Portland: Days 3 and 4

I woke up early Wednesday night and didn’t sleep especially well. One of the things that Donna Watson talked about as a way of developing content was to brainstorm on a particular word that is of interest to you. The beginning words will be obvious but as you get to fifty, those words will have more depth. At five o’clock in the morning it was hard to come up with fifty but afterward I came up with even more and it’s something I’m still thinking about. If you want to do this exercise and don’t know where to start, starting with yourself would be a great place. You could start with your name and brainstorm fifty words describing yourself. I started with the word “scrap” and my beginning words were discard, waste, fragment, unwanted and I ended up with the thought that societies have used scraps out of necessity (I’m thinking of textiles specifically) and how that process is viewed in initially negative and sometimes ultimately positive ways. This feels like an interesting research project.

The second day of Donna Watson’s class was on composition. She has a great way of explaining composition basics using the design elements and principles. What I especially liked is that she has you start with the focal point of your piece and make everything you add support it. It’s not a way I’m used to working so it was especially helpful. She generally teaches much longer classes and I think it would be great to be in a five day class with her. I highly recommend her. She has a definitive quality to her and she’s great at composition.

On the light rail to downtown I took a photo of the water and I thought it was interesting that my previous photo of paper had similar colors: After class, I met Tom at the Crystal Ballroom to see Glen Hansard. He puts on a fantastic show. This one I thought was very good but since this is the fifth time we’ve seen him we started comparing his performances where we felt he put on stronger shows. The venue was a little odd. It was split down the center for the drinkers vs. non-drinkers. It didn’t make for very good feng shui. Glen Hansard is great about saying what he thinks and mentioned how white Portland is and that it could use some more black people. It was something I had said earlier so it was nice to hear.

One of my highlights today was visiting 23 Sandy Gallery. Laura Russell has a great letterpress show and I loved seeing the work of Mar Goman, Heidi Kirkpatrick, Mare Blocker and especially Linda Welch (her work took my breath away). Laura Russell along with Eddie Frager from Bridgetown Aikido convinced us to go to eat dinner at Bamboo Sushi. Really yummy, especially the “House on Fire” baked and smoked melt n’ your mouth mackerel.

Earlier we saw the work of Naomi Shigeta at Augen Gallery. I really enjoyed her meticulous grid work. Especially the teeny tiny labor-intensive grid work with dots of paint that the gallerist said she wouldn’t attempt again because it was way too dense and hard on her eyes.

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