Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Great Western Studio Tour - Bets Cole and Our Town Pottery

Saturday October 25th and I'm now 65 years and 5 days old and haven't noticed the difference from when I turned 30 other than the fact that there are cell phones the size of a business card case, there are a gazillion TV channels, and movies cost as much as bicycle (which used to only have one gear) and water cost money.

So on this beautiful day Sharyn and I took off for Elmira, Oregon to visit a part of the Artists Studio Tour in the Greater Eugene area.

Represented at these closely aligned studios were Bets Cole (Paintings) and Michael and Jeani (Pottery Artists from Our Town Pottery) 

The setup was in a beautiful area of Oregon and Bets works were in the tents to the left and Our Town Pottery was on the right. The wooden building in between is the pottery studio. 

Sharyn walked in and met Jeani and started the tour. 

Bets Cole had a great variety of her work on display.

Sharyn said this wonderful image reminded her of the house that blew away in the movie Shipping News. I have to agree and I loved this painting.

Sharyn just loved the painting to the left of the "High Desert" 

Depth of the sky in this and many of Bets Cole's  work add to the grandeur in her open landscapes .

This was a good holder for her art because the wind did blow at times and finding a safe place to display was tricky.

Our Town Pottery is unique and very colorful ...

... and the variety of objects was very wide. 

I was wishing we had stumbled along their work when I was younger we wouldn't have had to get our pottery at the Shell Gas station with every fill up of $6.

Just gorgeous work. I think if I overheard her correctly Michael throws and forms the pottery and Jeani then paints them before glazing. But here is a clearer description of their operation from their own website:
With their desire to create pottery that enhances everyday life, potters Jeani Holder and Michael Baines continue exploring this old, yet new, medium. Fostering a greater appreciation for arts and crafts, for handmade objects and the vision, skill and discipline required to create them, is the goal they hope to achieve through their handmade, handpainted pottery. 

Using red earthenware clay, Michael creates wheelthrown platters, plates, bowls, teapots, vases and pitchers with handles, spouts, lids and knobs. Jeani slabforms functional trays and discs, using found objects as molds - old light fixtures, plastic baskets, garden saucers, wooden dowels and rope. Collaborating with Michael on designs which are inspired by international folkart, beadwork, nature, textiles and their love of fine foods, Jeani handpaints, dots and sliptrails each piece with colorful underglazes and finishes them with bright, shining clear glaze. The result is beautiful, fully functional pottery for the festivities of everyday life. 

Beautiful designs - visit their website [click here] for more information

I really like their wood fired pizza oven ...

... with Mr.Potato Head on top.

Roll over fido - what a wonderful dog and very friendly.

Here is a closer view of the pottery studio.

OK here is my artistic shot of the day. 

There is another pottery work area on the opposite side of the yard.

And plenty of fire wood stored for the winter.

I love the functionality of an artist's studio. I think artists are the most organized people I know although most don't like to admit it.

Bets was kind enough to take us by her studio a short walk to the south in her home. 

The studio of an artist says a lot about their nature. Bets studio was full of natural light, family images and views of the nature that surrounds her home.  To really understand the warmth of a home you only need to meet Bets and her family and see the love that surrounds her days.

Beautiful works, some in progress and others she keeps close cover the walls, floors and every spare easel

I know this is a recent painting because Bets said it was done at a Plein Air outing to Schreiner's Iris Gardens recently. 

We had a great time and met several people I hope to see again and one friend who introduced me to Art in the Eugene Area, Renee Manford. You can visit her web site at

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 312 - The Contender 289

Quote of the Day - 
The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation. ~ Auguste Rodin 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dia De Los Muertos - Maude Kerns

It was a beautiful clear night in Eugene for the opening.

It was opening night of the Dia De Los Muertos exhibit at the Maude Kerns Art Center

The crowd was starting to gather. 

There were several alters in the gallery commemorating loved ones.

They were all unique and were thoughtfully laid out.

There were pictures and momentos 

Some were not alters but were remembrances.

They were all inspirational.

