Susan R. Kirshenbaum

art and life - both the cherries and the pits

A Re-Introduction

Susan KirshenbaumComment
  Tami modeling at John Goodman's Drawing Group - my long-time Monday night figure sessions. See my next blog coming up about the topic of working with models.

Tami modeling at John Goodman's Drawing Group - my long-time Monday night figure sessions. See my next blog coming up about the topic of working with models.

HOT SUMMER SIGNALS CHANGE

A little environmental check-in. Today it is really summery in SF, almost like Pittsburgh, PA, my home town. It's not usually a hot summer in SF, not in a recognizable way. The galleries get hot though, I mean the temperature inside, as we hold our openings with no air conditioning and we stand on the streets smuggling our plastic cups of wine outside. I'm not talking about climate change - not here/now. But maybe that will be the theme of my blog this fall to coincide with Gaia - the city-wide climate change conference. This topic is always on our minds.

  Here's  No Where to Run , one of my climate change themed works.

Here's No Where to Run, one of my climate change themed works.

PAIN AWAKENS AWARENESS

And now a little body check-in. I'm in the midst of a medical summer, filled with long-delayed surgeries. This gives me bit of extra time to think. To lie around on the sofa with a book, a sketchbook, a friend, a cat, and an ice pack. I kinda like it. This medical stuff hasn't kept me from showing my work, making art, or trying to get my art in front of people. Every day is about creating awareness, broadening my audience, generating fans and patrons.

  Foot up, cat on lap, and a furry cover...

Foot up, cat on lap, and a furry cover...

AN ART STATE OF MIND?

The mental check-in is next. Long ago, I thought that art-making required high drama in my life. And that was exciting, inspiring, and fed the fire...but my quiet life has disproved this idea. All inspiration isn't from deep sadness and pain (wow)! I may not be writing dark poetry anymore, but it turns out I still have plenty to say about myself and the world around me.

CHANGES REFLECTED

While creating this blog I started working on a new section of my website: Exhibitions. It's filled with show photos and very short descriptions. It describes what I've done lately. But here's the surprising part. I just discovered that I've only been doing this full-time art-making for two years. Seriously, I'm the most impatient person I know. I'm feeling so urgent, like I've lost so much time. Not to mention that most /many EMERGING artists are maybe in their early 20s and I am clearly not.

I just went through hundreds of my photos and re-evaluated. Time is speeding up. I've - in fact - to my great surprise - done quite a lot. But, still, I have no time to waste and so much more to do. Don't you?

 Burma Series: Breaking Walls, Breaking Patterns  shines a light on the plight of the Rohingya women being forced out of Burma. It's important to me to bring attention to this group of people who are being systematically persecuted

Burma Series: Breaking Walls, Breaking Patterns shines a light on the plight of the Rohingya women being forced out of Burma. It's important to me to bring attention to this group of people who are being systematically persecuted

About more than figures

My latest piece addressing a cause is shown above. Created as part of my Burma Series, this piece is my interpretation of the SFWA show theme "Patterns" where it was recently shown. The background pattern is a photo I took of a painted wall inside an ancient Buddhist temple in Bagan, Burma on a recent trip. When we visited I was asked to wear a long sarong to wrap myself fully, as these ancient sites in ruins are still  considered as sacred and holy as new temples.

But there's a problem in Burma. There is a pattern of female persecution and punishment that must change. How can each of us ensure women's safety and freedom of speech and religion? Oppression of women, acceptance of women as whole human beings, religious dogma and religious freedom of expression, the dangers of militarism, and political hypocrisy - these are some of topics I think about a lot and try to instill into my art. Traveling is of utmost importance to me in order to experience different places, people, and ideas directly.

  Bagan, Burma temple site.

Bagan, Burma temple site.

CAUSE MARKETING

I know why some people think I'd branched out into product design. After seven years of working as a creative director in-house at the JCCSF, I left in 2014 and once again founded a creative agency. I've had three agencies so far, including Kirshenbaum Communications - that lasted for over a decade. My teams and I have done good strong work for people and organizations. One of my last clients was The Second Opinion, a non-profit who helps people get FREE second opinions regarding their cancer diagnosis. What could be more important work?

