Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Missing My Studio

And I did indeed have a full blown studio and I miss it very much, though it was overfull and often I ended up working on the floor or out on the s green porch. Nevertheless, its was chock full of my 'stuff'. Photographs, boxes of them and scraps of photographs, boxes of them, and collage materials, boxes of them. And fabrics and yarn and beautiful sheets of paper. And I am remembering that ten drawer flat file that I left when I sold the house. Sure could use it now and forever.
 Worktable with not the best lighting, which is why I usually went to the screen porch where the light was natural and without weird shadows. But it was nice to look through the window at my garden. Yeah, I miss my garden too.
All collages from Shoreline and Marfa and more boxes of loose bland & white prints.  The prints are now all in my brother's warehouse, awaiting sorting and attention. And those baskets including that crabbing basket on the right - all gone. I miss them.
It isn't that I have;t created a brand new place that is pleasing to my eye. I simply like what's gone and what's now. I just love 'stuff.'

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Vote Yes for Beto - Even If You Are In Seattle

Jeanne Returns for 30th Lamar H.S. Reunion and Poe Elementary Celebrates 90 Years

The week after I returned from the the road trip with Kate across the prairies and mountains of Northwestern U.S. and Canada, Jeanne arrived from Seattle for her 30th Lamar HS Reunion. It's been a big family month or two and I love it when any one or two or three of my girls visit. I wish they and their kids could come to Houston more often. It warms my heart to see a daughter or grandchild sitting at John and Trish's kitchen table, or meandering around my apartment. Note to Caroline and Mary - come anytime.
Jeanne's high school reunion was the same weekend as Poe Elementary School's celebration of its 90th year. So, there were lots of folks to see and with whom to catch up.
One of Jeanne's earliest friends in life is Jason Norwood. He and Jeanne were three years old when the Norwoods leased the Camfield's house during Bill's sabbatical in Paris. The Norwoods moved in from Liberty, TX, to see what big city life had to offer. Neither Jeanne or Jason had any business wandering alone between our house and theirs, but when either Barbara or I failed to account for one of them, most likely we'd find them together. It only took a minute for one of them to make the trek down the sidewalk.
Jason and his parents went back to Liberty just before high school, so he wasn't part of the reunion. Instead the two had lunch together and came back to my place for more visiting. Couldn't help myself - I took lots of pictures of them, listened to their easy conversation, their memories. There's a nice familiarity with friends one has known since early childhood.
Jeanne saw other old friends and neighbors at Poe festivities.  All in all, a weekend filled with long-time acquaintances and rememberings.
Jeanne ready to tour her old elementary school.

Brother John, Vic and Bobbie Samuels and Jeanne. Vic andBobbie were
Poe Carnival chairmen the year I was PTO president.
Carol Nelson, MMH and Mary Flood Nugent.
Bill and Ginny Camfield with Jeanne.
Richard Stout and Jeanne. Claire Stout was Jeanne's dearest friend during
pre-school days and early elementary school. Stefan Stout sends his kids
to Poe and his wife teaches here. Significant number of families are second
and third generation Poe grads.
Melanie Lawson relates her story of integrating Poe and being one of two African American girls
in the sixth grade classroom and what that felt like.
Jeanne with Sheila Earthman and Jennifer Herolz Tellepsen
Poe parents selling Poe tee-shirts. Bought one for each of my girls. Even got them
send off to Seattle and Portland. Plus Beto tees.
So many memories of my three daughters performing in this stage. Looks the same.
Jeanne Hansen McGrady and Lauren Keith Earthman, friends since middle-school.
Allison HErolz Teheng, Poe 90th Anniversary weekend co-chairperson with Jennifer DeLange
and her mom Trudy Herolz.
Early evening gathering at Goode Co. Armadillo Palace with Barbara Norwood,
MMH and Trudy Herolz. Remembering when we were infamous Poe parents.
Sally Lehr needs to be in this picture.
Before that trip to the airport, we stopped at Beto headquarters on OST for tee-shirts and a sign.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Blocking Walking for Beto

