Wine Label for Imagery Estate Winery

Last year I was invited to create a label for Imagery Estate Winery's prestigious Artist Label Program.

 C. Rasmussen |  Floating Away  | 2017 | oil on canvas. For Imagery's 2016 Teroldego wine. 

C. Rasmussen | Floating Away | 2017 | oil on canvas. For Imagery's 2016 Teroldego wine. 

This winery began in the 1980s as a collaboration between a wine maker, Joe Benzinger, and an artist, Bob Nugent.  They agreed that as Joe experimented with rare and innovative blends, Bob would create beautiful and interesting labels. Soon, Bob began selecting other artists to participate, and over the past 30 years he curated a collection including artist from all of the world.  

The artists are given free range, with the exception that they have to include the Parthenon structure somewhere on the label. Often this becomes a game, connoisseurs in the know searching to locate the hidden building. Read the history here

Bob Nugent retired recently, and the new curator, Kara Lynae, is now beginning a collection in which my painting will be featured. The winery has a gallery where they display the original works for wine tasters to enjoy at their leisure. 

My painting was selected to adorn the 2016 Teroldego, which will be released in fall 2018. Keep an eye out for updates!

Open House @ Chalk Hill Artist Residency

Three of my paintings will be featured at Chalk Hill Artist Residency's Holiday Party & Open House this Sunday December 10, 1-4PM. Address and directions here

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This is where I did my painting retreat in September - see my photo album of this gorgeous locale. *Note: I am unable to attend, but the event is free and open to the public. Art will be available for sale. 

Featured Artist: Talavera-Ballon

Another artist who's been inspiring me lately - Talavera-Ballon (www.talavera-ballon.com). Originally from Peru and now based in San Francisco, he's a painterly painter. Let me explain: in a region increasingly dominated by tech & design, Talavera-Ballon's paintings are a breath of fresh air - messy, moody, unapologetically full of feeling. Sticking to the basics (oil paint, canvas, brushes) his textured and colorful paintings reminds one of one's humanity, and the innate need for relationships & community across social boundaries.

  Regrasanda a Ryan Pata  by  Talavera-Ballon . 

Regrasanda a Ryan Pata by Talavera-Ballon

I also like the playfulness of his wonky architecture, and the aura his colors being to each piece. I feel like his paintings are a celebration of real life - the small moments, the quiet ones, recognizing both moments of work and of leisure as legitimate parts of the human experience. 

Visit his Facebook artist page to find out where you can see him and his work at various events this fall, including a live painting demo TONIGHT at the De Young Museum! I also really enjoyed reading more about Talavera-Ballon's inspiration and his message in this article: Read Between the Strokes - Surviving as an Artist in San Francisco

  Cabo Blanco  by  Talavera-Ballon . 

Cabo Blanco by Talavera-Ballon

Windows & Remembrance on 9/11

Seemed appropriate to share my "Windows" series again today, September 11, since it's largely because of the events that day in 2001 that I ended up moving and traveling as much as I have. My family and I were evacuated from Pakistan several days after the attack, as there were concerns about the safety of American citizens. Although my dad was allowed to return for work, he couldn't take any dependents, so we ended up back in the States for a bit, until he took a job in Vietnam and we moved there. Tumultuous times that have shaped my experience and worldview.  

Someone told me recently that there was a cafe in one of the World Trade Center towers named "Windows Around the World" - something I didn't know when I proposed this theme, but which I think adds to it's richness. 

It's funny how even when I have the basic idea for a series I often don't really know what it's about until I've finished. Painting really is about process for me, so I work things out while I'm creating. So, below is the artist statement that I wrote a couple days after completing all the paintings for the show (up through Sept. 20 at Sanchez Art Center; gallery hours are 1-5PM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).

Artist Statement for "Windows - observations on place by an outsider" 
My fascination with WINDOWS began shortly after graduating from college when I was wandering around Oakland where I had my studio. I noticed that many of the windows had grills on them, similar to the safety systems in Pakistan and Vietnam where I grew up. At a time when I was questioning my future (as most recent college grads do) and trying to reconcile my past (as a Third Culture Kid), it was comforting to find familiarity in these windows.

At the same time, they reminded me that I was an OUTSIDER, something I'd been struggling with for years - usually whenever anyone asked me, "So where are you from?"  Windows became a symbol of the separation I felt from people who could answer this question without hesitation. Unlike a door that grants you access, windows create a barrier - always either looking in or out – through which you can see (or imagine) what you’re missing. 

The more I travelled, though, the more I came to see the similarities and differences of windows in different places as an opportunity for dialog. These paintings are hopeful because they show the beauty that I, as an outsider, recognize in what might seem commonplace to a local.