  Here's a spread from their annual report we created along with portraits and video (by Dave Papas).

Here's a spread from their annual report we created along with portraits and video (by Dave Papas).

After my stint as Cherry Tree Creative, I was lured away by art again, but in this case it was via a design partner. We were going to help arts organizations with their marketing and branding. We founded Stir, which is still an active creative agency. 

  I loved our business cards with their neon orange edges and letterpress type.

I loved our business cards with their neon orange edges and letterpress type.

WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?

But in the end I had to ask myself - why work for other arts organizations - when I could market ME and my art work? It's easy to see why it was time. I've only been ready for this for my entire life!

  In my bedroom at around 4 years old, drawing, of course. Before the family started the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, PA.

In my bedroom at around 4 years old, drawing, of course. Before the family started the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, PA.

CREATIVE ROOTS

I always made art and I was strongly encouraged early on. The family opened an art school when I was five. That was my life too, as family businesses can be. Fortunately art was also my keenest interest.

Maybe you've seen these black and white photos on my website. My father was always taking photos of us. We learned to develop and print black and white photos in our home darkroom. We even got to work with oil paint at home. As the art school took off, home art-making shifted to the art school and my sisters and I took a variety of real art classes.

  On the front stoop of our house in Point Breeze, Pittsburgh, PA, at around 6 years old, drawing, of course. By now the school was in full swing. I thought I'd teach there (yes, at this age).

On the front stoop of our house in Point Breeze, Pittsburgh, PA, at around 6 years old, drawing, of course. By now the school was in full swing. I thought I'd teach there (yes, at this age).

  Here's Nigel in the background 2 x.

Here's Nigel in the background 2 x.

A cat CREATES A NEW OPPORTUNITY

Moving into the present, our big black cat Nigel is a lover, but he's also a "wool sucker" and has destroyed garbage-bagfuls of woolens.

  Patched the cat-chewed hole with velvet ribbon, my simplest of all fixes, and still a fav.

Patched the cat-chewed hole with velvet ribbon, my simplest of all fixes, and still a fav.

In 2016 I started making upcycled art clothes out of cat-chewed knitwear. In order to do this I shopped around and found my friend and sewing mentor Connie Walker-Shaw of SEW in West Portal. Connie has imagination and talent. She works with kids and has a great deal of patience.

Upcycled baby hat- one of a kind - made from cashmere scraps.

SEWING - FROM UPCYCLING TO NEW

It was during my clothing upcycling period that I began making my own textiles. I needed to learn to sew from scratch, beyond a serger (a special sewing machine for knitwear). I got a home sewing machine and lots of cool supplies and I began working closely with Connie. I was able to create clothes and "art merch" to sell. 

Since I work digitally already, I was able to transition to making fabric and paper using my files and online software with Spoonflower. Connie helped me progress into pattern-making and sewing original designs. We designed and made throw pillows, dresses, leggings, silk scarves, cherrypit-filled neckrolls (with the help of my neighbor Mary), carry-all bags, tea towels, cocktail napkins, charm necklaces, and more.

Maker & Moss Pop Up Show #1, Hayes Valley, SF, 2016.

  My second Pop-Up had a mixture of art and art merchandise. This was at a friend's lovely blueberry farm in Sebastopol, 2016.

My second Pop-Up had a mixture of art and art merchandise. This was at a friend's lovely blueberry farm in Sebastopol, 2016.

ART VS. CRAFT

Looking back at my making process - It's true that I got wildly excited about creating textile designs using my artwork. Because I work digitally it's much easier than I'd imagined to convert my figures into repeat patterns.

  This is some of the art paper I've made. Paper and fabric, the basis of the products and this is probably my favorite part. Maybe just make them?

This is some of the art paper I've made. Paper and fabric, the basis of the products and this is probably my favorite part. Maybe just make them?

