Thursday, April 5, 2012

Phantom 2 and a Crazy Busy Spring

Well, I'm back at it after only a month of downtime since the last Phantom show. With an expanded team, we are launching the second Phantom show in just 4 weeks!

It will be a huge show in 10,000 square feet of vacant furniture show rooms. It will be a wonderful show, and different from any I have heard of. Because we have so much space, we will curate three concurrent and concentric shows, with 2 different juried shows, and a non-juried show, all drawing from the art submitted. We are setting the exhibit up this way so that the artists and the public can have a deeper look into the process and significance of the jury process.

In addition to the Phantom show, I am participating in the juried Paso Robles Festival of the Arts on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend. I will share a sculpture display with five other artists in the park across the street from the Phantom show.  

And meanwhile, the sculptors group of which I am president is conducting an exhibit at the McMeen Gallery during May as well. 

In the midst of all this my nephew gets married in the middle of May.

And did I mention that I'm building a chicken coop?

Needless to say, this is a crazy April!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Catching up!

It's been a busy winter! I have hardly had time to think about posting here, and my photo album is seriously out of date. Since the beginning of January, I have lead  The Phantom Project, a pop-up gallery project that utilizes vacant retail space to house temporary galleries. In that time, we took the show from concept nearly through completion, and will have our closing reception this coming Friday. Beginning at the end of December, no one knew about us, and by the end of January, we had 270 art works submitted by 87 artists. The first Friday of February we had a standing room only reception for the show's opening in a 2200 sf. gallery space.  My work was represented in that show by a diptych in pewter entitled, "The Chasm."

Here's some of the press we got for the show: February 2 New Times, February 9 New Times, February 16 New Times.

In addition to the Phantom Project, I also entered, and won first place, in the Allied Arts of Cambria February juried show with "The Dance," an ensemble pewter piece.

I am beginning work on a new series in steel and epoxy clay that will take the recent conceptual work from my pewter series and expand it into new spaces.

And of course, while all this is going on, Peggy and I continue with Outside the Lines, our weekly email journal about pioneering your own creative life. We're hoping you will check it out. It's some of the best work we have ever done, and it just might change the game for you if you give it a chance!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

a call for entries

In October I took on the executive leadership role at the Central Coast Sculptors' Group.  CCSG is an affiliated artist group at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. My main goal in taking on this position, is to invigorate the opportunities for art to be shown, and thus seen, in San Luis Obispo County. There are quite a few good venues already available here, but there are never enough.

Our very first project since I took on this new role is something we are calling "the Phantom Project." The idea here is to solicit the donation of vacant retail space in prime locations for temporary use as art galleries. A phantom gallery pops up for a month or so out of the retail inventory, then vanishes. Later, another phantom gallery pops up, either in the same space if it's available, or in another vacant store front elsewhere.

The shows will vary, but will always be nimble and light footed.  They will come and go quickly. No year long preparations, no calls for entry 9 months in advance. The artists who participate will have to be flexible and will have to have work available to show on relatively short notice. The patrons of these shows will learn to expect surprises, both in timing and in location, and we will cultivate a sense of adventure as we go.

The first phantom show is scheduled to open on February 2 and run through March 2.  It's open to all 2-D and 3-D media and will be juried at intake on January 28. Drop off your work in the morning, check back in the afternoon to see if it stays in the show.

Here's a link to our call for entries and show announcement. I hope to see you at the show!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just Between Us

May 6 is the date for this month's Art After Dark in San Luis Obispo. A highlight of this month's AAD is the opening of a new show in the McMeen Gallery upstairs at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. The show is named "Just Between Us". It's a collaborative experiment between Lucie Ryan and me. As we were working on the finishing touches of the show, we noticed a remarkable correspondence between our collaboration and a series of drawings by our friend and fellow artist, Evany Zuril, from Fresno. We asked her to put some of those drawings in our show, and we are happy to announce that she sent us 6 drawings to include in the show.

After the show opens, I'll post images in an entry here. I'm holding off on the pictures until then because I don't want to spoil the fun for those of you who will be able to make it out to Art After Dark. This show surprised us, even though we designed it, and we are hoping that you can come to check it out. It's a perfect example of the sum being greater than its parts—and we thought the parts were pretty damned good on their own.

Speaking of which, take a moment to get acquainted with Lucie and Evany and their work.

And if you are not familiar with the McMeen, it is at 1010 Broad Street at Monterey in San Luis Obispo. It's up the stairs at the Broad Street entrance to San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

Art After Dark is a county wide event in which all the galleries stay open late and schedule show openings on the first Friday evening of each month.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Dawn was clearly in pain. She was in need of a few days off to rest. I could see it in her face when she lifted Dad up to help him into the wheel chair or when she leaned over his bed to tend to him. I never knew what the source of this pain was, because she never spoke of it, even when I noticed it out loud with concern. Dad never knew the suffering of this woman who cared for him at the convalescent care center where he ended his days. She was there for him, day after day, for all the unceremonious, unglamorous tasks that are part of caring for a gravely ill person. 

Cherie and Stacie were RNs at the hospital. They tended to dad early on, while we still thought he would recover from his surgery. He was still strong enough then to be grouchy and demanding. Cherie and Stacie are both small women, but were able to get dad in and out of bed unassisted, and they were always bright and cheerful, even when he was in the foulest of moods. I could see his demands and fussing and impatience take it's toll on them, but they never let it show through to him. They were angels for my Dad, and when he ended up back in the hospital a week later, in a different ward, both came several times to see him.

Laura was a nursing student who cared for dad a couple of days on his last visit to the hospital. She was learning her craft, and had more time for dad than the regular hospital staff, so she was able to pamper him a bit, which was something he needed. 

