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Mighty mite

Towards Dam, Michael McCaffrey, oil on panel, 8″ x 8″

This little work is lit with an intensity that Van Gogh went south hoping to find, painted with an economy of means Edwin Dickinson pulled off in his premier coup canvases. It’s tiny, eight inches square. At that size, Michael McCaffrey invests a humble power and life into his kinetic, tactile marks. It makes De Kooning’s slashes of paint seem hyperbolic and theatrical by comparison. McCaffrey’s targets are way harder to hit, being so finely calibrated, which concentrates the power of his marks, his accuracy of representation making the brute physicality of his brushwork so energizing. The stucco promontory in the front looks as dazzling as coral, and yet also gently evocative of early growth in the spring. It works observationally, gives a convincing glimpse of a grassy patch, yet that sandpapery swath of color easily could be a detail from Braque.

One of the many mysteries of painting is how such rough execution, such raggedy shreds of paint, applied as if the project were masonry rather than a picture, conveys the raw light and air, no less, the clean scent of that tumbling breeze, almost by accident–the way rhyme somehow coincides with the exact articulation of something new in a sonnet. The sky and clouds are a sort of hyper-blue that feels like one of those noons in March, warm with spring sun but still chilly with late-winter wind. The wiped-away blur of olive and ochre and murky blue-green across the middle works as a distant landscape with a tree for this miniature world to pivot around. It looks as if he’d painted with blunt, bristly instruments, and maybe a cotton rag, that little random scribble under the cloud carved into the wet paint with the dull point of a brush handle, like a jerky signature.  Michael McCaffrey’s work can be seen in Painted at Manifest Gallery, and spotting his name in that show, I went hunting, and I found this wonder from the past along with a few equally impressive little landscapes, executed with the same kind of heedless joy.

Get Your Tickets for RGAC’s 2019 Auction and Fundraiser and See New Art

October 9 artblast Stefan Wolf
Detail of Home Invasion, woodblock print by Stefan Wolf
NEW EXHIBIT BEGINNING FRIDAY
IN THE COMMUNITY GALLERY

Deep Impressions:
Handmade Prints by Stefan Wolf

October 11 – November 22, 2019

Wolf Stefan_Parable_Rich Fool

Reception: Friday, October 18, 5:30-8:00 pm

Stefan Wolf demonstrates his passion for relief printing with his striking hand carved linoleum and woodblock prints. His work reflects on universal themes inspired by orthodox Christianity and Western tradition.
TIME TO BUY YOUR TICKETS!
Front Save the Date 2019 auction Roman HolidayThe annual auction is our most important fundraiser of the year.
Please join us.

Rogue Valley Country Club
2660 Hillcrest Road, Medford
5:00 p.m.
Evening includes silent auction, cocktail hour, dinner,
live auction, and live music by “Band du Pays Swing”

Dinner Menu
Mixed Greens Salad with Assorted Toppings and Dressings
Artisan Bread Rolls
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
(Vegetarian) Pasta Salad
Seasonal Vegetables
Herb Roasted Petite Pearl Potatoes
Chicken Chasseur
Gluten Free Spinach Florentine Ravioli
Chocolate Mousse Parfait
New York Style Cheesecake
Roxy Ann Claret and Pinot Gris Wine

Tickets $65 per person

Purchase tickets HERE>>

UPCOMING CLASSES IN THE ROGUE STUDIO

Rogue Studio Figure Drawing Sessions
All media welcome
All skill levels welcome
Six Sessions, Fall Series: Tuesdays, October 15–November 19, 6 pm–8:30 pm

Six Tuesday evenings for 2 1/2 hours of moderated, uninstructed figure drawing sessions with a live model in the Rogue Studio. Adults 18 years and older from beginning to advanced levels are welcome. The sessions will include short gestures and longer, sustained poses. Students must provide their own drawing materials. Drawing boards, worktables and easels are available for use.
$45 FOR THE SIX SESSION SERIES, $15 PER SESSION
Register Here >>

Figure Painting with Ilene Gienger-Stanfield
All skill levels welcome
Oil or pastel media
Friday-Sunday, October 25–27,
9 am–4 pm

