September 16, 2020

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription

In this issue:

Releasing Stress Through Art
Trump Ended 2018 France Trip Having Art Loaded on Air Force One
Fingerprints help identify age and sex of prehistoric painters in southern Spain
Bob Ross saviour for gallery
Bendi’s Arts and Crafts Supplies fulfills lifelong passion for art
Tokki Art Supply opens in Hood River




Releasing Stress Through Art

People are picking up old and new hobbies during the pandemic to fill their time. A recent retiree rediscovered her passion for art just a few years ago, and now finds that it's helping her cope with the stress this year has presented.

Janet Johnson is a local pastel artist, but she wouldn't have called herself an artist until recently. She paints and works with canvases, not for the money, but because it makes her happy. And lately, happiness is all that many people are seeking.

“Especially now with COVID and all the political and social unrest going on now, we all have so much buried stress and so many buried emotions,” Johnson says. “And we have to let that out some way.”

Johnson has found that working with pastels filled a hole in her life she didn't know she had.
She says painting is like pouring stress out through her hands and she finds herself escaping into her studio for hours at a time where art can consume her thoughts. She is able to set aside the stressors of life and completely focus on creating something beautiful.

“I get so focused in on what I'm doing, I can spend an entire day working on a painting and I don't have to think about all these horrible things that are happening right now,” says Johnson.

She encourages anyone who is looking for a mental break to invest in art supplies and take advantage of the free resources online. Many artists have taken to holding free virtual workshops and posting tutorials on YouTube in place of holding lessons in person.

Trying something new can be hard, and Johnson says it's easy to compare yourself to other people. She admits it's intimidating, but says you won't find a more supportive community than that of the art world.

“Every single artist is different and every person expresses themselves in a different way,” says Johnson. “You can never compare yourself. Because if you just start, you will learn and you will grow. And that's the joy of art. Everybody's different.” Spectrum News 1


Trump Ended 2018 France Trip Having Art Loaded on Air Force One

After Donald Trump’s planned trip to a French cemetery for fallen Marines was canceled in November 2018, the U.S. leader had some extra time on his hands in a mansion filled with artwork. The next day, he went art shopping -- or the presidential equivalent.

Trump fancied several of the pieces in the U.S. ambassador’s historic residence in Paris, where he was staying, and on a whim had them removed and loaded onto Air Force One, according to people familiar with the matter. The works -- a portrait, a bust, and a set of silver figurines -- were brought back to the White House.

The decision to cancel Trump’s visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside Paris is under new scrutiny after the Atlantic magazine on Thursday published a bombshell report that Trump belittled the American servicemen buried there, part of a broader history of disparaging certain people who’ve served in the military. Trump has vehemently denied making the comments about “suckers” and “losers” in the armed forces.

Never previously reported is Trump’s spur-of-the-moment art caper before leaving the ambassador’s residence.

The incident was met with a mixture of amusement and astonishment at the time, but caused headaches for White House and State Department staffers, according to several people familiar with the episode who asked not to be identified due to its sensitivity.

Chic Mansion

The story unfolded like this: While in Paris with other world leaders to commemorate the centennial of the end of World War I, Trump stayed at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador Jamie McCourt, the palatial Hôtel de Pontalba. The mansion, in Paris’s chic 8th arrondissement, dates to 1842. It has served as a flagship of the State Department’s “Art in Embassies” cultural diplomacy program, and is open to tours.

The president’s planned visit to the Belleau Wood cemetery was canceled when rainy weather grounded the presidential helicopter, according to a redacted email the White House released to rebut the Atlantic story. The U.S. Secret Service ruled out a motorcade for the 56-mile drive, according to two people familiar with the matter.

That left Trump with about six hours of free time in the ambassador’s residence.

The next day, Trump pointed out a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters, and insisted the pieces come back with him to Washington.

The People’s House

McCourt, the ambassador, was startled, but didn’t object, according to people briefed on the incident. Trump later quipped that the envoy would get the art back “in six years,” when his potential second term in office would be winding down.

The art, worth about $750,000 according to one of the people familiar with the episode, was loaded aboard Air Force One while Trump visited another cemetery before the flight back to Washington.

