so much as just experience them! This is a cabinet of wonders as you go through the exhibit you can be deeply engaged ( but don't touch the art! ). Below is IMan by Robert Marvin in what is a kind of graphic novel...
Iris portrait by Alan Singer in watercolor , June 2022
Our jet plane landed safely after the quickest, smoothest flight from San Francisco and then we came into Newark, New Jersey on the way to our last stop closer to home in Rochester, New York. The flight was PACKED and so was the airport in New Jersey. But we had quality time with our family in Oakland, and now we are back on home turf. Amazing how much our garden has changed over our short trip to California!
I got right down to work the day after painting portraits of the iris flowers in our garden on the most glorious days due to cool weather temperatures and lots of sunshine. At first I was a bit rusty but I did work up some fine watercolors that I am satisfied with.
This violet iris presents a problem because the paints I use aren't as vibrant as the flowers in front of me! There are cool blue violets here and warm red violets in these flowers which can create the sense of dimension that is a challenge to articulate. So, I give it a chance and make three or four good ones I can keep.
California's State Flower, the California poppy
Berkeley Botanic Gardens
We are spending some time this spring in Oakland, California for a real change of scene, and we need to re-connect with family and see their new house! To visit with our son, his wife and our grandchildren, we fly out and land in the Bay Area and migrate to the BushRod neighborhood where our family has put down new roots.....
Bay Area view from Old Rose Garden
In the Hills above Berkeley is a wonderful Botanic Garden which we visit on a glorious spring day and it is truly a feast for the eyes! Along with the California poppies ( above ) , we found Bottle Brush and Redwood Trees which soared over our heads. This is a great way to do some sightseeing as there is a terrific view of the Bay right from the Old Rose Garden up a narrow path. I took a side trip to visit the Herb Garden and it just smells wonderful with Mandarin Orange tree in bloom and and a patch of Rosa Rugosa that was Lucious. Stop by the Japanese Pool for a look at the Iris plants and all in all a most satisfying experience.
The next day we are heading to Emeryville and the waterfront, but before we do our son Nate, introduces us to Forest Stearns who is an artist that lives just down the street, and he is AWESOME! He graciously shows us his basement studio with artworks underway that boggle the mind…really! He is working on a project that helps portray the quantum computers being engineered in a facility that would make every techie green with envy. Forest has given TED talks so he knows how to communicate his love for art and science, and I told him that we speak the same language ( though I haven’t gotten into the realm of Quantum mechanics ). Forest as an artist has put his paintings and illustrations out there in space on satellites, and down home in California on quantum computers. He really bridges the gaps between science and art. Check him out at Draw Everywhere Studios...
Another day we spent some time at the Oakland Museum, which really is on more than one level. In fact there is a Natural Science floor which will remind you of the Museum of Natural History with dioramas and interesting graphics that dig deep into science, and the history of the terrain we were standing in.
The Oakland Art Museum is a place we have visited before and there are always new things ( and old ) to take in. This time there is a special exhibition having to do with works of clay that feature sculpture by Peter Voulkos and tableware by Edith Heath ( and her studio ). I found a video about Heath to be very enlightening and also enjoyed the little gallery full of paintings by
Hung Liu ( see below ).
Wonderful Lily in our garden
This is the time of year when I am out in my garden inspecting the progress my plants have made after a long, cold winter. Our new home in the Egypt Hills doesn't have the same square contours as our old home in Brighton which years ago seemed to me to have been built on a mound of old bricks.
Our new home on a hilltop that was once an orchard has terrific soil rather than the clay and bricks we found on Elmwood Avenue. But I did establish a garden many years ago and each spring and summer I might sit outside and paint a watercolor or two. I plan to do that once again where we are now, but I want to see how our new garden grows and what comes into bloom. In my teaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology I always brought my students to the greenhouse in Highland Park to draw and paint plants as part of my course in Zoological and Botanical Art.
After a long hiatus, I decided it was time to say hello and continue writing my blog and bring some readers in to once again engage with this community. Keeping a low profile for much of the year due in part to the pandemic, I can begin to consider where I have been and what I might do in regard to my artwork and also what others are doing in this field. This past year includes the shock of war in the Ukraine ( some of my distant relatives are from Odessa ) and my heart goes out to the people caught up in this horror. My father, Arthur Singer, was a soldier during World War ll, so he had some experience with major battles which I can only imagine myself since I have never been in the Army here or abroad.
Now that I have published my 400th post to this blog, I can take a few moments to reflect on bit of family history, and before this year's end we can celebrate the people that are close to us.. I. first want to say that I owe a great deal to my wife Anna ( see above ) who has stood by me all these many years and without her support I don't know where I would be today! ..We are married for over 41 years and looking forward to so much more!