Sunday, December 31, 2023

Collage and a new year

                                           December Marsh watermedia collage 14x22 inches

                                                  High Pass watermedia collage 14x10 inches

                                                   Fissure watermedia collage 14x11 inches

 Though not a fan of celebrations that terrorize dogs, there is something touching about the hope and optimism of the new year. Again. A mere 12 months since the last yearning for true change this time. If we weren`t so ridiculous it might be sad. 
And another election year, oh boy.
I wish I had saved it. There was an editorial in the NYTimes that made the case that it had to be a rematch between Biden and Trump. The 45th president got 74,000,000 votes. He has to be vanquished once and for all. Biden is still the best guy to do it, just like four years ago. Even if he`s 80. He`s no ones first choice just like he wasn`t in 2020. I remember watching one of the early Democratic debates and Biden was mostly ignored and when he did respond it was like he had woke from a nap. Then the pandemic crashed upon the world, we saw with horror how Trump reacted to this catastrophe and nearly every person in the country with a functioning brain realized Biden was exactly the man to beat him. Because of his experience but mostly because of his decency. He overwhelmingly won the Texas and Massachusetts primaries on the same day. 
Anyway the op ed made the case that the country still had unfinished business. Will we fight to be a democracy or do we want to believe a con once again? The polls say Biden is in trouble but I`m not worried. I wish he would address the country on two issues. Everyone knows the rate of inflation is much better but it is still shocking to pay the new prices. They are not going down. He needs to assure the public that he understands how troubling this matter is and explain how it happened. How he tried so hard to keep the economy healthy during the pandemic, avoid a recession, and inflation was a by product of that effort. Yet it worked. The US has one of the strongest economies in the world right now. 
And I`d like him to explain to the country the difference between Republican and Democratic approaches to immigration. I follow public affairs and I don`t really know. To no ones surprise he is being demagogued to death on the issue by Republicans. Not much of what they say is based in reality but nonetheless the public needs to know where the Democratic party stands on this.

 Speaking of inflation, I know the local solution. Non-northwesterners bear with me a moment. 

Because I didn`t really understand how Winco Foods worked, I foolishly ignored it for years. Even after reading a profile of the company and learning it was employee owned. This past autumn a friend returned from overseas and needed a lot of food to replenish her home and mentioned she had spent a chunk of money there. I started asking questions and my curiosity was provoked. I`ve shopped there four times now, none of them under an hour and a half and without exaggeration, I estimate it`s about 40% cheaper than Safeway or Albertsons. I have yet to spend over $90. It is truly amazing. The bulk foods are a big part of it. I`ve never seen such variety. It`s almost overwhelming and definitely more time consuming bagging stuff up. Not much to look at and it`s busy with many different flavors of society. Purposeful women who understand value abound. Each one an excellent cook, I`d bet my life.

 Look familiar? I knew what it was but I had never tasted one. Winco had a huge display of Dragonfruit and each one was of perfect ripeness, you could tell. $3. So I bought one and it was a delicate treat contradicting its fierce name. The produce here is unlike any I`ve ever seen. They must contract with completely different farmers and brokers. Big bunch of cilantro is $.68. Have I convinced you? If I was young, I might try to work there. A cashier told me the pay and benefits were great. They are hiring.


 Another report for the locals. 

Because it`s winter and the weather too unpredictable, instead of hiking, I wanted to do something with my friends indoors. I had heard about a permanent 'art' installation that was interactive, colorful and cozy. My sister in law was sort of tongue tied in describing it when she returned and now I understand why. Hopscotch is a collection of rooms designed by individual artists with lots of computer driven visual effects that the viewer moves within. It reminded me of the 'light shows' the art club created during our junior high dances in the 60s. Psychedelic! The displays were interesting even if baffling in their intent. Yet as a social activity I think it was successful. Somehow seeing my lovely peers in flashing strobe lights was endearing. I had to be helped out of the trampoline 'environment' when I sank thigh deep into the surface. I`m getting a new knee in February and am not so flexible right now. The only exhibit that really felt like art was the the room of secrets. On entering you hear murmuring, overlapping voices. Three suspended domes hang from the ceiling. When standing under one of them you could hear a solitary voice speak one of their secrets. A soundproof booth to record the secrets was also part of the set up. Listening to the voices anonymously 'confess' was engaging. I could hear the restraint and relief in the voices. This is what I like about conceptual art, it makes me feel in unexpected ways. In the photo 3 above, my pal Kevin is entering a fuzzy dome as I am still getting my bearings. It was fun, not too expensive and a nice place to be with old friends.

                                                Baptism watermedia on Yupo 26 x 20 inches

 My painting is in transition, lots of disappointments. This came from my preoccupation with red and a less demanding attitude. I want my acrylic paints to act like oils. They refuse so I have to work within their limitations. This is reflexive with watercolor but I have trouble accepting the quirks of acrylic, particularly the lower pigment load. The beauty in gestural technique is lost if i have to repaint the movement.

                                                                           de Kooning

 I have been a devout student of the work of Willem de Kooning for decades. He`s been gone a long time now. Suddenly within the last year or two I am seeing work like this which is entirely new to me. How has this escaped my attention? My guess is the original collectors and their heirs have died and the paintings are coming onto the market where they are photographed and eventually I see them. This piece is so rich and stunning I was shocked when I first saw it. I`ve never seen red and orange together like that. The vigorous white areas set off the jewel like colors while the whole composition is tumbling. I would kill to see it live.

 The city of Palm Springs bought this oversize sculpture of Marilyn Monroe based on a famous still photo from her movie The Seven Year Itch by Billy Wilder. She offers shelter from the sun as well as the rain.

Happy New Year!

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