Artists who Inspire

And Another Week Down…

Time flies. Even when you’re not “having fun.” Which is not to say we are NOT having fun, we are, but we are also just living “normal” life, which believe it or not is about work, and laundry, and “making groceries,” even in New Orleans where your work schedule may vary.

Melissa Chambers by the Daigle Grocery hours sign

I do love having the luxury of two months here though because we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything when we have days like Friday which we spent keeping cosy and dry in our little hideaway.

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The day before the deluge I’d taken the ferry across the Mississippi to the foot of canal:

Riding the ferry to the foot of canal

and hung out with Joy — having “True Blood” juice at the Canal Street Bistro:

True Blood juice at Canal St. Bistro

and coffee at Monkey Monkey Coffee & Tea.

Painting at Monkey Monkey Coffee & Tea in New Orleans

The sun came out again for the weekend, just in time for First Saturday. First Saturdays in New Orleans are like First Thursdays in Boise, with art walks in all the gallery districts and many openings of new exhibitions. (Well, Boise X 1,000.)

We spent our evening in the Warehouse District on Julia St., and as the storm of synchronicity which keeps raining down on me would have it, Karen Bubb and Rachel Reichart (of Boise City Department of Arts & History fame) were in town too. So we visited the galleries together.

Karen Bubb and Melissa "Sasi" Chambers together in New Orleans

Here’s a little of what we saw at the Arthur Roger Gallery:

Viewing art at Arthur Roger Gallery

Mike viewing a Chihuly @ Arthur Roger

Art at Arthur Roger

But my favorites were the amazing embroidered portraits “Friends & Neighbors” by Gina Phillips at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery:

Melissa Chambers talking to model for embroidered artwork behind her

Artwork and model at Jonathan Ferrara gallery

Portrait model at <a href=

It would seem that little dogs showing up with their people at art galleries and openings, and even in the artwork itself is the new thang round here.

Lula?

Are you ready for your close-up?

Lula, ready for her close-up

Art We’ve Seen Part 2

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There is some form of visual art pretty much everywhere you look in New Orleans. From huge murals on the sides of hotels, to random sculptures outside snoball shops.

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There is a lot of public art throughout the city, and along the riverfront.

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There are wonderful museums dedicated to art of all kinds: Classical, Contemporary, Southern, and African American. I’ve walked through the Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art three times. It’s always beautiful.

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And there are the parts of town where galleries are concentrated like Royal St. in the French Quarter and Julia St. in the Warehouse District, both of which I told you about in Part 1.

A third area which we’ve spent a lot of time in is Magazine St. which runs from the Lower Garden District to Audubon Park. There are tons of little shops, restaurants, galleries, antique shops, and boutiques, interspersed with homes, up and down its entire length.

The Carol Robinson Gallery, where Mike shows, is on Magazine and Napoleon. We attended her “Artists of Faith” Opening and this piece titled “The Golden Boat” by Michael Yankowski was one of my favorites.

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Carol represents a number of artists who work in a variety of disciplines — painting, ceramics, fine wood sculpture, jewelry and photography — and she hangs new shows all year, except possibly in the summer when things slooowww dooowwwn, alot!

Well, YOU try hanging art in 95 degrees and 100% humidity!

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The first Saturday of every month is the time when new shows open. We attended the March openings on Magazine and after going to Carol’s we went to Cole Pratt Gallery which had some interesting work, badly curated and arranged (in my opinion), which just made me want to get out of there before I created a scene and started rehanging everything.

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Wouldn’t it have been funny if I’d just gone for it, and had gotten arrested!

ARTIST ARRESTED FOR REHANGING EXHIBITION. SITES NOCCA “HOT EYE” TRAINING AS REASON SHOW READ AS “GIBBERISH.”
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We also went to the Guthrie Contemporary Gallery and enjoyed well displayed work by Susan Dory.

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These paintings are acrylic, and you can’t tell from my photos, but they look like encaustic. Really cool.

Another place on Magazine which is less gallery (though they do have paintings) and more beautifully arranged art objects — they refer to as bohemian luxury — is AKA STELLA GRAY.

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Every time I go in there I just want to move in and call it home. Of course it doesn’t hurt that there is often a sweet little French Bulldog named Poppy there to greet you!

And speaking of home, as you know by now, the Pied a Terre where we are staying is also home to Rebecca Rebouche’s atelier, The Beauty Shop. Rebecca is a painter, and her work shows up on dishes and linens and wallpaper murals for Anthropologie, but her individual paintings are also available for purchase.