Each week I painted a different PLACE from my various travels since 2004. I was working from photographs I took, so I picked the places with the best reference photos and ended up with (rows, top to bottom): Pakistan, New Orleans, Italy, Austin, Jordan, Oakland, Finland and Guam (#50). 

I used a limited COLOR palette for all paintings of 5 colors (ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow medium, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light and burnt sienna) + white, but for each place I would remove one color (eg. use all colors except alizarin crimson for the Jordan week). The one exception was for painting 50 - I substituted hansa yellow light for cadmium yellow medium to create a more translucent green. I mixed the colors to emphasize the dominant color or feeling I had about each place. 

Read more about my process here. For PDF version of this statement click here

Featured Artist: Shannon Amidon

OK - new blog feature: I'm going to start sharing other artists I like with you. I'm also sharing these on my Facebook page, but wanted to keep track on my website too. 

I'm starting off with Shannon Amidon (www.shannonamidon.com). Her work reminds me to appreciate my connection with not only nature, but also with human connection and imagination. 

 Some snapshots of Shannon's work at the SJ Tech Shop show, opening tonight 9/4/15. Note: my phone camera isn't great; see better photos on her  website , or, better yet, go to the show!

Some snapshots of Shannon's work at the SJ Tech Shop show, opening tonight 9/4/15. Note: my phone camera isn't great; see better photos on her website, or, better yet, go to the show!

I'm drawn to Shannon's work because the materials and colors often have a nostalgic air to them, like something coming from the past. Yet her work is also innovative as she often combines old materials with new techniques and technology. For example, using laser-cutting to create images on old book covers. I love this celebration of nature and books and other precious objects at a time (and place - I too make art in Silicon Valley) when technology reigns. Can't wait to see this latest show!

Shannon has an opening TONIGHT in San Jose at the SJ Tech Shop (location 17 on the South First Fridays Art Walk), where she is currently the artist-in-residence. "Like" her Facebook page to get more details and sneak previews of her work.

Opening Reception for 7th Annual 50|50 Show!

I had so much fun at the Opening Reception for the 7th Annual 50|50 Show at Sanchez Art Center last night! Thank you to everyone who came out to support the show - what a fantastic turnout to celebrate some amazing art.

Here are some photos from the Opening (or check out my Facebook album): 

Update on 50|50 Show: Hung and Ready for the Opening this Friday!

I hung my show at Sanchez Art Center today!

Rows (top to bottom): Pakistan, New Orleans, Italy, Austin, Jordan, Oakland, Finland and #50 Guam (on right-hand side). 

I also got to see most of the other participating artists' displays, and it is really impressive! A must-see show. Event details. Here's a list of the participating artists: 

Images from 6th Annual 50|50 Show. 

Update on 50|50 Project: Q&A

What? Why? Where? When? How?

Each row is a different place. From top to bottom, we have: Pakistan, New Orleans, Italy, Austin, Jordan, Oakland and Finland. The 50th panel on the right-hand side is Guam.

WHAT: A group show featuring over 60 artists each displaying 50 works of art that they created over 50 consecutive days around a theme. My theme is "Windows - observations on place by an outsider."

WHY have I hung it this way? I'm following instructions from the gallery; this is their 7th year doing this show, and they have it down. The 50th panel on the side will be accompanied by my bio, artist statement and title list. 

WHERE: Sanchez Art Center - 1220-B Linda Mar Blvd, Pacifica, CA 94044. 

WHEN: August 28-September 20. Opening reception on Aug. 28; details here. Regular gallery hours are Fri, Sat & Sun, 1-5PM. I will be sitting a gallery shift on Sept. 11 from 3-5PM. 

HOW did I get into this show? This is a juried show, which means that artists from all over submit 3 images in their chosen medium, plus a 10-word proposed theme for the project. The juror, Trish Bransten, Director of Rena Bransten Gallery, then chose 69 artists to participate. Apparently this year there were more applicants than ever before, so I am particularly honored to have been selected.

More questions? Interested in purchasing one? Contact me

Update on 50|50 Show: Week 7 + 1

Well folks, I did it! Monday was Day 50 of my 50|50 project, and I completed the final 8 paintings on time. Here's roughly what the final installation will look like (number 50 is on the right-hand side):

The installation will be displayed at Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica Aug 28-Sept 20 - more details coming soon! All paintings are for sale ($55 each, with 10% off if you buy 2 or more) - contact me if you're interested in pre-sales.

