Print artist Earl Newman’s renown doesn’t dim his welcoming kindness. Our adios was exchanged as I drove from his Oregon country place. With his good wishes my autumn journey continued to what was next: painting study with Sarkis Antikajian in Lane County. During this workshop another student mentioned Newman. Awhile ago at the Corvallis Art Center he’d spoken with Earl’s about his tree landscape paintings.
Country Life Since 2009, I’d sometimes studied with artist Sarkis Antikajian. In September it was outside at his rural home. Cold mornings, gracious afternoon lunch breaks followed by paint exercises in still life, landscape, and figure filled the three days. Some lessons to live by were taken away:
– build stamina to paint continuously in less than ideal weather
(on the third cold morning Sarkis finally donned a sweatshirt)
– develop ease and keep loose by painting loosely and loving color
– paintings are not precious objects but evidence of necessary experience,
a way of being amidst a bounty of colorful work housed in his studio
Weaving West On my meandering drive through the Oregon Coast Range to Newport, Levon Helm’s Dirt Farmer played nonstop. Autumn woods surrounded Highway 20. Last in Newport 19 years ago while on a nearby Beverly Beach camping trip, two places called me now.
First was the October retrospective show, All That Jazz, at the Visual Arts Center celebrating Earl Newman’s 50 years of creating Monterey Jazz Festival posters (also in the Smithsonian). The scope of his work reminded me of the mark his distinctive prints have left on our era and place.
During the evening I recalled being in other spaces with native son Rick Bartow. First it was in the last 1980s at the bygone Jamison Gallery in Portland. This year’s UO Art Museum opening reception for Bartow’s retrospective exhibit, Things You Know But Cannot Explain, was another memorable time. Now on this trip, it was at Newport’s Cafe Mundo, a community spot where I’d not been and where Rick Bartow and the Backseat Drivers are the house band. Catching a couple sets of rich lyrics, fine voices, and great music from Bartow playing with Barbara Turrill was pure contentment. The meaning of community was realized, alive and in action all along my trip.