Artist, Georgia Annwell, Remembered

Sunday, January 11, 2015
Georgia's Life and Sunset over Mt. Tamalpais  1/11/15 (C.Proppé photo)

Today I attended the memorial for Marin artist, Georgia Annwell.  I met Georgia when I worked at the Marin Arts Council in 2010.  At this point in her life, she was a senior artist and she took the Whistlestop bus to exhibit her art as well as gallery sit at the gallery on 4th Street.  She loved to participate in the shows and get out with people.  She was kind, positive and always smiling.  She exhibited in over 150 shows in just 6 years, from age 69-75.  She also created the three part video documentary series, "Senior Artists of Marin" at the Community Media Center of Marin.  They have just announced that they will name their art gallery after Georgia in memory of her.
View Georgia's "Senior Artists of Marin" videos here:
Video Part 1: Georgia's Portrait Exhibit and Kick off of the Series
Video Part 2: Interviews with Artists in the CMCM Marin TV Studio
Video Part 3:  Georgia Interviews Artists in their Studios

Georgia's life was full, as she was a Nurse, Teacher, Architect and Painter. (Read more here via Marin IJ )Georgia's memorial was well attended and speakers included her dear friends, Kevin Hassell, Dallas Mathers, Lynn Harris, Velda Draper, many nurses she worked with, church members and artists.  Velda read from Georgia's writing, and I want to share her thoughts here, as they truly speak to me at this point in my art career, where I am trying to move away from copying reality and add emotion and individual character to my work.  Georgia wrote:


"Great art challenges not only the viewer, but also the artists who create it.  Most artists paint what they know and do it to the best of their ability.  A few artists take on creative work that challenges their knowledge and reveals their inabilities.  However, when they do overcome this kind of challenge, they realize that the rewards are huge.  Artists who need ongoing reassurance that they are on the right track may miss the opportunity to reach past their comfort zone to experience the thrill of pleasing themselves with a painting that shares the truth of their view of the world." 

- Georgia Anwell

Georgia & Mesa dressed in circus attire for Open Studios at AWD 2012

When I get to a place where I can paint again, I endeavor to work towards this goal of challenging myself by expressing and sharing my thoughts through paint, not just what I see.  I want to thank Georgia for her kindness and the legacy she left of senior artists of Marin.  I left tonight witnessing the most colorful sunset, that only a painter could have dreamed up.  What a fitting natural expression of a creative life that reminds us all to keep learning, growing and painting.  Thank you, Georgia!
Sunset on the Night of Georgia's memorial 1/11/15 (photo: C.Proppé)

Sunset 1/11/15 (photo: C.Proppé)

Sausalito 20 Years Later

Dec 28, 2014

Observations on a walk with my sons in Sausalito, three days after Christmas

If you want to hear many languages being spoken, see families smiling, taking group photos and walking together, go to Sausalito.  If you have a beautiful, friendly dog, walk the downtown street in Sausalito and see how many children and families are happy to stop and pet your dog.  Mesa was tied by a decorative wrought iron gate while we picked out chocolates and I saw she was being photographed by tourists passing by.

Almost 20 years ago now, I visited Sausalito as a tourist with my then boyfriend, for the first time.  Back then, it was a shiny, colorful dream town, a romantic place full of winding hills and infinite possibilities.  Today, walking with my sons, we all saw industry, poverty, smelled lots of cigarettes and saw many cigarette butts, tourist filled shops and so many docked boats, seemingly not in use on a glorious, 58 degree, sunny winter day.  It was definitely not the place I launched my dreams at in 1995, as a cute, MFA student with the handsome Icelandic boy, the love of my life, who I'd convinced to come cross-country with me because Northern California was so wonderful and we must go and apply to graduate schools together.

Today, after a wonderful and messy adult life I've lived here in California, now unmarried, yet with my young twin boys- young men (almost teenagers!)... we stopped at some of the shops, bought organic chocolates, toy cars and hot cocoa. They liked The Barrel House Tavern best of all, Aidan loved their bathrooms.  The sure sign of a great restaurant in his mind is fancy plumbing. We had ventured out today to see the Gingerbread houses, a contest they do in Sausalito every year, but forgot our maps in the car back by the Bay Model.  By the time we'd reached town, there wasn't much light left in the day to track down the hand-made houses.  We decided to go back another day if we found the energy.

As we walked back, I watched a little girl with braided hair chase a seagull off the railing by the ferry.  My sons walked together quite a ways in front of me, and even when I could not see them, they still made it back to the car on their own, with out my guidance. I could occasionally see the green from Blake's jacket and the blue from Aidan's sweatshirt, disappear in the trees well ahead.  I thought, "how wonderful it is to have a twin brother".  They always have someone to walk with, and talk with, and they are always in the moment.

