practice, so a group project to collect and work with local clay had participation from artists of many disciplines.  That is also such a joy to see - we don't need to be in just one art box!

I'm sure it was tiring for them to answer so many questions, but they did so well, and the conversations were satisfying for me.  Even listening to stories from the highly engaged other visitors were fun, as they brought their own enthusiasm and prior art experiences to their questions.  Alumni from the program were present and engaging, and some of them have ongoing work that started with their resident projects. Other visitors were also in non-profits and/or working artists, and they were completely delightful - and were kind enough to take me back to SF from the program's remote ranch!

I'm exhausted in a pleasant way.

Sea of Fog (20 July 2024)

The magic of the coast on a hot day...  Views upon entering Djerassi's property.  Classic Northern California.

Fog ribbon (20 july 2024)

I love this effect... 

First Yellow Moth (17 july 2024)

Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Weekend of Colors

Saturday, I compared my new set of Schminke Horadam 9 'exceptional' colors (top) to my standard set of 12 (second down, with sepia omitted - the sets are subtly different in this photo, but more clearly different in person. I'll be able to mix all kinds of colors, now!).  I have a few colors from other brands (the four on the left), since SH half pans used to lack local distributors, and I wanted my favorite pigments for mixing.  I combined my favorites from both SH sets into one tin, but will adjust it as needed for my subjects.

Today (Sunday), I played with the Finetec metallics (bottom image), to get a feel for whether their streakiness can be either utilized or overcome.  Laying down broad washes was challenging (perhaps because this paper is so absorbent), and makes me wonder if I should be using acrylics for these effects instead. (Metallics go down so smoothly in acrylic form.)  I may need to save these paints for line work or limit them to highlights or small areas.  (I also need to decide if I'll add black or silver metallic acrylic ink to these to "finish" them, or if they finished enough.  Hmmmm....)

Summary: I had FUN with colors. 

Saturday, July 13, 2024

New Moth

The orchid that my office sent when my father died is blooming again: this is the first flower to open on either of its two healthy stalks.

So now I know: my orchids really like the new skylight in my dining room.  Three plants are in bloom, and the one downstairs is getting closer and closer... 

Showing in the Historic Despicable Me 4 (Alameda Theater)(10 July 2024)

How do I not have a collection of photos of this well-maintained old theater? There are so many details to enjoy: the neon, the perforated corners, the marquee...  I don't spend much time on the main island of Alameda, but took my team to lunch, and got to see this in passing.  I hope to return to have a better look in similar lighting.

Coffee foam (tropical plant)

Even I am shocked at my restraint about posting these.  I mean, I photograph them constantly, but I'm holding back... 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

China Basin Park

It was fenced off for nearly a year, but this space on the south side of McCovey Cove certainly has been transformed.  (Also, the public bathroom is SUPERB.) 

Summer pink at Mission Creek

I was standing in a way that could have had me fall into the swale, but I didn't.  And even if I had, it was for ART. 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Watercolor study

Have I mentioned that painting is hard?  It's only fun when it is working, and I am very much out of practice.  Practice is what will fix me, though, so I am working on it... 

Proud beads

Yes, I was wearing these all day Sunday after the parade, as if it was the most fun and normal thing in the world.  No regrets! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Iridescent paints

I wrote about my semi-opaque Japanese watercolor tests today on my other blog, but here I'll just note that my iridescent paints show the brush strokes even on this paper (Clairefontaine mixed media black), so I think I understand how heavily to lay it on now to show fewer strokes.  Also, the colors look very gray and brown on white paper UNLESS you view them at an angle, so I better understand how to use them there, too.

It's nice to take time to test these things out, rather than suffer disappointment on some drawing I've spent ages on...

SFC Atrium (1 July)

It remains a nice view upward, even though much of the mall is unoccupied. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

PRIDE favorites 7 (30 June 2024)

Great day for flags! I even like the corporate flag at the top, which is well-done. Yaaay, PRIDE! 

PRIDE favorites 6 (30 June 2024)

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence always make a bold impression.  I've always admired their events.

PRIDE favorites 5 (30 June 2024)

A colorful, skilled delight! 

PRIDE favorites 4 (30 June 2024)

Planned Parenthood makes a splash! 

PRIDE favorites 3 (30 June 2024)

Happy feathers! (Carnaval vibes continue to spread joy.) 

PRIDE favorites 2 (30 June 2024)

 What a shade of yellow.

PRIDE favorites 1 (30 June 2024)


PRIDE is always fun! I didn't take many photos this year, but it was grand.

It was also fun to hear first-timers attending, and being thrilled and impressed.