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Sierra Art Trails

 October 5-7
Written October 8+
Dear Friends,Family and Diary,

So, what does October have John and Marianne doing?  Not a lot, but just enough that I feel the need to write a bit.

My October "business" started with a meeting of the Better Blackstone Citizen's Advisory Committee.  "Better Blackstone" is a civic group trying to improve Fresno's north-south main street and our advisory group is specifically commenting on plans to turn a segment near our home from  a desolate strip of used car lots into a tree-lined bike- and pedestrian-friendly boulevard.  In my lifetime.  Retirement allows me the time to do such things.
The meetings are held in City Hall and Marianne had asked me to look at the art displayed in the building lobby.  She has an opportunity to add her work to this monthly-changing display, but my thought is that there are other locations more suited to her art.  Maybe, or maybe not.  Any ideas from our audience?
My own art career is mid-way through a "video-stage".  I joined the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) and am learning how to produce videos.  My first project, "Magdalena's Chapters", is an interview series of Marianne's mom.  I have completed three half-hour chapters, covering her life from Budapest through wartime evacuation to Germany.   They will be broadcast over the next three weeks.  (There are three more Chapters in post-production.) An interesting story, even if the video is less than big-studio perfect.  And something else to keep retirement busy.

Our best what-we-do-in-retirement activity was a day on this year's Sierra Art Trail.  The Art Trail showcases almost one hundred artists from the Sierra foothills, north of Fresno.  I'm not sure all the venues can be seen in the full three-days of the annual event, and one-day allows only a small sample: five stops and a dozen artists in our case.

d181007_10_myrna.jpgOur first stop featured two artists: First was Myrna Axt, a mixed-media artist whom Marianne has met before.  The two spent twenty minutes catching up on local artist gossip and happenings.  I would see that this sort of networking was the REAL purpose of our day on the trail.

d181007_12_haley.jpgd181007_14_orchard.jpgWhile Myrna and Marianne chatted, I looked at Haley Coleman's orchard paintings.  This was the young artist's first exhibition and she was justifiably proud of the Dahliesque work.  I liked them a lot and told her so.  I know from family experience, that shows are valued for encouragement almost as much as sales.

Our second stop was at Ginny Burdick's studio where she was showing her pastels and hosting three other artists.   Burdick runs an art gallery near us, in Fresno, but retreats to this mountain home for her own workspace.  It's easy to see why.  While the artists talked, I took in the colors and did my own chatting with Gary Meissner, a wood carver of exceptional skills.

d181007_32_franka.jpgd181007_30_frankaoffice.jpgOur third stop was at the home of Franka Gabler.  We had been here before and I remembered that her work was truly impressive.  It still is. Ms Gabler shoots photos mostly of the surrounding Sierras, with plenty of well-known Yosemite pictures and books, showing her skills and patience.  She also prints her work and gave me a very-quick intro to high-quality photo printing, something I am considering for my own pictures. I am intimidated by the process, but Franka was most encouraging.  Maybe.  Something else to keep retirement busy.

d181007_40_mikesdisplay.jpgOur fourth stop was also at a photographer's exhibition.  Mike Allred specializes in local wildlife, principally birds.  He said he generally stays within about 25 miles of his home.  I imagine he knows all these birds by nesting location, if not by first name.  I did not take pictures of HIS pictures, since that's bad form, but do check some of his birds on pixel.com.
d181007_62_lunchm.jpgd181007_64_lunchj.jpgBy now, we had earned lunch. Marianne selected Wild Fig Kitchen in Coarsegold.  Good choice.  The service was a bit slow, undoubtedly to the increased traffic due to Sierra Art Trail customers, but the food was fresh and imaginative.  Worth the wait. 

Our fifth art stop of the day was in Oakhurst, at the Queen's Inn by The River.  We visited with four artists, but I manged pictures with just two.  I think I was getting saturated.
d181007_72_cranes.jpgJyunko Marjala showed remarkable origami cranes, with scores folded from a single sheet of colorful paper.  The technique is called Rokoan Tsunagiori and dates from the 18th century.  Jyunko's folded one crane while talking to Marianne.  I have trouble walking and talking at the same time.

d181007_76_linda.jpgLinda Zupcic was Jyunko's roommate at the show.  She showed a range of art, from drawings through wood block prints, all showing exceptional skill and attention to detail.  Marianne started up an artists' conversation, and pretty soon Linda was encouraging Marianne to show on the Sierra Art Trail next year!  Something to think about.

d181007_80_bikerdown.jpgBy now, it was time to head home, down Highway 41.  Traffic was weekend-normal, meaning crowded but not summertime-obnoxious.  As we approached the stop light at Road 15, a pair of motorcycles a few cars in front of us had a low-speed collision.  We stopped and I got out to see if I could help, but by then a passerby-nurse had stopped and two or three people had called 911.  The injured rider was responsive, so we could leave the scene with only a reminder to drive carefully.  So, we did.

I don't know if there will be anything memorable to add here for the rest of our Fresno week.

Next week, we head down to Los Gatos and Palo Alto, but that will be a brand new story.

Stay tuned, if you wish.

John and Marianne


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