The human figure is an elegant and detailed subject. In this workshop Ilene gives you the tools to successfully address the figure, including fundamentals of drawing, value, edges, and color theory. Using live models and photo references, she will help students with their individual goals and challenges.
MEMBERS $300,
NON-MEMBERS $325
 Materials List
Register Here >>

Woodblock Print Making:
Traditional and Modern Methods with Walt Padgett
All skill levels welcome
Woodblock Print Making
Optional after class
open studio 3 pm–5 pm
4 Sessions, Thursdays,
October 24–November 14, 11 am–3 pm

Japanese woodblock prints have been created for centuries to capture a variety of subject matter. Using influences from cultures of the West and the East this class will explore various techniques for creating timeless woodblock prints. Learn a variety of methods to streamline and simplify centuries-old, time-proven, traditional Japanese techniques with world-class printmaker Walt Padgett.
MEMBERS $275, NON-MEMBERS $300 Materials List
Register Here >>

CALLS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Habitat ReStores is looking for artists interested in volunteering their skills in designing beautiful designs and painting on their walls, floors, and windows. Contact Alex Jones, ReStore Director at (571) 773-9095 or [email protected]

Habitat ReStores is also taking donation of donations of artwork and furniture.

Follow Rogue Gallery & Art Center
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Please “like” Rogue Gallery & Art Center on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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Call the Gallery for more info: (541) 772-8118

Check out more fun activities at: www.roguegallery.org

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is the Rogue Valley’s premier non-profit community art center founded in 1960 to promote and nurture the visual arts in the Rogue Valley. The Art Center showcases emerging and established artists, presents fine crafts by area artisans, and offers a broad range of visual art classes and workshops for all ages.

Rogue Gallery & Art Center is located in downtown Medford at 40 South Bartlett Street. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We are open third Friday 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

Northwest Mystics 2019: Women of the PNW

Northwest Mystics 2019: Women of the PNW ​presents over 20 women artists for a representation of power found in the feminine mystique and, ultimately, communicates an inspired message that will leave viewers uplifted, hopeful, and with a little joy in their heart.

Center on Contemporary Art Northwest Mystics 2019

From December 5 through 21, Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) presents, “Northwest Mystics 2019: Women of the PNW.” CoCA will wrap up their 2019 year of amplifying the voices of women and femme-identified artists with an exhibition, not only of women, but also works from select CoCA members. A 2019 Mayor’s Arts Award recipient, CoCA has been an artistic staple in Seattle since 1981 and continues to challenge the status quo while exploring cultural assumptions and highlighting the essential role of art in a global conversation.

“Northwest Mystics 2019: Women of the PNW” will include a wide variety of artists from different backgrounds to include a musical performance, sculpture, painting, and video, as well as lighted animatronic motion-sensitive “flowers” by Sena Clara Creston that engage directly with visitors. Additional artists in the show include Amina Maya, Anya Gudimova, Aramis Hamer, Babs Fulton, Cathy Sarkowsky, Christy Bailey, Eliaichi Kimaro, Jenny Jun Smith, ​Jocelyn Beausire, ​Kree Arvanitas, KT Hancock, Michelle Friars, Minhi Wimplempeck, Ouija Boob, Polly Purvis, Sandi Bransford, Sonya Stockton, Shima Star, ST Rivera, Vian Nguyen, and Victoria Raymond.

This show is inspired in part by the life and work of gallery owner and catalyst for the Northwest School, Zoë Dusanne as she celebrated the ingenuity and unflappable spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Her life, work and dedication to creating and holding space for contemporary art is one that CoCA deeply identifies with. Dusanne was also a trailblazer of her time as the first African-American woman to open her own gallery, a working single mother and, along with her parents, a founding member of the Seattle chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1947, Dusanne built a home in Seattle specifically designed to double as an art space, which she opened to the public in November 1950. Dusanne’s persistence and dedication to presenting artists, who would later be known as the “mystical” painters from Northwest School, resulted in a feature in ​Life ​magazine in 1953 and propelled the Northwest School to national prominence. Unfortunately in 1958, her home and gallery were demolished in order to accommodate the construction of I-5—something Seattleites can still relate to today.