For Week 7, I painted scenes from Pakistan. I want to note that although I spent my first 14 years of life there, all of the source photos for this project are from 2 trips I took to Pakistan in 2004 and 2007. It's funny how when you live in a place, it's just home so you don't really document it in photos (at least, not before smart phones). But then when you go back to visit, suddenly everything looks different and you want to capture as much as possible with the camera lens. 

Week 7: Pakistan

Number 50 - Guam. This may seem random and in a way it is. But Guam was the last big trip I took before starting this project. I really wanted to include it even though I didn't get enough photos of windows to paint a full week of this location (it's a small place). Does the image seem familiar? Before starting this project I did a couple of test paintings in acrylics, and this was one of the images I used for that.

Confession: I couldn't get the luminosity in the green for the leaves that I wanted using cadmium yellow light with ultramarine blue. So for this final piece I broke out of my 5 color palette and traded the yellow for Hansa yellow light, which worked out much better:) 

Number 50: Guam

Update on 50|50 Show: Weeks 5 & 6

42 paintings done, 8 to go! If you've been following my 50|50 project, you'll know I've been doing a bit of catch up to make the July 27 deadline. So real quick, here's the latest installment - Finland (left) and Oakland (right):

Week 5 - Finland (left) and Week 6 - Oakland (right)

One of my brothers lives in Finland so I've been there several times. Always in the summer when it never gets truly dark, the sky is a stunning blue, and it's (nearly) warm enough to go swimming in the many lakes and/or the sea. We spend time in Helsinki, Laitila and surrounding areas. 

Week 5: Finland - Helsinki, Laitila and surrounding areas.

I moved to Oakland after graduating from university in Berkeley (the 2 towns border each other). It was a pretty formative time for me as it was the first time I wasn't in school, the first time living on my own and I had my first studio (in downtown).

Week 6: Oakland, CA

This is also when my fascination with windows began. Wandering around Oakland, I noticed that many of the windows had grills on them, similar to the safety systems in Pakistan and Vietnam where I grew up. At a time when I was questioning my future (as most recent college grads do) and trying to reconcile my past (as a global nomad), it was comforting to find something familiar in these windows. At the same time, they reminded me that I was an outsider, something I'd been struggling with for years (usually whenever anyone asked me, "So where are you from?").  At the time, I was caught up in the idea that one is always either looking in or out of a window, so there's always this barrier preventing one from joining in. Now, I think the fact that we can look through and see "the other" creates opportunities for dialog; but that's a different series. 

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If you missed the last couple of weeks, you can catch up on my blog. You can see my progress on the final 8 via Instagram. These paintings will be on display at the Sanchez Art Center August 28 through September 20. More details here

Fighting Painter's Block

I  have a confession to make: I haven't painted since December.  Besides the simple examples that I made for my classes, I had done nothing to add to my portfolio. Now that I have the time and am trying to get back into a schedule, I am having some difficulty beginning again. A bit different than writer's block in that I have ideas, but am overwhelmed to the point of paralysis - where to begin? So, I tried a few tricks to get back into the zone. First, I cleaned up and rearranged my studio. A bit like spring cleaning, this seems to get me into the right mindset every time. I also decided that I needed some plants to bring in some life.  I actually get great afternoon sunlight in my studio, but I wanted another source of life that would help keep the creative juices flowing, even at night time.

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Then, since I was still having some fear of taking the plunge -- using any excuse from lack of energy to higher priorities to get out of going back into the studio -- I watched some TED Talks, which I find both interesting and inspiring, even when completely unrelated to my own art. In doing so, I remembered a talk from several years ago by Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity and the creative process that I have found helpful, so thought I would share that with anyone feeling a bit depressed about, or stuck with, their creative output.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA

I also realized that I spend a LOT of time inside these days due to my new desk job (which is actually very inspiring, but inside none-the-less), and that going straight from the office into my studio as getting me down. So I went on a beautiful hike yesterday and enjoyed the fresh spring air and endless greenery. Ah! Just what I needed to clear my head and give me some inspiration.

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So, now I feel well equipped to go into my studio and uphold my end of the bargain, as Liz Gilbert suggests, by simply being present.  I look forward to sharing my new creations with you soon!

A Few Kids' Art Projects From Me to You

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy with a lot of transitions for me, so I haven't been painting. I have, however, been teaching art to some really great 1st and 4th graders.  Here's some 1st graders "3-D aquariums" made from paper plates, a project I got from Tim Sensai, instructions here. Aquariums2

And here's a 4th grader's "blow painting" - made by blowing watered down paint across the paper with a straw. While most kids made abstract pieces, she turned hers' into a tree!

Kendra's Blow Painting

I can't remember who told me about this project, but it's a very simple project that is fun for a range of ages and yields satisfying results. This can be a great way to introduce kids to abstract art and/or you can use these colorful papers as backgrounds for other projects.