Some like this one also had food articles.

Movie posters and DVDs and dolls and pictures of pets.

Delicate, tender and loving memories.

Symbology for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) comes in several forms like this skeleton horse and rider...

... and like this skeleton with red eyes...
...ans this skull.

I really liked this beautiful and graceful statue.

I was also intrigued by this figure in an ornate brick. 

Thee were many paintings...

... intricate prints ...
...and ghostly, ghastly creatures.

I liked the dancing skeletons in this image that reminded me of New Orleans Mardi Gras.

I even got to go up into the loft of the old church...

 ... and got a great shot of the guitarist playing beautiful music. 

There were paintings like the Mictecacihuati & Mictecacihuati by Nathan Domshot

Mictecacihuati was the "Lady of Death" 

"El Dia de Los Muertos or the Mexican Day of the Dead is a three-day celebration beginning on Oct. 31 and ending on Nov. 2. The ritual has origins in ancient Mexican culture, particularly with the Aztecs. It originally was held during the Aztec month of Miccailhuitonti. The goddess of Death, Mictecacihuati, presided over the early festivals that were designed to honor the dead and especially dead children."

I liked the use of Maple wings on this piece of work...

... and the feather in this one.

Anthony Hensley did this oil on canvas titled Elote.

"Elote or choclo (Quechua), roasted corn on the cob, is a popular street food served in Mexico. In Mexico, Chicago, and in the south of the United States, it is customary to consume elotes like a popsicle on a stick or by grasping the roasted husk of the ear of corn that have been pulled down to form a "handle". Hot chile sauce can be spread on the elote as well as other condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, lemon juice, and salt. Powdered lemon pepper seasoning is used on elote in Texas."

A handsome young man in his dance costume posed for me while I was walking around. 

The first Folklorico dancers were these two women in beautiful dance costumes.
History on Mexican Folklore

The folkloric dance traditions of Mexico may be divided into three broad categories:
  1. Danza - Indigenous dances, generally religious in nature, performed in ritual and community settings 
  2.  Mestizo - Indigenous dances reflecting European influences in either steps, theme, instrumentation, costuming or a combination of the above - as with Danza, Mestizo dances are generally religious in nature.
  3. Bailes Regionales - Regional Dances, primarily social in origin and manifestation, presented in community and theatrical performances. Most of the dances presented by Ballet Folklorico groups in the USA and Mexico are Bailes Regionales.

I likes the use of the skirts to emphasize the arm movements.

The dancers are as graceful as they look on these images.

The flair of the skirts and and ...
...the smiles of these women were wonderful.

The next dance was a group of four dancers who circled and moved in and out much like a square dance in the old west tradition. My guess this was probably a precursor to the Square dance but I'm probably wrong.

Some of the dancers also watched the show in this wonderful Maude Kerns Art Canter event.

Next a young man and woman danced a real foot stomping dance.

Followed by eight young women in the most beautiful costumes of the evening. 

These costumes were black with hand sewn shiney flowers that really glowed.

Just beautiful. 

Next were some younger young ladies again with the same traditional costumes.

These young ladies had a shine on there faces and smiles that made the room brighten.

Their leader was out frond in a kind of serpentine dance...

... and the girls followed 
It is a dance of poise that will enable these young people to gain confidence through hard work and the enjoyment of dance.
They all learn as they follow.

Even the tiny ones who probably weigh less than the costume. 
There is a pride in this dancers face and rightly so. 

The next dancers were a couple. This young woman who was in a previous picture holding her baby while standing in the audience and a young man.

In this dance around a wine bottle.

This was a very lively dance.

With flairs of the skirt ...
and coy stances much like a courtship - it reminded me of a hat dance.

What a diverse audience and no one left.

Finally the youngest group appeared. 

Full of enthusiasm and grins.

The Dia De Los Muertos is an annual event at Maude Kerns Art Center and the art is on display until November 7. 

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 342 - The Contender 307

Quote of the Day -
"He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man." ~ Antoine de Saint Éxupéry 


©Paul Viel