Heather Wilcoxon’s At Sea – ICA

Black/ White – oil on paper mounted canvas

At Sea is a stunning exhibition of Heather Wilcoxon‘s boat paintings at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art in until September 10, 2017. These powerful images of the skeletal structures of boats seem to be seem to be dematerializing as you gaze at them, transcending their former life and hover in a transitional, almost spiritual state.

In her artist statement Heather Wilcoxon says in part,”I felt that the boat form could be explored on many levels: the metaphor of decay, my dealings with cancer……the physical beauty that surrounds me is ever changing – the tide comes in, the tide goes out.

As a Maritimer in love with old rotting boats and the history they carry, I can say I was thoroughly moved by this work!

Hot Water – oil on paper mounted canvas (Freedom & Divided)

Blue Water – oil on canvas  (Storm & Wet)

Storm – oil on canvas

Protest – oil on canvas

Remains at Sea – oil on canvas

Worms – oil on canvas

Calm – Oil on Vellum

Blue Water – oil on canvas

 

Tower of Bauble at the Art Party!

I so loved Marianne Lettieri’s Tower of Bauble that was on exhibit at Anne & Mark’s Art Party that I thought I should group all the details in a single post. As a collector of antique and vintage bits and bobs, this six foot Victorian column of ceramic chachkis really connected with me! The mania of collecting, the pile of stuff that looses it’s meaning in its mass, or perhaps presents a new meaning, one that points out the derangement of our obsessions and unending desire for more…and still the lesson doesn’t sink in and I am drawn like a moth to flame by mounds of decorative color and pattern!  I’d love to hear Marianne Letteri’s thoughts behind her work!

 

 

 

 

The Memento, an Autographed Copy

What a thrilling moment to finally get my hands on my own autographed copy of The Memento by acclaimed author Christy Ann Conlin!

The reproduction of my painting, End of Spring, inspired by the author’s own photo and licensed by Doubleday, came out beautifully and I’m adoring all the details of the jacket designed by Five Seventeen. The feel of rag edges fill me with delight and the inscription and acknowledgement made my heart sing and my eyes tear up!

And then there’s the story itself  – an exquisite, genre bending tale of waves and islands, of teacups and tragedies of secrets and whirs and whispers, of needle sharp jabs and sensual tinglings, of promises and betrayals, of heavy scented languid days and mysterious spine chilling nights, all set in that place I have called home in a tongue I am not unfamiliar with. A place called Petal’s End – how dreamy is that?!  Enjoying this gift from my dear friend the master storyteller!

 

Lorraine Lawson – Studio Visit

Lorraine Lawson’s paintings have a spare, zen-like quality about them, which comes through in her fine and carefully balanced compositions, her restrained, often metallic palettes and suggested in her use of calligraphic references. Her work is textured and layered, but so refined, which is quite amazing considering the intensive process involved in creating these pieces!  Inspired by the time worn, weathered surfaces that bear the cultural fingerprint of places she’s encountered in her travels, Lawson recreates this effect using scraps of papers, scores and photos applied to canvases that are worked with mediums, compounds and drippy paint, then stenciled, squeegeed, and scratched, pealed back and rebuilt until all elements have coalesced. The resulting work is imbued with a subtle intensity and deep richness with a cadence, a rythym, a non-objective language of it’s own.

Tanren

Out of Context

Cannery Row

Recently, I was treated to a rare, behind the scenes look into the  Lorraine Lawson’s Campbell studio and all the wonderful chaos that makes the magic of her work possible.

Bright and big and drippy.

Printed rag paper.

Worktable camouflage – can you find the spray bottle?

Calligraphy on rag paper.

Number stencil.

Sheet music.

Calligraphic flourishes on a work in progress.

Scraping back layers – part of the table.

Painting detail.

Craqueleur.

Paintings everywhere, Lorraine Lawson is extremely prolific and works on a number of pieces at any given time.

Work in Progress.

Under layer.

Diptych.

I love following the artist’s process in the studio, how she takes the spark of an idea from some physical material and manipulate and transform them until they take on another life entirely – it really is magic!

You can see Lorraine Lawson’s her work on her website, LorraineLawsonFineArt.com or see it in person at the following locations:

Los Gatos Museum Gallery, Los Gatos, California

Iwasawa Oriental Art Gallery  Los Gatos, California

Stockwell Cellars Santa Cruz, California

O’Hanlon Center for the Arts  Mill Valley, California

Manna Gallery  Oakland, California

Studio Seven  Pleasanton, California

Studio E in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

 

Studio Visit with Shannon Amidon

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I was so happy to enjoy a visit with artist Shannon Amidon in her San Jose studio preparing for her upcoming show, Diary of a Naturalist at TechShop 300 S Second St
San Jose, CA 95113  where she is currently artist in residence – the opening reception is Friday, September 4 from 7 -10 pm with live music by Mark Camp!

