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Archive for March, 2011

Bernice Strawn sketching cactusI received a very sweet note from Bernice Strawn the other day. B and her husband, Mel, stayed in the Gallinero during most of the month of February and the first few days of this month. Mel is an art professor emeritus and B is a lifelong sculptor who builds fantasy boats which could grace a pharaoh’s tomb.

Here’s their joint website: http://www.strawn-art.com/strawn-art.com/Mel_%26_B_Home.html. And here’s what B had to say:

My husband, Mel, and I have stepped out of the cold February weather of Colorado to enjoy the sun on the little deck to draw, work on prints and sip a little afternoon wine.  The view across the valley to the south dips to the River Genil  and then up the steep terraced hillside carpeted with green and glowing with blooming almond trees. The Booths have cultivated an exotic garden here which immediately captivated me.  The local nopal, prickly pear cactus clumps, are fascinating and I did several prints based on those forms. In Maureen’s studio you can try out different approaches to printmaking and with her help you can find one that relates to the direction of your art. Maureen and Mike are very generous in their concerns for your comfort and the success of your art goals. We couldn’t have asked for more caring and attentive hosts.

Bernice and Mel Strawn, March 2011

That’s B sitting outside the Gallinero in the winter sun sketching the patch of prickly-pear cactus below.

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Our old friend, Barbara Mason (from the Atelier Meridian in Portland, Oregon), was kind enough last summer to recommend my etching workshop to a friend called Mary Marjerrison. Mary showed up a couple of weeks ago with her friend, the author, Nancy Tomasetti, the Gallinero’s first writer. Did they come from Oregon? No, they came from Milan, Italy, where they both live. It’s a small world. Hence the silly title of this post.

Mary Marjerrison working in Maureen's studioMary, who works in administration at an international school in Milan was able to rob a week for printmaking thanks to the very civilized Italian tradition of the “Settimana bianca,” a week off school in March. Perhaps it’s because she was previously an art teacher, or because of her high energy level (How many grandmothers do you know who run marathons?), but Mary got straight down to work, preparing her solar-print acetates in the Gallinero in the evenings and showing up in the studio each morning prepared to burn the images onto plates.

Perhaps her efficiency in the studio also had to do with the fact that she didn’t have a lot of experience with solar plates and was eager to learn. It’s often more difficult to work with people who already know a lot about the subject. Maybe that’s why the Chinese say, “Before you can fill a glass it must be empty.” I think she made more successful prints in one week with me than most artists make in two. Even so, Mary insists that she didn’t have enough time and that she needs to come back and do some more work as soon as possible. That’s excellent news. (more…)

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