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

 

 

 

Mushy

Roulette wheel for Colorful Language Altar
Roulette wheel for Colorful Language Altar

I made this roulette wheel as part of an altar celebrating language. It is on display and ready for participation at the Altar Show at the Grass Valley fairgrounds through November 6, noon until 7pm. The idea is to spin the wheel and then think of three words to describe the subject you land on. Write the three words on a card that will join everyone else’s cards on the Wall of Descriptive Language. People seem fearful to spin it and make noise. Or maybe they don’t want to think.

Creating the lighted colored jar sculpture.
Creating the lighted colored jar sculpture.

Alex strangely agreed to work with me on this altar but wisely kept his work separate from mine. He made three constructions of illuminated jars filled with colored water. They each have a word taped to them. They are quite beautiful. Beauty is something I never aspire to in my own art, but do appreciate.

As yet unfinished, but you get the general idea.
As yet unfinished, but you get the general idea.

This photo is out of focus, but so is most of life. This is the Alex side of the altar. He added a wooden duck to the top of the middle piece. My side is a lot more chaotic and far less elegant. C’est moi.

Here are some Altar Show photos from the Dark Room:

The Heart of True Religion by Don Baldwin
The Heart of True Religion by Don Baldwin

His statement reads: “At the heart of all religion is the religion of the heart.” At the heart of all religions is the universal impulse to touch the Holy – the one Source of love, truth, and life. Today’s intolerance of differing spiritual traditions can be overcome through Divine Love expressed in all thought and action.

Huzzah, Don.

A delightful Mickey Mouse chainsaw sculpture kachina by Charles Green
A delightful Mickey Mouse chainsaw sculpture kachina by Charles Green

I love this Mickey Mouse. Charles usually paints portraits of horses, not sculpt mice.

Colorful Language, an inscrutable altar to words
Colorful Language, an inscrutable altar to words

I always feel slightly ambivalent about my work when finished. Alex’s, though, is totally awesome, dudes. A little insecurity? Probably.

I’m currently working on a couple of Barbie-themed pieces for a Barbie-themed show that is taking place in Sacramento briefly in December. It will be at the old JayJay Gallery on Elvas Avenue and have two receptions, December 8 and Second Saturday, December 10. The two receptions are the extent of the show, so don’t miss it! It is called “The Darker Side of Pink.” One of my pieces is a Barbie and the other a Ken.

Oh yeah, mushy. My brain. The ground. The rainiest October in recent memory. The craziest election year of my lifetime. What next?

Eventful

 

Baby James enters the world in August
Baby James enters the world in August

My eldest daughter gave me a grandson.

Four days later, Kate and Enrique get hitched
Four days later, Kate and Enrique get hitched

My youngest daughter gave me a son-in-law. All in one week. Whew.

img_8942
Captain Hook and I march down Broad Street for the Constitution Day Parade September 11, 2016

A couple of weeks later, we marched in the Constitution Day Parade with the Merry Widows. Our theme was “Get your tails to the voting booth!”

Mermaids and Merman on the Merry Widow Float
Mermaids and Merman on the Merry Widow Float

Enrique made his American parade debut as a merman. We got first place for floats.

At the Blue Line with Jerry
At the Blue Line with Jerry

Some friends and I trekked to Roseville for the reception of “Politically Charged.” Here I am with Governor Moonbeam. He comes back home on October 2, but he was happy to be out on display for a month.

Coming up quickly is the Western Nevada County Studio Tour. I will be sharing my studio with painter Alex Henderson. Studio tour dates are the second and third weekends in October, 8-9 and 15-16 from 10 until 5pm. An opening reception is October 6, 6-9pm at the Grass Valley Center for the Arts. There will be one piece of artwork for each artist at the Center, September 29 through October 16.

http://thecenterforthearts.org/openstudiostour-post/

 

How many 90 degree elbows fit in an irrigation box?

As many as you need. These past couple of days, I’ve been digging up and replacing a sprinkler valve in the park, trying to make a lot of pvc fit into a small space. It is amazing how many hours it takes to glue a few pieces of plastic together. That leak is fixed, but there’s still another to figure out.

Postcard for Politically Charged at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville
Postcard for Politically Charged at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville

I will have one piece in this show. Not my Trump piece, or my screaming rattles, but the portrait of Jerry Brown as Diogenes looking for an honest man.

Looking for an Honest Man
Looking for an Honest Man

I am happy to this gets to be shown while Jerry is still governor.

