Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Francisco Adventure: Beyond Golden Clouds.

Soluna and the Stream of Life.  8" x 10"
We've had some beautiful sunny days over the last week in Northern California, and last Wednesday I took myself on an adventure to San Francisco.  It was a lovely day, a great artist's date, inspiring this mixed media piece, which is poorly photographed here.  It's nicer in real life : )

It began when I got up at 5:45 a.m. and realized that I only had 15 minutes to dress and get out the door.  My husband, bless his heart, cooked me a breakfast that I had time to eat just two bites of, then he drove me to the bus stop.  I went down to the City on Golden Gate Transit, spending the time most pleasurably listening to  a downloaded book on my i-pod.  I'm really enjoying "Belong to Me" by Melissa de los Santos.  She has an ability to convey scientific information (granted not a lot of it) in a natural flow as part of her character development.

The bus let me off near Market Street where I caught a muni bus to get closer to my destination. Then I walked a few blocks to the San Francisco Friends School.  I went to the open Meeting for Worship that they hold on the first Wednesday of the month, before meeting with staff members about our upcoming trip to El Salvador in June. San Francisco Friends School is in the former site of the Levi Strauss building and has been remodeled to be a lovely space for children and staff.  A friend of mine told me that she used to visit someone who lived in an apartment across the street and you could see into the windows at night to see the factory workers sewing blue jeans!

My friend Stephen was at worship and greeted me warmly, as did all of the staff people I met.  After worship, we conducted our business and I was given a little bit of a tour.  It's a fabulous environment for children, and I was very impressed.  As a former elementary principal, I've never seen children filing into an assembly room in silence before and maintaining a stillness for a 30 minute period---there were wiggles, for sure, but no giggles or talking.  Although it sounds contrary to the nature of children, I believe that Spirit was moving in that room and that the children were open to it. 

After that lovely beginning to the day, I took myself to breakfast and then went to FLAX on Market Street.  FLAX is an artist's playground.  Oh my gosh...there's a whole huge room of papers, every kind you could imagine.  It's way too hard to decide, so I bought a bag of cut up remnants for collage work.  Also some micron pens and a couple of new stamps.

Then, I went to the Asian Art Museum.  The whole museum is amazing, but I was blown away by the exhibit "Beyond Golden Clouds", which includes three centuries and three galleries of Japanese screens.  These are very large screens, five or six feet high, and usually come in pairs.  They were placed in historical order, and you could follow the progression from the early black-and-white ink screens which were influenced by Chinese art, to the contemporary work.  More and more color was added in later years, and often more gold leaf.  Most screens have a nature theme or allude to a famous legend or story.  Most are read from right to left, and contain a reference to all four seasons.  They are usually paper, with a double border, and are mounted on a black lacquer frame.  The exhibit will only be there a few more days, til January 16.  I highly recommend that you drop everything and go, if you possibly can.  If you can't get there, you can go to http://www.asianart.org/blog/ and scroll down to Nov. 30 to see a little video of the screen restoration process.

When I saw the contemporary artist Kayama Matazo's "Tanabata" (http://aamdocents.org/AAM/Special/10_10GoldenClouds/Images/Cat29.htm#icon), I was inspired to create something on canvas for the Creative Every Day's "Cosmos" prompt.  This is mixed media, acrylic and papers.  It's my first attempt to do something on canvas! This was amazingly fun to do, though I certainly don't want you to think that I'm comparing my piece to this fabulous artist's. One of the things that tickles me about the finished piece is that it takes on different characteristics depending on the angle that you're looking from.  The tree didn't pop from the straight-on view until I added the snow.