A FAMILY BIAS

Even as a teenager, with a family who actively encouraged my art-making - but not other kinds of making (certainly not crafts!), I studied jewelry and I loved it. I even pursued it as an apprentice silversmith in Silverton, CO - a story for another time.

As a teenager with my father in our art school gallery.

Suffice it to say that I enjoy using my hands and physically making. I also like making ceramics and getting messy! And I do love salt...

A ceramic project creating a series of salt containers with lettering and drawing.

SCULPTURE AS A PATH

Eventually I worked my way into soft sculpture, using my own art textiles and by taking yet another City College class. This made me feel like I was making art again. I imagine some very large projects - rooms filled with my figures - stuffed and printed fabric sculptures. This might still happen in the right space - something I hope to get with a next residency and/or a gallery.

  This is a first prototype, like a rag doll, it's made from the remnants of an art dress (above right photo).

This is a first prototype, like a rag doll, it's made from the remnants of an art dress (above right photo).

 Woman with Pink Posey  is   almost life-sized and intended to be the first in a series. At The Laundry, fall 2016.

Woman with Pink Posey is almost life-sized and intended to be the first in a series. At The Laundry, fall 2016.

  Enjoying the flexibility of the digital arena and multiple versioning is very much like printmaking.  Illusive Rose , 2018.

Enjoying the flexibility of the digital arena and multiple versioning is very much like printmaking. Illusive Rose, 2018.

TRANSITION FROM MERCH TO ART

Spoonflower made it possible for me to take my repeat patterns for textiles into the realm of paper art, too. While making limited edition fine art prints on paper for gallery shows, I was having so much fun making other kinds of work that I wasn't worried about potential confusion in the marketplace. Some artists don't worry about this.

I've always loved interior, product, and fashion design. I became enamored with the possibilities and challenges of learning to design and make beautiful, humorous, functional and decorative merchandise mostly by myself. I got a lot of encouragement and sold a good amount of what I made. There's satisfaction in that. Art is a much harder sell. 

Then I figured out how to make scrolls. Printing my own textiles first helped me gain confidence technically so I could cross over into art-making. I began combining large image outputs onto fabric then sewing them to finish the pieces. My art coach Rhiannon Macphaden has helped me along the way. I was able develop my first two large-scale series of limited edition silk scrolls. Several are now hanging at my Grove Salon show curated by Abrams Claghorn Gallery.

  Here's the scroll,  Red Hair Curly and Straight,  hanging at  Arc Gallery  for the Life/Live show. Now hanging at Grove - reception Aug. 24.

Here's the scroll, Red Hair Curly and Straight, hanging at Arc Gallery for the Life/Live show. Now hanging at Grove - reception Aug. 24.

IDENTITY & CLARITY OF PURPOSE

Because people have asked me or expressed confusion, I want to be very clear now. My art-making is not an extension of my design career. I have not become a "maker" either (although I do love the maker movement).

> I am not in the textile and/or product design and making business.

> You might still see me in an art dress which I've created just for me (below).

> You might be able to buy a unique art charm necklace or a rare silk scarf from me (below).

Dave Papas, my photographer friend, had many years of great photo-birthday parties. Here I'm showing off my art scarf - now a collector's item!

And maybe I'll get back to making more beautiful, clever products again, for buyers. I especially enjoyed the idea of my rabbi friend wearing my scarves to synagogue (as well as other friends and family clothed in my artwear in nude-unfriendly environments).

This would have to be after my brand as an artist is stronger - someone perhaps whose work you have seen in publications and galleries, but are unlikely to find in shops or on Etsy. That's how it is now.

  At Art Basel Miami in front of a suitable painting that goes well with my art dress.

At Art Basel Miami in front of a suitable painting that goes well with my art dress.

CLEAR AMBITIONS

> To make the most interesting, rewarding art that I can.

> To push myself and my viewers as far as I can.

> To get the work I make out into the world, for others to consider and respond to.

