Thursday, October 3, 2013

SETTING UP MUSEUM SHOW


I love museums because they love us right back.  Museums present us with Beauty. Wonder. The Surreal. Heights of Emotion. Depth of Soul.  The Rare. The Common.  The Profound. Weird Stuff.  I have laughed and wept in museums, and frequently set off the alarms by staring too close.

Well, sweet breeze on a sunny day, The BAINBRIDGE ISLAND MUSEUM OF ART (BIMA) is having an exhibition of my paintings and sculptures. 

Exhibit title: 
INNER ZOO OUTER ORBIT
October 12, 2013 –– January 5, 2014.
Public Opening: Saturday, October 12th 
Reception 2-5:00 pm

Also, concurrently at the museum is A Singular Vision –– an exhibit of Northwest legend, Gayle Bard.  If you stand in front of one of her paintings you will be transported by luminosity, tranquility, and the powerful emotion in her work.

So, how does one prepare to exhibit in a museum?


First stop: my studio.   It may look like a mess.  Okay it is a mess. I'm still working on the Zen part. But what to include in the show? It took days of yes-on-this,-no-on-that meetings with museum curators.

Next, cram the car full of carefully wrapped paintings and sculptures––drive down to Bainbridge Island. 
Rinse, repeat. Lots and lots of art schlepping.

Barbara Helen Berger came by to see how the installation was going. Her spectacular show just came down from this very spot in the museum.  I hope you got to see her work in person. Truly breathtaking. 

 Oh, man, how do I make sense of all this?


 Fortunately, the brilliant museum staff knows how to organize. First lay it all out on the floor. What?
 
Museum Executive Director and Curator, Greg Robinson orchestrating placement for subtle spatial balance and overall design, as well as narrative flow. Installation crew, Chuck, Charlie,  Ken and others make it happen.


 Here, Assistant Curator, Lucille, with Ken, and Andy measure, place, hang and level the art.

 Wow, that's much better.

 One of my sculptures called Moon Poetry Machine.

 This flying bird sculpture came to me in a dream.

 Yellow man now lives inside a glass case. He said he now feels kind of like the Hope Diamond.

There is still loads of finessing the details, but the show is open to visitors!  Yay!! Please come see our show. The museum is free. I would love to see you at the opening. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Exquisite New Art Museum


 The Oxford English Dictionary puts it this way: Museum ~ "A building dedicated to the pursuit of learning or the arts: a home of the Muses."

Did you catch that last part?  The HOME of the Muses! It's where Muses live and wear pajamas!! You want to get in touch with your muse? Do you want to be inspired out of your gourd?  Come to this top notch museum and eat serious toast with your muse.


 I have been to many of the great museums of the world: the Hermitage, the Louvre, the Rijks, Museo National del Prado, Pinakothek, the National Gallery, LACMA, MOMA, the Bunny Museum, etc. And I can tell you for a fact, none of them have Jackson Pollock's head. But the new Bainbridge Island Art Museum (BIMA) does.



 Artist, Scott Fife (the daddy of Tacoma Art Museum's gigantic Leroy, also made out of cardboard and drywall screws) helped me get in touch with my muse.


There is a whole room currently graced with the work of Barbara Helen Berger. Tactile, mysterious, deeply spiritual, delicate, brilliant craftsmanship.  She is indeed a national treasure.


 Her luminous paintings dance between the cellular structures of the physical world and motifs of the spiritual.


 When I first encountered this painting I wasn't sure. My policy has always been to give death a wide berth. Or should that be birth?  Some art takes a while to grow on you and in you. I now adore this painting and the artist.  True: Muses love great art and will bring these powerful images back to mind when you need them most.


 One of the most remarkable features of the museum is the Sherry Grover Gallery. An inner sanctum of unique, hand made books.


 These books are brilliantly crafted puzzles and inquiries expanding the parameters and whatness of bookness.


Oh yeah.


Un huh.


A beaded book.



As you wind up the grand staircase prepare to have your mind blown and loop de looped. Artist Margie McDonald has twirled and twisted fiber, plastics, wire, metals into a dizzying panoply of creatures fantastique. A walk through diorama of spaced-out Cambrian frolickers.






 Lisa Gilley's paintings stop me in my tracks. They warm me and ice me at the same time.


A close up of Nicholas Green's The River.


Okay, you may want to sit down for this. Allen Moe does pit-fired ceramic pieces with dried chicken feet stretched around the vase.


David Eisenhour's bronzes confront you with burnished patinas and the weird beauty of common coastal creatures like this Dungeness Mask


Say hello to my little friend, a guitar with feet by Steve Einhorn.


If you are in the Seattle area you have GOT to check out this fine museum. Your muse is waiting there for you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Amuse Your Muse With Duct Tape


This Sunday, May 5th, as part of  the Eric Carle Beyond Books Exhibit, the Tacoma Art Museum will be hosting my Muse-Busting Character-Building presentation and workshop. 

 ART as MUSE
Think Physically with Richard Jesse Watson

Sunday May 5th

Lecture and book signing 2:00 pm
Workshop 3:30 pm
All ages welcome
For more information: http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/



 Wouldn't it be great if your muse was chatty? "Tell all!" you beg, and the muse says, "Well...have you heard the latest about your character?" "No, what did they do? I've been trying to find out for weeks."