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Diary of a Naturalist prep- photo Marie Cameron 2015

In this series Amidon has used laser cutting tools to create artwork inspired by Victorian naturalists, exquisite silhouettes cut away from the top layer of vintage book covers.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - mile's o book covers - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I adore the period feel of these pieces and am quite taken by how environmentally friendly  they are too.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Back Plate - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Here’s a sample of the back  in which a wooden panel has been applied to provide a secure base for hanging hardware.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit -  insect silhouettes - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I love this array of laser cut insects in front of one of her encaustic paintings featuring a silhouette of a tree. No matter which medium Amidon is working with, there is a strong voice running throughout, a respect and love of nature, of materials and of the silhouetted form – a modern Victorian perhaps?

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit -  entomology - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Here the insects are pinned to a wall like an entomologist had passed through…

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - butterflies and beetles photo Marie Cameron 2015

…maybe one had.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - still life - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Oh, and a biologist too.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - etched glass bottles- photo Marie Cameron 2015

These lovely specimen bottles were also laser etched by Amidon at TechShop.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - book planters- photo Marie Cameron 2015

So much to discover in Amidon’s studio – like these planters she’s created out of vintage books…

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - cascades of creative paper work- photo Marie Cameron 2015

…and cascades of printed pages in a variety of different treatments.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Inspiration Wall - photo Marie Cameron 2015

It’s always fascinating to study an artist’s inspiration wall – it turns out someone was a ballerina!

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Wall of Tools- photo Marie Cameron 2015

A ballerina with a wall of power tools – my kind of artist!

Marie Cameron visiting Shannon Amidon Studio  - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I’m really looking forward to the reception – I dare say there will be more than a few red dots! the exhibition will run until September 25 and Amidon will be teaching some classes at TechShop too!

 

Jenifer J. Renzel – Studio Visit

I first came across Jenifer J. Renzel‘s assemblage art a number of years ago at Kaleid Gallery and was struck by the erie and magical worlds she created with bits of vintage ephemera and lots of imagination and sensitive handling of materials.

Jenifer J. Renzel - matchbox art - skeleton and shell arteries - photo by Marie Cameron 2014

Not long after, I found this beautiful sample of her match box art at Three Sisters and scooped it up. I loved how she threaded the worm shell with red thread like an artery,  a little cabinet of anatomical curiosities in a matter of square inches.

Jenifer J. Renzel asslembage and antique dolls - photo Marie Cameron

So call me a fan, I found her Facebook page and followed her, fascinated to see the wild creations pouring out of her studio. Delightful!  But I didn’t even think of contacting her personally until I saw the crazy cute pictures of her cat Bon Bon hanging out in the studio.

Jenifer J. Renzel and Bon Bon - photo Marie Cameron 2014

 

So based on nothing more than how much I loved her work and studio (and now her cat) I sent Jenifer a message about painting her, having no idea what she actually looked like and she said yes! She graciously let me into her studio for the the photo shoot and I was thrilled to see her finished pieces, the work in progress, the masses of carefully categorized materials, and tools of the trade – drills, tweezers, glue and magnifying lenses. It was like wandering into a madhouse with thousands of little eyes on you.

Jenifer J. Renzel - eyeballs - photo Marie Cameron

 

Jenifer J. Renzel and her assemblage - photo Marie Cameron     Jenifer Renzel eyes - Marie Cameron          Jenfer J Renzel - drill - photo by Marie Cameron

Jenifer J. Renzel - assorted natural objects- photo Marie Cameron                               Bon Bon                              Jenifer J. Renzel - eye stems - photo Marie Cameron

Jenifer herself turns out to be compelling portrait material too!  I think she comes across as very strong and direct and though I haven’t painted glasses yet I think they really work here to emphasize her eyes, her vision and their is a certainly an obvious resonance with the dolls eyes, a real staple in her work. So now I’m kind of torn between the warm and fuzzy shot of Jenifer and her cat and this dramatic one below that really focuses on her eye and kind of portrays her as the magician that she is.

Jenifer J Renzel in her studio - photo by Marie Cameron 2014

Studio visit with Veronica Gross

I love visiting artists in their working and living spaces! You can learn so much about what shapes their art from their environment. What’s in their personal collections?  What inspirational objects and materials do they have lying about? What are their hobbies, and passions – it’s all revealed!

