Dust

August is a time when nature feels tired. Dusty, dried up, exhausted. The blackberries are finishing up and permeate the air with jamlike fragrance. Soon, the bears will realize the pears and apples are ripening. Coyotes traipse through the yard, eyeing the gopher holes and hoping a silly quail will reveal themselves in the brush.

Teazels blooming

Though it’s very thistle-like, the teazel isn’t as prickly or obnoxious. The bees love it, and it has an amusing way of blooming, starting from the middle and working out to either end. I let it grow all over my yard.

Cat Tower

The finished cat sculpture, now installed at my daughter’s house.

Dana and Stuey at the Nevada County Fair

My sculpture of Dana got “Best of Division.” I didn’t look to see if anyone else was in that category, sometimes it’s better not to know. Stuey is voting “People’s Choice” but not enough people agreed with her.

Bedtime Reading for a Brave New World

Not glazed yet. One of the pieces for an October show in Sacramento in Del Paso Heights.

Zombie greenware

I wanted to make a few cannibal pieces, but zombies were more appealing. I am working on a set of three for the aforementioned show in Sacramento.

Rogelio Manzo, Tanatos XV, 72 x 72, Oil and mixed media on canvas 2017

Above is a wonderful artwork by Rogelio Manzo, being used to promote the October show “SKULL” at Artspace 1616, 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. The show opens October 14, for Second Saturday, with a preview show the prior Thursday. About 25 artists are participating. Should be a fun show.

Eclipse watching

We discovered a straw hat made a good pinhole camera. I don’t think my grandson was too impressed. He’d rather be pushing his dog.

Keep on Trucking

July

Clayton Stamper
The actual Clayton

I’ll be showing this large bust of former local homeless person, Clayton Stamper, at the Osborn Woods Gallery as part of a group show titled “Light and Shadow.” Opening reception is July 7, during the First Friday Artwalk. The gallery will also be open during Nevada City’s Summer Nights. Clayton disappeared last fall, and there are rumors he’s around somewhere, Reno or Southern California, who knows. He would be turning 58 years on July 15.

Lady M

This is the other piece I have in the show. It is of Lady Macbeth, with the two daggers used to kill King Duncan. She, of course, comes to a bad end. It is a large wall piece, ceramic on panel.

Cat Tower, unfired clay

I’m making this playful piece for my daughter’s garden.

Grey Kitty RIP

This cat was 20+ years. He was a feral cat that appeared at the house one day. He outlived most of the other cats. He was a tough old guy who finally decided enough was enough and wandered out to offer himself to the foxes.

La la la

studio shot by Kurt Fishback for his 71 Women Artists series
studio shot by Kurt Fishback for his 71 Women Artists series

Kurt Fishback came up last month and photographed me and my daughter Kate for his series of women artists. The series will be on display in November at the Pence Gallery in Davis. To see more of this series, visit his Facebook page.

Post Office garden
Post Office garden

So many people love this garden. It keeps me tending it, despite the need the get the hell into my studio and do some work. I am suffering from something akin to writer’s block, need a little shaking up, I think. I am invited into a show in October in Sacramento. I have some ideas for that. Just need to get on with it.

Cecil Brunner rose
Cecile Brunner rose

This rose was especially magnificent this year, almost swallowing the tulip tree.

lovely patina on well pipe
lovely patina on well pipe

The spirits are once again unhappy and in quick succession brought down the drain pump in the washing machine, the foot valve in the well, and the pressure tank, too. What must I do to appease them? All are repaired for now.

The Black Madonna (Michelle)
The Black Madonna (Michelle)

I’m in a small group show at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City until June 27. This is a new piece, a portrait of Michelle Obama.

Installing "Myth" show at Osborn Woods Gallery at the Miners Foundry
Installing “Myth” show at Osborn Woods Gallery at the Miners Foundry

There are more photos on the Osborn Woods Gallery Facebook page, should you wish to see them.

Mark's railing with baby
Learning to let go.

 

Railing by Mark Oldland.

