Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
This is, mostly, a keeping-track diary. These serve to record small items in our lives and remind me that we need to get busy doing more interesting activities. Small things for now.
I have ordered a "Leica" camera. This is not a small step since the German brand comes with a 100-year-old tradition of creating great photographs. Counter intuitively, the tradition is built on simpler devices than their Japanese competitors. My choice, for example, does not involve multiple lenses. The idea is to be able (forced?) to focus on subjects, not gear. I think I am ready for this.
Many of the famous Leica photographers have been known for "street photography" and I will try to learn and practice this art. The idea is to have an always-ready-but-less-conspicuous camera to capture candid shots where the picture itself tells the story, no words needed. Smart phones or my current "small camera" can do this, but the idea is to take the highest possible quality and not enhance with gadgetry. It's almost a return to the days of film. Other picture-takers must also like the idea, because the wait time for my new camera is four- to six-months. Christmas.
For local subject matter, I have considered different topics. A couple of easy ones would be "old homes" and "murals", both very common in our part of central Fresno. Here are a couple practice shots. I like the small (real) birds admiring their painted cousin. The house across the street also has "character".
My only photo excursion on the three-day Labor Day weekend was a Sunday morning in the backyard. The roses are dried and tired after a few triple-digit weeks, but they still make good subjects. Maybe, as I age, the need for perfection diminishes, even in flowers. And bugs are always fun.
Much of the rest of the day was taken up preparing the yard for a neighborhood pot-luck for the "left-behinds", neighbors who did not have the foresight or facilities to escape into the cooler Sierras or to Pacific beaches. To help with the 100F+ late afternoon temperature, we soaked the backyard plantings and connected up our little fogger.
A dozen-and-a-half folks made it (and I forgot to get a group photo - again.). There was no planning for who would bring what food, but, as usual, there was more than enough to eat. Jon cooked up sliders, Marianne served chilled gazpacho soup, Gene and Nancy brought chilled-for-safety potato salad. That's as far as I kept track, but Vern and Joan, Clay and Sandra, Annie and Debbie, Bill and Deb, Rosemarie, Kathy, and Kent all contributed. Thanks.
Besides food, there was plenty of talk. I think that is the real purpose of all these Cambridge Avenue gatherings and we continue to have things to say. Remember what it was, not so much, but it was important to say at the time.
Jon added comic relief by crashing the beer and wine cooler and Kent managed to tame the beetle that flies around our yard. (See morning picture.) That's what passes for Labor Day celebration in our neighborhood.
It has been quiet here in Fresno as Summer slowly turns to Fall (High temperatures are still above 100F), but we did manage one more "event" for the week: ArtHop. Monthly, dozens of places in and around downtown display work of local artists. As an artist-family, we are almost obliged to go and for September we had some specific stops.
Leading was Vernissage, where many of Marianne's works have been on display for the summer months. The gallery was celebrating its first anniversary and had a nice crowd. Owner Ma Ly was featuring the work of his own students, but he also found room for eight of Marianne's pieces.
We also needed to go down to the Clay Hands, a ceramics co-op that was featuring the work of Robert Ogata. We normally see Ogata at his own studio, where his out-sized paintings are among our favorites. Clay hands had arranged for him to show many of his ceramic pieces from years gone by, when he worked in clay.
In his eighties, Robert is a full-time, successful artist, with an almost unfair level of skill and artistic insight, which he is always willing to share. We have become friends with Bob, in part from visits to his atelier, but also because Marianne shares exercise classes with his wife Zandy. Small world.
Ogata's regular show and work space was also open on Art Hop Thursday, under the guidance of his daughter Piet (sp?) and her husband Tim, our sometimes plumber. More of that small world stuff.
Piet was showing a triptych, at as large a scale as her father's paintings, but of a completely different feel. (I should have made a picture of the face in the left panel, as it was both rough and finely-crafted.)
Meanwhile, Robert had left out one of my favorites of his works, a painting of a piece of dark paper. He manages to imply a third dimension on the flat canvas that is amazing. Even moving up close, the paper seems to come out of the canvas.
After the Ogata stops, I made a quick visit to Fig Tree Gallery. Fig Tree always features someone new from ArtHop month to ArtHop month. Some I like and some I just say ... "interesting".
This time, the artist Tom Kusel was featured and his work was BOTH likable and ... interesting. It was a mixture, for sure.
In one corner, the artist himself was doing performance art, writing lists on colored paper, balling them up, and dropping them on the floor. Watching him was like watching small ocean waves.
In another corner, a picture was hanging that at first I thought was a nice photo, with evening reflections of sky and water. Up close, it was clearly a painting, but what was water and what sky was unclear. I think the piece was titled: Ambiguity. Nice.
Another piece, Interpretacion, caught my eye because it had both formulas and a bit of German, so I thought I should be able to figure it out. I couldn't.
So much for September ArtHop. Four or five galleries visited, ten times that available. Maybe in October we can try something new.
Next weekend, we will start a week in Gualala where Marianne will learn new painting skills and I will take pictures of the area around Sea Ranch. Stay tuned.
John and Marianne