“The President brought these beautiful, historical pieces, which belong to the American people, back to the United States to be prominently displayed in the People’s House,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in response to questions from Bloomberg News.

Trump’s move prompted some hair-pulling and a furious exchange of emails back home between the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations and White House officials who organized the art transfer. Ultimately, because the art is U.S. government property, the move was deemed legal.

Purchase Policy

Trump, who once used his charity to purchase a large portrait of himself, is known to display in his private West Wing dining room mementos from various official trips and encounters. Over time that’s included a pair of shoes gifted by musician Kanye West and an Ultimate Fighting Championship belt.

A senior White House official said presidents are permitted to display personal gifts from Americans or heads of state while they’re in office, but must purchase them if they want to keep the presents after they depart.

The figurines that caught Trump’s eye found a new home on the fireplace mantel in the Oval Office. Depicting Greek gods, they date to the early 20th century and were made by Neapolitan artist Luigi Avolio, who was trying to pass them off as sculptures from the 16th or 17th centuries, according to London-based art dealer Patricia Wengraf.

Portrait Gallery

In an “Antiques Roadshow” moment, Wengraf described the figurines as “20th century fakes of wannabe 17th century sculptures,” and of little value.

The French art-collection episode comes with a curious footnote. After White House art curators examined the pieces Trump brought home, the president was told that the Franklin bust was a replica. He joked that he liked the fake better than the original, two people familiar with the episode said.

The Franklin portrait snagged from Paris was also a copy -- of the one Joseph Siffred Duplessis painted in France in 1785, which was then held by the National Portrait Gallery a mile from the White House.

The curators removed a different portrait of the founding father from the Oval Office and borrowed the original Duplessis from the gallery. That one now hangs in the Oval, not the replica Trump ferried out of France. Bloomberg


Fingerprints help identify age and sex of prehistoric painters in southern Spain
Researchers studied the Neolithic rock art in the Los Machos rockshelter

Fingerprints are not just useful for catching criminals and unlocking your phone, they can help us to learn more about prehistoric artists too. According to a new study published in the journal Antiquity, researchers recently analysed two fingerprints discovered among the painted rock art in Los Machos rockshelter, in southern Spain. By looking at the ridges, which can reflect a person’s sex and age, they identified two prehistoric artists: a man who was at least 36 years old, and a young woman or juvenile, between 10 and 16 years old.

The study, done by a team of researchers from the University of Granada, Durham University, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, shines a rare light on the artists who produced Spain’s rock art and the society in which they lived. Created between 4,500 and 2,000 BC and painted by finger, the prehistoric “schematic art” involves strokes, circles, geometric motifs, and human figures, and “probably relate to daily life, and are the materialisation of symbolic elements understood by the communities that inhabited the area around Los Machos” at the time, the team writes in Antiquity. “The true value of rock art lies in how it represents a direct expression of the thought processes of the people who created it. These individuals are very often missing from discussions of rock art sites.”

“The analysis of fingerprints in terms of sex and age is a great contribution towards understanding who was involved in the production of rock art,” says Leonardo García Sanjuán, a professor in prehistory at the University of Seville. “For example, a gender analysis of rock art would be possible if sufficient amounts of evidence on fingerprints like that presented in this paper was compiled: was rock art made by children, adults, women and men alike? Or were there specific age and sex groups in charge of its production? Up until now, we knew next to nothing about these issues.”

Scholars are able to determine a person’s sex and age using fingerprints on archaeological remains because the characteristics of the prints differ. Men tend to have broader fingerprint ridges than women, for example, while the distance between ridges grows from childhood to adulthood, helping to deduce age.

Prehistoric archaeologist Margarita Diaz-Andreu, an ICREA Research Professor based at the University of Barcelona, says that the study is an “exciting proposal,” but urges some caution. “We know that in several societies in the world, the people who were in charge of painting were often accompanied by other members of the community. This means that the fingerprints may not have come from the authors of the paintings.”