Here we go again

Deer missed them this year
Deer missed them this year

I guess there’s so much grass this spring, the deer didn’t think to eat the tulips.

Just visiting
Just visiting, traipsing across the Big Rock

For the first time in many years, the Canada Geese have decided not to nest on the pond. They come and think about it for awhile, then move on. Meanwhile, the first wood ducks have hatched and already most have been eaten by something.

Finished door in Mary's garden
Finished door in Mary’s garden

The door to nowhere.

Daniel Grunewald bust in the Off Center Competition at the Blue Line in Roseville
Daniel Grunewald bust in the Off Center Competition at the Blue Line in Roseville

I went to the reception of “Off Center.” Curator Tony Natsoulas said “Sorry you didn’t get any awards.” I told him I was too old to care anymore.

Clayton at E Street
Clayton at E Street

I enjoyed participating in the “Capital Clay Invitational” at the E Street Gallery this year.

This past weekend, I dropped off my contribution to this year’s Big Names, Small Art at the Crocker Art Museum. It takes place on Thursday, May 18, 5-9pm. Lots of fun. Get tickets at crockerart.org/bnsa

Scaredy Bear up the oak
Scaredy Bear up the oak

This little bear appeared in April and has been hanging around looking for stuff to eat. Usually, we don’t get bears until fall.

God at the Walmart parking lot

I had to stop on my way to babysit James to acknowledge God above the Walmart parking lot in Sacramento.

Shasta with clouds
Shasta with clouds

It was wonderful to see Shasta all snow-covered, as it should be. It gives one hope.

Look outward
Look outward

In these days of technology overload, don’t forget to see what is around you.

Ah, Spring

James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach

Or maybe the Giant James and the Peach. I narrowly escaped drool taking this photo.

Practicing my new bass guitar
Practicing my new bass guitar

I’m still working on my bass competency. I got this electric bass for my birthday. It is fretted, unlike my acoustic bass, so it’s easier to stay in tune.

Daniel and me in Calanan Park
Daniel and me in Calanan Park

This piece got into the inaugural “Off Center” ceramic competition at the Blue Line Gallery. The jurors were Bob Brady and Sandy Simon. It will be on display beginning April 15 through May something. As suggested by the juror of the last show I was in, I have made pedestals for these pieces.

Pedestal for Daniel Grunewald bust
Pedestal for Daniel Grunewald bust

Daniel loves birds and tells many stories about ravens. I thought it would be funny to have the raven tell stories about him.

Clayton and bust in Calanan Park
Clayton and bust in Calanan Park

This piece will be at the E Street Gallery for their annual “Capitol Clay Invitational.” I made a pedestal for this one, too.

Clay's pedestal
Clay’s pedestal

It illustrates a dissolution of identity.

Fundraising tokens for E Street
Fundraising tokens for E Street

I’m making some tokens for this year’s show to help raise money for the E Street Gallery. I’ve got three days to finish them! Yikes!

Kiln load
Kiln load

A lot of disparate items to fire together.

Dog Pair
Dog Pair

I’m donating these dogs to the E Street. Hopefully, someone will want them.

Dana and Dana bust
Dana and Dana bust
Dana Brown and his likeness in clay
Dana Brown and his likeness in clay

Dana came to see his bust in the park on Saturday, March 18. Later that day, some recorder players showed up for Play the Recorder Day. Here we are.

Play the Recorder Day
Play the Recorder Day

What else?

Still haven’t heard from the Crocker about the auction piece.

Fire hydrant bench outside the Nevada City Post Office
Fire hydrant bench outside the Nevada City Post Office

Jim assisted Mark Oldland and me installing a new bench at the Post Office. Everyone seems to love it. So far. I’ll be painting the side plugs burgundy this weekend. Mark fabricated it, but he still blames it on me.

Channeling Rothko
Channeling Rothko

I’m working on a yard art piece for a friend. Mirrors will be added.

Loves creatures
Loves creatures

You can tell a reasonable human being by the way they relate to non-humans.

Finally, he is working hard to be more self-sufficient. Message to all: Feed Yourself.

