Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A pleasant getaway...

Things have been quiet on the blog because I've been on a little trip. After the big push for the first 4 months of the year, I was definitely ready to get out of town for a few days and visit friends I haven't seen for awhile. Luckily, special events were taking place wherever I went. But dang! I managed to be having such a good time that failed to take many pictures except for a few along my favorite stretch of highway through the Palouse Hills.

I nearly drove off the road in one twisty section coming up from the Snake River because of windmills looming along the bluff where windmills had not been my last time through. I'm forever fascinated by these and had never been this close to them. I found a place to pull off and get a few pics for future reference. Even with a bit of car showing, you just don't get the full sense of the size of these things.

First stop, Walla Walla and an opening reception for my artist friend Bonnie Griffith. I had not planned to go down that way, but when I learned of the reception at Sapolil Cellars, a great venue for Bonnie's Walla Walla area landscapes. It is located in an old building in downtown Walla Walla, long and narrow with high ceilings, one side brick walls, the other a stucco-like tan. They also serve food and have live entertainment. My goddaughter and boyfriend joined me and Bonnie, enjoying the art and staying for dinner. After catching up with her, it was off to Bonnie's house for more catching up.

 Next day I was with friends going back to when I lived and worked in the area back in the 1970's. They wouldn't let me out of town without a trip to Stash quilt shop. I restrained myself and only came away with the one batik in the picture above. Then it was hit the road again for Yakima and its annual Artist home and studio tour.

My Yakima friends were very excited that my visit coincided with this event and we started at Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley Community College to catch the Fiber and Jewelry exhibit. We raised our eyebrows at a few entries, but there were also some very beautiful pieces. There weren't signs prohibiting pictures but I wasn't comfortable taking any in this venue. For my altered book fans, the piece on the right on the postcard above is made from sheet music bound with Coptic stitch.

The highlight of the tour each year is Leo Adams whose home is as interesting and eclectic as his artwork. To learn more about Leo and see pictures of the house, see this Seattle Times article from 2003. Particularly note the picture of Leo painting in his second story studio. Apparently he usually paints sitting on the floor and had a painting lying there in progress during the tour. Scatter about it were many pages pulled from magazines and garden catalogs. You could see the references he was using for the flowers he was filling baskets with. Fascinating, as I still seem to think "real" artists just paint straight out of their imagination. The interior of the house itself is a mix of sophistication and unfinished roughness, a blend that should jar but for some reason works beautifully.

Sharon Strong was another stop on the tour. She does beautiful glass - that's her work in the center there, a "woven" trivet. My friends bought it for me and also gave me that cheeky Yakima wine and Prosser's Chucker Cherries dessert sauce. Wait a minute - I thought it was the guests who were supposed to give gifts, not the hosts! Do I have great friends or what? They also treated me to the fine cuisine at Gasperetti's, the owner of which is a long-time family friend. Onion rings and calamari to die for, and a grilled chicken, goat cheese & sun-dried tomato pizza that's out of this world. Gasperetti's has been a long-time supporter of the arts and features Leo Adams' paintings and murals spanning over 30 years as well as many works by Bill Brennen who we also saw on the studio tour. Brennen is known for his "barn" paintings which you can see a sampling of here

Oddly enough, the artist whose work I liked the most (and wished I could have afforded a few pieces of) is a professor who paints and collaborates with Brennen on music on the side. No website or blog to point you to so you will just have to trust me that his watercolor mountain landscapes were captivating.

And now I'm home and feeling refreshed and reinvigorated after so much exposure to others' art in different settings than I've become accustomed to. It's good to get out of your little bubble and fill the senses with new vistas and ideas.



Sherrie Spangler said...

This sounds like a wonderful trip! Thanks for the report and the link to the house article.

Cathie said...

Such a lovely adventure. And isn't it fun to unpack all your goodies when you get home?! I love going through my bags and pulling out the treasures I picked up along the journey. Send me your address - I have some batik scraps I'd love to send you. I used to have it - but can't find it.