Drinking Art From A Fire Hose

I spent last weekend drinking art from a fire hose. I’m still trying to swallow.

First, I went to the de Young museum with my friend Laurie. We saw the Yves St. Laurent retrospective. Many of his fashion creations still look fresh. One, a “bridal gown” made in heavily brocaded, richly colored layers looked like it had stepped out of a Renaissance painting.

After seeing all those amazing clothes, I ran over to visit my favorite John Singer Sargent painting of a woman whose lacy skirt is executed with the most delicate and, at the same time, bold paint strokes. And I visited one of my all-time favorites – The Yellow Chandelier by Elmer Bischoff. I never tire of imagining the discussion going on between the two figures in that painting.

But that was just the start. Friday night my friend Penny arrived from Southern California and, on Saturday and Sunday, we attended Randall Sexton’s Weekend Warrior Workshop – 12 hours of painting the figure. Fast. Constant. Relentless. Exhilarating. Some of my other artist friends – Marcy, Jeanette and Valerie – also attended. We needed a good stiff drink on Sunday at the end of it all. And I still haven’t fully debriefed myself on the work.

But even that wasn’t enough. The fire hose of art continued. Monday morning, I joined Tesia Blackburn and some of my fellow students at the John Breggruen Gallery in San Francisco to see the current exhibit of Bay Area Figurative and Abstract Expressionist works. They were all there – Bischoff, Park, Diebenkorn, Wonner, Oliveira, Neri, Thiebaud. These works are magnificent. You have until the end of February to see the exhibit. Run, don’t walk.

There’s much more to say about what I’ve learned in these four days. But I’m still learning it. I know these experiences will echo through my next few months (or longer!) of posts. Meanwhile…gulp!

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