Art Notes

The April Fools snow storm and all the rain has given us a lush Massachusetts spring. In true form New England has kept us guessing after an all too predictable winter! I had a good laugh with my winter session "Calligraphy of Pastels" students at how our Tuesday nights were stormy – to the week without fail. The reward after slogging through the dark, wet weather: a warm, bright classroom, cheerful greetings, and vibrant pastel drawings. Student work will be up in Gallery 3 during June.

Recently it reached almost 90 and that day, my first paddle of the season, I waited til it cooled down to the low 80’s to get out on our flooded river. Kayaking with camera on board last year informed new paintings for the pastel series, FLOW. (10% to Water.org, http://water.org). This was great background for illustrations for Save Our Stream, part of an environmental science picture book series written by scientists and funded by the University of Colorado. I never could have finished the drawings in just two and a half months if it hadn’t been for the Burek family. Huge thanks to talented Crystal, Josh, Evan and Audrey  for their modeling skills and coordination – – how did they pose for 28 pages worth of perfect reference photos in one hour-and-a-half session? Publishing date is September, 2017.

Recent Shows

Lincoln, MA - A Group Show for Lincoln Affiliated Artists and Concord's Umbrella Community Arts Center Open Studios, great fun with the building's windowsills filled with spring bulbs and this year’s Resident Artists Show packing amazing color.

I was honored to be invited by The University of Arizona "Center for Worlds of Words" to exhibit the illustrations from The Unbreakable Code, by Sara Hunter.The Center is an initiative to build intercultural understanding through children's literature (wowlit.org). December 7, 2016 was the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the USS Arizona, and on that day panelists representing different Native American nations discussed the contribution in World War II of Native Americans serving in many capacities.

Architect Notes

At the Arlington Home Show in April I set up a table next to friend and architecture client Jessica Lane. Her spectacular display of flowers for her gardening business lifted spirits and attracted everyone to our end of the building. Today I ran across this article about using local plantings to feed wild birds: http://www.audubon.org/magazine/july-august-2013/how-create-bird-friendly-yard?ms=digital-acq-paid_social-facebook-x-20170322_lead_lookalike_bluegroup It reflects my passion for using local building materials to combat pollution from shipping and create a more identifiable sense of place. It was rewarding during our decade in Arizona to rip out our old Mediterranean plantings and add native desert xeriscaping; at our current residence a new landscaping plan with local plantings will help bird populations and get us through any summer droughts.

My contract employee Fangliang Shen and I have been working with wonderful residential clients, and at the same time I’m being catapulted into new territories with a lot of education and networking activity. I’ve been connecting more with our Boston Society of Architects but traveling always seems to be where things start to happen. It took going to an AIA conference in Maine to make the acquaintance of Lincoln architect Ken Hurd, AIA  and this has started a collaboration in hospitality design which otherwise wouldn’t have happened in our own back yard. I ran into Dartmouth friend Scott Simons, FAIA at the same conference, recently awarded the hard-earned Fellowship from the AIA, so well deserved from his stunning regional work. Admiring the plantings and hardscape at a wonderful new boutique hotel in Austin last fall, I discovered it was designed by the same award winning landscape architect, Christy Ten Eyck,who collaborated with me on our adobe house in Scottsdale. Visiting the exhibit of Ashley Bryan's puppets at the DeCordova with puppeteer Betsy Tobin  was pure joy. Betsy was my Eurail Pass buddy after our Dartmouth foreign study in Toulouse, France, and hearing about her new opportunities to travel for work with her amazingly creative career has reignited that spark in me as well. I just returned from the National AIA Conference in Orlando, which spotlighted some inspiring international work. The AIA also underscored the need for more diversity in the field and our role as architects in social change.

I was blown away by Michele Obama's fist public appearance since the White House in an interview before 16,000 architects. It was like a rock concert – those of us who lined up two hours early got great seats! She was completely herself – powerful and clear, yet relaxed and funny. She told the story of being ready to take a break from the working world right after she’d had Sasha. She was called in to interview with a department of the City of Chicago and said to herself, “Well, I’ll go, but I’ll ask for crazy compensation and I’m sure they won’t hire me.” They did. Her message: if as a woman you are a in a position to leverage, do it for the women who are not in that position: the bus drivers and retail help and other wage earners. This reminded me about the less talked about but more legitimate reason to ask for what you’re worth, not just for yourself, but to raise the bar for everyone. My biggest take-away was her encouragement to find just one young person in a community with limited options – where they are not surrounded by professionals and may not even know what an architect is – and mentor them, show them where the opportunities are for their unique talents.
This mentorship and support is crucial at any stage, especially if you’re part of an underrepresented group in your field.  This past year I owe a lot to coaches and peers from all over the US and as far away as New Zealand. Stay tuned!!!

I’ll be getting my LEED credentials later this year (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Laugh at my geekiness but reading the prep books for the test is like a good novel. I LOVE this stuff!

Thanks to each of you, friends, family, clients and colleagues, for your kindness, support and patronage.