Big hearts all
A benefit art auction run by your friends is at once a wonderful place to be, and a dangerous one. Especially when the artists are still there finishing the works as you bid on them. As charitable impulses unite with the strong, positive vibrations that the artists create, a person could be tempted to blow some serious discretionary income.
At Pulse Saturday night, we bought two wonderful pieces, and in so doing helped out children with major heart problems. We had a blast on several different levels. And surprisingly, today there's not even a trace of buyer's remorse. We're still on a high. (O.k., a Sunday afternoon nap helped take some of the rough edges off.)
Our big purchase is an exquisite painting by Nancy Higgins. It's 20 by 20 inches, acrylic (I think) on canvas, in which she showcases her style of offering several measured, linear slices of Northwest landscape images within a single work. This photo of it sitting on our dining room table awaiting hanging doesn't even attempt to do the painting justice. It's gorgeous. We got to visit with Nancy and her husband for a while after we pulled the trigger on the maximum bid. Nice people. We look forward to visiting her in her studio to see what else she has been working on.
We're also excited about a piece we purchased by Josh Arseneau. It is mixed media, with gouache, watercolor, pencil and ink on paper. From his statement in the program, I think it's a partly autobiographical picture, in which the word "Vanitas" (vanity) plays a central role. When we get it unpacked and mounted for hanging in the attic office in which this blog is produced, we'll have to see if the artist will give us permission to show it here. It's strong.
Then there were the works we wanted to keep bidding on but, hey, resources are not unlimited. David Friedman created a huge, impressionistic (pointillistic, I think) piece that would have been wonderful to take home. Roderick Smith did a marvellous painting of mother and children that would have gone great in a number of locations in our house -- or most anywhere, really. Even the preliminary sketches and studies that were hanging next to it were worthy of prolonged attention. David Joseph Laubenthal's more abstract work was the first thing that caught our eyes when we walked into the place, and we were sad to say goodbye to it at the end of the night. Molly Reeves's character studies were noted for future reference, too. Maybe we could commission a custom portrait, but I'll tell you, one could spend a long time enjoying her version of any of the people she paints.
And we must have an Amy Ruppel. No two ways about it... er, what am I talking about? I don't know anything about art! Huh -- I guess I don't really need to.
Auditory Sculpture was the absolutely perfect soundtrack for the artists' work and the patrons' bidding. I usually pass on the electronica, but Pulse forced my ears open, and Keith Schreiner knows what to put in there. Can you say "podcast"? I'll have to call him.
The space, Staver Locomotive, worked extremely well, thanks to hours and hours of labor by talented designers and builders. A huge bonfire out front was a brilliant touch. Here we were in industrial Northwest Portland, 2005, warmed by a blaze that would have made the original inhabitants of the land proud. The food and drink was some of the best of Portland. And although we caught only a few numbers before the babysitter clock turned us into pumpkins, Pepe & the Bottle Blondes rocked.
After any charity event, the obvious question is how much money was raised. When we left, they were still counting, but it will be several tens of thousands of dollars, I'm sure. There were some very generous people in the crowd, to say the least. Really gratifying, especially for a first-time event.
Last but not least, our thanks to Kari Chisholm at BlueOregon, Jonathan Nicholas, the folks at Willamette Week, and Jim Redden at the Trib for helping us get the word out.