As we rode home, we talked about being positive each day, and trying to see the positive things about today.  It is definitely very hard for my sons to do right now.  I am not sure if it is from YouTube, or the things they hear at school (they know about school shootings, and had a lock down drill at their school recently) but there is unrest in the boys.  They worry about violence, grades, college and not having enough money already.  I definitely did not worry about these things when I was their age.  Is it boys?  Are they worried about these things more than girls at this age?  Is it the time we are in?  Is it Marin County?  The cost of living in the Bay Area and how much pressure it puts on families?  Most likely, it is the fact their mother has had only contract work for over a year now, and she is constantly moving from company to company, very frustrated with not having true employment.  I see they have adopted my worries and my stress.  This is not ok.  I think about how I will try to make them understand.  I will try not to be so stressed out about work.  They need me to be more present.

As we drove home, I thought about how we'd arrived today, listening to Anne Lamott and Jack Kornfield at 1 PM speaking on the radio via KQED City Arts and Lectures.  They are both old souls who have seen so many grow up here and change over time.  Anne mentioned how life is messy. Grace we see in others is sometimes amazing, yet sad.  I thought of how my simple act of getting my sons out for a walk today, and sharing my loving dog with many foreigners visiting with out pets was somehow healing for them.  It helped me connect with strangers too.  Talking about how my dogs lint gathers in the corners of my home and how easy it is to sweep up was somehow soothing for all of us. Jack's story of the woman who adopted the juvenile who murdered her son and raised him as her own had sent tears streaming down my face behind my sunglasses as I drove onto the 101 towards today's adventure.  Their reminders that life is messy and still miraculous helped me get through today, and I hope my sons were able to absorb even a small bit of their wisdom.  If all they remember is the cool bathrooms and that Mom said it would be a nice place to bring their girlfriends someday... Well, that's okay too.  We move forward like this, one day at a time.  Twenty years ago, I had a boy in California that I loved.  Now, I have two.  Maybe Sausalito isn't as exciting, but the adventures my sons will have in their lifetime surely will be for them.  Hopefully, their mom will get a few more chances at colorful, romantic dreams again too.

The Art of Food: Delicious at STUDIO Gallery SF & CUESA's 12th Annual Sunday Supper

Sept 26, 2014

Chartreuse à la Royale, a fancy late Victorian entremet
invented by the food writer Agnes B. Marshall found here


Today's post is about FOOD, glorious FOOD!!!


 ...and ART, of course.

Recalling Wayne Thiebaud's marvelous paintings of gumball machines, pies and popsicles, the San Francisco "STUDIO Gallery", puts on an eclectic annual exhibit "DELICIOUS" that ranges in medium from sculptures of meat to painted landscapes with cows. If it has to do with food, you can probably find it here... Candy, cakes, restaurants, serving staff, cooks, farms and even abstract art made with plastic 6-pack holders. The exhibit opens in San Francisco this Sunday, Sept 28th from 1pm to 6pm.

I love this exhibit. In past years, I have purchased a banana painting and an orange slice, pottery necklace. I have browsed with friends and other artists and gone for dinner afterwards. It's a wonderful treat. Don't miss this exhibit.

"Au Pair's Night Out"  11" x 14" oil on canvas, C. Proppé  2014

My painting of the last week was headed in the direction of the food show, and then I just had fun and turned it into an "ad" for another upcoming event, "CUESA's 12 Annual Sunday Supper" an evening party on October 5, 2014.

http://www.cuesa.org/event/cuesas-12th-annual-sunday-supper
This event is a fundraiser for CUESA in San Francisco and includes food by 40 top chefs and a four-course dinner, all in the beautiful Ferry Plaza buildings on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. To purchase tickets for this, visit here...

If you want to purchase or see more about my 3 Pears by the Bay painting, visit here...

Thanks for visiting.

-Colleen

The Art of Following Directions:
Back to the Drawing Board

Sept 22, 2014

I am back at school this semester- Academy of Art University, San Francisco... taking an advanced Packaging Design Class that addresses sustainable packaging.  I have learned so much in just a couple weeks... One of the most important things to note is that when the teacher asks for 8-12 sketches of something, you better give them that many sketches.  I am playing catch up now, but it's been great to learn new tools.  In fact, here is my first class project IN PROGRESS... I still have 4 weeks to go to perfect this "Designer Paint Can" project.  The great thing is that I finally am using ISSUU... I am slow to get to these great tools, but here is my start:


I need to do about 6 more sketches like these... and then 12 of the font identity treatment... Back to the drawing board it is...