Another Opening, Another Show

March 2 (mostly), 2023

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

blackpoutMore quiet times. Winter rains continue, to the delight of farmers and anyone else depending on water in our central valley almost-desert. Sierra snow has piled up to twice seasonal average and we still have a month left for more.

One storm was particularly inconvenient for us as it knocked over a tree into the local high-tension power lines, plunging us into the dark for over 24 hours. We handled it OK at the beginning, huddled with flashlights, under blankets. Toward the end, we just left our cold house and went to a movie, our first post-pandemic theater visit.

We started March off with an art show of sorts. Marianne entered two abstract pieces into a judged competition at Scarab Art Gallery. Three dozen artists competed for ribbons, but I have to say the award criteria was well hidden. First prize went to small ceramic piece, decent craftsmanship. The next ribbons went to a bunch of paintings I didn't even want to photograph. Oh well, we KNOW Marianne's were the best in show.

Scarab 1st prise M pieces

Sorensenshorse headWhile Marianne was hobnobbing with artists, I went to other ArtHop venues. My first stop was Chris Sorensen's sprawling artist warren. It's an old industrial building housing several dozen painters, sculptors, welders, photographers, and "others". I was not inspired this visit, but I think that was my fault, not that of the artists and craftsmen. I'll go back when I have a more open mind.

barnBack in downtown Fresno, I stopped at my other favorite gallery district, starting with the old street car barn. On past ArtHops, I would go into Robert Ogata's gallery-workshop, as his large pieces are always interesting and he is great at explaining his artistic process.

This time, Bob was too busy explaining to others, but the door to his left was open to a space I'd never seen before. Inside I found some very nice pieces of re-cycled furniture and decorative art creations. David (whose last name I have forgotten) and his wife apparently have been working here for many years, but seldom opened for ArtHop as they also ran a restaurant. Now retired from the restaurant business, they get to focus on art. Nice. I'll be back here too.

lamp duck

At the other end of the street car barn was a special showing and book signing. Patricia Wakida was displaying the block prints that had been used in David Masumoto's book "Secret Harvests". David, more widely known as "Mas", is a well-known local farmer and writer. His latest book is a collection of family stories drawn from often dark events in the history of a Japanese-American family in wartime California. I bought the book and will try to revisit this diary and append a review. Stay tuned.

Wakida MasprintsMas

Across the street, I visited Clay Hands Studio, another regular stop. Normally, friend and ceramicist Ren Lee would be here to chat with, but she was down at Sorensen's winning first prize in a competition I hadn't even noticed. Oh well, she left a face behind. And there are always nice work of others too.


All in all, a good ArtHop, even if the judges at Scarab missed an opportunity.

Stay tuned,

John and Marianne