Although prehistoric rock art has been extensively studied, few facts have been be gleaned about the artists who created these works. It was once assumed that the much earlier rock art of the Upper Palaeolithic era (at least 20,000 years ago) was mainly produced by men, because the artists often painted animals that would have been hunted. Today though, analyses of the hand stencils left by these Palaeolithic artists have shown that men, women, and children all played a role in producing the works. In fact, one study of the rock art in various French and Spanish caves showed that 75% of the hand stencils were female.

In a similar way, fingerprint analysis can help researchers to challenge assumptions about prehistoric artists. “The research into authorship, using the methodology applied here, could reveal further complex social dimensions at other rock art sites worldwide,” writes the research team. The Art Newspaper


Bob Ross saviour for gallery
Bob Ross saved the Penticton Art Gallery from a tough year of lost revenue and fundraising

The year 2020 was on track to be financially devastating for the Penticton Art Gallery, with COVID-19 forcing a temporary closure and compromising their fundraising abilities.

Then along came Bob Ross.

"It's been a steady stream of people all summer long. On average, we've been having between 150 and 225 people a day, it's just been amazing," said curator Paul Crawford.

The Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents exhibition, open since July 4, has been wildly popular, showcasing work from the celebrated pop culture icon known for his television series The Joy of Painting.

Guests have waited upwards of two hours in a socially-distanced line for their chance to get in the doors, travelling from far and wide.

"We've had people from Winnipeg drive out here just for the show, countless people drive up from Vancouver for the day, all over Vancouver Island, it's just been amazing the distances people have travelled just to catch the show," Crawford said.

"It's really been the right tonic for the time, for sure."

Joy to the people, and much-needed funds to the gallery.

"Financially it's helped us out tremendously in a year that was shaping up to be a real disaster for us in terms of fundraising and everything else," Crawford said.

He estimates the total visitors will be around 15,000 by the time all is said and done, and while he doesn't have total revenue numbers yet, they will more than make up for a much-diminished annual art auction and other fundraisers the gallery normally relies on as their lifeblood.

But most of all, Crawford hopes the enduring charm of Bob Ross' art will leave its mark on the gallery.

"What I really hope is that the legacy will be that all those people who came and visited the gallery for the first time will come back next time and continue to support us, which would be amazing," Crawford said.

The Bob Ross exhibition runs until Sept. 13, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday to accommodate any extra crowds looking for their last chance to experience the "happy little accidents" in person. Castanet


Bendi’s Arts and Crafts Supplies fulfills lifelong passion for art
Couple takes risk during COVID pandemic to open new business

Although she has worked for years in the automotive financing industry, Brenda Lewis always had an artistic touch.

When she grew tired of her career, she thought she would shift gears and do something else and Bendi’s Arts and Crafts Supplies was born.

“I’ve always had a passion for arts and crafts and carpentry for as long as I can remember,” Lewis said. “I worked in my carpentry shop with my dad and it never left me.”

Even when she was working in the auto industry she would come home at the end of the day and pick up her brush or work on another creation.

Both she and her husband Brian Sanderson, an engineer, had always talked about easing into retirement and doing something else. Then COVID-19 sped things up. While many businesses were struggling to keep their heads above water, amid the financial crash that came with the global pandemic, Lewis and Sanderson decided to do something akin to jumping off a cliff - they opened a new business.

“I was tired of automotive after 25 years,” said Lewis, who got her start as a nurse and moved to Amherst in 1999. “COVID was an eye-opener. I worked in my garage and decided this is what I want to do. I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to do cars anymore.’ I sold off all the inventory and made the switch.”

Lewis and Sanderson have operated a small business for several years, including a small dealership on South Albion Street, so they are used to adjusting and adapting as well as overcoming.

“The writing was on the wall there. No one knew what the market was going to do,” Sanderson said. “The interesting thing is how much this market spiked. People are at home working, their kids are at home and they want something to do. People were coming to our garage asking if we could sell them some paint or some vinyl, or to cut some wood for them because they couldn’t go out and get it.”

Lewis said it wasn’t hard to open the business, while Sanderson said an opportunity to good to pass up became available with an opening in Dayle’s Grand Market in downtown Amherst.

“We were looking around for property and this opportunity came available,” she said.

After opening July 4 they have done very well. The biggest issue was getting product in on a regular basis. They are trying to purchase as much as possible from Canadian suppliers, although there are some items they have to get from the United States.

