Seeking an alternative route from I-5, we found ourselves driving along these fields near Maricopa.
Over the recent spring break, we took our daughter and niece on their first college tour. As juniors thinking about going on to a four-year college, it’s nice to get a feel for what’s out there. We chose to start in the Pacific Northwest, since it’s relatively close, and a place we wanted to visit.
In our rented car, we drove as far north as Vancouver, Canada, and as far south as Portland, Oregon. We visited friends, had some memorable meals, poked around bookstores, judged coffee shops and walked miles. The schools were interesting and unique, large and intimate, and we didn’t even need an umbrella!
Here are some photos of art- in nature, in cities and on campuses….
fallen petals (Portland, Oregon)
Molly and Kevin’s rock garden (Bellingham)
a favorite beast depicted in a childrens’ garden (Seattle)
Lewis & Clark
neat chandelier in Voodoo Doughnuts (Portland)
push pin mural (Portland State)
at Evergreen (Olympia, WA)
music store in Seattle
University of Washington, Seattle
outside an art professor’s office
portion of a zodiac sundial (Gasworks Park, Seattle)
mini sculptures at University of Washington (carved from bars of Ivory Soap)
sculpture in Seattle
flying back into San Jose
Big weekend! I was wandering around downtown this weekend (my possible goal was to buy a pair of red shoes…) and was pleasantly surprised at how many others were out and about, and the variety of events going on.
First I went to see the Wet Art preview exhibit at the cavernous ground floor of the Rittenhouse building. Thirty six artists were paired with wetsuits from local surfers and challenged to create an art piece that would be outside-the-box. The wetsuits have been transformed into whimsical and fantastic sculptures and two dimensional art. Some retained their wetsuit shape, others were not as recognizable as former wetsuits. These pieces were on display to the public for two weekends. I ran into my friend who introduced me to her daughter-in-law, wave rider Sarah Gerhardt, and I even recognized the names of the Isiderio twins, elementary school students who are members of the Boys and Girls Club.
If you want to attend the Wet Art VIP event you can see the artwork close-up, and even bid on the pieces. This happens this Saturday night with proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club. To see photos of the artwork and for more information on the Wet Art gala, go to http://www.wetart.org/#!
Next, I popped into Artisans Gallery to see their Wall of Hearts. Local artists donated a 10′ square piece of art which are hung quilt-like on the gallery wall. Joining the display are heart collages created by children and other heart-themed artwork, including Beth Purcell’s stunning mosaics. There’s still a little time to enter a silent bid on anything on the wall, (The auction ends Valentine’s Day at closing time!) or make a donation to purchase one of the student pieces. (I chose a charming work of art by an 8-year old.) Proceeds go to the Cultural Council’s Spectra program.
At the MAH, I was able to secure an appointment with a writer to compose a love poem for my husband. Since I am poetically challenged, this was an easy and enjoyable experience. Phren-Z, a Santa Cruz writers group presented the Love Letters Project. I consulted with lovely Alyssa about my life-long partner, and she coaxed out a poem on her turquoise typewriter. The result tugged at my heart…and it only took 15 minutes! (The Winter issue, with copies of the letters and poems will launch online today at Phren-Z, Valentine’s!)
I ran to the Bagelry to meet my husband and daughter, had a lively chat with Tessa and Judith, and had my favorite ‘Moxie’. I didn’t have time to look for shoes, but, later in the afternoon I accomplished my goal and found a pair of red platforms that make me several inches taller. And, I got to wear them at a fabulous party that night! (Thanks to Erica and Rusty and the co-housing clan!)
The weekend also contained breathtaking waves we watched while doing Tai Chi Saturday morning at the Lighthouse, led by Michelle Hayward, a ridiculously fun zumba class with Jodi, Tara and Ras at Toadal Fitness. And, to top it off, we caught the closing dance show of the Escapades at Harbor High. The student run/choreographed/performed show was truly inspiring… so much talent, energy and creativity!
Gung Hay Fat Choy! / Happy Chinese New Year!
Is it already that time of year? Open Studios has come and gone, the weather is cooling and it’s time to start thinking about what, if any events I will be doing for the holidays. I am pleased to have my schedule mostly filled out! There are a few opportunities to see my work around town. (And, you can always contact me to schedule a private studio visit!)
Currently, I have an exhibit at the La Madrona Swim and Racquet Club. My original pastels and prints will be gracing the walls of their clubhouse through November.
My painting ‘Arana Gulch Sentinel’ is in the Santa Cruz Art League’s “Works on Paper” show. There will be a reception next Saturday from 3-5. I’m interested to see the range of artwork in this exhibit… should be exciting! The show runs through November 20th.
This is an unusual one… I am a featured artist on the advertisements for the Scotts Valley Artisans now being shown at the Cinelux Theatre in Scotts Valley. Look out for my paintings if you happen to be catching a movie there! I will also update you on open houses at the Scotts Valley Artisans where I have some of my art for sale. They have a wide selection of fantastic creatively-made gifts from almost 100 artists!