Sometimes I wonder if my muse has lockjaw. "Hello?" I lean over the edge and call into the void.... Not even an echo.  Spooky.  "Yo! Anybody? Yoo-hoo! Ko ko! Knock, knock?" Nothing. Plum blossoms float by on no breeze. The dogs are sound asleep, the birds are all asleep. My feet are both asleep. 


 Fine. If that's the way you want to play. Then I will unmake you. And put you back together again crooked.  Or maybe I'll make you again based on weird random images from the backwater of my mind.  Yeeahh, and I will use junk to make your essence. That's right, rubble, rubbish, cast-offs, recycled garbagio, as it were.  Then I will breathe life into you and make you dance! And not just some flappy-arm noodle dance. Something complicated from Bulgaria.


In my stint as a god I have discovered that you can turn the tables on your muse. Now YOU are calling the shots. If the old Muserator won't tell you about your characters, then play around with recycled materials and stumble upon them in the dark recesses of your Freudian dust bunny village.


Oyo, were you inside my head?  Eeugh. Maybe some paint would help.


This guy I made out of a broken vegetable steamer and a dishwasher drain vent. His job is to do battle with errant knights and rescue stressed out maidens. I know, I know.


Through these maquettes my characters are actually coming to life.  Is your muse giving you a hard time? Duh. That's their job. But you don't have to take it lying down. You can give them a makeover. Invent someone or something new with glue. Or duct tape, masking tape, epoxy, papier mâché, sticks and stones--or whatever you have.

So, if you happen to be in Tacoma, Washington, this Sunday, May 5th, swing by the Tacoma Art Museum and join my Muse-Busting ~ Character-Building presentation and workshop. 

 ART as MUSE
Think Physically with Richard Jesse Watson

Lecture and book signing 2:00 pm
Workshop 3:30 pm
All ages welcome. 
For more information: http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why the Chicken Crossed the Road


My friend, Max Grover, told me a chicken joke. "How did the punk rocker cross the road?"
Answer: "By stapling a chicken to his ear."  It makes sense.

But last night I went for a walk with Susi and our grandson, Clay. We wandered through the woods 'til dark, and upon our return saw a chicken standing by the side of the road.

Clearly it was debating whether to cross the road or go back to its peeps. We said hello and talked about the weather, then bid the biddy goodbye. But she protested. "Don't leave me," she begged.

"Now, go home darlin'," I said. But it would not. It followed us all the way up our street.  Well, I could not abandon a chicken in distress so I took it in.


 There is a dark side to my story. First, there was this ghost ship. Look at the thing in the back. Looks like a ship with trees growing out of it? That is exactly what it is. Nobody seemed to notice. But I did. And the sister of the chicken did.


 A walk can heal what ails ya, as I've said before when I actually used to blog. I apologize for wandering around Neptune. I'm back, I hope, and noticing odd things along the way. Like this dog who said, "BEWARE the chicken!"


"Good dog," says I.  A little further down the road I see Mary up there with some pigeons. I think if she lived in Port Townsend, she would in fact be feeding the pigeons.  Saint Francis had a way with animals because he listened to them and let them sit on his head and shoulders.. He would have taken the chicken home.


How nice to look for friends along the way. Along the path.


So then, about that chicken's sister. I did find the owner of the chicken the next day. But he said that she had a sister who also escaped from the coop last night. Apparently she had been spooked. I think he may have mentioned the ghost ship. The next day they found a pile of feathers next door.

So why did Henrietta cross the road?   1. To get away from ghost ships. 2. To find a safe place to snuggle away from the coyotes. or 3. For love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gifts From Deep Dark Space


I hear my mother, "You never know from where you sit, who from the balcony is going to spit". This always rang true to me, the boy, and I still never sit right under the Balcony Spit Zone.  But the Outer Space Zone is another matter.

Meet my new black cat.  Showed up on my back porch on Halloween.  "No way," I chortled. "Go away you apparition," I hissed at the thing. I mean, come on. Halloween? I've read Nataniel Hawthorn, Snow White, and MacDonald's Photogen and Nicteris. I wasn't born yesterday.

But the so-called cat was clearly starving. It had twigs and waify things in its fur. "Not falling for it!"  I opened and slammed the back door for emphasis.

Well, I couldn't let it starve could I? A few tidbits.  Next day the same. Now the cat owns me.

What does one call a seriously black, Halloween cat. I thought of the blackest things I could think of. Charcoal. Inky. Midnight. Trite, trite, trite. Tar? Skid marks. Oil spill. Burned carrots. I was pulling hard for Atramentaceous, but try saying it three times in a row. Susi said, "What about Olive?" For a boy?!!  Maybe. "What about Space?" I beamed. "It's so dark out there. And the weird cat might be from outer space. Acts like it."

"For a cat?" wife doesn't look up from laptop.

We were at loggerheads. What does that even mean? "We'll let the grandkids decide," I proclaimed.

They listened to our closing arguments like diplomats. Held counsel and announced, "The name should be Space Olive." Whoah. Profound. Think about it. What could be blacker than a black olive in outer space? Especially when you climbed inside the hole.


Art inspired by another almost all black cat, Wiley.  Holding marzipan mice.


Well? 


 I hate to be wasteful. So when my cat puts poor dead creatures on my door mat. I first lecture the cat. Then I sketch the offering.


You learn so much from observation. A must for artists. Writers. Superhero costume makers.


I even used my cats when painting this lion to see the way the fur layers.


Sometimes I hide things in my art.  In this illustration of the expulsion from Eden, I hid a cat in the flames.


See the cat?