CoCA’s nod to the Northwest School’s history is visible in landscapes such as one with a twist by Jenny Jun Smith or nature-inspired abstracts with a dark misty palette by Cathy Sarkowsky. In contrast to the Northwest School artists, this show displays a visceral sensuality and playfulness of the feminine mystique. Some works speak directly to the current social climate, such as ST Rivera’s ink on paper piece titled “Machismo;” Vian Nguyen’s oil painting, “Torn;” and Victoria Raymond’s 3D mixed media collage, “Grit.” “Northwest Mystics 2019: Women of the PNW” is a visual representation of the beautiful struggle of the feminine and, ultimately, communicates an inspired message that will leave viewers uplifted, hopeful, and with a little joy in their heart.

 

Exhibition Runs December 5 – 21, 2019.
Opening Reception, on December 5, 2019, 6-9pm, part of Pioneer Square Art Walk and includes a musical performance by Ouija Boob at 7:30pm.
All events at CoCA in Pioneer Square: 114 Third Avenue South, Seattle, 98104
More info: ​cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/northwest-mystics-2019

Dive Into Another Watercolor Odyssey with Katrina Meister & Central Art!

Dive Into Another Watercolor Odyssey with Katrina Meister & Central Art!
Central
                                                          Art Logo

 

Watercolor Exploration Workshop Series “Autumn Pears”

with Katrina Meister

 

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019

Where: Central Art

Time: 2pm – 5pm

Fee: $45 – Supplies are included

*Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Payment is required at time of registration.

 

Katrina has teamed up with Central Art to create the Watercolor Exploration Workshop Series!

Each class is focused on supplies or techniques, all materials are included in the cost of the class, and you will have some to take home to continue on your own!

For our next installment, we will be drawing and painting Pears using Daniel Smith Primatek paints to create wonderful granulation effects.

 

Call 541-773-1444 or visit Central Art to register!

 

To see more of Katrina’s work, visit www.katrinascards.com

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Adult Art Classes at GPMA October, November, December 2019

Click on any picture to reach our website class signup page.
We now have two levels of pricing for classes.
 Museum members receive a $5 discount on all adult art classes.
To become a member or to renew a membership:

Elements of Art – Texture, Form, & Shape

with Kristen O’Neill

Saturday, October 12

1 – 4 pm

Part of the series of fundamental art classes: Elements of Art
We will explore texture and how it creates the quality of an object, how form is created in 2D & 3D artworks, and how artworks have used shape.
Class includes:
  •  An art history exploration of works that focused on texture, form, and shape.
  • Art projects to explore all three: texture, form, & shape.
  • Looking at art in person and applying what we have learned.
$30/Members,
$35/Non-Members.
All materials provided.

Folk Art Dolls
with Karen O’Brien
Saturday, October 19
1 – 4 pm
In this workshop you will learn primitive doll making techniques to create a simple doll. Karen will share her mixed media tips and techniques to create amazing, whimsical faces using a variety of media. In this class you will make a simple “stump” doll. The term “stump doll” refers to an early design made from a single continuous shape, often without arms or legs with stitched or drawn features. She will provide a pre-sewn “body,” so you can forgo sewing machines and cover each step in creating your doll. You will cover pattern design, hand sewing, antiquing, clothing, drawing the face and options for adding “ears” for a black cat? – Halloween is just around the corner! No painting or sewing experience is required. This class is for all skill levels.
$35/Members
$40/Non-Members
All supplies included

Mini Books

with Cindy Hernandez

Saturday, October 26

1 -4 pm

Students will create a mini-book and will also receive supplies to make an additional book. These mini-books are ideal for sketchbooks and are made with watercolor paper.
$45/Members
$50/Non-Members
All supplies included

Needlefelting Birds

with Corbin Brashear

Saturday, November 2

12:30 – 4 pm

Needlefelting is a fun way to create small, soft sculptures out of wool. Corbin will teach you how to create the body shape, then add lots of exciting details. They always come out great. No experience is necessary. All the supplies are provided.
$40/Members
$45/Non-Members
All supplies included

Get Social Media Fit!