Just Eat It
Just Eat It

 

Lambs and Lions

February was definitely a lion.

Pellets of compressed snow falling
Pellets of compressed snow falling

It wasn’t really snow. More like styrofoam pellets.

hail on deck

Dusting of snow-hail
Dusting of snow-hail

It made everything slippery white. The daffodils are not quite blooming, but some crocus are attempting.

Chilly bees in suspended animation
Chilly bees in suspended animation
Gathered pollen then froze
Gathered pollen then froze

The bees came out earlier when it was warm. I think they regretted it.

Passing out black and gold beads at the Mardi Gras parade
Passing out black and gold beads at the Mardi Gras parade

Somehow, I became part of this group that goes out in the freezing cold to distribute cheap necklaces to onlookers.

Two bisqued cats and one greenware cat
Two bisqued cats and one greenware cat
Another greenware cat
Another greenware cat

I’ve taken a break from the large busts for a bit and am working on a series of cat-like creatures.

With some underglazes
With some underglazes
Tabby-ish cat waiting for glazes
Tabby-ish cat waiting for glazes
Boys are back in town
Boys are back in town

I picked up my busts from the Crocker Kingsley exhibition. I’ve entered some of them in a couple of different shows. The Artery in Davis already rejected my Crabb bust but I won’t hear from the other show I entered until March 9. It is a newly created ceramic show called “Off Center” at the Blue Line. The jurors are Robert Brady and Sandra Simon. I decided not to enter Lincoln Arts “America’s Clayfest” because I didn’t care for the way they handled things last year. I might enter the State Fair this year. Maybe. I’ve been asked to be in E Street’s Capital Clay Invitational again, and am donating a piece to the Crocker’s Big Names Small Art fundraising auction. I submitted a piece to the fancy auction, but I doubt it’ll get chosen.

I went to hear Kurt Fishback talk about his photography career at the Axis Gallery Sunday. He has worked so hard and has achieved recognition for his portraits, but still struggles to make a living. I saw Ron Peetz’ show on its last day and he explained some of the pieces to me that I didn’t get at first. He described being interviewed recently and asked about his ideas. He said that some people have ideas that shine out like a lighthouse, reaching far, and that he was more like a refrigerator bulb. He’s a funny guy.

I’m going to bring my Dana Brown piece to Calanan Park on Sunday, March 19, and might invite some of my recorder-playing friends to come sit in with me. March 18 is Play the Recorder Day. I can make March 19 be Play the Recorder next to your giant sculpture day.

Tomorrow is Play with My Grandson Day. He just had his half birthday and is delighted to be able to eat solid foods.

Grabbing Mom's pizza
Grabbing Mom’s pizza

 

 

 

These times we’re living in

At the light rail station on the way to downtown Sacramento
At the light rail station on the way to downtown Sacramento

January 21, 2017. The Women’s March on Sacramento. Part of a world-wide event. What an amazing day. The rain cleared up, the sun came out. Thousands of women, men, and children showed up to march in solidarity.

View from the Capitol window towards the Tower Bridge
View from the Capitol window towards the Tower Bridge

I took my friends on a tour of the Capitol, since they had never been inside before (!!!),  and showed them the wonderful portrait of Jerry Brown by Don Bachardy and the recently installed portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

with christopher and queen isabella at the rotunda

I posed with Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella in the Rotunda.

The signs were collected for a display at the State Library
The signs were collected for a display at the State Library

I donated a few of my signs for this effort.

Many millions went toward this Koons sculpture
Many millions went toward this Koons sculpture

We went to see the Jeff Koons sculpture in front of the new arena on K Street after the march. I like how it seems transparent and is colored and reflective at the same time.

The Dark Side of the sculpture. Photo by Kate Morris.
The Dark Side of the sculpture. Photo by Kate Morris.

This view makes it seem a lot smaller than the previous photo, though it really isn’t that gigantic.

Crocker Kingsley exhibition at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville
Crocker Kingsley exhibition at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville

That evening, we went to the reception for the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition. Awards were given out, and pieces were chosen to be shown at the Crocker (only five). Unfortunately, none of mine were chosen for those special distinctions. I find at this stage in my life, I really don’t care about that too much.