Ron Lowe sculpture at the Nevada County Fair with two lovely ladies
Ron Lowe sculpture at the Nevada County Fair with two lovely ladies

Ron Lowe the Sculpture continues making the rounds. Here he is in the Fine Arts section of last week’s Nevada County Fair.

RL Crabb, cartoonist for the Grass Valley Union and RL Crabb sculpture in Calanan Park
RL Crabb, cartoonist for the Grass Valley Union and RL Crabb sculpture in Calanan Park

I brought my sculpture of RL Crabb to the park on Sunday.

Crabb, Crabb sculpture, and me in Calanan Park, August 14
  Crabb, Crabb sculpture, and me in Calanan Park, August 14

We sat around and ate cookies and brushed away flies. I will be starting my sixth, and probably last, in the series of local people this month.

Bobcat in the early evening
Bobcat in the early evening

I felt very lucky to catch sight of this beautiful bobcat. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but he is very much larger than a house cat. He kept looking back at me as though to say “what are you looking at?”

 

Do what you gotta do

Hot Air Rises interactive portrait of Republican presidential nominee
Hot Air Rises interactive portrait of Republican presidential nominee

I finished this piece after sitting with it a few days in the park downtown and a few days at the State Fair. I invited people to add positive words to the sides and bottom of the piece. The idea is a vacuum is created by the torrent of hot rhetoric flying out of the head, and sucks in all the positivity applied by citizens. This will either result in a wicked witch of the west scenario or create a changed man. Hopefully.

applying positive language to counteract hateful rhetoric
applying positive language to counteract hateful rhetoric

Kate helped me at my demonstration space at the fair for a bit. I was kept very busy with children wanting to play with clay.

Third Day of California State Fair Fine Arts demonstration
Third Day of California State Fair Fine Arts demonstration

You can imagine I heard quite a few comments with this large portrait of Hillary behind me. The Trump piece was photographed hundreds of times, and about 150 people added words to it over the three days. What amazed me is all the children, even very young children, knew who the candidates are for this election. Is that weird? “Are you for Trump?” “Do you like Hillary?” Really, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to discuss politics with a 7-year old, though not too much different than with your average Trump supporter.

Portable toilets dumped in Calanan Park for three weeks
Portable toilets dumped in Calanan Park for three weeks

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce totally dissed me and all the work I do, and showed great disrespect for the huge Coast Redwood and the park by installing these portable toilets in the park for three weeks. They were kept locked except for the three consecutive Wednesday nights that the Chamber hosted: “Summer Nights” otherwise known as “drunken throw your garbage all over town night”.  When I objected to their placement in the park, the Chamber claimed it was because health regulations would not allow it near the cheese shop where it was at previous events. This is not true, according to Environmental Health. So, not only does the Chamber do whatever they feel like, they invent things to serve their needs. Meanwhile, all the people who love to sit under this tree on hot summer days are out of luck. But you know, people who spend the most money in town are probably not the types to sit under redwood trees, so who cares if stinky blue plastic boxes take up the whole area?

So pretty!
So pretty!

I guess they thought it was okay ’cause it has such a lovely design. Fits right in.

Canine Unit t-shirt
Canine Unit t-shirt

Another foray to the Golden Era. This time, to support efforts of our local police force and their Canine Unit (portrait at left on shirt). I had the Chief of Police sign it for me.

Canada geese
Canada geese

The single mother goose managed to teach her now-grown baby to fly. It was a tough year for her, losing four goslings and her partner to depredation by coyotes.

Mother goose and gosling in pond
Mother goose and gosling in pond

They were doing synchronized swimming.

Wood duck and one duckling
Wood duck and one duckling

The hawks managed to snag over half of the nine wood duck babies. They have all left the pond now.

River otter on pond
River otter on pond

A recent visitor. I think the otters come a lot more frequently than I’m aware. This one was quite small.

Modern Political Discourse (with antidote)
Modern Political Discourse (with antidote)
Backside of ceramic rattles
Backside of ceramic rattles

Finished and submitted these for a political show in Roseville. I should know by early August if the juror thought them worthy of inclusion in the show.

Mid-summer gooseneck clethra
Mid-summer gooseneck clethra

 

 

Hot times

 

Crocosmia Lucifer
Crocosmia Lucifer

My favorite July flower. The hummingbirds love it, too.

Greenware Rattles
Greenware Rattles

I’ve been working on an installation, of sorts, for entry into a political show in Roseville. These rattles are supposed to represent the state of modern political discussion.