with Kelli Matthews

Friday, November 8

1 – 5 pm

Join us for an interaction workshop to build your social media muscles! Building healthy social media for your business or non-profit doesn’t have to take a lot of time. With a good plan, a practical calendar, and some simple tools, you can be social media fit in 10 minutes a day (or less). Learn how!
Kelli Matthews, Sr. Instructor, University of Oregon & Managing Director, Verve Northwest Communications
Kelli has worked in public relations for nearly two decades. She’s a strategic communications professional with extensive experience providing counsel, researching, planning, implementing and evaluating communication initiatives. Her 15 years of teaching experience at the University of Oregon keeps her on the cutting edge of research and practice. Particular areas of focus include: digital strategy, media relations and crisis communications.
$50/Everyone
$40/Non-Profits
All supplies included

Origami Card Holders

with Linda Dunn

Saturday, November 9

1 -4 pm

Join fabric artist Linda Dunn for a fun filled afternoon learning how to dress up those holiday gift cards with origami card holders using both paper and fabric variations…no sewing required!
Class instruction will walk you through the entire process from paper/fabric selection & preparation to simple origami construction and finally creative embellishing ideas for that artistic touch. The fabric cards holders are very durable, suitable for everyday use and are perfect for credit cards/store cards and business cards.
Class fee includes all material and supplies to complete 2 paper card holders plus 1 fabric card holder. Additional prepared fabric may be available for purchase.
$25/Members
$30/Non-Members
All supplies included

Elements of Art – Space, Balance, & Composition

with Kristen O’Neill

Saturday, November 23

1 – 4 pm

How do artists create space, and use balance and composition in their artwork?
Class includes:
  • An art history exploration of works that focused on space, balance, & composition
  •  Art projects to explore all three: space, balance, composition
  • Techniques for problem solving works in progress (you can bring in your own work in progress if you want)
  • Looking at art in person, with a focus of applying what we have learned.
$30/Members
$35/Non-Members
All supplies included

Origami Fabric Boxes

with Linda Dunn

Thursday, Dec. 5

1 – 4 pm

Fabric artist Linda Dunn returns for another fun filled afternoon creating fabric origami boxes…no sewing required! This class will feature holiday themed boxes which are perfect for gift giving, stowing away small treasures or display as a unique decorating accent.
Class instruction will walk you through the entire process from fabric selection & preparation to simple box construction progressing to more complex variations and finally creative embellishing ideas for that artistic touch.
Class fee includes all material and supplies to complete paper “mock ups” plus 1 fabric box.
Additional prepared fabric sets will be available for purchase.
$35/Members
$40/Non-Members
All supplies included

Elements of Art – Emphasis & Movement

with Kristen O’Neill

Saturday, December 7

1 – 4 pm

Final class of the series of fundamental art classes: Elements of Art
Emphasis and movement can be key elements of art that help create interest and drama. Explore this concept in an art history presentation and learn how to:
  • Create a strong center of interest or focal point
  • Move the viewers eye through a piece in the way
  • Explore the illusion of action
  • Create a suspenseful moment and how to have use tension in your composition.
  • How to use emphasis and movement to finalize an artwork.
$30/Members
$35/Non-Members
All supplies included

All class sign ups are considered final and refunds are not given. The Museum will give a full refund in the case of a class being cancelled.
Unsure if your membership is active? Check in with the Museum staff by calling 541-479-3290, or email [email protected].
Thank you for supporting the arts!

Grants Pass Museum of Art | 229 SW G StGrants Pass, OR 97528

Painted

Shot of Painted exhibition at Manifest

Taffy #2, on the right, next to work by Perin Mahler, far left, and Dana Saulnier

Taffy #2 will be in Cincinnati at Manifest Gallery until later this month, in Painted, the organization’s 4th biennial survey of contemporary painting. It was up against some stiff competition from the U.S. as well as from a number of foreign countries. As the indefatigable Manifest crew says on their site: 

For this exhibit 167 artists from 35 states, Canada, Greece, Singapore, and Turkey submitted 682 works. Thirty-three works by the following 26 artists from 17 states were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Jason Franz, the gallery’s director, sent participants an email with nearly exhaustive photography of the beautiful installation. The glimpse it offered of the other work inspired me to search out a better look at the paintings on view—from the artists’ websites. I’ll be posting some brief appreciations with images of paintings from the show over the next couple weeks. Some of the most arresting work was from: Kim Anderson, Hannah K. Freeman (can’t wait to see where this young artist goes with the devotion she brings to her work), Donald Keefe, Anne Lindberg, Martina Nehrling, Robert Samartino, Carol Stewart, Dganit Zauberman and two painters associated, in the past and now, with First Street Gallery in Chelsea: Dana Saulnier and Erin Raedeke, one of the most delicate and lyrical of contemporary perceptual painters, whose work I’ve written about before. 

