Saturday, November 17, 2012

kathy was more than a statistic

We held a memorial dinner this week for our friend and avid art collector, Kathy Arata. 

Kathy was murdered by a disgruntled ex-brother-in-law in a shocking triple murder-suicide in Stockton California.  The newspapers covered everything there was to know about the murderer but the victims remained largely anonymous numbers, victims 57, 58 and 59.  Was it simply more efficient for reporters to concentrate their coverage on the criminal?

But Kathy was more than a statistic.  She was a warm, kind, woman with a wicked sense of humor and a generous heart.  Her best friend Barbara read us the eulogy she gave at Kathy's memorial.  Small details brought Kathy to life.

"Many of you may have only known Kathy as your quiet neighbor with the beautiful spring garden... I will think of her as I plant my bulbs this coming month and as they bloom in the spring, wondering what Kathy would have thought of my color combinations.  In January, when I am pruning my roses, I will think of her and how thoughtful she was.  When our dear neighbor Jeanne had to go into a nursing home, Kathy was there to make sure Jeanne's beloved roses were pruned and the leaves raked." 

Artists and fellow collectors had the chance to shed tears, laugh, break bread together, and toast Kathy with wonderful wines, that, she too, would have thoroughly enjoyed.

Kathy loved art and she loved the hunt of finding the best painting... before anyone else did!  She would faithfully show up when new work was delivered or when we were hanging our shows.  In the four years she collected through the Knowlton Gallery Kathy put together an extremely fine collection of contemporary representational art, including works by Clark Mitchell, Kim Lordier, Ray Roberts, Dennis Ziemienski, Carolyn Lord, Kathleen Dunphy, Randall Sexton, Joseph Paquet, and so many others. We've already started speculating about the Gallery's next show and WWKHP --What Would Kathy Have Purchased. 

"Kathy always believed that one should buy something every now and again from the local merchants since we enjoyed their shops so much and would not want them to disappear."

"She was the kindest person I know.  I will miss that quiet smile and soft voice.  I will just plain miss her and there will never be another person like her."

The Peace of Wild Things

By Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Friday, October 19, 2012

representational art

I just returned from TRAC 2012 The Representational Art Conference, held in Ventura, CaliforniaHosted by the Art Department of California Lutheran University, this ambitious undertaking brought together artists and academicians from around the globe.  Attendees were able to select from scholarly talks, art demonstrations, and museum tours in a jam-packed 3-day schedule.

A three-hour portrait demonstration by Tony Pro

"We believe that there has been a neglect of critical appreciation of reresentational art well out of proportion to its quality and significance; it is that neglect that the conference seeks to address.... What is the role of representational art in the 21st century?  What are its sources and directions?  How might it shape the art world?"

Choosing between lectures ranging from "The Possibilities of Post-postmodernism" by Ruth Weisberg, to "Representing by Hand: Painting in the Digital Age" by John Nava, or lingering over lunch at a table with artists and professors from Turkey, South Africa, England, Indiana and Florida, made for lively discussions and comraderie.

Chinese brush painting by Nan Liu

If you would like more information on this conference or a possible future conference:  or

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Oh!  The luxury of a week off!  My idea of a vacation is either a go-go trip, visiting Rome or New York, or a do-nothing trip that involves lots of down time to read and work on jigsaw puzzles, nap, ride bicycles, and drink!  There were a lot of trashy murder mysteries consumed during this vacation, and a few gems, particularly "a land more kind than home," by Wiley Cash.  It broke my heart.

For you fellow jigsaw puzzle fans, I can't say enough good things about Liberty Puzzles.  They are the old fashioned all wood puzzles and their pieces are cut into unusual and amusing shapes that match the theme of each puzzle.

Here's an early morning photo taken along the Truckee River, just south of Lake Tahoe.... a far cry from my messy desk in the gallery!

Friday, August 3, 2012


Look what I got in my inbox today...

 East Shore Waters, by Charles Muench, oil 18" x 24"

It's EXCITING when a new show is on the horizon.  Images begin arriving through my email.  I get to view the artists works for the first time.  The thrill of seeing new paintings never wears off.

Today was a bonus day, I not only received images from Charles Muench, for the Gallery's September show, California Gems: Yosemite & Tahoe, but Kathleen Dunphy has started teasing me with a few images for her upcoming solo show, Ebb and Flow: Painting Nature's Rhythms, opening in October.

 Trail's End, by Kathleen Dunphy, oil 40" x 30"


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

bing madness

It's cherry time in Lodi! 

Cherries have a short season and they don't hold so you have to eat them, cook with them, or freeze them, immediately.  We were given a large box of cherries by the Costas, whose bings are shipped worldwide, from Japan to the White House.

Even using a cherry pitter, pits manage to sneak through so we not only use the pitter but we cut each cherry open to make sure it's clean.... a lot of work.

The results are worth it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

all in the family

My cousin's high school daughter has started a food blog.  Check out this wonderful banana bread recipe she found in her great grandmother's recipe box. 

Great Grandma's Banana Bread Recipe

I am awed by these enterprising teens who will surely change the world for the better.
Thanks Eliza!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

why collect art?

A client recently purchased the painting, "Three Ballerinas" by Peggi Kroll-Roberts, she had seen on the gallery's web page.  I shipped it to her and this is the touching email she followed up with:


"It is just everything I hoped for.  It made me weep.