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With any luck, the next time we’re here and I give you a tour of the visual arts scene in New Orleans — I’ll be including our home and studio space.

Well a girl can dream!

ART WE’VE SEEN Part 1

The time is truly flying by. We only have two more weeks in New Orleans, and next weekend we’re going to be in Florida visiting family, so it’s not even a full two weeks. I’m looking forward to being on the beach though, so no complaints.

I thought as we wind up our trip I’d do separate posts about the art we’ve seen, the food we’ve eaten, and throw in a lagniappe of my #Festooned photos just for fun.

First up: ART WE’VE SEEN

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There are three main parts of town focusing on art which we spent the most time in this visit. I have to add that there are “new” places which we didn’t get to this trip which are rising out of the reconstruction and a new generation of emerging artists doing their own thing. I hope to spend more time exploring those places next time.

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For the parts of town we did spend time in, there’s Royal St. in the French Quarter which has a lot of art meant to appeal to tourists, but is starting to have more individual local artists who are self supporting. The gallery scene is much stronger here than in Boise, but the call to “just do it” on your own is also alive and well.

Cathy Rose of the Lucky Rose Gallery is one of those artists on Royal St.

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Cathy was very encouraging and supportive about the idea of two more artists moving into the local art scene, and she even had suggestions about parts of town to consider where we could still afford live/work space.

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We also had a couple of conversations with Jim Pennington of Pennington Fine Art.

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Jim was generous as well with his encouragement and advice about returning to New Orleans for part of the year as working artists.

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Interestingly, we had seen Jim and his work in Savanna, GA a few years ago when he was there regrouping after Katrina. Small world, baby.

One of my favorite artist-run galleries on Royal St. is the Antieau Gallery which shows Chris Roberts Antieau’s gorgeous work.

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Antieau is a textile artist who does realistically detailed embroidery as well as appliqued “fabric paintings.”

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She is also the mother of Noah Antieau — who runs The Red Truck Gallery — the first gallery I looked at and thought might be a fit for my tarps (if only they were a wee bit smaller, or the gallery was a crapton bigger).

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Julia St. in the Warehouse District is a well known part of town with a number of good galleries. We spent a couple of different afternoons there on our own, and with friends visiting from New York (holler, John and Hiromi!).

The Arthur Roger Gallery is a long standing favorite. I thought the current show of work by Amer Kobaslija of paintings of birds’ eye views of artist’s studios was appropriate to our current quest.

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We also saw work at boyd/satellite gallery and talked to Blake Boyd. Blake shows his own work at the gallery, but the work currently on exhibition is by Errol Barron and is titled “rigged.”

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Another gallery on Julia St., the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery has a show of giant matchbook covers by Skylar Fein.

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The show cracked me up because our metaphor for doing anything but what we’re supposed to be doing is “reading matchbook covers.”

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There are several other galleries on Julia St. that we spent time in which I’m not going to get to this time, but I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention George Schmidt and his eponymous gallery.

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George is a real character and a true Renaissance Man. In addition to being a painter and printmaker, he’s a musician. We saw him play banjo and sing with the New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra at the Botanical Gardens a couple of weeks ago. What a hoot!

I’m afraid both my iPad and I are running out of juice, so I think I’ll stop here for now and continue in ART WE’VE SEEN Part 2 very soon.

Stay tuned!

HeARTy Birthday Michael Chambers!

On July 17, 1961 Michael Dean Chambers II was born in Vicenza, Italy. A simple lad, he thought he might one day become a world champion marble player, or perhaps enjoy the easy life of a garbage man riding on the back of the truck, his eye peeled for treasures hidden in the um, peels, and coffee grounds and such.

But the Fates had a different plan in mind…

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And I am that lucky wife.

Happy, er, HeARTy Birthday Mikey! I love you!!!

Art Journal Preview #3 — Panel Discussion Tonight!

Tonight’s the night we have our much anticipated TVAA panel discussion of Art Journaling at 6:00 pm at the Creative Access Arts Center at 500 S. 8th in Boise.

Besides me, you’ll hear from Pam McKnight, Beau Van Greener, Jeanette Ross and Lisa Cheney. The panel’s discussion will be led by Dr. Kathleen Keyes, President of the Boise Art Museum Trustees.