I’m hoping to get back to a regular schedule of posts, after four months of nearly total immersion in caring for my parents. It was a sea change of a summer for me, and I hope I can channel my response to that ordeal into a renewed dedication to daily painting. Even so, for several members of my family, a relocation to the Northwest where I grew up may be on the horizon over the next year. It will pull me away from the ability to work for another (much shorter) hiatus at some point. It’s a frustrating period for me, because I’ve reached a point where I know I can apply, in an organized and reliable way, what I’ve learned to do over a period of decades. 

All in due time, you might say, but patience is easier to observe than to put into practice. It is the hardest virtue to learn in painting. But during these unjustly lazy-feeling periods of hiatus from the studio, I will feel like a sinner even if I develop all the patience in the world, because I always have Kafka’s aphorism in the back of my mind: “There are two main human sins, from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence.” No matter how hard I work at other crucially vital things, time not spent painting feels like time lost, though I know this feeling was my enemy and not my friend this past summer. I’m happy I didn’t heed it. 

October 2019 News from Columbia Center for the Arts

First Friday Gallery Opening Reception
October 4, 6-8pm
October Art Exhibitions
Best of the Gorge — Juried show
Ted Olson — the eastern gorge
Claire Dibble — Columbia River Source to Sea
Schedule:
  • Juror’s talk and awards: 6:30pm
  • Claire Dibble artist talk — Columbia River Source to Sea7pm in the Theater
  • Nancy Richardson Fischer book signing — The Speed of Falling Objects: 6-8pm
Best of the Gorge
October 1-26
Opening Reception:
October 4, 6-8pm

Our relationship with this landscape and its people is what the Best of the Gorge exhibition is about, as artists create work that speaks directly to their connection to place.

Ted Olson’s
the eastern gorge

October 1 – 26
Opening Reception:
October 4, 6-8pm
oak savanna, open grassland, fields of wildflowers, broken basalt buttes and, of course, the sky
September – October
Opening Reception:
October 4, 6-8pm (With a talk by the artist!)
A solo paddling expedition and social-engagement art project that will cover all 2000 kilometers of the Columbia River.
Suzy LaRuffa
at Windermere Realty

through October

Portland,OR Mixed Media Artist inspired by nature, in love with texture!

September – October
Enjoy a glass of wine and the bright and whimsical paintings of Charlene Rivers at Cathedral Ridge Winery through the end of September.
Volunteer at CCA! 

As a nonprofit organization, Columbia Center for the Arts depends upon the generous support of our volunteers to sustain a growing array of educational programs, art exhibitions, and performing arts events.

Submit your volunteer application today and receive a complimentary event ticket!

Copyright © 2019 Columbia Center for the Arts. All rights reserved.

CCA’s mailing address is:
215 Cascade Avenue
PO Box 1543
Hood River, Oregon 97031

The view from my room

E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View delivers its wisdom with affection. There are no villains in this novel, only people who, unintentionally, without malice, lead others astray. This is a universal human predicament for Forster, primarily because individuals can so easily lead themselves astray, and he finds it both amusing and problematic. People may be hopelessly lost most of the time, but he doesn’t dislike anyone for that. It is a very amusing novel, though it’s also one that can bring the occasional tear of humble gratitude to your eyes for the warmth Forster shows to all his characters. As with Jane Austen’s vision, his is the story of someone at risk of never recognizing that everything she wants is right in front of her. This isn’t just a familiar high concept for a romantic comedy, it’s also Forster’s general view, in the novel, of human awareness. It’s a book about the folly of conformity in the social world and, on an epistemological level, the ignorance embodied in knowingness. The challenge for his characters is how the mind becomes a prisoner of what it takes for granted. His story shows how one heart wins out against the long siege of the mind. In all of this is a hint at the role visual art can play in human life. In a world where a well-timed view can offer escape from the mind’s confinements, visual art is situated to open some doors.