One set of rattles
One set of rattles

They aren’t really sets. Each rattle of three screaming heads will be displayed upright on a stand. I plan to have them all in a group, screaming at each other. The reverse side contains quotes about peace and tolerance by Nobel Peace prize winners, and others.

Last four rattles
Last four rattles

The left-most three kept breaking apart as I constructed them. They really didn’t want to be together.

Little rat head
Little rat head

I made a few rat masks. My sister allegedly wants them to give to someone who likes rats.

Collaged background on panel
Collaged background on panel

I swore I wouldn’t make a Trump piece. I feel that the more attention he gets, the more power he has. But I was offered an opportunity to be an artist demonstrator, demonstrating how I construct my art, at the State Fair and I thought I’d give it a political slant. I plan to bring my portraits of Hillary, Sarah Palin, Gavin Newsom, and the other one. Trump.

Collage and ceramic not glued down yet
Collage and ceramic not glued down yet
Waiting for Trump quotes to spew out head
Waiting for Trump quotes to spew out head

I am tentatively calling it “Flip-top” and “Hot Air Rises.” I have three pages of odious quotes that I’ve cut into strips and am going to invite fair-goers to help me glue them on so they look like they are gushing out the top of his head. This may be too unpleasant for some, so I have words of peace and tolerance for others to glue to the sides of the piece.

Love and Harmony and all that
Love and Harmony and all that

This is the photo I worked from:

Trump and Trump
Trump and Trump

Lovely.

Wood ducks hatched July 10 on their first day out of the nest box
Wood ducks hatched July 10 on their first day out of the nest box
Mama Wood Duck with babies underneath and turtle
Mama Wood Duck with babies underneath and turtle

Our third successful wood duck hatching this year.

Young hawk wants to eat wood ducklings
Young hawk wants to eat wood ducklings

This juvenile hawk keeps lurking near the pond.

Watching babies
Watching babies
Paintings by Alex Henderson
Paintings by Alex Henderson

This October, I will be on the Western Nevada County studio tour. I haven’t done this for many years but think I’m ready to withstand the public in all their many forms. I will be sharing my studio with painter Alex Henderson. That is, if by October he still feels committed enough to the project to go through with it.

Red in Tooth and Claw

Mother Nature is a harsh mistress. Coyotes have been snapping up the goslings. Foxes are shrieking in delight over whatever unfortunate creature they caught. The red-shouldered hawk keeps eyeing the mallard ducklings, but has been unsuccessful catching one so far.

Canada Goose Family on pond with the five goslings
Canada Goose Family on pond
geese with two goslings
Coyotes ate all but two goslings
goose stepping
Then there was only one remaining gosling

And now the gander is missing, too. But he might be out looking for safer surroundings.

At the Pence photographing murals
At the Pence photographing murals

I went with a friend to Davis to see four ceramic shows. We went to the Davis Art Center, the Artery, John Natsoulas Gallery, and the Pence Gallery. Then we went to the western end of the arboretum to see the ceramic covered rest room and the collaborative tile installation.

teapot show white box
Stuey regards teapot at the Pence in Davis

I really enjoyed the show at the John Natsoulas Gallery.

Margaret Keelan ceramic figure at the John Natsoulas Gallery
Margaret Keelan ceramic figure at the John Natsoulas Gallery
Hiding behind Big Heads at the Artery
Hiding behind Big Heads at the Artery

Both “Black Sweater” and “Nancy” were awarded Best of Show in the California Clay Competition, hosted by the Artery in Davis. I was happily surprised.

Getting my feet wet
Getting my feet wet

I got to dip my toes in the Pacific. Something I hadn’t done in a very long time.

Sonoma Coast with gulls
Sonoma Coast with gulls

It was lovely.

Just like a Jack Stuppin painting
Just like a Jack Stuppin painting
More Stuppin vistas
More Stuppin vistas
Kondos or Thiebaud scenery
Kondos or Thiebaud scenery

Back through the delta and the valley, all the roadside scenes looked just like Gregory Kondos and Wayne Thiebaud paintings.

About to lay eggs
About to lay eggs

Spring brings out all the creatures in the yard.

Blue Belly Lizard takes the stairs
Blue Belly Lizard takes the stairs
Pond Turtles stacked with reflection
Pond Turtles stacked with reflection
Professor Jensen grading finals
Professor Jensen grading finals

And then there are the creatures that must toil away. This is what my son-in-law does when he comes to visit. Work, work, work. Not everyone gets to be a lazy artist.