Someone looking at my work in the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition
Someone looking at my work in the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition

I’m happy to have my work in the show. Tony Natsoulas and helpers did a great job of installing the show. My pieces look really good where they were placed. The show runs through February 25th.

One more try at more intense coloring
One more try at more intense coloring

This piece kept bothering me. The eyes were not convincing. I fired it again and I think I’m happy with it now. I’ll probably drag it to the park for its public showing in early March.

Sacramento turkey
Sacramento turkey

My daughter lives near the American River Parkway, so sometimes the turkeys venture from the river area to eat grass.

Heron on winter pond
Heron on winter pond

I love to watch the herons. They are shy, secretive, and improbably tall. I doubt this one found much to eat in the flooded pond.

Many mallards visit
Many mallards visit

After a marked deficit of mallards, sixteen were on the pond yesterday.

James' first call to action
James’ first call to action

I was so happy to hear Jerry Brown’s wonderful State of the State address. We all need to remain vigilant and active so the creep of fascism doesn’t take us by surprise. Some people thought the Nazis were wonderful, and just the strong, authoritative direction a struggling Germany needed (some probably still do). Let’s not go that way.

 

Wintry Weather

Mother Nature is kindly diverting our attention from national politics by throwing some interesting weather our way.

January 2 dusting of snow
January 2 dusting of snow

I took my grandson for a walk through our first snowfall of the season.

Sewer Rats with snow
Sewer Rats with snow

The sculptures are made new with this icy addition.

Gavin in his winter cloak
Gavin in his winter cloak

January 3rd brought a few inches more. Enough to require shoveling the driveway, which hasn’t been necessary these past two winters.

Men of Nevada City series: Dana Brown
Men of Nevada City series: Dana Brown

I did get my sculpture finished by the end of the year. Barely. Sometime when the weather improves, I’ll haul it to Calanan Park for its public debut.

California Dipper on pond before storm systems arrive
California Dipper on pond before storm systems arrive

Somehow, the California Dipper knows when we are going to have a lot of rain. The last time it hung out on the pond was a very rainy winter/spring. Here it is again. And now all the rain.

Seasonal Creek in season
Seasonal Creek in season

The little creek that runs through our property seldom looks like this. So far, I have not heard “the Drought is over!” but it sure seems like it.

Deer Creek edges up to Willow Valley Road
Deer Creek edges up to Willow Valley Road

Deer Creek hasn’t swallowed the road yet. Almost.

Sculptures await placement in the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition
Sculptures await placement in the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition

I drove through the storm to deliver my three pieces to the Blue Line Gallery for the Crocker Kingsley Exhibition that opens this Friday and continues through February 25th. There is a very attractive catalog Tony Natsoulas put together for the show. The reception is January 21st, coincidentally the same day as March on Sacramento, the women’s march asserting the importance of women’s rights.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet practicing for spring
Ruby Crowned Kinglet practicing for spring

This bird may look cute and harmless, but he puts up a good fight with the windowpane every year.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet showing a little of his red head
Ruby Crowned Kinglet showing a little of his red head

I haven’t been able to get a photo of him with his red mohawk, he moves too quickly.

Relaxed Baby
Relaxed Baby

I don’t expect to find the peacefulness that James has, but I am going to try to find some.

The End is in Sight

Archie observing activities in Calanan Park among the red maple leaves
Archie observing activities in Calanan Park among the red maple leaves

The end is in sight. Nothing dire, the end of fall, the end of the year, the end of critical thinking and democracy in the United States. We saw it coming. We all participated in its creation. Our society is so fully infused with technology that delivers information in easily digestible and titillating chunks, we have forgotten or lost the ability to think critically, to investigate, to consider fairly, and have become a salivating horde of ADD practitioners. Interesting fact: “Trump” in an original use in the early 16th century meant “deceive” and “cheat”. Yawn, what next?