But before that, I have one last preview of one of my art journals — my Inspiration Book. I mentioned yesterday that it’s like a visual bucket list of things I want to have, or do, or make, and because for me there’s not much separation between my art and my home (painted floors, doors, dishes, etc.), or my wardrobe (painted boots, appliquéd bracelets, etc.), or any holiday or celebration, the book reflects a very broad range of things which inspire me….

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I hope you can make it to tonight’s discussion. If not, I hope you are aware of the many pleasures and benefits of keeping an art journal. And, if the whole concept is new to you, I hope seeing a little of the kinds of art journals I keep might inspire you to begin your own.

Art Journal Preview – “Text Book”

On Monday, June 2nd at 6:00 at the Creative Access Arts Center at 500 S. 8th in Boise I will be sitting on a panel discussion about Art Journaling with four other artists, Pam McKnight, Lisa Cheney, Beau Van Greener and Jeanette Ross.

Kathleen Keys will be leading the discussion. If you are in town you should come on down, and bring your own art journal to “show and tell” with the other artists after the panel speaks. That’s when it should get really interesting!

Here’s a preview of one of my art journals, “Text Book,” which is a Travel & Leisure magazine I folded and then drew patterns all over using Sharpies.

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Tomorrow I’ll preview a completely different kind of art journal which I keep with ideas for painted rugs. Prepare to be floored.

HeARTy Birthday, Pat Oleszko!

In case you ever start to take yourself, or especially your art, too seriously you should spend a little time with New York’s inflatable art vamp, the Grande Dame of ribald performance art, Pat Oleszko.

She’s a complete loon.

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Pat has cut a sassy swath from burlesque dives to NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, with her unrepentant comic, and social critiques using film, performances, and installations.

She has even performed “Shakespeare in the Bark.”

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Here she is as “The Pasta Madonna” from the Roamin’ Holiday: A View From a Broad.

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And here as “The Glad-He-Ate-Her” from the Roamin’ Holiday: A View From a Broad.

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Go see lots more at her website and then, lean out a window wherever you are, and shout out “HeARTy Birthday, Pat Oleszko!” because today’s her happy day!!

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Blog-clog

I’m going to try something new. No, I didn’t see it one time in a cartoon, but I am looking for a little mental animation to help me unclog my blog. Or, to at least unclog my mind when it comes to my blog.

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One of my favorite ways to pretend I’m working is to explore other artists blogs, and to compare and contrast everything — the look, the frequency of postings, the content, the goofiness, the works.

Not surprisingly, I like all kinds of domestic-artistically oriented content, and I like smart, irreverent writing, but the blogs that keep me coming back tend to be the ones with the most frequent, often daily, postings.

A great example is the blog of Lisa Congdon.

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Lisa’s really good about posting a new painting, or a lettered quote, or an update of her sewing adventures — pretty much every day.

That’s probably why she has fortygazillion followers.

Well, I want all four of MY followers to know that the “something new” I’m going to try is to be just like Lisa Congdon, and post a little something every day.

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“Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” — Copykat

My plan is to post one photo of whatever I’m working on with a few words, every day. Some days I may have a lot more than that. Some days I may just have a photo. But I will have a little something every day.

Blog unclogged.

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Confluence

I’ve been working on a woodcut for a collaborative print which I’ll be producing with three other artists at Wingtip Press. Our piece features a bird’s eye view of the Boise River which runs through each of our very differently patterned blocks and ties the four pieces together. Each of us chose a theme appropriate to the river — cottonwood fluff, a nest of goose eggs in the tall grass, trees along the river’s bank, and my block which has an overall pattern of feathers.

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The process of creating the block has been really satisfying as I had forgotten how much fun it is to carve one, and then be able to make multiple images. I literally had not carved a block since I was 9 years old!

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While all of this was going on, I got together with a new friend I met a year ago but had not been able to reconnect with until now, and who I’m sure I’ll be sharing more information about in future posts — Betsy Balch. Betsy designs scarves which she produces and sells, and I have one of her beautiful cashmere “bandana” designs (which is frankly awesome with my painted cowgirl boots!).

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Betsy loaned me one of her favorite inspiration books (which I will also be covering in a future post) called The Printed Square which is a picture book of vintage handkerchiefs like this one:

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Now, I don’t know about you, but my mind can’t help but make one of those “SET” combinations I’m so fond of out of all of these things. And then, throw in the Boise river too, and what have we got? We’ve got confluence!

Confluence: the coming together of 2 or more streams, people, or things; their place of junction; assemblage.

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I LOVE this kind of thing! Birds of a feather coming together my peeps. Birds of a feather!

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