Marie was the palliative care specialist at the hospital. She spent more time with me than with Dad, but was vitally important in helping me to understand how to balance Dad's comfort with the technical concerns of the doctors. When the time came to shift from healing to hospice, she was a godsend.

Dad's doctor is one of those guys you hope will care for you if you get really sick. He spent half an hour with dad every day for 3 weeks. He kept the channel open for me to talk to him any time I needed to, and represented his profession remarkably. Marcus Welby had nothing on Dr. Kolb.

Cindy was the hospice volunteer who came to sing hymns to Dad, accompanied by her guitar and her harp. Cindy has a rich strong voice that startles you with its uniqueness and beauty when she first begins to sing, and she picked some of the songs that I remembered my parents singing together many times. Dad and I were both deeply moved by her visit. She had also sung for Mom several times during her last days as well.

Lee is a retired nurse and  resident in the assisted living place where Dad lived before he was hospitalized. Two years older than Dad and born, like him, in Fort Worth TX, they had formed a strong friendship over the past couple of years. Lee came to see Dad at the hospital both times he was there, and sat for hours by his bed every day that he was at the convalescent care center once he went into hospice care. She was a true friend.

Tim is a guy about my age who befriended Dad a couple of years ago as well. Tim knows practically everyone in the assisted living and convalescence complex where Dad lived, and is loved by all. He used to take dad out for lunch or to watch rockets launch from Vandenburg AFB or to just drive around looking at the beautiful central coast scenery.  Tim is one of those guys who knows the value of unconditional love, from the giving side.

Eva was a nurse who cared for Mom in her final days. She was with her when she died. Dad always had a spot in his heart for Eva, and she came to see him the two nights before he died. She remembered many details about Mom, and talked to him, reassuring him that it was time for him to go and be with her—to "drive her around", which is something they always loved to do. Then she encouraged my brother and Peggy and me to go home and get some rest, because Dad probably was waiting to be alone to die. It is a common thing for people who are dying to wait until loved ones are gone. Mom did it too.

These are a few, but by no means all of the angels who cared for Dad and our family in recent weeks. There are more than I can remember names for, and some that I never knew names for. Tiffany, Angi, Debbie, Eppi, Irene, Virgie, Mugs, Ron, Marianne, and Bonnie are a few that come to mind. And they all are representative of the selfless nurses and caregivers who work tirelessly in every corner of the earth to do this extraordinary work. It clearly is not just for the pay. They are the bright lining of the health care industry, rewarded mostly by the inner light that calls them to such work. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sam Reddell, June 16, 1924—March 15, 2011

My dad died on March 15.  At 86 years, he finally found the rest he has longed for since my mom died two and a half years ago. He was married to, and madly in love with the same woman for 59 years before her passing. He never quite made the transition to single life, and could not bring himself to seek a new companion.

Dad lived in a wonderful assisted living facility in Morro Bay, CA. He made friends there, and had a good life. He was a musician—a singer—and one of that rarest commodity in such places: a male, with his wits about him, who could walk on his own two feet. But beyond that, he was a gentle man. He had ladies lurking around trying to catch his imagination.

He was one of those "greatest generation" guys. He was unassuming and a bit shy. He served in the Pacific in WWII on a sea plane tender, the USS Suisun. He was coxswain of the captain's motor launch, and one of his duties was to run smoke screens around the ship during kamikaze raids. He never made anything of how significant his role was in the survival of his ship and the logistics group it was part of. It brought tears to his eyes to talk about the guy who replaced him in that job, the only casualty on his ship—asphyxiated in his own smoke screen when the wind shifted to engulf his motor launch. The Suisun serviced the seaplanes that brought the American Brass to the USS Missouri for the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. In this role, the Suisun was the closest ship to the Missouri, and standing at attention on deck, dad had a clear view of the proceedings.

Dad raised 3 kids, lead the church choir, taught school—the first male 3rd grade teacher in California, then retired to homestead 15 acres in the remote panhandle of Idaho north of Coeur d' Alene. He worked that place for over twenty years before a major heart attack and 4-way bypass surgery brought him out of the woods to settle in California near my sister. The move to Visalia was when we all became aware of Mom's Alzheimer's disease. We could see that there were more reasons than a heart attack that brought my folks back home to the kids.

Dad was by my Mom's side every minute until she finally died of an old cancer that had been dormant for 30 years, only to surface when her mind was wracked with dementia.  Strangely, the cancer seemed like an angel of mercy to cut the suffering of my mother short. After 8 years of steady and utter loss, she was set free. But Dad was not. He never made the adjustment to life without his sweetheart, and even though his body was strong, his heart was torn open.

So it is with sorrow, but more so with relief that I send my Dad to his rest. Godspeed, sailor. Your work is finally done.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


My dad is in the hospital for the third time since November, and the seventh time in three years. He's 86, with several life threatening medical conditions. Of his three kids, I am the only one who lives close to him, so I am the designated point man for his care and assistance. This is a primary role for boomers these days, as our parents age and their health runs into the ditch.

I am happy to do this, and it's an honor and privilege to be there for the guy who nurtured and protected and encouraged me for all those years. But this privilege is not an easy one. There are times, sometimes extended times, in which everything else must stop, and my own priorities, goals, and ambitions take a back seat. This is one of those times.

Dad is in the hospital again, and might make it. His condition is more precarious this time than ever before. But he has bounced back every time so far, and I wouldn't want to bet against him. In the mean time I sit with him and sneak moments at Sally Loo's coffee house near the hospital to dash off an email or a blog entry when I can. But my studio is dark most of the time right now, and that's how it must be.