Because I've seen the hunter safety films I know what causes men to get lost in the mountains: hubris.
I wrote down the quotes from Lara Rose, Chelsea McCann and Jill Arnholt because each one marked, for me, an important part that of their lecture about truly integrating art with landscape design. Out of context they may sound a little like TED talk platitudes; in context, they are key structures of a process that allows the creation of public spaces people actually use and enjoy. It certainly makes me wonder how my research, practice, obsessions might have a stronger impact on the built environment.
After the lecture at Walker Macy, I had a side chat with a designer from US Fish and Wildlife named Matt Hasti. He has concept of rotating access into the natural areas of public places and engaging the public in their cyclicle rehabilitation. This too is a note worth keeping, worth sharing.
Walidah Imarisha's fantastic Angels With Dirty Faces won the Oregon Book Award for Creative Non-fiction this week. The first time I tried to read it, my middle daughter ran off with it instead. I finally finished last night. Here is a drawing from December noting a conversation between daughter and aunt. I really wish the conversation had gone on from here, but it didn't and that's probably why I drew it.
Angels With Dirty Faces? What's that about?
The National Chamber of Commerce actively works to destroy the resources my old hometown Chamber of Commerce relies on for a healthy economy. In America it is easy to forget our own local Chamber is a completely different creature than the national C of C.
Their Chamber is not our Chamber.
In late January, I was invited out to a fabrication shop in North Plains, Oregon and asked if I wanted a job painting 230 silicon bronze panels with diluted acrylic paint and a blowtorch. I was not going to say no to this.
Two weeks after completing the job, I have finally stopped waking up at 3am with my torch hand cramped into an unbreakable claw.
The Sellwood Bridge Gateway Stratum public art project was designed by Mikyoung Kim of Boston. Oversight was by the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Fabrication was by sculptors Jim Schmidt and Sam Nagmay of Art & Design Works. I was called in by Robert Krueger, the consulting art conservator for the project.
The shop isn't really in North Plains itself, but up in the Coast Range foothills surrounded by doug-firs and Schmidt's big sculptures. My commute back home to St Johns took me further into the hills and then down Logie Trail.
For all the things at the shop that wanted drawing (gas-fridge-fish-smoker, fresh clam shucking, lots of blowtorch action) there was far more bronze that needed painting, but I still got about a dozen scribble starts in my notebook to finish later. Here are the ones I managed to finish.
While I was there working on Stratum, Art & Design Works had another project being finished up: a sculptural video installation designed by Jim Blashfield for a site in Seattle and being machined by fellow named Scott, not one of the usual shop crew, but totally friendly. Nagmay, Schmidt and their fuzzy machinist wunderkind, Brady, also kept a flow of personal projects, material experiments, and small, but critical, public art repairs moving through the shop. I kept ear protection handy.
The Stratum is 23 stainless steel towers gently twisting along the east approach to the new Sellwood Bridge. The towers themselves were patina'd by Nagmay with crisp, harmonic stripes in a narrow range of red, purple, ochre. The bronze panels were to be attached to the top and middle of the towers. Nagmay gave the panels a warm ferric patina as an undertone, then they were rinsed and sent over to my station (the best view of my station is in another, more personal, post).
My task was to create somewhat organically striping strata in warm ochre and a green turquoise, not far off what you'd get with a copper patina, but a little more to the blue. The stripes would be close to a pattern Nagmay had created with a cupric patina, while not pretending to not be paint. The panel colors needed to play against the oxidized towers, the river, the sky the hills. And they needed to be lightfast and durable.
I worked with a very limited palette of Golden Fluid acrylics and drastically diluted the paint so it could go on in several thin, hot layers. The panels were heated with a torch and the temperature maintained as pass after pass was made with loaded bristle or ox hair brushes. As it cooled, a coat of medium was put on to separate the color from the varnish.
We created test panels, then sample panels and sent these to Boston for approval. Once given, we began with the single-color lower panels that could be installed without a lift, and then did the upper panels.
The shop filled up with panels. Wooden trusses on saw horses held them waist-high leaving narrow aisles to walk through. They were varnished, waxed and safely stored until installation.
Installation was completed this past weekend during a two-day sun-break.
Here is the confluence of the Columbia and the Willamette, as viewed from timberland on the ridge NW of the two cities.
Caleb doesn't believe Finnegan cries when he leaves the house, but it's true. Finnegan sits at the window and whimpers and whimpers until a cat or a squirrel or a jay or some teenagers or a dog goes by.
At the top of Cathedral Park with 575 lbs of Newfoundlands.
Stephen O'Donnell and Susan Seubert talk about their current shows at Froelick Gallery.
Carson Ellis lives on an old farm in Tualatin. Her job there is to keep the owls in the barn hayloft comfortable without letting the floor beneath them rot away.
I went out to visit yesterday with the intent of painting a split oak next to the pond. But then I saw the owls. And then I saw the goat in the goat tree. And then I saw this cloud hovering between the water tower and the nut drying house.
So I'll have to go back sometime.
There was a protest and march in Portland, Oregon on the evening of the inauguration. I went down with a promise (to myself) I'd make it home early so we could all get ready for Saturday's march. I built a new, water-proof pocket-notebook and caught an empty #4 out of St Johns.
I could barely hear the speakers over the crowd at the Square. I watched friends and joined the march as far as the Morrison Bridge. I left briefly, but rejoined near Burnside and then left again before the police started hitting the marchers (and passerby) with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
Here are the larger drawings copied later from the soggy, little ones.
Holy Tornado. My love of drawing pictures of Senator Kaine is only exceeded only by how much the idea of anyone in the DeVos family running the Department of Education makes me want to puke supplement chunks and self-help lies.
The evening of the second day after the snow, the moon rose and the PGE trucks were out fixing broken power lines. Light from the PGE truck turned the soccer field and the (now head-less) snowman orange.
By the morning of the second day after the snow, the big snowball had a large head.
A large snowball appeared in the soccer field the first day after the big snow.
Hail to the citizen.
This is how you learn concertina, rocking it back and forth, button to button, until your fingers are familiar with the diatonic surprises and can go more or less straight to the notes when you're ready to start chasing melodies; a beautiful process just so long as you don't have an audience.