Two weekends ago, my grandson Kelan and his dad Dan arrived from Seattle on a Friday evening with plans to volunteer for Beto. They'd show up at a campaign office on Saturday morning for block walking assignments. On Sunday morning, they'd head toward another campaign office and work a different neighborhood. Each wore the Beto tee shirts that Jeanne bought them when she was in Houston for her Lamar HS 30th Reunion.
On our way home from the airport, we stopped at John and Trish's for Goode Co. BBQ and pecan pie. Absolutely the best way to begin a stay in Houston, TX and build strength for two days of  marathon block-walking.
Saturday morning we stopped for more fortifications at Brothers Tacos on Leeland and Emancipation, always the best. And then they headed toward Eastwood for an orientation and an assignment of 100 houses.
All day, they knocked on doors or stood at sidewalk gates confronting barking dogs. Dan says they actually only spoke to 10 people out of their 100 house assignment. All was duly notes on a Beto app. The work of this campaign is big on technology.
Kelan was pretty deep in sleep on Sunday morning, but he rallied, ate breakfast and then he and his dad headed out to a neighborhood off Old Spanish Trail. They block walked until late afternoon and then as a finale, they drove to the Northside to see and hear Beto speak. A fitting end to a weekend touting this candidate who could oust Ted Cruz. We're hoping that new young voters and enough Republicans can bring themselves to vote for a Democrat (in most cases, unlikely) to carry Beto off to WDC. We'll know in two days time.
BTW, I loved having Dan and Kelan visit. Wonderful to have my Seattle family show up on Houston and sit at my dining room table. It feels really good. And look who they got to hear speak before they left for home in Seattle.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

80/80 VISION, Earl Staley Paints Portraits

Thursday evening was terrific - a fete in honor of Earl's 80th birthday at Deborah Colton Gallery, followed by a three day pop-up exhibition. Since mid-May, Earl's painted 80+ portraits and they are the heart of this show. However, the entire gallery, room after room, is filled with a selection of his other paintings, plus tables of watercolors, ceramic pots and painted tin cans. If any of this appeals, 'get thee to the gallery'.
Earl began to contemplate portrait work last spring and invited Pete Gershon to sit for him. Then he asked Robert Boyd. Both men sat quite still on several occasions in two hour increments. The process was tedious, so Earl started taking photos of people and then painted from images on his laptop screen.

As the summer unfolded, portraits covered Earl's studio walls, except for one wall where all other recent paintings were stacked. Happily, Bill Arning emailed Deborah to ask when she would be showing these portraits, because, he wrote, "everyone is talking about them."
Earl's opening night attire.
Thus, '80/80 VISION, Earl Staley Paints Portraits' came to be. A four day pop-up coupled with Earl's 80th birthday. The pop-up opening became a celebration of his birthday and the folks in Houston's art community. And what an evening it was. Below are pictures taken by Laurie Perez. I love what this talented photographer is able to capture.
Gallery owner Deborah Colton and painter Earl Staley stand beside their portraits.
Artist Penny Cerling.
Art historian and scholar Randy Tibbetts.
My lifelong friend and gardener extraordinaire Sally Lehr.
Siblings two with Earl's portrait above.
That would be artist Dan Havel with MMH. Dan and Dean Ruck created
that magnificent piece of recycled metals in the Houston Permitting Center in 2011.
Kanethia Powell, fabulous woman.

