Thursday, November 18, 2010

Altared States

Gallery Gals 1

Last Thusday, Lucas had the day off work for Veteran’s Day so we took a drive south to meet up with his sister Zoe and family to check out her stepmother Helen’s art exhibit at the Donna Seager Gallery in downtown San Rafael. Helen, the artist herself, and her husband Rodger, Zoe's dad (Lucas and Zoe have different dads, incase you were wondering), met up with us at the gallery too.

The vintage floral dress and black granny boots that I wore were both gifted by Milla in her previously mentioned most recent package of thrifted wonders! The dress has the prettiest floral print, I wish I had taken a close-up detail shot of it, and it’s super soft rayon so very comfortable to boot (no pun intended ;).

Clover insisted on wearing the little apron I thrifted for her awhile back because you-know-who wears an apron. It was later that night that we put together her first official Gretel outfit, the one from the previous post.

The exhibition was called Altared States and my favorite part was leafing through Helen's amazing book of sketches depicting shrines and altars encountered during travels through Greece and the American Southwest.

As I looked through the book with Zoe, Helen stood by (that’s her in the glasses) with entertaining stories, anecdotes and explanations to go along with the sketches. Her artwork is quite magical and it was really cool to get to experience it in this way.

She told us of how she picked the book up for 5 bucks at a second-hand art supply sale. The pages are Indian watercolor paper and the sketches were done with walnut ink.

The delicate drawings had a beautiful sepia quality that made the book feel as if it could have been an ancient tome, uncovered after being long-forgotten in the kind of dusty attic you might encounter in a fairytale. There was so much wonderful detail involved in each sketch (photos can be enlarged by clicking for a better look).

Her sculptural paintings, the focus of the exhibit, are quite incredible. The one hanging above the book of sketches was a favorite of mine. How I would love to have that gracing a wall in our home! Alas, it had already sold (not that I could have afforded it anyway, but still) *sigh*

Gallery Gals 2

Working from the sketchbook, she created large oil on birch panel paintings of a number of the alters.

This one, called Shroud, was one that I really loved too.

Shroud Detail 1

Her paintings are fun to examine close-up. The colors and textures are gorgeously rendered and there are so many whimsical details to take notice of. In this case, I loved the skeleton’s jaunty hat and the movement created by the swinging necklace and the smoke wafting from the incense.

Shroud Detail 2

Further down the pedestal, a couple of lovely little butterflies and a cluster of tiny mushrooms :)

Rodger, Zoe, and Helen

Zoe with her dad Rodger and Helen. Can you spot Lucas and Clover? Hey, you can only keep a three-year-old in an art gallery for so long before you run the risk of some sort of major damage occurring.

Rodger is a sculptor (they are quite the talented couple) and the bronzed figure in this shot is one of his pieces. In the background are a series of smaller graphite and watercolor on clayboard pieces of Helen's. I loved these as well.

The one on the right depicts a red-winged blackbird’s nest, and you know how some couples have a song that is “their song” for whatever reason? Well, on Lucas and my first date we walked around a local lake. It was a lovely spring day on which the red-winged blackbirds were being especially vocal.

Hence, our song has always kind of been the song of the red-winged blackbird. Hence, much love for that piece too.

This was one of a really lovely series of walnut ink and watercolor paintings she had on display as well. There was much beauty to behold!

If you happen to be in the San Rafael area and would like to see for yourself, Helen’s exhibition is up through Saturday (Nov 20th) at the Donna Seager Gallery on 4th Street.

After the gallery, Lucas took off to meet up with a friend and journey on in search of surf, while Clover and I joined the rest of the gang for a gorgeous afternoon at nearby China Camp State Park.

The weather was just perfect for hanging out by the bay, warm and calm, blue skies and wispy white clouds. We enjoyed some yummy sandwiches with lemonade and chocolate chip cookies for lunch. Then lounged by the water’s edge, when not busy wandering up and down the beach in search of small treasures.

Clover and Vida spent most of their time sifting through sand together in search of beach glass for Vida’s collection. The little pocket on the front of Clover's apron turned out to be perfect for holding small shells and things.