These are my mottos today.

  An art talk at The Laundry in 2016

An art talk at The Laundry in 2016

CALL ME AN ARTIST

I've never stopped making art. But there were times over the course of my life when I ran from the title of "artist". Now I embrace it.

As a Bay Area-based artist I would like my work to be seen and experienced in many different regions of the world, in all kinds of spaces, and for all kinds of audiences. Offer me a space to fill! I'll consider just about any kind of challenge.

Troll House installation of Banderas Series (5- 8' high scrolls). My first site-specific installation piece will be shown again at The Wessling Gallery in Sept. 2018.

HOW DO YOU DO?

For all of the reasons expressed here, about a year ago, I began to wind down the "art merch-making" to focus 100% on art that would be best displayed in a gallery or a residential or commercial space. That's my current work as I've yet again re-emerged.

How is it that I am "emerging", when I've done this all for so long? That's why everything I say starts with "re-".

So now I'd like to re-introduce myself - although I've made no drastic changes and there may be no surprises. I was not crystal clear in my messaging when I first re-launched my art career. I just wanted to make art and I thought that was enough, but it's not.

 Curly Girls in Pink.   Who am I? I am a curly girl artist. I allow myself to like pink a lot. I love color. You will see this in all of my work, from rusty naturals to neon brights.

Curly Girls in Pink.

Who am I? I am a curly girl artist. I allow myself to like pink a lot. I love color. You will see this in all of my work, from rusty naturals to neon brights.

  This man has a clear identity. His artwear is taken to the extreme. He attended one of my recent openings at  City Art Coop Gallery  and happily posed for me. That's my July wall behind him.

This man has a clear identity. His artwear is taken to the extreme. He attended one of my recent openings at City Art Coop Gallery and happily posed for me. That's my July wall behind him.


DON'T MISS ART EVENTS

AUG. 9: RECEPTION AT SFWA

AUG. 24: RECEPTION AT GROVE SALON

Curated by Abrams Claghorn Gallery

SEPT. 5: RECEPTION AT THE WESSLING GALLERY

See the Banderas Series here.

NOV. 3-4: OPEN STUDIOS WEEKEND AT SFWA

WITH VIP RECEPTION 10-NOON, NOV. 3

Dates to come for Art Workshops, Demos, & Talks

  ArtSpan Open Studios Guide Ad for our group

ArtSpan Open Studios Guide Ad for our group

WHAT'S COMING UP

Mark your calendars for my first East Bay Show; a Pop-Up art show with old friends in SOMA; and ArtSpan Open Studios at SFWA. Read about my upcoming art events in the NEWS section of this site (2.0 version). Look for my upcoming section "Exhibitions" (2.5 version), launching soon!

ArtSpan Open Studios

I'll be in a group of SFWA members holding Open Studios at the SFWA Artist's Salon Gallery October-November and during Weekend 4: Sat.-Sun., Nov. 3-4, from 11am-6pm. Kick off Open Studios weekend at our VIP Reception - with bubbly of course - Sat., Nov. 3, from 10-noon.

Throughout the rest of the weekend join us for art talks, demos, refreshments, and a chance to meet and chat with this talented group of SFWA member artists. I'm especially looking forward to this show since I'll be exhibiting a new body of work!

We will be showing our work from the beginning of October through Open Studios weekend. Come by and see my latest collage drawings. I'll be doing iPad Pro art demos at the SFWA gallery on October 27-28.

"What Brings Us Joy" at SFWA

Get a sneak preview of my first two pieces this week at the August SFWA show themed "What Gives Us Joy" on Thurs., Aug. 9, 5:30-8pm.

Wall Series: Angelica's Heart, 2018, at SFWA during the July show "What Gives Us Joy". Printed on canvas.

Sneak Preview

Here's a sneak preview of some of the work that might be shown - but you still have to come and see the show! It's an ongoing series I'm building with my life drawings combined digitally with layers of my photos of walls, skies, and textures. This combination of imagery, inspired by a recent trip to Spain, led me to the title. I'll also have a new selection of small, unframed prints and cards for sale throughout the weekend.