Putting up lights in Calanan Park with my friend Archie
Putting up lights in Calanan Park with my friend Archie

Archie and I put up lots of lights in Calanan Park. The “warm white” LEDs are topped with vivid blue.

Recorders playing carols at Victorian Christmas in Nevada City
Recorders playing carols at Victorian Christmas in Nevada City

Me on the left in an interesting vintage sweater dress that my daughter Kate challenged me to wear.

Work in progress, Dana Brown
Work in progress, Dana Brown

I am finishing up my locals series with this portrait of Dana Brown. I have it bisqued now and hope to have it finished by the year’s end.

In front of Barbie paintings by Maren Conrad at the brief Barbie Show
In front of Barbie paintings by Maren Conrad at the brief Barbie Show

I went to Sacramento’s Second Saturday with some friends. We wandered about town admiring the lights in the Fabulous Forties and the tree in front of the Capitol. I forced them to go to the two places I had work. They were good sports and even purchased art! We ended the evening at a Mexican restaurant on K Street that had a live mariachi band that made conversation difficult. They were good, though.

Robert Kaplan and the Robert Kaplan sculpture in Calanan Park, March 2016
Robert Kaplan and the Robert Kaplan sculpture in Calanan Park, March 2016

I was extremely pleased to find out that this piece, along with two others in the same series, was accepted into the Crocker-Kingsley exhibition hosted by the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville this January.

Some nature photos:

Willow leaves in spillway
Willow leaves in spillway
Tiny mushrooms on bridge
Tiny mushrooms on bridge
Lichen on heads
Lichen on heads
Gavin braves the cold
Gavin braves the cold
Deer shredded stump
Deer shredded stump

In a lot of ways I feel guilty about the world we’re passing on to the next generation. But this will be the world they know and will learn to live in. I hope they can think of creative ways to sustain the human race in fulfilling and cooperative methods, with each other and the natural world around them.

Baby James in his favorite bedtime pose, "Bring it on!"
Baby James in his favorite bedtime pose, “Bring it on!”

 

 

 

 

Curiouser and Curiouser

Welcome to Wonderland, Alice. The United States is officially unhinged. But here in California, we can still pretend everything is okay, what with legalized recreational cannabis and all. New York Times getting you down? Just roll another one…

Since I don’t partake in The Herb, to cheer myself up I buried the Trump piece I made this summer.

Burying Trump Piece first step
Burying Trump Piece first step
Burying Trump piece second step
Burying Trump piece second step
Burying Trump piece nearly done
Burying Trump piece nearly done
Burying Trump piece complete
Burying Trump piece complete

If only it were that easy.

The two pieces I’m making for next month’s “Darker Side of Pink” Barbie themed show in Sacramento are finished.

Salem Witch (Burner Barbie)
Salem Witch (Burner Barbie)
Meet Market Ken
Meet Market Ken

They are both ceramic with grout on panel.

I am also done constructing I think the last in my local guy series. He is currently drying. This is a very large bust, in the manner of the others in the series.

Dana Brown greenware
Dana Brown greenware

I went to hear the U.S. Poet Laureate at the Crest Theater in Sacramento last night. Everyone was trying to console each other. On the way there, some marchers were chanting “Love not Hate” as they marched the wrong way up N Street alongside the state capitol building. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is not flashy or bombastic and requires attention and consideration. I very much enjoyed his embodiment of illegal immigrants in a poem about being on a Border Bus heading for a Detention Center. Feel this, feel how it is for these people, that’s what his poetry is doing. On the way out of the Crest, there was a homeless person sacked out in the alcove of the theater. How have we come to this?

Hellebore in Calanan Park
Hellebore in Calanan Park

I have decided that humanity is some dirty, foaming mess that earth is merely tolerating as a brief annoyance. We see ourselves as the center, but it’s not that way at all. Today, I found solace planting things in the parks downtown. I planted two hellebore and several pansies. Even though the dirt had dog shit and cigarette butts in it, I still enjoyed digging in it.

Nature will still be beautiful, even when we aren’t here to see it. Love is not the answer. Not fucking everything up is.

Dogwood in Calanan Park
Dogwood in Calanan Park