In the foreground of the story are groups of people who are hyper-aware of one another, self-consciously doing what they are supposed to do, seeing what they are supposed to see, Baedeker in hand, a herd of travelers obedient to their own confirmation bias. They judge themselves and one another by conventions that channel their lives into safe, predictable paths. Abroad and at home, they are like bees gathering pollen without ever seeing the garden.

As a backdrop to this comedy, the novel offers glimpses of a categorically different, all-encompassing way to see the world. The sky, the sea, the hills, untouched by the seasons, preside like Greek gods–but ones who have ceased to meddle, for better or worse, in the plight of the book’s characters except to show them a radiance that hints at freedoms they seem to dread. Those elements serve as backdrop and origin of everything human, all of the events most threateningly vital and beautiful: a sea of violets, a face at a window, a kiss in an open field, a passionate murder in a piazza that erupts in front of Lucy Honeychurch and then fades like a thunderstorm until it almost seems to have never happened, at least to her. She shakes it off and shuts it out.

The book can be read as a comedy, but it’s a novel with sobering convictions about the estrangement of psyche from eros (in the largest sense of eros as an appetite for Life beyond the grasp of understanding). The struggle to harmonize mind and heart rises to the status of a spiritual ordeal: their estrangement is a sort of original sin in Forster’s world. George Emerson scrawls a question mark on a sheet of paper that he leaves behind in the room that Lucy and Charlotte eventually occupy after they arrive in Florence. He’s obsessed with what Heidegger would call “the question of being.” He can’t make sense of the universe. It’s an impenetrable puzzle to him, as his father suggests to Lucy in a quiet moment. He tells her that she could befriend him, free him from his question mark and help him say yes to life.

It doesn’t appear to be a tough assignment. A glimpse of her beauty is enough. As Lucy wanders off looking for the Rev. Beebe, she steps onto a natural terrace covered with violets that have spread out and down the hillside, overflowing and flooding the hill with color. Forster situates Lucy at the source of beauty itself: “This terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.” Whether or not beauty will save the world, as Dostoevsky wrote, it’s all that’s needed to get George reoriented. Lucy realizes she has stumbled onto this disturbing, unconventional young man, raptly observing the view of the trees, hills, sky, and when he sees Lucy riding her sea of violets, like Botticelli’s Venus, he strides forward and silently kisses her. The death in the piazza she was able to shake off within minutes. The kiss, though, infects her with an anguish of divided emotions she wrestles with for the rest of the story. Unconsciously, she can tell where this all leads, and it terrifies her. She shuts the window on it, the way she did with the murder in the piazza, and acts as if nothing has changed in her–that a man has simply insulted her virtue. But the rest of her story shows her fleeing what she feels, hiding from the fact that she loves someone odd and unconventional and at times offensive to the people around her.

Lucy “was sure that she ought not to be with these men; but they had cast a spell over her. They were so serious and so strange that she could not remember how to behave.”

Finally, because of the elder Emerson’s insistent compassion for her and her son, she finally awakes from the self-deceit of her engagement to the most educated and knowledgable man in the book–the one least aware of the beauty in Lucy’s character.

There has always been much talk about the novels of ideas. Saul Bellow was once heralded as a thinker. Yet as brilliant as Humboldt’s Gift is, Bellow applies a welter of ideas to the story the way a gardener applies compost. (In the book, Humboldt calls himself a “shoveleer.”) Bellow’s musings, transferred into the mouths of his characters, help expand and grow them in the mind of the reader, because they indicate so much of Charlie Citrine’s and Humboldt’s inner lives, but the action of the book has little to do with the ideas his narrator wedges into the events. The story simply gives the author an opportunity to digress into the historical and philosophical and metaphysical speculations that preoccupy him. Forster’s characters, in their conversation and behavior, their emotions and thoughts, embody and enact Forster’s central insight about the limits of human self-awareness. They don’t tell you about it–they aren’t aware of it themselves–instead, they show you. At one point his narrator simply steps in and states directly what is obviously happening, simply to underscore the central idea of the book, that people have to struggle all their lives to take one honest step: to recognize who they are and what they should do.

