Sunday, September 25, 2011

San Antonio to Silver City, NM, and back again...

Dawn on I-10 West toward New Mexico
Late Friday afternoon, September 23- We are on the road home from Silver City.  I’ve got my laptop plugged for the first time into our new inverter which is plugged into the cigarette lighter. Ugur is driving.  I really thought we’d get to report in every day and post images from our trip, but our wonderful host somehow lives perfectly well without internet service.  Strange, but true.   The workshop location had wireless but I could not get connected, for the life of me. So, except for a few minutes after the first day’s workshop at the local internet café where I checked my email (which has come to mean a lengthy delete session), I have been INTERNET DEPRIVED.  I feel like I need a transfusion or something.   Quick, somebody! Bring me some intravenous blog-hopping!  I need a shot of image-editing followed by an aimless-surfing chaser.
Texas to New Mexico I-10 West
We arrived at our host Barbara Smith’s house just about sunset on Monday and were offered a great homemade soup and salad.  A couple of glasses of wine later and the effects of the road began to fade. The cool weather was such a pleasure. Silver City sits at about 6000 feet above sea level- a good bit above San Antonio’s 400 or so, in southwestern New Mexico, west of Las Cruces and north of Deming.  It was so good to sleep with the window open and feel the cool breeze.  We woke up Tuesday morning and followed Barbara higher yet and further north to the still-active mining town of Pinos Altos- High Pines.
With Barbara S. at Hearst Church Tuesday September 20
Ugur went on back to Silver City to explore.  I was welcomed by Tom, a photographer member of GCAG, and Setta, an artist member, who were available to answer questions and assist me as I judged the show. At first I took detailed notes- pros and cons of each painting- until I realized there wouldn’t be time to continue that and be done by noon, which was the time allotted for my determination of First, Second and Third in each of four categories- Acrylic, Pastel, Watercolor and Oil, and up to three Honorable Mentions in each. Best Of Show was to be chosen from the four Firsts.
I can usually be counted upon to have an opinion.  Oh, yeah.  But I want you to know that making my final decisions about which paintings would receive ribbons and prizes was very difficult.  I waffled, I wobbled, I went back and forth, and finally had to decide.   There were so many beautiful paintings and each had positives and problems.  Even the Best Of Show, as stunning as it was, had a minor light source discrepancy, but the overall impact was completely impressive and invited the viewer to linger and enjoy.  Ultimately I feel good about my choices.  I’m so honored to have been trusted with the task of making them. 

Setta drove me back to town to meet up with Ugur and then played tour guide for us by showing us around town. We made it back to Barbara’s in time to dress and then drive to Pinos Altos for the evening’s reception and awards ceremony . Barbara Kejr, who had been my “voice of Silver City” in arranging my the trip and workshop, presented the awards to several happy artists.  I was invited to share my thoughts and reasons for my choices for the First Place winning paintings. Then I individually discussed paintings as the artists requested.   It was important to me to offer feedback which acknowledged their triumphs in their particular works, while offering ideas about how the works might have been strengthened. To experience our work critiqued can feel like a personal attack, no matter how delicately it is done. I know how tender we can be as artists, and how we can feel our work is inextricable from ourselves. I understand this and sympathize.  
Outskirts of Silver City

All and all I was very impressed with the quality of work in Grant County.  Congratulations to the artists whose work was accepted into the show!

The next three days, Wednesday through today, has been a whirlwind of painting with a great group of artists.  I always feel like I try to unzip my head and pour out all I’ve learned about painting into the individual heads of those who take my workshops, so it’s very likely I overfilled the noggins of those artists, but they smiled throughout and worked like Trojans and asked great questions and made a lot of paintings.  Amazing people.  I’m glad I got to know them just a little and I hope to know them even better someday. 
Workshop artists- Barbara K., Priscilla, Barbara S., Nancy, Lois, Donna, Carolyn, Linda, Me, Ruth, Setta, Bev, Gerri
Saturday evening- We arrived home to San Antonio just before six this morning and have spent the day running errands and gathering the things we need for our trip to Istanbul in about 54 hours.  We’re nowhere near ready.  I just hope we’ll step onto the plane with most of our ducks in a row on Tuesday morning, even though my to-do list looks crazy right now.