Wall Series: Escape into the Deep, Dark Green, 2018

Look for more announcements about special events coming up this fall!

 

 

 

May in Spain

Susan KirshenbaumComment

Fresh Inspiration

Selfie with reflections of Madrid in a groovy fixture store window. I'm wearing a pastel pink neoprene jacket from a shop in Girona.

SPAIN'S CENTER, SOUTH, & NORTH

For three magnificent weeks my husband and I roamed through some of our favorite cities in Central, Southern, and Northeastern Spain.

We flew into Madrid then took a fast train into deep Andalusia, where we visited a new destination for us - Cadiz. It's always fun to explore a new destination on our frequent trips to Spain. Cadiz, founded around 1104 BC by Phoenicians, is regarded as the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe. Our Bay Area friends go there frequently and invited us to meet up. In Cadiz the Bakers showed us around their favorite sites, made sure we were extremely well-fed and entertained for close to a week, including a day-trip to Jerez.

We flew from Jerez to Barcelona and took a high-speed train (only 30 minutes) to Girona. After several days in our "sister city", another SF friend, Fred, came to visit, so we rented a car to drive north up the Costa Brava.

We wrapped up our travels in Madrid with several days of museums (some of the best in Europe), touring, and a visit with an old friend, Adin. Visiting so many friends in Spain takes up a big part of our time there (almost as much as eating and drinking), but also keeps Spain feeling like our second home.

  On Day 1 we wandered through squares and quarters, snapping and snacking.

On Day 1 we wandered through squares and quarters, snapping and snacking.

andaluSia: HISTORIC PORT OF CADIZ 

Our archeological tour guide's genetic history is telling. It reveals her ancient roots: Phoenician, Roman, Moorish, and Iberian. The blue tube in the photo is the original ancient plumbing (with strange lighting).

  While digging the new theatre foundation the original Phoenician city was revealed and restored.

While digging the new theatre foundation the original Phoenician city was revealed and restored.

  Cadiz is a charming maize of town squares and narrow cobblestone streets. And well-lit at night. All very clean. And many old watch towers.

Cadiz is a charming maize of town squares and narrow cobblestone streets. And well-lit at night. All very clean. And many old watch towers.

  Sailors' travels to the New World brought exotic plants to Cadiz.

Sailors' travels to the New World brought exotic plants to Cadiz.

 Sculptural tree roots.

Sculptural tree roots.

  Oyster shell beds became stone, then became the building blocks of choice in and around Cadiz.

Oyster shell beds became stone, then became the building blocks of choice in and around Cadiz.

The staples and heart make this wall an ideal background/surface.

Collage with life drawing and Cadiz wall.

I collaged photos with drawings on my iPad while on the road. This heart = a tattoo

Shades of pink charred with soot. It's a painting already.

WALL ART

I love the walls, gates, and doors of Spain. Whether it's graffiti, layers of paint, or peeling posters, it all looks great and lends itself perfectly to become part of my collages.

  Here's some cool and arty graffiti on a gate. Most gates, grates, and screens are covered with graffiti. 

Here's some cool and arty graffiti on a gate. Most gates, grates, and screens are covered with graffiti. 

  This amuse bouche was one of many delicious taste surprises in Cadiz. It looks like olives, but when you pop it into your mouth and bite down, gazpacho fills your mouth.

This amuse bouche was one of many delicious taste surprises in Cadiz. It looks like olives, but when you pop it into your mouth and bite down, gazpacho fills your mouth.

FOOD & DRINK IN THE DEEP SOUTH

We had so many wonderful taste treats throughout the trip. Coffees are very good and very, very cheap. Wine is also quite good and inexpensive too - the best in my opinion is in Catalonia and I'm a huge fan of Catalan cava. People who enjoy sherry would be delighted by the varieties made in Jerez and Cadiz, but I don't care for it. Excellent cocktails have also taken hold. The meat, fish, and seafood are generally fresh and well prepared. There are more vegetables and salads each year we return. And the olives are still some of the best in the world. I enjoy the meal schedule too - breakfast late, a large main meal in the afternoon, tapas or a light meal at night, QUITE late.

