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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mamie Gregory - Madame Butterfly.

The Results Of A Museum Visit.

Blank canvas just waiting for inspiration to hit.

Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration.  Just one word to describe what happens when you visit a museum. Remember my last post about getting yourself to a museum?  For an artist, there is overwhelming inspiration to be had.  And I am inspired.

Basket from the Nevada State Museum collection.

It was the visit to the Nevada Museum of Art which led to visiting the Nevada State Museum, a subsequent visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum and now another scheduled visit to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, all to research basket makers, that has me inspired.  So it's into the studio, new big canvas on the easel, and the resolution of how I want to present Guadalupe Arenas who was a member of the Agaua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians and an extraordinary basket weaver.  I also have a friend who believes she owns two of her baskets and just talking about Arenas and her work has encouraged me to paint this woman.  HOWEVER, I cannot find images of her...arrrgggg. Next week I visit the archives of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum where I am sure to find what I want, but in the mean time, all that inspiration is bubbling up and over leading me to work with Mamie Gregory.  

Mamie Gregory aka Madam Butterfly.


Also known as Madame Butterfly, Mamie Gregory was another extraordinary basket weaver, a Panamint Shoshone living from 1880's to 1951.  She fits right into the outline for : my Indian Women Portraits, the time period, basket weaver, lived in the area where I live....  and with an alias of Madame Butterfly she is just too delicious to ignore.  This moniker derives from her recurring designs of butterflies, butterflies, butterflies with a few lizards, squirrels and what is described as a whirlwind.  I stumbled across her when visiting the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum a couple years ago and she has floated in and out of my creative conscious since, so here we go.  Inspiration from museum visits moving me into the studio to work on a new creation.

Beginning of new portrait painting.

Check back to see how this painting progresses.

To contact me click HERE
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Visit A Museum

Just Go


Jump on your bike, get in your car, or let your feet walk you over to a museum.  Any museum, but I do recommend an Art Museum.  Specifically, if you are in close proximity to Reno, NV get yourself over to The Nevada Museum of Art to explore and take in Tahoe: A Visual History

Over 400 items that portray a visual history of Tahoe have filled the entire museum allowing the visitor to wander through time, artfully.  Paintings, Native baskets, photography, architecture, and contemporary art representing over two centuries of cultural and creative production are being shown.  If you live in the area you will realize a closer connection to your home and it's history.

The museum is also offering lectures and classes as a spin off of this exhibition.  Last month Gene Hattori, Curator of Anthropology at the Nevada State Museum, discussed their extensive collection of baskets and works by Washoe weaver, Louisa Keyser, aka Dat So La Lee, some of which are currently being shown in the exhibition Tahoe: A Visual History.  During his presentation he invited all in the audience to contact him for a private tour of the basket vault at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.  Did I?  You bet!  Immediately!

Entering the basket vault, which at one time was a bank vault.



Shelves of baskets woven by Louisa Keyser





Louisa Keyser's hand print.






Behind more locked doors: Burden Basket and Covered Bottle created for the Curio Trade 
by Louisa Keyser

Feather covered basket.

Feather Decorated Basket.


What an amazing experience to stand among baskets that are a part of the local history, at least one dating back 2500 years.  If you follow my blog and my art work, you know about my Indian Woman Portraits based on basket weavers who lived in the areas where I live, who lived in the late 1800's into the early 1900's.  Visiting this collection was especially intriguing to me and to the continuing work on this series.  Thank you to Gene Hattori for hosting this opportunity.  Would it have happened if I had not visited the Nevada Museum of Art and attended a lecture?  Probably not.  So get yourself out to a museum today, and if not today go tomorrow.  There are great things to see and experience in a museum, knowledge to gain, and fun to be had.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE