Harold Balazs in the New Year at Art Spirit, Cda

What do you do when you have a studio bursting with work and the energy of a person half your age? You create your own exhibition opportunity during an otherwise downtime period for a gallery that delights in bringing your work to the public.

Preview: Harold Balazs will be exhibiting new work at Coeur d'Alene's Art Spirit Gallery beginning January 15, a time when the gallyer is usually closed.

What can you expect to see? With Balazs, it could be something similar to the cartouche relief series (left), or the vibrantly-colored enamels (center) or even sculpture (right). Or perhaps something completely different.

First Night 09

Next year I'll have better pictures to post. There will be glassblowing, some guy painting from inside a bubble, henna tattooists, lots of painting and sculpting demonstrations, some pottery wheel-throwing and a whole lot of music, dance and other performance at First Night Spokane.

It's an event I've never gone to before but am going to try and check out this year. You might think watching artists work is about as exciting as watching paint dry but it's really cool. You get to see the process from the ground up, talking to artists as they work, and basically getting the inside scoop as to how and why they do what they do.

Check out their website with links to maps, schedules, artist bios and other important information. See ya there!

Tom O'Day Starts New Year Out at Tinman Gallery

I did the classic double-take when this email popped open on my computer the other day:

In keeping with our current policy of having more hands on art activities along with traditional art exhibits, Tinman has put together a "Mini-Studio Month" for January.  Three artists will exhibit their different art and have weekend activities related to that art.  Our artists are Tom O'Day, Margot Casstevens, Kurt Madison and Summer Moon Scriver and Iris Graville.
Tom O'Day? The Spokane Falls Community College instructor known for his acerbic wit and penchant for blowing things up? INSIDE Tinman's little gallery space? This I gotta see.

At right is a photo from his installation at Saranac Art Projects. And here's a link to the "typical" kind of art this wonderfully atypical artist did recently at Whitworth University. And as Tinman's Sue Bradley notes, much of this work will be suspended from the ceiling or tacked to the walls at Tinman's Garland Street location.

Common Knowledge Bookstore & Tea House is a well-kept secret from most of the outlanders. It's a good karma kind of place, with odors of whatever is cooking in the back and old books in the front of the store. They have a garden outside where they grow some of their own produce in this vegetarian haven, as well as a patio surrounded by oversize sunflowers, prayer flags and the distant hum of Boyer.

A postcard in the mail alerted me to a collective exhibition by Sandpoint-area artists:

Daryl Baird • Jennifer Ball • Nicole Black • Ron Bedford • Charlotte Bond • Laura Calvert-Peitz • Sarah Dickson • Catherine Earle (her artwork is shown above) • Gabrielle Earle • Natalie Fuller • Ruby June • Daris Judd • Kristin Johnson • Lanie Johnson • Carvery Kearney • Brietta Leader • Julie Meyer • Anna Monfort • Erica Nizzoli • Amy O'Hara • Kristina Orton • Holly Pennington • Colleen Russell • Diana Marie Schuppel • Fran Summerday • Chela Turner • Marie-Dominique Verdier • Holly Walker.

Some of the names I know, but not for art, so this ought to be an enlightening show. Through February 17th.

Find the "Lost Art of Handwriting" in Moscow, Idaho

Local schoolchildren will be participating alongside local, established artists in this unusual exhibition at Moscow's Third Street Gallery through January 8. With the transition to emailing, texting and computer-generated print, the art of handwriting may be lost indeed, but not forgotten

Spokane, Washington

The exhibition “The Holy Family,” featuring prints and crèches depicting the nativity, will open Dec. 4 in the Arcade Gallery of the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University and run through March 13, 2010.

An array of prints, spanning four centuries, includes several lithographs from German draughtsman/engraver and lithographer Johann Nepomuk Strixner. Strixner, who mainly reproduced paintings by the masters, was also a publisher. The exhibit features a 16th-century etching from Italian Annibale Carraci titled “Adoration of the Shepherds” as well as an etching with the same title by German artist Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich.

Dietrich was known for his abilities to reproduce masterpieces of the previous century, particularly Rembrandt. Artist John Murphy received his training in painting, sculpture and architecture at the school of the Boston Museum, where he most likely was taught woodblock printing. Murphy’s print “Nativity” will be on display along with Eric Gill’s wood engraving “Christmas Gifts: Daylight.”

Gill, a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Rembrandt’s 1652 etching “The Adoration of the Shepherds, A Night Piece” will also be featured. Three-dimensional crèches on loan from private collectors from Sri Lanka, Italy, Mexico, and an American Folk nativity from the early 1900s complete the display.

The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon- 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Closed Sundays and school holidays. For more information, please call Karen Kaiser, assistant curator for education at (509) 313-6613.

Creatively Yours: University of Idaho Faculty Works Featured at Prichard Art Gallery in December and January

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho Prichard Art Gallery will present its annual faculty art exhibit, which is a celebration of faculty members' creative contributions in the community. The exhibit will be on view Dec. 11 through Jan. 16, 2010, with an opening reception on Friday, Dec. 11, from 5-8 p.m.

Works by faculty from the university's College of Art and Architecture are featured in the exhibition. The media include photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, books, architectural studies, furniture, product design and design plans. The artists and designers will present a variety of styles ranging from representational to abstract, and modern to post-modern traditions.

The faculty continue their creative output. Their engagement with current issues, be it internationally relevant critical ideas or the local built environment, are presented. This exhibit crystallizes their importance to the cultural and intellectual life of the community,” said Roger Rowley, Prichard Art Gallery director.

The participating faculty include:
John and Miranda Anderson, Bill Bowler, Matthew T. Brehm, Val Carter, Jason Ferguson, David Giese, Lynne Haagensen (see image, below), Mark Hoversten, Frank Jacobus, Delphine Keim-Campbell, Jan Kirchoff, Mark LaMoreaux, John Larkin, Sally Graves Machlis, Phillip Mead, Nels Reese, Randy Teal, Greg Turner-Rahman (image above left) and George Wray.

This exhibit is open to the public and refreshments will be provided. The Prichard Art Gallery hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; it is closed on Monday. The gallery, an outreach facility of the University of Idaho, is located at 414/416 S. Main St. on the corner of Fifth and Main streets in downtown Moscow. Admission is free. Additional information is available at www.uidaho.edu/galleries.

Since going co-op this past fall, Saranac has been lining up a variety of contemporary artists, including the latest exhibition featuring Garric Simonsen and Rick Garcia, which opened last week. Expect paintings that challenge the notion of traditional paint handling and use of space. Simonsen's work in particular captures the frenetic energy and multi-sensory feel of what could be the modern mind or urban experience or both.

Masters in Woodworking Exhibition on the Palouse

Wawawai Canyon Winery Pullman, Washington

Artists in Wood: New Expressions

Wawawai Canyon Winery will exhibit the works of area master woodworkers Ben Carpenter, Jim Christiansen, Geoff Crimmins, John Elwood, Bill Hendrix, Ed Krumpe, Kristin LeVier, Will Simpson, Gerrit Van Ness and Len Zeoli. “Artists in Wood: New Expressions will be on display from December 3rd through February 2010.

Of the group involved in the upcoming show, six artists have recently displayed their work at the Dahmen Barn with great success. The group formed as a means to support each other’s creativity and similar interest in wood as a medium. Critique and a sense of vision are common threads amongst the artists. Woodworker, Jim Christiansen (see image, above) has functioned as mentor to many of the artists.

“He makes his shop, his knowledge and his critical skills readily available. We gather around him because of his kindness and support,” said Len Zeoli.