Spanish food has evolved tremendously since my first visit in the 80s. There's greater variety and better efforts at fusion. There's not quite as much fried food - bathed in olive oil. We lived in Barcelona and Girona from 2004-06 and we could see a shift underway then - toward a more international and eclectic cuisine. Spain continues to emerge from the dark decades of Franco's reign and with so much tourism these days the demand for variety is high.

  Imaginative cocktails in Cadiz at a beautiful indoor/outdoor bar - this became our ritual.

Imaginative cocktails in Cadiz at a beautiful indoor/outdoor bar - this became our ritual.

Croquettas are one of the most popular tapas all around Spain. The best are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They're filled with creamy mushroom/ham that explodes in your mouth. 

Jerez HORSE FAIR

At the end of our stay in Cadiz we took a taxi to the Jerez Horse Fair (Feria de Caballo). Here we saw the gorgeous horses of Jerez - as synonymous with the city as sherry and flamenco. Eating fried food and drinking sherry or beer in casetas is a big part of the fun.

  The lights as yet unlit at the Horse Fair in Jerez - everything here contributed to a visual banquet!

The lights as yet unlit at the Horse Fair in Jerez - everything here contributed to a visual banquet!

  Riders at the fair

Riders at the fair

IMG_5354.jpg

I loved seeing whole families in matching colors and patterns. The women, from toddlers to seniors, dressed in tight ruffled flamenco dresses, bold stripes and polka dots, fabric flowers in their hair, jangly jewelry and embroidered, fringed shawls...and great dance moves. The slick caballeros and their decorated horse and buggies were colorful and elegant. Everyone seemed to want to take a spin around the fair grounds to see and be seen.

RELIGIOUS ART

Churches were built on top of mosques which were built on top of Roman ruins. Somewhere in there a buried synagogue may even exist. We saw so many layers of history and a wild mix of architecture, art, and design.

I'm particularly fascinated by the faces and hands of the statues in the churches we visited. 

Note the hands gently lifting back the hair in this carved stone head, with the woman above looking down with a grimace.

Her tears, so real. Her hands, so graceful.

 We listened to a free concert at this graceful church in Barcelona.

We listened to a free concert at this graceful church in Barcelona.

CATALONIA: Barcelona, Girona & costa brava

Classic view of Girona with the Onyar River running through it. On the right is the Old Quarter and the left side is the newer part of the city.

  Esglesia de Sant Feli's s  teps in the square (right by our apartment) are decorated with flowers for Flor de Temps, the Catalan name for the annual Flower Festival.

Esglesia de Sant Feli's steps in the square (right by our apartment) are decorated with flowers for Flor de Temps, the Catalan name for the annual Flower Festival.

Flowers festoon the the old Jewish Quarter (Call). It is one of the best preserved in Europe.

We had several lively, often emotional conversations around Catalan independence with Catalans, expats, mixed couples (Catalan and Spanish), and Spaniards. I came away with a slightly better understanding of the arguments for and against\. One thing is for sure - you can't ignore this powerful, popular desire for independence. These movements have solidarity - for example - Scotland is very supportive ( I hear) of the Catalan independence movement.

  You know that you're in Catalonia when you see the Catalan flags, yellow ribbons, and independence posters. 

You know that you're in Catalonia when you see the Catalan flags, yellow ribbons, and independence posters. 

  Who doesn't love Marcona almonds? Even better when presented in local pottery from Bisbal.

Who doesn't love Marcona almonds? Even better when presented in local pottery from Bisbal.

  Lovely lunch at a local friend's home with SF-friend, Fred. Miquel's artwork on the wall - he's the most prolific artist I know.

