A Harvest of Images: A Feast for the Eyes!

The Pajaro Valley Arts Council gallery (PVAC) in Watsonville is featuring over 100 images that showcase a wide range of both traditional and experimental printmaking processes, including digital media. The show, “A Harvest of Images”,  was juried by the highly regarded artist Howard Ikemoto, art instructor at Cabrillo College for over 30 years, now retired, who resides near Watsonville. The show opened on February 24 and will close on April 17. Everyone is invited to a reception at the gallery on Sunday, March 13, 2:00-4:00 pm.

The exhibit is an outstanding survey of contemporary fine art printmaking. Located at 37 Sudden Street in Watsonville, on a side street in an old Victorian house.  This ambitious and exciting  show features the work of forty-eight local printmakers from the MPC Print Club (www.mpcprintclub.com), based at Monterey Peninsula College.   Works include etchings, woodcuts, screenprints, monotypes, monoprints, and mixed media prints.

MPC artists capture not only what first meets the eye—the landscapes of great beauty—but also what lies beneath. Some challenge viewers to consider how our fields are tilled and who harvests what and for whom and at what cost. On view are prints that speak to the geography, history, agriculture, labor, culture and habitats of Pajaro Valley. This broad spectrum of new work includes etchings, woodcuts, screenprints, monotypes and mixed media prints.

MPC Printmakers will engage the public in the magic of printmaking, including classical Japanese woodblock,  through artist-led workshops at Pajaro Valley High School and at the PVAC Gallery. The free gallery workshop is March 26, 1-3 pm. A gallery guide (in English and Spanish) will be available for families to learn more about the world of printmaking.

February 24 – April 17, 2011  PVAC Gallery, 37 Sudden Street, Watsonville
831-722-3062; www.pvarts.org

Gallery hours: Thursdays & Fridays 11:00am to 4pm; Sat and Sun 12-4 pm.

Reception: Sunday, March 13, 2:00-4:00pm

Free demo workshop: Saturday, March 26, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Carmel Rancho Art and Framing Center—Frame Your Memories!

Gift giving is an art form, as we all know!   And so is framing, which may not be so obvious.  But have you ever looked at a framed piece and said that the frame was spectacular…or totally wrong…or even made the art or photo look a little sad or tired?

If you have a favorite original artwork, photo, scrap of fabric from a vacation or special event, children’s achievement award or badge, or a photo you want to preserve and exhibit in your home or give to a friend, the Carmel Rancho Art and Framing Center is much more than your standard framing shop.  The owner, Gayle Saia, has an expert eye not only for selecting the frame but also offers professional advice on what type of framing process will complete the work itself.  This is custom framing at its best! From my own experience working with Gayle, she has guided me to the type of framing—a shadow box, traditional matting or double matted, or floated with or without a mat.  The color of the mat alone can be a major decision and truly can set off the work in a masterful way.  One of my prints,  “Tibetan Ferns”  (see photo), has an orange ink that is not iridescent in the print but the choice of a burnished gold frame not only makes the print glow but symbolizes the gold of Tibetan monks’ robes.  In addition, the selection of a shadow box allows the Tibetan prayer flag fragment to hang loosely, suggesting an ethereal quality to the artwork itself.  This required combing each thread of the prayer flag to lie straight and hang properly.

Gayle’s aesthetic sense is brilliant.  With the visual perspective of an artist, she contributes to the artwork itself with her skills in design as well as in framing and art presentation.  Every frame is done in-house with meticulous attention to detail.  If you don’t have your own work to frame, there’s a wonderful range of reasonably priced original art from Monterey Peninsula College printmakers on display. Stop by and look at the Carmel Rancho Art and Framing Center in the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center (across from Brinton’s) or call ahead (831-626-4013) for directions.

They are located at: 26540Carmel Rancho Blvd. Suite B        Carmel, CA 93923

“Wine Shop At Home”—The Art of Wine “Gifting”

It’s that time of year again, when all of us curmudgeonly folks have to think about that tired old ritual of gift giving.  Each year I try to figure out what to give—a thoughtful gift which will be enjoyed, something original or unexpected.  But, I think I am the world’s worst gift-giver.  I love any gift given to me, and I have very idiosyncratic taste so the conventional advice to give what you yourself would most like as a gift usually doesn’t work for me.