Veronica and Olive in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013

 

Artist Veronica Gross and Olive enjoying the winter sun on my recent studio visit. You can visit her website: veronicagrossart.com

Sentinel Snow - Veronica Gross- watercolor- 20 x 14

Sentinel Snow  watercolor  20″ x 14″

Los Gatos artist Veronica Gross is known for her beautiful watercolor florals and landscapes. I know Veronica from the Los Gatos Museums Gallery and the Los Gatos Art Association, but she also belongs to the Viewpoints Gallery where her show, Westlands is currently on exhibit through January 5, 2014.

Veronica Gross - Watercolor 2

Mt. Carmel Evening  watercolor  20″ x  28″

Palo Alto Baylands 3 - Veronica Gross- Watercolor -14 x 20

Palo Alto Baylands #3  watercolor 14 x 20″

Veronica Gross -Watercolor

Just Picked  watercolor  20″ x  28″

Veronica Gross's watercolor of Sam Pearson Painting - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Above is a watercolor that Veronica is applying the final touches to. It’s a plein air painting of our friend Sam Pearson painting the Shoreline Bridge. I’m intrigued to see how his piece turned out too!

Shoreline Bridge - Sam Pearson - Pastel - 2013

Magic…. here it is, Sam Pearson’s gorgeous pastel, Water Under the  Bridge – Thanks Sam! It’s currently on exhibit at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery.

Veronica Gross Studio - photo Marie Cameron 2013

You can see in her studio how all those big windows not only let the light come in but nature too!

Veronica Gross - at the easel - photo Marie Cameron 2103             Veronica Gross - lesson plans- photo Marie Cameron 2013          Veronica and her sister glazing tiles Veronica and Olive in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013

I love how you can see lots of different projects Veronica has on the go, and see all those lesson plans from years of teaching high school hiding under the table? They’ve come in handy as weights!  Veronica’s sister, Jill Rowney is glazing  some of Veronica’s tiles for her own kitchen – oh the perks of being a sister!

Veronica Gross and her sister in the studio Veronica and Olive in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Veronica Gross - brushes and sclupture - photo Marie Cameron 2013                         Veronica Gross - studio clutter - photo Marie Cameron 2013

One can usually find lots of treasure in studio clutter. In this case, it’s a ceramic figure done as a demonstration for Veronica’s high school students by Randy Shiroma who was doing some student teaching in her classroom many years ago.

Upon visiting her home and her studio I find, as with so many artists, that she’s no one trick watercolor pony!

For instance, she has this great kiln and I was taken with the series of tiles she was making which are based on her love of California natives (as is her landscaping).

Veronica's glazed tiles ready for firing - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Here are some of the tiles glazed and ready for the kiln.  If you haven’t glazed before, the heat of the firing brings out the color in the glaze and sets the desired finish. I’m partial to the lupines!

Veronica Gross - Tiles, Brushes and Glaze - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Veronica Gross - Floral Tiles - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Here you can see the color after firing.

Lupine Tile by Veronica Gross - photo Marie Cameron 2013  .Veronica Gross - Floral Tile backsplash - photo Marie Cameron 2013California Landscape tile by Veronica Gross - photo by Marie Cameron 2013

Here are some samples of finished tiles set into Veronica’s backsplash. So lovely, they remind me of the arts crafts movement of the 20′s Don’t go looking for these in galleries or Etsy though!  Veronica has no plans of mass production. When I ‘d asked her about it she confessed, “I can’t stand the feel of clay on my hands!” – too funny!  I mean, you won’t cathc me warking with charcoal or pastels for the same reason! What about licensing deals? Well, we’ll have to twist her arm!

Veronica Gross- inspiration board - photo Marie Cameron 2103            Veronica Gross- lobotomy victim 1- photo Marie Cameron 2013           Veronica Gross - Inherited Deer - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Balloon Girl, Mr Bonz, Mid-Century Bambi – they all speak to a love of color, form and careful observation.

Veronica Gross and Olive in the Studio - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Veronica Gross - in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013

With a fence like that you can tell that an artist lives here!

Veronica's Karen Van Galder statue            Veronica in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013            Veronica's willow chair

The garden is also filled with Veronica’s personality, A Karen Van Galder statue, a bent willow chair among the bamboo, her naturally weathered fence and wheelbarrow – it’a all her color palette, including her gorgeous calico!

Olive in the garden - photo Marie Cameron 2013

Olive is a fan of California natives as well and all the little critters that dwell therein.

Disclosure: I’m sure Veronica doesn’t normally lug Olive all over the studio but I woke her up from under the Christmas tree where she was curled up for a nap because I wanted her to be in the photo shoot – what a sweet trooper!

 


Belinda Lima’s Shapes

Belinda Lima - Acrylic Collage Artist - photo by Marie Cameron 2013

Collage artist, Belinda Lima in front of her painting, Abanico, one many dynamic works on exhibit at the Granite Rock Design Center in Cupertino where she is the featured artist through to December 6.