Lovely lunch at a local friend's home with SF-friend, Fred. Miquel's artwork on the wall - he's the most prolific artist I know.

  Local art popsicles in shapes and colors of important sites and symbols! So imaginative.    \

Local art popsicles in shapes and colors of important sites and symbols! So imaginative.

\

  Just five minutes walk from our place via   medieval cobblestone roads we arrived at our friend Shelley's apartment roof deck and this view.

Just five minutes walk from our place via medieval cobblestone roads we arrived at our friend Shelley's apartment roof deck and this view.

Just beyond girona

Girona is a great base for us. Only 20 minutes from the sea and 45 minutes from France, there's so much of the Costa Brava to see north and south of us. We've explored much of it by now, but there's always more to discover.

  Even in the off-season we found an open "chiringita" for great coffees on our favorite beach, Sant Marti d' Empuries. This is the other part of Spain where the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans traded and left beautiful intact ruins.

Even in the off-season we found an open "chiringita" for great coffees on our favorite beach, Sant Marti d' Empuries. This is the other part of Spain where the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans traded and left beautiful intact ruins.

My favorite meal in Spain, sepia a la plancha in Sant Marti.

Because our favorite monastery Sant Pere de Rodes (12th-14th C) was already closed, we wandered into a nearby site where we'd never ventured. We found Verdera Castle (Sant Salvador de Verdera) ruins at the highest peak in Serra de Rodes. From here we watched sunset over l'Alt Empordà, the Golf of Roses, the Montgrí mountains, and the Medes islands.

  A short drive north of Girona took us here for sunset.

A short drive north of Girona took us here for sunset.

Day Trip to BCN

  Knife, scissors, and shaving supply shop window in El Born.

Knife, scissors, and shaving supply shop window in El Born.

  Here's a charming map of food in the hood in El Born, in Barcelona.

Here's a charming map of food in the hood in El Born, in Barcelona.

Madrid is Underrated

The colors are spectacular. With intermittent rain we were treated to fabulous skies during our entire trip. Although the country was cooler than usual, it was very pleasant and not dissimilar to San Francisco weather.

The Prado is right near the smaller Botanical Garden, and was a refreshing break from urbanity. May is my favorite flower season On Day 1 we saw and smelled Lilacs around Madrid, then at the end of our trip we were treated to Peonies and Irises.

After the a rain shower in the Madrid Botanical Garden right by the Prado.

Madrid flower market

 My colors = Spain's colors.

My colors = Spain's colors.

 Rental bikes here too.

Rental bikes here too.

View of the Prado from above.

View of the Prado from the side while waiting in line.

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE OF ART

Madrid's three art museums are:

Prado Museum: pre-20th-century art

Reina Sofía Museum: mainly 20th century art and yes we saw Picasso's Guernica

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections

I loved these museums and need to return again and again...

Toward the end of our last day in Madrid at the Reina Sophia Museum looking toward the train station, Atocha. We saw so many dramatic skies!

12018_Madrid_street.JPG

A GRAND CITY

Big and beautiful, Madrid is a grand dame. Her museums rival Paris'. And if you haven't done a "hop on hop off" bus tour of a major city, this place is ideally suited. To get your bearings and to see things from a high perch - these are two great reasons to take the bus!

  Close-up of one of Madrid's artist-made statues (there are many different ones all around town) - a collage of Spanish stamps.

Close-up of one of Madrid's artist-made statues (there are many different ones all around town) - a collage of Spanish stamps.

So many gorgeous doors and brass knockers. So long, Spain!

We'll return to Girona next year, and we only need to figure out where else we want to discover on our next trip to Spain.

Three Art Events in Three Days

Susan KirshenbaumComment

International Women's Day

Last week was so busy! I started gallery reception hopping on Thursday, March 8, International Women's Day. Appropriately enough, my first stop was at San Francisco Women Artists Gallery (SFWA), where I'm an active member and frequently show my work in their juried monthly exhibitions.

