Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogging break...

I'll be taking a blogging break for a couple weeks, as I'm flying back east to visit family and friends, so I will be sans internet access for the most part. I'm taking two books with me: Dale Ahlquist's "Common Sense 101: Lessons From Chesterton" (it's been patiently waiting for me to read it after I had Dale sign it for me last September), and Italo Calvino's fantastical novel "If On a Winter's Night a Traveler" (a favorite of mine, and I felt it's time for me to read it again).

I should be back to blogging towards the end of the month, posting a few more times on some more local artists. I've also been wanting to post some movie-on-DVD reviews, but haven't gotten around to typing them out. I'd recommend a nice little small-budget flick "10 Items Or Less" with Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega. It's a sweet and funny, slice-of-life/chance meeting movie that will have you laughing many times throughout the brief 82 minutes. NOTE: Foul language is a bit loose in this film, but not bad enough to detract from the nice little story and some wonderful performances.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 6 (Rivas and Maldonado)

David Rivas peeks through his camera lens in a unique way. He calls his art abstract chromogenic photography. "Blue" was one of his first pieces, and it was selected by the City of Ventura to be used as banners throughout the Ventura Harbor area. "Prince" is another fascinating piece.

Ricky Maldonado is known for his geometrically detailed pottery, such as "Alien Mardi Gras", "Seed Jar", and "Blue Moon".

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 5 (Gerardo Segismundo)

Gerardo Segismundo is a bundle of laughter from the Philippines. I met him last autumn during the previous Artwalk (his art was displayed at several locations), and it was a joy to briefly get to know him. He was always drawing and painting as a kid, but his father wanted him to enter the medical field. He continued his creative outlet on the side, and friends & family members encouraged him to refine his artistic craft.

I love this guys work! It's at times subtle, and at other times vibrant. I'll let the artwork speak for itself: (in order) "Dancer (2)", "River's Quiet Moment", "Ventura Mission (11)", "Raptor (1)", and "Farmers (2)".

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 4 (Beirne, Zwers, Peterson and Kirk)

No, they are not a law firm. They are four artists listing among many at the "Focus on the Masters" web site.

Catherine Beirne works with various mediums, but the first item featured below (entitled "The Emperor") is oil on Canvas.

Gerald Zwers is both a painter and a sculptor. His watercolors focus on local landscapes, such as the untitled piece shown below. So far, very little of his work is listed on the web.

The third artist is Linda F. Peterson. A very engaging woman whom I had the chance to meet in person last weekend. She's a photographer, and some of her featured works are manually-manipulated prints. The item listed below (entitled "Coffee Shop") is the finished product of an intricate process. She starts with a Polaroid photo and lets it fully develop, cool and set for a few days. She then places it on a heating pad, and begins to minutely manipulate the emulsion of the photograph with various stylus'. She then lets it set & cool, then scans it and makes limited edition high-quality prints of the finished product.

Norman Kirk has been around for a long time, and is in a class all by himself. He tends to work mostly (though not exclusively) with watercolors. Last Saturday, I viewed one portrait of his entitled "Mission Padre" that was absolutely breathtaking. I'm only able to find a very small sample of his work online (none of which does him justice). The last item, below, is entitled "Dr. Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery".

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 3 (David Blackburn)

David Blackburn has mastered woodworking to an intricately beautiful art form, whether it be a Manzanita Root & Cherrywood box or a "Heritage Chest" (both featured below), a gnarled bowl, classy humidor, organic sculpture or a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture. All of his pieces are custom-made works of art.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 2 (Seco and Len Steele)

Next up are two artists currently featured at Accolades Gallery.

First is large-scale acrylic painter, Seco, who's canvases center on the theme of classical music concert performances. Below are a couple samples.

The second artist is ceramic potter, Len Steele. Again, two samples are shown, below. (Unfortunately, not pictured are these gorgeous vases that have a shiny bronze neck with a matte cobalt blue base finish... they're just gorgeous.):

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Local Art & Artists ~ Part 1 (Lee Hodges)

Three times a year, on a Saturday afternoon and evening, downtown Ventura transforms itself into an exhibition of various works of art from artists residing in the county. Dozens of local businesses, eating establishments, galleries & museums, and sidewalk stands put up on display for all to view some wonderful creations of artistic beauty. Some of the artists themselves will be there so that you can meet them, ask questions about their lives and their creations, or even buy a favorite piece that you know would be just perfect in your living room or den.

I've been wanting to post about these ArtWalk events over the past year, but I kept putting it off. There was yet another one just last Saturday, so I'll be posting about some of these incredible artists and linking to their websites.

First up is Lee Hodges, whom I've met on several occasions. Her acrylic and mixed media creations are Christian-themed, and are powerfully sublime. Below is my personal favorite, "Time of Decision". Below that is one of her most famous pieces, "Jacob's Dream":

Presidential Primaries Predictions here...

You heard it here first!

The Republican & Democratic candidates for President in the November 2008 General Election will NOT be any of the current cast of frontrunners: Not Guiliani, McCain nor Romney for the Republicans... not Hillary, Obama nor Edwards for the Democrats.

Although I'm currently keen on Duncan Hunter on the (R) side...

... the Republican and Democratic candidates will be battling for the state of Tennessee:

Fred Thompson (R) and Al Gore (D). The two former Senators from the Volunteer State.

Why? When you really think about what each of those six other candidates (individually as a complete package) have to offer, and then contrast that with what the base of each party is longing for (if not demanding of) in their potential candidate... and then really take a good look at the two guys I've mentioned... it becomes self-evident.

Remember, you heard it here first.

On Presidential Primaries...

I know I'm getting waaaaaaaay ahead of the game on this, but I had to toss this out there.

[sarcasm alert] Gee, the New Hampshire primary is soooooooooo important because we all know that Henry Lodge (over Goldwater in ‘64), Ed Muskie (over McGovern in ‘72), Gary Hart (over Mondale in ‘84), Paul Tsongas (over Clinton in ‘92), Pat Buchanan (over Dole in ‘96), and John McCain (over Bush in ‘00) all went on to become their respective party nominees.

And, what about the Iowa caucus? Hmmmmm... Ed Muskie, again (over McGovern in ‘72), “Uncommitted” (over Carter in ‘76... those Iowans might've been onto something there!), GH Bush (over Reagan in ‘80), Dick Gephardt (over Dukakis in ‘88), Bob Dole (over GH Bush in ‘88), and Tom Harkin (over Clinton in ‘92).

In other words..... oh puhleeeeease. The New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus are only important to ego-centric politicos of those two tiny states (proving their self-importance whenever any other state sets primaries too close to theirs that they throw a hissy fit and cry that they'll move their dates as far back as November in order to keep their precious stature and importance in determining/crowning who they think should be prez).

The more that the process can change so that a wider variety of citizens from a larger swathe of the country can choose who are the best candidates for their respective parties (rather than handing that power to a select few) all the better. Anybody from the majority of the states knows that, unfortunately, their votes rarely count in the primaries because the nominees for both parties are already decided well before they ever get the chance to vote.

The general election is done on one day without any logistic problems for the candidates or the voters. There is absolutely no reason why the primaries cannot be held all on one day as well.... or, at most, on four/five dates over a two-month or less period.