Zeoli further explained how the group is working to establish itself, “Our small band of woodworkers has recently come together to show and market ourselves as fine artists. The long-held distinction between fine art and craft is often about the media associated with it, especially painting. In my mind, this distinction is artificial. Pieces created in wood may be functional—but they may also be significant works of fine art. Our initial success has stimulated us to continue producing new works and to develop a personae for ourselves, which I must say is in its infancy. There is great talent, skill and vision amongst us. People don’t have to go to the big cities to see some of the best work in wood that is available today. We hope to make ourselves known to our friends and neighbors on the Palouse, and to draw people from further away who will come here for the variety and beauty we have to offer as a group of artists and as a region of Washington state.”

Indeed, the pieces in the show range from purely sculptural works to those that are functional…such as furniture, turned bowls and artfully crafted wooden spoons.

LEFT: Rhea Giffin,
Mindful Navigation

Quite a few galleries have end-of-year exhibitions, including Tinman Artworks in the Garland District, Spokane, and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho's The Art Spirit Gallery. Often this is a way to summarize an exhibition year or feature works in a slightly different format.

For Tinman, the annual exhibition often includes the "regulars" and newcomers. Familiar names like Harold Balazs, George Flett and

Some standouts include Rhea Giffin, who had a show (along with Virgina Carter, whose whimsical ceramics are well-matched to Giffin's pieces) at the Tinman earlier this fall but is new to the end-of-year exhibition. Giffin is one of my favorite 3D artists whose work is easily some of the best in papier mache, an underrated art form.

Other new artists include John Blessent (beautifully crafted metal jewelry) and E.L. Stewart (whose paintings are really growing on me since I saw her Dorothy in the Trees at Tinman's Ozvitational exhibit).

Sheila Evans is exhibiting at both Tinman and The Art Spirit with pastels (SEE IMAGE, RIGHT) that are just lovely. Often a painter is distinguished by his/her handling of the medium, specifically the ability to render light, lightness and color in a way that is beyond merely believable. Evans does that. Lovely.

Another artist included in both exhibitions is Mel McCuddin, whose work I don't mind admitting I deeply covet. It's figurative. It's got a bit of an edge to it. Little bits of surrealism. Amazing color. I could look at his paintings for a long time.

Elsewhere at The Art Spirit Gallery, which was packed this past Friday for the opening, artist Glenn Grishkoff showed a series of new brushes that delighted viewers with Glenn's characteristic off-beat humor. Michael Horswill is doing these mask-like wall pieces that incorporate some of his former object assemblage, really fascinating.

Other artists you'll want to be sure and see: Frank Boyden (SEE IMAGE, LEFT), Victoria Brace (her paintings are just getting better and better), Gina Freuen (ceramics with quite a bit of new stuff), Claudia Pettis (odd yet charming paintings of sheep), and Allen and Mary Dee Dodge (whose work I like but not love, yet their latest enamel and metal work shows Balazs' collaborative influence and is a fresh interpretation of the Dodge's vibrant color work).

Thirty-four artists total at Art Spirit and every inch of space carefully and purposefully used. Hats off (as usual) to Steve Gibbs for a diverse exhibit that is able to target specific markets without coming across as schlocky and never loses site of the art in artful display.

Friends invited us up to Holly Eve a few years back, where I bid and bought one of Bill Klein's watercolors at this annual Sandpoint community fundraising event. He's got a nice, clean style, befitting his work as an architect. And while his linework can be a little shaky at times, he has a good eye for the beauty of planar shapes, angles, shadows and textures. Check out his retrospective at Panhandle State Bank Building through February 28.

For more Sandpoint arts news, you're better off googling for the latest Facebook account than relying on some of my links!

Seems like every time I turn around my trusted www links have migrated to facebook, where keeping the website up-to-date is sooooo much easier for folks than having to go through one's web developer or similar third party.

Case in point: Pend Oreille Arts Council has a new facebook page with lots of event news, photos, and more current postings than their website has had all year (or maybe it just seems that way).

Jacklin Arts Center December "Les Beaux Arts"

I haven't yet been to the Jacklin Arts Center but get lots of press info.

Mostly regional/local arts. Community-centered. A nice variety of exhibitions, including watercolor, woodworking, etc. Check them out!