Stay tuned?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Notes from Silver City, New Mexico

Hearst Church
We left San Antonio on September 19th at 5:00am. It was 6:00pm when we arrived to our host Barbara S's home in Silver City New Mexico, same day.

The following morning, after dropping Susan off at the Grant County Art Guild's home at the Historic Hearst Church in Pinos Altos, where she had been invited as the Juror, I went to downtown Silver City. While Susan was sweating to do her jury duty, I was in a "happy la-la land" mood and was enjoying the Historic Downtown.

Little Sisters listening to the African drums
Right after I began walking around with my camera in hand, I heard African drum beat... Of course I followed (you bet I did!) the sound and ended up in far back end of a parking lot. I saw a group (five men and a young woman) practicing and it was so obvious that they were having good time with doing that. Later on, same day, I saw Andrew (young man who is the head of this group) at their local WalMart, he told me that their drum circle gathers once a week for practice and once a month plays for the public. By the way, here is a short video of them playing, I recorded it with my iPhone. I spent almost an hour watching and listening to them. I enjoyed it a lot. Andrew gave me his web site address. I hope you will watch the video I recorded and check his web site
Also, here is a photo of two little sisters, watching/listening to the drum circle. They were as mesmerized as I was.

Andrew and one of the members

Javalina Café

That day and following days, I spent most of my mornings at the Silver City Public Library. At lunch times I met Susan and her art/painting workshop group at Indian Hills Baptist Church's Hall (nice local artists, eleven ladies), and spent my afternoons driving and walking around town, taking photos. Silver City has beautiful, colorful doors and buildings with character. The Historic Downtown area is so lovely, full of art galleries, art studios, nice cafés, restaurants and museums. Here are the a few of them: Javalina Café (Internet Café also), Peace Meal-Vegeterian Deli at The Hub Plaza, Diane's Restaurant and Shevek & Mi.

We decided to head back to San Antonio right after Susan's workshop ended at 4:00 pm on Friday... We had a great time and met nice people there. Finally, we are back home and have connection to the internet. I hope you will enjoy reading our notes, starting with the very first part of our trip... how ever long it takes us to post them., it's time to pack for Istanbul!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Packing up and getting excited

Hello! We are getting ready to start a journey and would love to have you with us along the way.

On September 19th we start our first journey - a week-long road trip to Silver City, New Mexico. Susan will be judging the Grant County Art Guild's Annual Purchase Prize Exhibition (Whew!) and she will be teaching 3 day portrait painting workshop and I know that I will enjoy photographing the beautiful surroundings. We live in San Antonio, so our journey will include the drive to Silver City and back.

Only two days after coming back to San Antonio, on September 27th, we will be on our way to Istanbul, Turkey for two weeks! Yes, it's far away, actually it's exactly 6512.8 miles/10481.3 kilometers away! We checked online. I grew up in Istanbul and it's about time to go back and visit loved ones and that amazing city that I am in love with. This is going to be Susan's first time, but I know that it's not going to be her last.

We want to take you with us to these great places. If you would like to share this journey and our future journeys, please follow us here.

We know (actually...we are sure!) that we are going to meet wonderful people, will share special moments with them and exchange a small portion of our lives via little windows we open to each other.

Along the way, we will try to record our impressions of these great places and a few of the people with our photographs and paintings and a paragraph or two. Instead of seeing an unexplained image, you will know why that person and/or place meant something to us.

We are open to your ideas. Before each trip, we will let you know where we are heading. If you were there before us (or "always wanted to, but never got a chance to go there"), let us know your favorite spots and what you recommend us to see or do. We will do our best to fit your request into our schedule during our trip and who knows, we might be able to give you a report.

Come and share this journey we are making through life...