Last year I discovered the online wine merchant, WineShop At Home, because our daughter, Maya, is so passionate about wine and loves discovering new, lesser-known vineyards.  So, she signed up to be a wine consultant throwing parties (a new take on the old-fashioned Tupperware) in her spare time for friends and family as well as referring people to order from her online. The website is www.wineshopathome.com/mayapaul–please order through our daughter, if you can.  (I know I am a shameless commercial for her!)

I thought I should try it, to help our daughter and see what the wines are like.  I was delighted to find out that I could order wine with a personalized label, either a jpeg file of one of my art works or a photo of a special event.  Since I am a printmaker, I loved the idea of having a miniature reproduction of one of my prints on each bottle of wine I would give for Christmas and throughout the year.

I really like the merlot and ordered a case last year, to much appreciation (or so my friends said).  But, you can also choose from cabernet, chardonnay, champagne, and gift packages.  I do think that they should expand to some foreign, little-known wineries from Argentina, Chile, and Spain, where great wines are made at a reasonable price. For those of you who are getting increasingly worried about what to get for someone you love—check out the art of wine gifting!  I have posted the two wine labels I have created so far—last year’s “Lotus Sutra” print on the Napa Valley 2007 merlot and this holiday’s “Hot Stuff” print on the Sonoma 2009 merlot.  Enjoy shopping!  And, I’ll bet at least a few of your friends won’t throw out that personalized wine bottle, once it is empty, unlike the sweater or tie from last year’s holiday gift giving.

Printmaking at MPC: Feel the Love

This past weekend there were two workshops/demos at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC), located on Fremont Street (at Aguajito Road) near the Hilton Hotel, in Monterey. This little-known resource in Monterey is a gem in the midst of our community!  How many of you out there have never set foot on this campus?!

Any county resident can enroll in any of a huge variety of courses at  minimal cost in tuition and student fees.  I am amazed at how inexpensive 60 hours of instruction per class can be!  The MPC print studio, a small part of this community college, is a haven for artists and neophytes like me who want to open their eyes to a new world—the art of making lovely one-of-a-kind art work or an edition of multiple copies—in a relaxing and inviting environment that supports you through each step.  As one newer student said in an email to all MPC Print Club members:

“This club, quite simply, is the most enjoyable group of people I have met in my life. When I try to explain to those outside the club why I so enjoy all things print-related, this is what I say: I have never worked with a group of people (and I have worked with a LOT of groups) who has such a great sense of humor, gets things done, has a great sense of humor, is so decisive, has a great sense of humor, is so embracing of all, has a great sense of humor, is so darn DEPENDABLE, has a great sense of humor, is so collaborative, and best of all, has a great sense of humor!!!! “

On Friday the class  in Relief Printmaking and members of the MPC Print Club attended a demonstration by Denese Sanders on Simultaneous Color Printing, aka Viscosity Rolls, a rather sophisticated printing process developed in the 1950’s to accomplish multi-colored printing without multiple times sending the paper through the printing press.  How fortunate we all were (about 40 students) to watch the step-by-step process!  Soon a video will be available on the Club website: www.mpcprintclub.org.  Go check it out!  If you are interested in becoming a print club member (NO FEE required), just inquire on the website.  I know I talked two friends into joining and now they are hooked.  Some of you will be too, I guarantee it! A members-only community website is also posted: www.mpcprintmakers.ning.com for members to post their prints and other information about what they are doing and what they are interested in.

For those of you who don’t want to make the plunge into a semester-long class, there are excellent workshops by the same instructors who teach the full-length courses.  One of these workshops was held last Saturday from 9:00-3:00 and others will be offered for two-day weekend instruction.  On Saturday we had loads of fun making cards , both all-purpose and Christmas cards, some of which will be sold at the MPC Holiday Sale coming up Tuesday, December 7 through Thursday, December 9, from 9:00 am-7:00 p.m.  If you have never been to this sale, by all means come and see the handmade jewelry and ceramics from local artists as well as from MPC instructors and students.  While you are at it, stop by our table with the big MPC Print Club banner to say hi, look at our cards, cookbook with reproductions of some of our prints, and beautiful hand-screened aprons which would make gorgeous presents!  Enjoy! We would love to give you a personal introduction to what we do and who we are.