Art Notes

My winter session “Calligraphy of Pastels” students laughed 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 is up in Gallery 3 during June. To sign up for next fall:
On one rare sunny spring day for my first paddle of the season, I waited till it cooled down to the low 80’s to get out on our flooded river and duck under the bridges. Kayaking last year inspired the new pastel series, FLOW (10% to, great background for Save Our Stream, part of a picture book series written by environmental scientists. I never could have done the illustrations in two months if it hadn’t been for the talented Burek family. Thanks to 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 ninety-minute session? Coming out September, 2017.
RECENT EXHIBITS: Lincoln’s Bemis Hall, Concord’s Umbrella Resident Artists Show, and The University of Arizona "Center for Worlds of Words,” a solo show of illustrations from The Unbreakable Code, by Sara Hunter, about the Navajo Code Talkers. The center ( builds intercultural understanding through children's literature.  In conjunction with the show, on December 7, the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, panelists from several Native American nations discussed the contribution of Native Americans serving in many capacities in WWII.

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 business, Inspired Gardens, lifted spirits - and attracted everyone to our end of the building!

How to use native plants to support declining bird populations: This mindful landscaping reflects my passion for using local building materials to create a sense of place and reduce CO2 from shipping. In Arizona we replaced old Mediterranean plantings with desert xeriscaping, and at our current residence new landscaping will attract birds and survive summer droughts (hard to imagine right now!) A tip for low maintenance lawns: Pearl’s Premium Grass Seed. Developed here in Wayland, it’s hardy, slow growing, with 1/4 the need for water.

Exciting news about a sustainable neighborhood project on the boards: a planned residential development that will bring more moderately priced housing within walking distance to the town center.  We’re starting to work closely with the planning board and the wetlands and historic district commissions.

I’ve been connecting with our Boston Society of Architects, but traveling really helps the ideas flow:
It took going to an AIA conference in Maine last fall to meet Lincoln architect Ken Hurd, starting a collaboration in hospitality architecture which otherwise wouldn’t have happened in our own back yard. This article highlights Ken’s rich contribution to hotel design:

At the same conference I ran into Dartmouth friend Scott Simons, FAIA, recently awarded the hard-earned AIA Fellowship, so well deserved for his stunning regional work.
Admiring the plantings and hardscape at Austin’s edgy South Congress Hotel, I discovered they were designed by Christy Ten Eyck, the same landscape architect who collaborated with me on our adobe house, which won the AZ Governor’s Award in Historic Preservation. HTTP://www.TENEYCKLA.COM

The National AIA Conference in Orlando underscored the need for more diversity in the field and a greater role for architects in social change. Michelle Obama, in her first public appearance since the
White House, was interviewed before 5,500 architects. It was like a rock concert – those of us who lined up early got great seats! 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. Called in to interview with the City of Chicago, she said to herself, “Well, I’ll go, but I’ll ask for crazy compensation and flex time, and I’m sure they won’t hire me.” They did.

Her message: If you are in a position to leverage, do it for those who are not in that position, the bus drivers and retail help and other wage earners. This reminded me of the less talked about but more legitimate reason to ask for what you’re worth, to raise the bar for everyone.

My biggest take-away? Find a young person in a community with limited options – where they may not know what an architect or another professional does.  Mentor them, show them opportunities for their unique talents.
The right mentorship and support are crucial for anyone at any stage. This past year I owe a lot to coaches and peers from all over the US and as far away as New Zealand.

Thanks to each of you, friends, family, clients and colleagues!