Friday, February 27, 2015

Living Flowers

Ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers, comes from ikiru (to live) and hana (flowers and branches), thus meaning living flowers. When there was a teacher showing interest in teaching a class here, I jumped at the chance, and scheduled him quickly. Oakmont abounds with flowers, and learning something new is always good for aging brain cells. Usually the class meets in the Art room, but today there was a big PGE project shutting down all the main buildings so t the class met at my home for our third meeting. Its hard! We are still working on the basic upright, Shogetsu.
Ikebana is also a do, a path or way of self-realization. "To take up ikebana is to embark on a journey of self exploration" says the book  donated to me by my friend Steve, here." Am I ready for that? Hmm...
Every time I think I have it right, Ron gently pulls the flowers out of my frog, clips many more branches, and replaces them at a slightly different angle. I'm surely not used to following such precise rules, and not even sure if I want to. But I must say, the finished arrangements are stunning in their angles and simplicity. Today I worked with iris (Safeway) and privet (my back yard).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rolling the Climate Dice

I snitched the title from the subject of last Sunday
morning's symposium. The scientist presenting predicted that in 2070 the climate of Santa Rosa will be like that of Santa Barbara today.
It seems that everywhere I turn the climate is changing. When Catherine visited today she shared that Newsom, having officially announced his candidacy for governor of California next time, has changed his posture on California High Speed Rail, now opposing it. I suppose its a political gamble, but I think he errs.
Anyway, six of us watercolorists spent three days at the Delehanty ranch in Fairfield last week painting whatever our hearts desired. It was unseasonably warm, and so it continues this week. I delayed this blog until I had something to share,
With the inspiration of my painting buddies I am trying to learn "abstract". The pouring is fun. The design is beyond me. No matter how I turn this it looks like Felix the Cat with a giant hangover.
Oh well, I had fun, and so far no nightmares. As the Minnesotans say, "It could be worse." On the other hand, maybe "Oof-dah" is a better sentiment. I see a few fish in here, do you?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

In The Larger Scheme Of Things

Just as some 200 Oakmonters were filling the auditorium last Friday morning for our Celebration of Arts, (of which I was co-chair) the heavens opened up and our 36th day of winter drought came to a slippery, sloshy end. Three esteemed watercolorists, of international note, simultaneously painted the same model. I assured them, in the introduction, that the finished paintings would look nothing like one another, and my prediction came true, don't you agree?  This photo was taken by a friend of Jan Matsuoka. Yours truly was too busy thinking she had to run the show to take many pictures.

Artists Christopher Schink, Myrna Wacknov, and David Loberberg volleyed for the spotlight.
Myrna's was painted on prepared textured paper with many layers of gesso and tissue paper. The audience were invited to photograph and sketch and ask questions while the event was in progress. When it ended at 3pm, following a luncheon and power point presentation by each artist about their personal journey and how their art evolved, we were all in an altered state. I paint nothing like any of these three, but respect them all. I found myself most drawn to David's (far) right for capturing the model's expression.

Some fifty volunteers rallied to the call when we got the word that our application for a grant to do this was awarded. How impressive is that?
In the days leading up to the event I fretted: Would all the artists and model and volunteers show up? Would the predicted storm keep people away? What should I wear? What if I forgot my speech?
Then I remembered the program at Sunday Morning Symposium last week, a lecture on outer space by a brilliant physicist. It was there I learned the unrefutable evidence that not only are there millions of galaxies in our universe, but that there are millions of universes. So I said to myself "How important is any of this in the larger scheme of things? " At the end of the day all that was left was to clean up the mess, and volunteers scurried around like little chipmunks making everything near as a pin.
Above, Christopher Schink's palette on closing. You can see he's not stingy with the paint.