A Light Bulb Moment

China Camp Historical Museum

There was also a cool little historical museum dedicated to telling the story of the site’s past as a bustling Chinese shrimp-fishing village back in the 1880’s. During some alone time in the museum, I propped my camera up on that ledge by the baskets to get a few outfit shots with a better view of my lovely new dress!

The Dress

It just ended up being one of those perfectly relaxing and lovely days that make you glad to be alive :)

Thanks to my niece Vida for spending so much time with Clover on the beach that day, it was nice to get a little break in such a beautiful setting. Also, thanks to Rodger for emailing me this sweet photo he took of the two of them.


Thrifted Treasure said...

Sounds like a perfect day, those paintings are awesome, you half-step-mother-in-law (is that right?) is seriously talented!

Modesty is Pretty said...

Such nice pieces of art, your dress is beautiful and your Clover, she's a darling, I love reading the stories about her and her new Gretel identity =D

Cel said...

You look absolutely lovely in that dress. :) I wish I could go see this exhibition! It really looks like something I'd enjoy. Too far though :(

Bee said...

oh man. that dress with that jacket with the hat and the belt and the boots and, and. and....*head explodes from sheer awesomeness of outfit* Maegan said...

your outfit is adorable is your daughter. And I love those paintings. so different. so cool.

Anonymous said...

oh Missa, oh Missa, you are so beautiful. And I think I have the same shoes.

Franca said...

what a great excibition, and you and clover are adorable as always!

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Those altars are so amazing looking! Looks like just the kind of thing I'd love.

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

woah. that art is so gorgeous and so mind boggling!!! I love it!

I also love the dress you're wearing!

flaming hag folkwear said...

You and Lucas have such a beautiful, talented, and eclectic extended family.
That exhibition looks amazing. I love the sort of surreal charm of the pieces.
Today is the day...your package is getting mailed (and I am crossing fingers that Clover remains enchanted by Gretel for at least a few more days!).
Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

sally said...

hi missa! i grew up in san rafael, actually! fun to see your pics of china camp. i think i last was there a few years ago for myself and the bf's anniversary but i used to go running there all the time in high school. i loved the story of you and lucas' first date! romantic and so sweet. :) and i love your dress, esp with the woven bag! beautiful artwork from your family as well. :)

Chloë said...

what a lovely day - and what a lovely family! xx

moonshinejunkyard said...

ah missa, i love how you tell the story of a dream day. helen's art is so enchanting and wonderful; i love her mix of books and bark, whimsy and holiness and soul. i reeealllly love how your family is involved in creative ventures from every angle, hands in all pots so to speak, inspiring each other bonding over that very creativity. a rare and wondrous treasure.

moonshinejunkyard said...

ah missa, i love how you tell the story of a dream day. helen's art is so enchanting and wonderful; i love her mix of books and bark, whimsy and holiness and soul. i reeealllly love how your family is involved in creative ventures from every angle, hands in all pots so to speak, inspiring each other bonding over that very creativity. a rare and wondrous treasure.

Andrea said...

Looks a magical exhibition. And on an irrelevant note, you'll love the Godard film, Jean Seborg's wardrboe is amazing, but it's also a beautiful film :)

Milla said...

Holy Mackarel Bat-Missa, her art is stunning! What an amazing (extended) family you have! Including little Gretel who's too cute to boot. She'll be a master Thespian yet, or anything else she tries her hand at.
I love how you look in your new garb, that dress is perfect on you. Next time I swear, the package will be pretty too ;)

Eyeliah said...

lovely art, and Clover so cute in her apron. I had a dress in the 90s so similar to yours.

Cassidy said...

What a lovely day! I adore that dress! So pretty. I need a floral garment in my life.

Van said...

"Shroud" is my favorite too, I absolutely love that. Looks like a beautiful day :) Can't get better with both beach and art!

Crystal Lee said...

darlin dress (I'm fond of the length)& granny boots. looks like you had a fun & informative family adventure!