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Golf Squirrel in progress

I’ve been working on this little one (9 X 11) for a few weeks now. It’s my first painting on board (wood). Totally different feeling. Canvas gives, board absorbs much differently. I like it.
Yes, I will get back to the Bagpiper Squirrel and finish that next. But in the meantime, here’s what’s brewing in the lab…
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Art, Scotch, Obama, and Vado HD: The Streets of San Francisco

Our trip to San Francisco was great. We arrived via a direct flight from Victoria BC, (October 15, 2009), and stayed for almost a week. Our cab ride to the hotel indicated what we could expect from this culturally vibrant, and intelligent American city. As we arrived, an Oracle conference was just wrapping up, Obama was in town (we saw his motorcade), and Whisky Fest was about to begin.

San Francisco

San Francisco

We were in town for the San Francisco Whisky Fest presented by Malt Advocate Magazine, but we also wanted to check out many other sights.

Another purpose of the trip was to pick up my Vado 2nd generation video pocket camera, as I tried unsuccessfully to purchase the video camera from their website because they don’t ship to Canada.


This post will review our trip including: photographic highlights of art museums. In future, I will post video footage of the De Young Museum (works by Henri Matisse and a Frieda Kahlo), and an interview at Whisky Fest with Euan Mitchel from the Arran Distillery.


The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco CA, 94103
Sendak on Sendak


Presenting a major retrospective of over 100 works by Maurice Sendak, the famed author and illustrator of over 100 picture books including Where the Wild Things Are.


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Sendak on Sendak

The exhibit showcased his small pen and pencil drawings on tracing paper, plus finished artworks in watercolour, short video interviews, notes, photographs, and inspirations. Sendak saw his inspirations in photographs either staged or from a spontaneous snap for his paintings. He spoke about his torment as a child over the Lindenbergh baby abduction, and said if he were teaching today, he would encourage students, “not to have a style, so as not to get boxed in.”


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street


Our visit to the SFMOMA got me very excited because they allowed photographs. I took several and have posted highlights here.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881-1973 les femmes d’Alger (women of Algiers) 1955 Oil on canvas

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881-1973 les femmes d’Alger (women of Algiers) 1955 Oil on canvas

Jackson Pollack, American, 1912-1956, Guardians of the Secret 1943 Oil on canvas

Jackson Pollack, American, 1912-1956, Guardians of the Secret 1943 Oil on canvas

Victor Brauner, Romanian, 1903-1966, Fascination 1939

Victor Brauner, Romanian, 1903-1966, Fascination 1939

Roy Lichentenstein, American, 1923-1997 Roman Cathedral Set V 1969 Oil and Magna in Canvas

Roy Lichentenstein, American, 1923-1997 Roman Cathedral Set V 1969 Oil and Magna in Canvas

Special Exhibit at SFMOMA
Richard Avedon, Photographer


All black and white photography, subjects set against white wall. I never realized how violent the attack on Andy Warhol was until I saw this photograph of his body by Avedon. Andy and Richard knew each other well, and helped inspire each others work.


Next stop was the De Young Museum in the Golden Gate park (across the street is the California Academy of Science). The building with the living roof gives me ideas for a painting (think creature bumps).

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Jess (Burgess Franklin Collins), 1923-2004 The Eamored Mage, Translation #6

Jess (Burgess Franklin Collins), 1923-2004 The Eamored Mage, Translation #6, Oil on canvas mounted on wood




Disney Family Museum

Overall a great exhibit on the life and empire building of Walt Disney.

The early years, his creation of Mickey Mouse, hiring of illustration artists, early animation techniques, animators, creation of characters, stories, sound addition, invention of the storyboard, cel painting, working with conductors and musicians, along with the stable of animals kept on site to design, photograph and draw from. Plus. advanced film production of the day, up until the death of Walt Disney. No photographs were allowed.


Other highlights of the trip included Lombard Street, Fishermans Wharf, Alcatraz, The Elvis Zoltar,


The Museum of Craft and Folk Art

It’s very small one room exhibit, but worth the 5 bucks. I enjoyed it because my real job is working in the IT industry. There was an exhibit on technology and sewing, so one artist had sewn the name of the colour in the colour with the hexadecimal code underneath (HTML). A bag featured <strong>Peace<strong>, which is of course how you make text bold on a web page. The final piece was called HTML patchwork 2007 made of embroidered silk fabric and thread made by less than 100 artists from the Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. It makes up the hexadecimal colour wheel, very much like what I use in Photoshop when I choose what colours for a web template design I’m working on.


Yerba Buena Center of the Arts

Highlight was the exhibit Wallworks.


Finally, what I liked about San Francisco is that it is a big city with small community care. One example is this green space nestled in between the skyscrapers downtown.


What I learned during this trip:

1) Norman Rockwell staged photographs and produced paintings from them (Vanity Fair Magazine article titled, Norman Rockwell’s American Dream, pgs 190-204, November 2009) – read on airplane.

2) Sendak took photographs or hired a photographer (labeled in the display) and used as models for his illustrations and artwork

3) Walt Disney Studios also staged photographs and painted characters and scenes from photos.

4)  My thought process is not unlike the minds of the great artists I admire. I’ve been honoured with the opportunity of using photographs by my longtime friend and award winning photographer, Jen Steele, for my artwork.