Interesting evening in that evermore portraits and selfies were occurring in the moment as Laurie Perez took photos of folks beside their painted selves and others began using iPhones to photograph the happenings. In this 21st century, we are obsessed with selfies and capturing the moment. I count myself among the obsessed. 
Thanks to Deborah Colton for organizing a grand 80th birthday celebration for Earl. Couldn't have been better. He's a happy man. Those portraits are selling.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

One Week Before Midterm Elections

In one week's time, two years will have past since the election that changed our world. At first, we were stunned, in shock, unbelieving. The horrific begin to unfold hour by hour, because he is a master at capturing the 24/7 news cycle. We are inundated daily and it ever more difficult to remember what was 'normal'. Our Congress could stop his antics and atrocities; our Constitution gives them full authority to do so. But the Republican majority does nothing because he makes it easy for them to pursue an agenda that caters to donors while harming the rest of us.
We live in a country where there is no longer any semblance of a common good. A healthy public realm is dead. White nationalists have been given tacit authority to act. The rest of us are wary, uneasy. More and more of us - Muslins, Mexicans, Jews, African Americans, LGBT - are unwanted, deemed a threat to making 'America Great Again.' Two years and we're into open warfare. Most of us don't call it warfare yet. We say we must win back the House and Senate. Then we can begin to push back with agency.
Long time friends are working at campaign headquarters for Beto and Lizzie and Todd and Justin. And when we aren't at headquarters, we are glued to MSNBC or the NYT. We worry about voter suppression in Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, South Dakota. We've marched more in two years time ever before. Our marches are beginning to be labeled 'mobs', which I believe is a precursor to sending law enforcement, and perhaps the our own military, to keep us in line. As if our marches and letters, texts, op-eds and verbal outbursts directed toward elected members of Congress were a threat to the nation. If we are perceived as mobs - many of us with small children in tow, many of us in wheelchairs, many of us grandmothers and great grandmothers - well, we become fair game for his cadre of white nationalists.
I wonder what our days might have been like if Hillary was president, if the popular vote had won her the election. I know I'd not lay awake at night thinking about the brown children stuck in that facility off the highway east of El Paso. I'd not burst into tears in a synagogue parking lot after showing my driver's license to police officers just because I was invited to a joyous Bat Mitzvah. I'd not be uneasy about affixing a BETO bumper sticker on the back of my car. I'd not be making frequent phone calls to Texas senators. I'd not be writing this post.
May the best candidates win next week's election.

Halloween 2018, For 4 Hours We Forgot Trump

Weeks ago, I saw Paper City's Catherine Anspon at an opening, or a party, or ????, and she reminisced about the Halloween she shared with Earl and me in Idylwood. I'd invited her for supper at my kitchen table. She remembers it took her 45 minutes to drive down Lindy Lane and round the corner to Rockbridge because of trick-or-treaters. They come in cars and pick-ups by the hundreds  because folks in Idylwood are friendly and have the best candy. Halloween in Idylwood is a wondrous event. I love it even more because Mary brought Queta to Halloween in Idylwood just a few weeks after they met. We three welcomed minions of little costumed ones.
I'm not in Iydlwood anymore, but Catherine suggested that Halloween would be a fine time to get together. And so we did. We decoupaged and embellished masks and ate Mexican tacos, Central Market roasted veggies and Roanne's homemade 'melt-in-your-mouth' flan. Beth's house guest, artist Joan Batson, arrived with an artificially broken nose - much the good witch effect. Scroll down to see the requisite photos of this light-hearted event. BTY, Earl Staley paintings make incredible backdrops for mask portraits.
Notably, for 4 hours, not one of us lamented the horrific state of our Union, Trump's inflammatory tweets, the tense closeness os the BETO/Cruz Senate race, or the vicious hate crimes and massacres committed of late, or Brett Kavanaugh, or suppression of voting rights. I cannot believe I am writing this. I cannot remember any sort of gathering without mention of the life-changing times in which we live. In short, I found it remarkable that the Trump-effect was not a part of this Halloween evening. We did ask if everyone VOTED - unanimous YES.
This morning, it's back to work for Beto and Lizzie and Justin and Todd (and Republican County Judge Ed Emmett). Election Day is less than a week away.
Thanks, Catherine, for suggesting we share another Halloween. And thanks for the blurb in Paper City touting Earl Staley's Birthday Bash tonight at Deborah Colton Gallery. The portraits are on the walls and we'll celebrate and sell this evening and through the weekend. Even as we