The contest lay not between love and duty. Perhaps there never is such a contest. It lay between the real and the pretended, and Lucy’s first aim was to defeat herself. As her brain clouded over, as the memory of the views grew dim and the words of the book died away, she returned to her old shibboleth of nerves. She “conquered her breakdown.” Tampering with the truth, she forgot that the truth had ever been. Remembering that she was engaged to Cecil, she compelled herself to confused remembrances of George; he was nothing to her; he never had been anything; he had behaved abominably; she had never encouraged him. The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul. In a few moments Lucy was equipped for battle.

The battle is with herself. Lucy’s peril is everyone’s. She’s like Huck Finn feeling guilty for freeing a slave and yet ultimately unable to stop himself–precisely because he’s a good person, though he believes himself a criminal. Lucy’s “views grew dim” as she locks herself into the room of what she thinks she should do. George and his father are exceedingly odd ducks, awkward men she knows are unacceptable in her circle–they are embarrassing–and yet everything they say and do opens her soul to the beauty of her life.

Forster’s religion is individual, idiosyncratic, the religion closer to William Blake, the early Wordsworth, and the American Renaissance, one without an institution to contain or channel it. He keeps organized religion at arms length and gently mocks it in the figure of Rev. Eager who is giving a pedantic–but well-informed–tour of the Giotto paintings at Santa Croce early in the book. But one of the wisest and kindest people in the novel is Rev. Beebe, almost an avatar for the book’s narrative intelligence that nudges people in the proper direction, hoping for the best, expecting much less, while forgiving them for whatever ends up happening. What’s required in Forster’s world isn’t knowledge, but rather a new sort of self-knowledge that’s rooted in an expansive sense of the world’s beauty and joy and a conviction of human fallibility.

The book is essentially about the real meaning of the word “repentance” in the New Testament: the need for an upheaval and transformation and radical reorientation of human awareness through humility. The story embodies this transformation without ever talking about it: it’s the armature of the story. Metanoia, as the Greeks referred to it, means to do an about-face, to gain a completely different view of life–but when that upheaval comes for Lucy, sorrow is all she feels, until the joy of realization floods in. The transformation Foster is trying to dramatize is about awakening from the sleep of safety and predictable routine and propriety to a riskier engagement with what is unpredictable, what’s “indelicate but beautiful” as the book expresses it early on. It’s about doing the inappropriate but beautiful thing, again and again, as the only path to a true life. As the elder Mr. Emerson–the most compassionate and socially awkward soul in the book–says, urging Lucy to realize she loves his son: “Life is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.” This is Emerson’s greatest gift to Lucy, shocking her into a view of her own heart. His words devastate her, at first, but his tenacious compassion, the depth of how much he cares for her and his son, enables her to see herself for the first time.

Up from the labyrinth of common sense and conscious reasoning, somehow or other, she gets a glimpse, a view, of the whole of life–and this view, this life preserver, is a gift not an achievement. Lucy and Charlotte are given their view of Florence and the Arno at the start of the book–and Lucy keeps being given an enlarging view of the world throughout the story. They don’t earn it; mostly they don’t even want it. The book is all about the tension between the safe confines of the room of daily life–habit, convention, caution, and prudence–at odds with the rescue of a beckoning view. It’s all about the struggle to finally see the truth by letting go of what you think you know. The opposite of ignorance, for Foster, isn’t knowledge. Those who know the most are the least likely to see the view.

Modernism, in painting, began with a rejection of knowing in favor of seeing the world with fresh eyes–and nothing more. It was an attempt to replace ideas with life. Cezanne had highly influential ideas about how to paint, but not about what a painting was supposed to mean. Impressionism offered a way to see the world directly, without reference to myths, without trying to turn a painting into a metaphor. Modernism and post-modernism moved on from this radical, original shift that put seeing as the whole point of the enterprise. Since then, thinking has returned to painting with a vengeance. Yet modernism began as a way of putting into practice Blake’s assertion that you can escape mind-forged manacles through “an improvement of sensual enjoyment.” This sounds fraught with problems. But Blake was pushing back against the intellectualism and skepticism of the Enlightenment, its disembodied lucidity. Painting, for Blake himself, was one way to enact this insight–open your eyes in order to open your mind, which was a credo implicit in Impressionism.