I will be part of Artisans Gallery’s “Home for the Holidays” group show in November and December. The artists will be showing artwork inspired by places around our beautiful home of Santa Cruz. And, Artisans is printing a calendar featuring 12 of our images! My month (don’t know which one it is, yet!) will display the painting ‘Wilder Colors’, one of my all-time favorites. It will be a fitting gift for all those that love this area. There are receptions scheduled at the gallery for the First Friday Art Tours on November 4th and December 2nd, from 6-8pm. You should be able to meet all the artists at the latter, and enjoy refreshments at this festive event.
Finally, I will have lots of handmade glass and fimo-clay jewelry, as well as greeting cards and prints for sale at the 4th Annual Artisans’ Handmade Gift Sale on December 3rd from 10am-5pm. It will be located at 1543 Pacific Avenue (the former Velvet Underground building) near Lulu Carpenter’s. There will be around 45 artists involved, all selling gift items for $25. or less!
Truthfully, we dined beneath a beautiful old tree…
But the adventure started under a canopy under another chestnut tree at the farm’s entrance where we were greeted by Route 1 Farms staff. My husband and I had carpooled to the farm, located in a quiet valley on Ocean Street Extension, with my sister and brother-in-law. It had been drizzling earlier, so guests came prepared with warm clothes and rain gear. But the weather cooperated, and before we finished our first glasses of chosen libations, the sun was brightening, and we were peeling off layers.
Around eighty guests milled around, sipping Odonata wines, Golden State Ale (Uncommon Brewers), proseco, homemade lemonade, or lemon verbena infused water, while nibbling tomato & cheese crostini. Everyone was in a festive mood, excited about the good eats, clearing skies and what was to come. We chatted with newly made friends, wandered around the green house and admired the farm views, showing rows of healthy plants, with a backdrop of hills and trees delineating the hidden shore of the San Lorenzo River.
When all the guests had arrived, the farm’s owner, Jeff Larkey introduced himself and told us about the history of the farm and how using nature friendly, non-conventional methods at all the sites (ie. composting, diversified crops, creating beneficial habitats and planting cover crops) he and his crew have developed a viable business growing high quality produce and supplying it to local businesses and families. I thought it interesting that the variety of plants is always changing, depending on what grows best, weather, new techniques, pests, and what the community demands are… how the farm is always evolving. Jeff, glass of ale in hand, took us on a tour, past the last crop of basil, through persimmon trees and thriving cabbages. An easy going man, Jeff answered guests’ questions as he showed us around.
At the conclusion of the tour, we split up to make our way through rows of newly sprouted dill, towards the outdoor dining room. Lovely set tables were arranged around 3 sides of a beautiful, leafy tree, with a cooking area off to the side, and drinks station between. Denis Hoey, owner of Odonata Wineswas on hand to pour his locally grown wines. My favorites were his Malbec and Syrah, which went perfectly with our meal. There was no rush to sit down, everyone was happily mingling and enjoying the setting. We ended up at one end of the table, introducing ourselves to Ed (one of Route One’s original owners) and his musician son, who had both been there all day, helping to set up.
Damani Thomas (from Oswald, one of our oft visited destinations) was our chef, so we knew we were in for a fabulous feast. And finally, the family style meal began, with an intriguing salad of beets, potatoes and romaine. As expected, it was delicious! We couldn’t help ourselves from having second and even third servings. Then our friendly servers brought out the entrée, perfectly cooked, moist, spit-roasted pork served on a bed of sautéed fennel and bell peppers. This was accompanied by a creamy sunchoke and parsnip purée (I had never really liked sunchokes before this), yummy, savory braised greens (a mixture of kale, dandelion greens, and chard??) In the meantime, conversation flowed and wine glasses refilled. Nina, one of our servers brought us out small portion of the vegetarian option to try. It was a savory bread pudding which was rich and tasty. The sun descended, twinkling lights were turned on, and hanging jars of candles were lit.
Dessert was the last course, a meyer lemon curd tart with golden raspberries. The beautiful tart and raspberries, along with a taste of Odonata’s Grenache, was the perfect end to a glorious meal. We were reluctant to leave, lingering at the table, but when the time came, we were handed bouquets of yarrow, said our farewells, and happily strolled out the dirt road to our car.
I know this is a detour from my usual blogs, but I truly believe that food (especially fresh, local and organic!) is alternative medium from which art can be created. I feel fortunate that I can experience the artful meals of Damani, and if you haven’t had that pleasure, I hope you will. Who doesn’t love good food!
Open Studios is closing in! Once again, I start out each day with a list of things I need to get done. Items can include “order reprints”, “pick up glass”, “buy mat board” and most importantly… “paint”! But as time marches closer to my first Open Studio day, October 1st, I inevitably must finish the new art creation and get down to the nitty-gritty parts of preparation… framing, getting my announcements out, and making my popular greeting cards to sell. The list goes on, and as my friend and fellow Open Studio Artist Erika Perloff says… “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
I’m always excited for the days when I get to greet new visitors and old friends, and to hear what people say about my work. So, please consider yourselves invited!