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Lastly, here's a 2-day project called "Painted Tropical Birds", which I found here.  It sounds deceptively simple, but it's interesting how when there are more than twenty 6 year old kids in the room, you have to be very specific with instructions. Everyone had fun, though, and the results were great!

Painted Birds

While I have decided to take an indefinite hiatus from the madness of teaching children, I do have to admit that kids are awesome!

One Billion Rising - Global Dance Movement 2/14/13

Happy Valentine's Day! Actually, I am not a big proponent of said holiday, but I am a supporter of V-Day - the global movement to end violence again women and girls. Started 15 years ago by Eve Ensler -- also the playwright of the well-worth  watching Vagina Monologues -- this year there is a new campaign called One Billion Rising that encourages a global dance party to support the safety of women. You can watch live performances on their website, go to a local event or join in! Here's a shout-out to my fellow artists Dhol Rhythms Dance Company who are performing at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, check out the details here.

See my art this weekend!

So I have a couple of shows this weekend, would love to see you there! 1) Group show "Vital" @ The Usuals

Opening reception: Friday Jan. 25, 7-10PM

Where: The Usuals, 1020 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

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2) Meet-and-Greet (closing reception) @ Barefoot Coffee Campbell

What: Last chance to see my show Heavy Traffic before it comes down on Jan. 31st

When: Sunday January 27th, 2-4PM

Where: Barefoot Coffee, 1819 South Bascom Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008

Why: Opportunity to meet me and ask any questions you want.Last chance to see the show before it comes down. Fulfill your New Year's resolution early (you know that one where you said you wanted to buy more original artwork in 2013?)! Get some awesome Barefoot coffee!! Come on, what else have you got to do on a Sunday afternoon?

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Michele Pred: (IN)Security

Have you ever wondered what happens to the items that get confiscated before you board a plane?  I have, but only when a TSA agent took away the yoghurt I was planning to eat for breakfast, because he considered it a liquid and it was over the 3 ounce limit.  I suspect it became his breakfast...  However, I hadn't given much thought to the objects that are confiscated -- all the scissors, razor blades, pocket knives, etc.  But Michele Pred has.

Travelers

Travelers, 2011

She asked the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) if she could have the confiscated items to use in her installation art work.  I recently saw a show called (IN)Security at the Thompson Gallery on the San Jose State University campus featuring some work from her series Homeland Security.  The work is partly about curiosity, wondering how dangerous the tiny (formerly travel-size) sewing scissors could be, or to whom all of these pocketknives belonged?  Did they have sentimental value, and have they been saved from a death in oblivion by being on display, in the shape of heart, in this exhibit?

The show also has more serious undertones, though, as a social commentary on how our culture views danger and threats.  Michele uses color and placement of objects to create an American flag out of razor blades, pocket knives, or, as in this piece, a combination of objects carefully placed in their own containers as if logged for evidence by a forensics expert or scientist.

Fear Culture
Fear Culture, 2007

Michele speaks about how she is capturing a moment in history, the feelings of threat and danger that has prevailed since 9/11, and the above piece certainly has the feel of creating a time capsule.  Check out more of her work at her website.

New paintings and what inspired them

Here are two new paintings to prove that although I have been slacking off in the blog-o-sphere, I have been hard at work in real life.  I hope you like them.

We Celebrate the Freaks

The title of the above piece is a paraphrase from a passage in a Salman Rushdie book that I love, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.  The imagery is from photographs I took in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (NB: Although many famous Argentines are buried here, including Eva Peron, this has nothing to do with my painting).  I am inspired by the architecture of fancy graveyards and I like how the statues look silhouetted against the sky, something I accentuated in this painting. I was also reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon while painting this, which is set in Barcelona and has several scenes in graveyards. Although a great read, this is quite a dark book about a writer selling his soul to the devil, so I'm sure some of that got into this painting too...

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When I'm Alone I Get Carried Away

The title of this piece is not a quote, but rather refers to the stir-crazy feeling I had while painting this piece.  Really, the turmoil I was feeling was in other parts of my life, and painting this was calming.  Yet some of that anxiety and loneliness got into the painting, something a friend pointed out to me upon seeing the completed piece.  Perhaps I subconsciously think that by having control in my painting I will be able to exert some more control in my life.  Isn't psychology fascinating? And just to thicken the plot, I should note that I actually painted these two paintings simultaneously... And yes, the dresses continue, albeit in an evolved way.

You can view these hot-off-the press pieces at my current show at Barefoot Coffee Campbell.  The opening reception is tomorrow, December 8th from 4-7, but the show is up through Jan. 31st so just pop by whenever.