Monday, December 10, 2012

Heros and friends


I had sort of an incredible weekend. First off, I splashed through rain puddles over to Nationale, to go look at some of Carson Ellis' pictures on the wall. And then I got to stand around and talk to the picture-maker herself.


1. My suspicions were correct: it does seem she pencils before she paints. I am completely amazed, as my own relationship with pencil is...strained at best. Pencil + water-based media - horrible smudging in my mind, and impossible to erase lines, but maybe I'm too uptight about this. Most of her work you could see gentle, faint pencil lines without much fanfare.

2. I go through phases where I get incredibly anxious and impatient about the trajectory of my career. And then I remember that the people I am comparing myself to, who I consider colleagues, are usually at least a decade older than I am, if not more. So there was a comforting I am right where I should be feeling I had as I left.

3. Carson was very gracious and said nice things about the phase of the career I'm in now.

4. We actually spent a lot of time talking with a friend of hers about mycology and not trusting twitter about which mushrooms are dangerous to eat. You know, regular things Portlanders talk about. It's clear from her paintings, but it was nice to kind of in-person confirm that Carson -- like me -- is a bit of a nature nut.

5. The director of Nationale was there and demonstrated her Jazzercise routine briefly for us.



The next day I went with Jennifer Mercede to Crafty Wonderland. It was way more crowded that we could have possibly imagined, because our city is devoted to All Things Handmade. And people make such interesting things: beard balm, toffee and chocolate, chapstick, objects out of old skateboards -- to say nothing of the fingerless gloves, hats, terrariums and art prints, the "usual" finds at a modern craft show.

We knew Jessica Swift had a booth so that was our first stop. Jennifer had seen her work online but they hadn't met in person, so I had the honor of building that bridge. We are hoping to all get together sometime after Christmas for a kind of Let's Paint Together experiment, and that would be thrilling.

Being there with Jennifer was such a thrill. Artists really are my favorite people. It meant I wasn't the only one regarding the fair in terms of "should we try and get into this thing next year?". Mentally taking notes of good booth behavior (and what makes people uncomfortable), how people set up their displays, price points, signage, all kinds of things. I gather these myself anyway, but it was fun to do it with a friend.

I watched Jennifer introduce herself as a painter to Heather Lightbody, whose incredible crochet creations look as though they could be a fiber sculpture of Jennifer's paintings. There's a great affinity to their work, and I told her so. I think it would be great if they did a show together. Jennifer had a wonderful way of slipping her card to Heather and talking about her own work without it sounding like an advertisement, nor did it seem like she was being an over-bearing fanboy (something I was hoping to channel just the day before -- everyone loves an admirer, but I think no one loves a starry-eyed fanboy).

Having said this, we were only there for about two hours. It started to get CRAZY crowded -- shoulder to shoulder drifting -- so there were people I wanted to introduce myself to but didn't, like Apak Studio, Little Otsu, Meg Hunt (who had a very good weekend indeed)

It completely blows my mind that I live in a place where all these rockstars just are. Even in my casual shmoozing I got to bump into an incredible variety of people, and if I had really applied myself all of these links could have become acquaintances. (Well, those that aren't already.) I feel very lucky.