My studio will be open October 1 & 2, 15 & 16 from 11am to 5pm
I am at 103 Redwood St, Santa Cruz- it’s off of Bay St at the corner of Redwood and Palm.
And here’s a sneak preview of how I created the new painting featured above, “Clouds- St. Maarten”. You may remember seeing a photo of this beautiful bay in one of my earlier blogs.
I decided to do this painting on a dark blue colored sanded paper. I started with a sketch using a light grey pastel pencil. Unfortunately, my sketch was so light, it wouldn’t show up in a photo. The mountains were filled in first. (Sorry, I forgot to snap a picture until I’d already done most of that section.) I also blocked in the clouds.
The band of water closer to the land is done next. I hope you can start to see from the shadows on the mountains, and the color of the water that the sun was shining from the left side of my picture.
I start working on the seaweed that grew in the shallow water and ‘floated up’ into the reflection…
Then the sky was finished (I blend the pastel in with the tips of my fingers.)
Here, I’m working on the water and clouds reflected on its surface. Between this step and finishing, I worked on the trees in front of the mountains, added seaweed and ripples in the sea, and cleaned everything up. It does look better in person- come and see for yourself!
Also a reminder: For information about Open Studios, and to find out where to buy a catalog, go to the Cultural Council
To see more of the featured artists’ artwork, visit the Preview Exhibit at the Santa Cruz Art League
I’ve been in Greece now for over three weeks, and I figured I should write at least one post from abroad. When we’re here, we slow down and simplify our lives. Days consist mainly of swimming, meals, reading and sketching. Mornings are good for an early swim, or sitting and having a coffee while watching passers-by. It’s also when we buy our daily breakfast pitas and bread, when we might take a walk to the grocery store or do a small bit of work on the house. I’ve also found it’s the best time for sketching- when there are few distractions and it’s still on the cool side.
Once or twice a week, we get out of the village to visit some place new, try the sea at a new beach or eat at a different taverna.
One doesn’t have to look far to see magnificent scenery here. We marvel at the beauty surrounding us, the turqoise sea, gnarled and twisted old olive trees, wildflowers, mountains and sunsets. There’s also the architecture, abundant home gardens, taverna life (with occasional bouzouki music) , perfect stones. Many artists from around the world have used this area for inspiration. How can I not be influenced by it all? Though I brought a larger selection of my pastels this summer, I have not broken them out… it’s much easier, instead, to draw.
So, here one of my ink pen sketches, some local art, and examples of what will become subjects for future paintings.
To see all my drawings, go to my facebook page- Sandra Cherk Arts
I was running an errand downtown, and happened upon artist Ann Thiermann. Ann has been working on this mural for weeks, and is hoping, weather permitting, to be finished soon. She is an accomplished artist and has created many murals. This one, depicting Locust Street circa 1911 (with the addition of Tom Scribner) has been commissioned by Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency, and celebrates the city’s past. You have probably already seen at least one of Ann’s murals…one of her most well-known is the Ohlone Indian Mural at the SC Natural History Museum.
If you’re in the neighborhood in the next week, you may catch Ann in her painting…It’s always a treat to find a muralist at work!
I was thinking about the beauty of murals, how accessible this art form is to many people. There are no entrance fees needed to see thoughtful, whimsical, evocative, lively murals. Sometimes unexpected, they delight passing-by viewers, clean up often unsightly or tired walls, bring respectability to darker areas, and in my opinion, brighten up our lives… Here are a tiny selection of public murals that I see, sometimes on a daily basis.
The mosaic mural pictured above was designed by local artist Beth Purcell. Sea creatures were created in clay by the 2010 Bay View 4th graders, with help from retired teacher Earlene Mattison, and assembled by Beth. This mural was one of several that adorn the Bay View walls. Painter, Katharina Short is working with students on this year’s mural…here’s a peek at the reading-themed work in progress.
My daughter and I stumbled upon these, and more in San Francisco’s Mission District, a small fraction of the murals I know are to be found in the area.
In Santa Cruz, we are lucky to have lots of murals and other public artwork. There are sculptures on Pacific Avenue and dotted around town, utility boxes on street corners covered in mini-murals, and many spectacular murals. See more at http://santacruzpublicart.com/
I am fascinated by the time lapse films showing the production of murals- This is one showing the progression of Marvin Plummer’s ‘Jazz Alley Mural’ one of our town’s most recent murals.
And finally, some larger than mural, not quite the same as, but these are stunning!
Finally, a friend, Paul House (or P-sign Paul) who does temporary sand paintings in Santa Cruz… You can see more of his beautiful sand art on his facebook page http://www.facebook.com/phouse
Keep your eyes open!