Belinda Lima  Reception. 2013              Belinda Lima with her art teacher 2013              Belinda Lima with guests at her reception - photo Marie Cameoron 2013

Scenes from the reception on Saturday, including Nancy Wulffe (center), who Belinda had taken drawing and watercolor classes from. There were lots of artists attending the reception!

I know Belinda through the Los Gatos Museums Gallery where we’re both member artists, I love her work, full of print and pattern and texture, her subjects are instantly recognizable, stylized, cropped images, women with an umbrella, a fan, a bag, a dog, or a guitar and her abstracted Golden Gate Bridge, each work has a restrained palette with a hit of color. I was so happy to make the reception on Saturday and I asked her if there was a symbolism behind these very specific objects that appear throughout her work? She gave me a true collage artist’s response – “I like the shapes”.  Love it!  The collage artist is so physically and intimately aware of shape as they hold each piece of paper in their hands while tearing it just so or carving it out with an exacto blade or snipping aware with scissors.  It is all about the shapes.  Belinda did say too that she likes her subjects to have some interaction and these objects that have an implied movement work well. I think that her real subjects though are these iconic objects and the figures serve as accessories for them.

Belinda Lima - Unexpected Reunion - Acrylic Collage - photo by Marie Cameron 2013

Unexpected Reunion, in my personal collection, packs a lot into it’s six square inches! I love how Belinda has used a lot of different textures and patterns but because of her subdued colors, the effect is not at all overwhelming. The delicate tissue she uses makes the light umbrella transparent, which seems to echo the barely discernible features on the woman’s face and hands. Her vague expression helps to create intrigue and there is a a nice physical and metaphorical tension between transparency and opacity.

 

Belinda Lima -  Bridge # 5 - Acrylic, Collage - photo Marie Cameron                Belinda Lima - The Bridge # 8 - Acrylic, Collage - photo Marie Cameron                Belinda Lima -  Bridge # 6 - Acrylic, Collage - photo Marie Cameron

Belinda’s Bridges are all about shapes too, here the squares of negative space in the bridge help to set up a grid for laying out pieces of the San Francisco skyline. Left to right they are Bridge # 5, The Bridge and Bridge #6.

Belinda Lima’s work can be also be viewed on her website at belindalima.com or at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery.

 

 

Estate Finds

You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale, especially one of an artist.

It’s fascinating to see how artists lived and worked and what they’ve left behind, objects too curious or inspiring to throw out, books they’ve read, souvenirs from trips they took, art left unfinished or unclaimed. It’s actually very comforting when I see the tell tale signs of a life filled with inspiration, travel and engaging work.

Objects I collect from these artists hold a special significance for me.

Estate Finds Cast Resin Turquoise Cross (prone)

A four inch turquoise cross cast in resin by a San Jose man who collected and polished natural stones.

Estate Finds Cincota Palette Knife Painting

A 16 x 20 inch palette knife seascape, oil on canvas marked Cincota from the estate of an unknown Los Gatos artist.

Estate Finds - Cover of Seed by Charles G. Norris Marie Cameron 2013

A book worm infested volume of Seed by Charles G. Norris, about the early agricultural days of our valley – artistically eaten away.

Estate Finds Seed Open Marie Cameron 2013Estate Finds Seed Loved Her Marie Cameron 2013

I love how some passages are gone for ever while others are revealed.

Estate Finds- Sample Prints by an Unknown Artist Marie Cameron 2013

A collection of small sample prints of an abandoned house and a field of flowers by the same unknown Los Gatos artist.

Estate Finds - Vintage Scapular Marie Cameron 2013

A vintage scapular of our Lady of Mt Carmel from her collection.

Estate Finds - Abalone Shells Marie Cameorn 2013

A pile of abalone shells used to decorate San Jose artist, Flo Hopkins Gray’s garden, which I use as bowls in my studio.

Estate Finds- Violets 10 x 8 oil on linen by Flo Hopkins

A painting of violets by Florence (Flo) Hopkins Gray, oil on linen, 10 x 8 inches who was a very prolific San Jose painter.

The day I went to her estate sale I was overwhelmed by room after room of her work, as well as the art in the garage and the overflow into the garden! I was impressed with the quantity as well as the quality of her work which she largely did in the sixties and seventies. I remember I was wearing a green mohair sweater, one my Grandma Ruth had made for my father, and I fell in love with this little painting that seemed to match me and my love of violets.  I was honored to have a piece of Flo’s work and it sits on my mantle where I can see it all the time and it reminds me to keep painting and carving out that life I love.

One day this will be me. What will I leave behind for strangers to sift through? I wonder what will they make of my bits of detritus, my treasure?