 I chose this painting, Three Ballerinas, in honor of the memory of my sister, Jane.  Jane fell and hit her head while in the hospital where she was undergoing tests.  Her blood was so thin that the hemorrhage in her skull could not be treated, and so she died at age 56, on August 20, 2011.  Jane was not a dancer, but ballet was her passion.  She was extremely knowledgeable, an expert, of ballet and dancers for 40 years.  In 2009, she took me to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC where we saw what was to be the performance of Giselle with Nina Ananiashvili in her last season with the American Ballet Theatre.  It was stunning, as even a neophyte such as I could appreciate.  As we left the Met, one woman said I need never see another performance of Giselle in my life.  We then saw many people from the audience having their picture taken with the poster of Nina advertising Giselle in front of the Met.  The next day the New York Times Published a full page review of the performance we attended that positively glowed and included color photographs of the dancers.  Since that performance I have watched for a painting or sculpture that captured the elusive charm of that experience."

And that is why we collect art.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

california art club

There's nothing quite like cruising down Colorado Boulevard (Pasadena) on a perfect day in sunny California.  That's where I was a week ago, on my way to the Autry Museum in Los Angeles for the California Art Club's annual Gold Medal Show.  I work most weekends and infrequently attend art shows, but this is one I make time for.  The CAC show features many of the finest painters in the state; from both Northern and Southern California. 

The Knowlton Gallery had an amazing number of artists included in the show!  A highlight was seeing Ray Roberts win the Gold Medal, voted on by his peers, for "Crashing Waves at Garrapata."
As in all my travels, I like to seek out cool signage and great places to eat.  This time we found an original, "The Oinkster" in Eagle Rock, and it was packed with people.  In South Pasadena we took the advice posted by another blogger and ate at a fantastic French restaurant, Bistro De La Gare, at 921 Meridian Avenue.  It's a neighborhood place, casual and inexpensive, but they know their food and wines.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Philadelphia, lots to love!

I just returned from Philadelphia where I spent three days viewing and purchasing beautiful hand crafted jewelry for the gallery, at one of the best American craft shows in the country.  There is so much to love about Philadelphia: history, early American architecture, good food and great art.  It's a city made for walking.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Art has a wonderful museum, but even better is their permanent art collection in the historic Landmark Building.  It's filled with astonishing works, no suprise given that their alumni include Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, Maxfield Parrish, Robert Henri, Charles Sheeler, John Sloan, and Arthur B. Carles!

This is a city that loves food.  There are many small (10 tables or less) neighborhood restaurants to enjoy.  My favorite was Tria, a wine bar at the corner of 12th and Spruce.

The mecca for foodies one-and-all is the Reading Terminal Market.  Filled with fish mongers, produce stands, tiny lunch counters, bakeries, chocolatiers, Amish preserves... no one walks away hungry.

Just 30 minutes from Philadelphia is another cluster of amazing places to visit.  There are important Revolutionary War battle grounds here and the Brandywine Museum, featuring the works of early American illustrators and a jaw dropping collection of Wyeth paintings; N.C., Andrew and Jamie.  The Dupont estate, Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, are nearby.  The heady flora scents and colorful displays in the Longwood greenhouses were a welcomed sight on a cold and gray wintery day.  This would be an astonishing place to visit in warm weather when the fountains are running, the topiary garden is open, and the grounds are at their peak.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crab Feed

Come February, a Lodi tradition begins, The Crab Feed.  Nearly every service organization hosts one.  It's a sure fire sell-out fundraiser and a chance for a whole lot of people to get their fill of sweet Dungeness crab.

I enjoy my crab at the Buddhist Church's annual event.  It's a no-nonsense affair; bring your own wine, lemons, butter, and other accompaniments.   They supply salad, pasta and a bottomless supply of fresh Pacific crab.  Yum! 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

new year/new crop of students

Our year is off to a great start thanks to Peggi Kroll-Roberts and her intensive three-day oil workshop, Still Life and Costumed Figure Painting.  Artists flew and drove to Lodi, CA, from far and wide, including two different regions of Texas.

Students ranged from established artists to those who were just starting in oils.  Peggi gave everyone loads of individualized attention.  She never sat down!  Our local artisan bakery, The Dancing Fox, was the most popular spot for lunch, located just a half block from the Gallery.  More than one student stopped by again on their way home to pick up a loaf of pear and walnut bread and a few cookies.

Check out our workshop schedule for 2012 at the Gallery's website.

getting out of town!

In early January my husband and I drove from Lodi to Los Angeles;  a quick 6 hour drive
on 5, to attend the L.A. Art Show.  It was fun to pass the location of Randall Sexton's painting, Oil and Water, currently hanging in the gallery's California Vernacular show.  I tried to pull off the freeway and take a picture but Stefan yelled, "No, no, no!"  Yeah, stupid.

I went to look the show over to determine if I wanted to have a booth there in 2013. It's held in the LA Convention Center, a place with confusing parking and little ambience.

Arcadia Gallery
Divided into two parts, Modern & Contemporary and Historic & Traditional, the Historic & Traditional makes up the smallest portion of the show.

Madison Gallery

Steven Stoops, Stevens Fine Art
What is the value of these shows?  They seem to be springing up in every major city.  Are collectors seeking out the shows or are the crowds largely made up of people who are attending purely as entertainment?

Los Angeles is its own art show.  The architecture!  The beaches!  The people!   The L.A. Art Show did have have many wonderful works, I'm just not sure of the mass merchandising setting.  Still, it was nice to get out of town.