Pure painting requires the painter and the viewer to simply pay attention; thinking about what’s been shown or seen is an option, not a necessity, and usually an impediment. It blocks the view. The particulars of what’s seen matter in a technical way, enabling the painting to work, but it’s the integral nature of the view that’s mysterious and inaccessible to intellect; this wholeness is the whole point, as it were, regardless of all the specifics of an individual work. In Forster’s novel, music serves this function. Lucy plays a bit of Beethoven on the piano, immerses herself in Beethoven’s world, and then ventures out into the world of Italy more open to its possibilities, receptive to what’s there. (In one of Forster’s other great novels, Howard’s End, the Schlegel sisters debate whether painting and music do essentially the same thing.)

In Rev. Eager’s little textbook commentary on the Giotto paintings at Santa Croce, Forster gives one of his most foolish characters a chance to express the book’s deepest wisdom about art and life. The paintings don’t shine because of technical qualities. They make visible something otherwise inexpressible: “Observe how Giotto in these frescoes—now, unhappily, ruined by restoration—is untroubled by the snares of anatomy and perspective. Could anything be more majestic, more pathetic, beautiful, true? How little, we feel, avails knowledge and technical cleverness against a man who truly feels!””

Rogue Gallery Special Reception Sept. 27: The Cutting Edge

Rogue Gallery & Art Center Special Reception on September 27, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

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The Cutting Edge: Ceramics by Baba Wagué Diakité & Collages By Penda Diakité

September 27 – November 8, 2019

Main Gallery Exhibit

 

Opening reception to meet artist Baba Wagué Diakité and Penda Diakité, September 27, 5;30 – 8:00 pm

B Wague Diakite bowl

This exhibit features a collaboration of father and daughter artists, Baba Wagué Diakité and Penda Diakité. Ceramic artist Baba Wagué Diakité and collage artist Penda Diakité create vibrant work featuring expressive narratives. Each artists has a unique approach, embracing styles and influences from contemporary to traditional, from Mali, Africa to Portland, Oregon.

Baba Wagué Diakité is an artist, author, illustrator and storyteller. He was raised in Mali, West Africa and is now based in Portland, Oregon. His work is animated with engaging figures, vitalizing the traditional forms he learned from his grandmother in West Africa by bringing them into contemporary times. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and has received critical acclaim in numerous international magazines.  He is the founder of the Ko-Falen cultural center in Bamako, Mali, which promotes cultural, artistic, and educational exchange between the United States and Mali.

Cabako 3x2 Penda Diakite

Penda Diakité professional pursuits include art, film, and running her art inspired fashion line PendaWear. She is the daughter of two artists, Baba Wagué Diakité and Ronna Neuenschwander. She grew up between Mali, West Africa and Portland, Oregon. Diakité’s mixed media work meshes the vibrant colors and patterns of her Malian heritage with influences of her American urban upbringing using spray paint, acrylic and paper collage. Her work reflects traditional and contemporary themes, telling stories about identity and humankind.

Penda Diakité will present a workshop on her unique collage process on Saturday, September 28 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. To register, visit www.roguegallery.org or call 541-772-8118.

Refreshments from Harry & David will be served at the reception.

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is a non-profit community art center, founded in 1960 to promote and support the arts in the Rogue Valley. The center exhibits a wide range of artistic styles and mediums from local and national artists. Programming includes art educational opportunities for children and adults. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (541)772-8118 for more info or visit www.roguegallery.org.

Living Large on Little: Part 2

This month, a second installation from my forthcoming mini book: Living Large on Little: How to See the Invitation in Limitation. It is divided into sections of vignettes, and the following bit appears in the “Joy” section….

The idea that an apple a day keeps the doctor away only works if we choose to eat the apple.

Joy is an active choice we make. 

I like to distinguish happiness from joy. To me, happiness depends on a certain outcome or circumstance, but joy is independent of any externals—it’s a heart-set. A choice. 

This means I can still have joy in the midst of grief, but I probably can’t be happy. I can be happy when I buy a new pair of boots, but not necessarily when I splatter paint all over them—and joy doesn’t require any specific footwear.

But then, I sometimes forget my own theory and use happiness and joy interchangeably. 

Sometimes, joy is taking a moment to laugh at ourselves and all of our theories.

(PS: If youre in Southern Oregon, save the date for the book launch on the evening of November 9…more info soon!)