HOMAGE AT sfwa

SFWA's March theme is "Homage". Fiesta, a metal print, is my piece selected for the promo postcard! This theme title is just a bit ironic for us word people due to the maleness of its origins.

Middle English: Old French, from medieval Latin hominaticum, from Latin homo, homin-  ‘man’ (the original use of the word denoted the ceremony by which a vassal declared himself to be his lord's “man”).

SECRET AGENT ART & BIRTHDAY 

From SFWA I sped across town to a seriously fun bash at Secret Agent Salon in PacifIc Heights. They hold quarterly art shows and the space is quite attractive.

  Partners Steve and Melissa on either side of me at our reception and birthday party for Melissa in our glitzy photo booth.

Partners Steve and Melissa on either side of me at our reception and birthday party for Melissa in our glitzy photo booth.

March 8 Continues

Our opening night reception and combo birthday party for my solo show, titled "Reveals" filled the entire salon. We even made a custom candle with my art on the label for the show. 

I've been seeing Melissa (birthday girl) for years. In fact all of our roots (!) together go way back, to DiPietro Todd Salon when she and her business partner Steve were just starting out.

  Some of the delicious food at the salon reception.

Some of the delicious food at the salon reception.

The salon team put together a beautiful spring-themed, colorful spread, with plentiful trays of food and a wonderful assortment of wines served by the owner from the new restaurant Copo DiVino just across the street.

There were all kinds of photo booth shenanigans, festive clothing, and a great crowd of folks making observant comments and asking thoughtful questions about my work.

  Close-up of our co-branded candle on sale now at the salon!

Close-up of our co-branded candle on sale now at the salon!

  I took over the display shelves for the evening with an array of my art merchandise. My art greeting cards are staying at the shop so you can browse when you stop by.

I took over the display shelves for the evening with an array of my art merchandise. My art greeting cards are staying at the shop so you can browse when you stop by.

  Art is above each station as you can see here plus back and front walls.

Art is above each station as you can see here plus back and front walls.

  Here's the cool crew at Secret Agent!

Here's the cool crew at Secret Agent!

This show is up from March through May so stop by Secret Agent Salon and have a look around!

 

This is the postcard for the SFWA show this month with Fiesta featured.

ARC'S ANNUAL LIFE/LIVE EVENT

The "Life/Live" Drawing Event fell on the Saturday after these two receptions. Now in its eighth year, this event features five figurative artists selected by Arc's managing partner Michael Yochum.

The invited artists: Arlene Diehl, Susan R. Kirshenbaum, Gail Ragains, Eric Saint Georges, & Julianne Wallace Sterling 

Our models: Titine and Titania

2018-03-11 15.48.09.jpg

All Angles & Curves

 Tight, Together

Tight, Together

 A Still Strut

A Still Strut

We participated in an intense life drawing session with two models and eight 7.5 minute poses. Since I draw on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I had a unique set up, with a printer by my side. This was my first time being a part of this event, and my first time working publicly on my iPad with a printer. The moment the pose ends the drawings are taken away for sale at $100. With a large audience watching the drawings take shape, they were often sold before they hit the sale table, sometimes with multiple offers.

 Precarious Reach

Precarious Reach

I was quite nervous, fearing technical difficulties, an audience, and an off night of drawing. But I felt completely in the moment, and as the evening wore on, I relaxed a little into the pleasure of performance. It was bonding and thrilling. People observing me gained insight into my process, and into what it is that I am trying to capture - more than a figure, a human being with a powerful identity. Half the drawings I made sold right away. So I think it helps for people to see me at work, and I'd love to do this more! 

  Warming up on my iPad before the event officially started.

Warming up on my iPad before the event officially started.

The accompanying "Life/Live" exhibit of work by the five invited artists is at Arc Gallery through April 14. Come by and see our work during gallery hours or at the Closing Reception on Saturday, April 14.

  That's my new printer set up next to me so I could print out my drawings immediately and get them to the sale table with the others.

That's my new printer set up next to me so I could print out my drawings immediately and get them to the sale table with the others.