“Now we have a good flow,” she said.

Sanderson said the traffic is not where it should be, but they’ve noticed it is improving almost daily as people return to the pre-pandemic shopping patterns.

For the artist, Bendi’s has paints, acrylics, oil paints, pastels, brushes, canvases, paper and even furniture paint. There’s a bit of home décor and craft and she hopes to display local artists and will offer art classes.

It also stocks permanent vinyl and heat transfer vinyl.

Sanderson said there’s a vibrant art community in Cumberland County, including the art gallery in Tidnish Bridge and the Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Rug Hooking Studio in Amherst.

He said it’s difficult to survive as a bricks and mortar art supply business without going online to sell on Etsy and other portals.

They also enjoy being part of the Dayle’s Grand Market success story with a number of small businesses operating under one roof and treating each other as family. The Chronicle Herald


Tokki Art Supply opens in Hood River

Start: Tokki Art Supply ... — Stop — ... Start: ... opened this summer on Oak Street, its second — Stop — ... home after a short introduction ... — Start — in Bingen.

Owner and stop-motion film veteran Janet O’Sullivan originally opened Tokki Art Supply in Bingen in August 2019. Tokki means “rabbit” in Korean; O’Sullivan was born and raised near Seattle, and her family hails from Korea.

“We have two rabbits at home, I had them as pets as a kid, they have great personalities and are fun and a good representation of the business,” said O’Sullivan

The store idea arose out of her own need to find supplies close by.

“I do a lot of home projects with paper, with my background in stop-motion animation,” O’Sullivan said. “I had trouble finding materials, and was tired of driving to Portland. I opened the shop in Bingen, and I love the community but wanted a bit more foot traffic,” so she closed the shop in 2019 and reopened on Oak in July 2020.

O’Sullivan and Hood River resident Coral Polson were nominated in 2020 for an Oscar for their work on film “Missing Link,” done by Hillsboro's Laika Studios, where Polson still works. O’Sullivan left Laika in 2017, and had been commuting to New York for work as a stop-motion miniature fabricator for commercials.

Her work there included craft paper sets and figures for Amazon Prime commercials. She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and did cartooning and other graphic work before accepting an internship that got her into the world of stop-motion.

“The main inspiration for why I wanted to start an art supply store in the Gorge was because there was no place to get quality supplies without having to travel all the way to Portland,” she said. “I try to focus on getting as much locally as possible, with several brands that are made in Portland and West Linn.

“The arts community in the Gorge is so incredible and supportive that we decided it was worth the risk to leap across the river and move Tokki Art Supply to downtown Hood River. We re-opened at 409 Oak on July 8.”

Her husband, Joseph, is a distiller at Clear Creek Distillery in Hood River.

“And we feel so lucky to be able to meet more of our community members and see some of the fantastic work that people have been making during quarantine,” O’Sullivan said. “And to give guidance for those who are finding that they finally have the time to dip their toes into a new medium. It truly seems as though difficult times inspire creativity.

“With the fact that there are so many amazing artists and students in our community I knew that I wasn’t alone in the need for a local art supply store,” she said.

“Our location in Bingen allowed us to take the time and hear feedback from the community in the kinds of materials, brands, and tools they need and I’ve curated my shop accordingly. We carry oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache paints and mediums, as well as drawing tools and craft related supplies. And of course, canvas, sketchbooks and larger sheets of paper. We have a little bit of everything.”

Tokki offers curbside pick-up and shipping through its online shop

Store hours are Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

'Art at Home' provides supplies

O’Sullivan, who lives near Bingen, kept her link to the Bingen community in a recent project with White Salmon Valley School District and White Salmon Arts Council and the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. She said that at the beginning of the state-wide coronavirus shutdown, “I realized there were so many students in the school district that were without art supplies. And for some kids art is essential.

“So, we took the initiative to reach out and coordinate with the art teachers in the school district, specifically Patricia Carpenter and Kelsey Lemon, helped get us funding for over 400 art supply kits for the students who are on lunch assistance, this program we called Art At Home.

“These were distributed through the amazing bus drivers who were out there delivering lunches every morning,” O’Sullivan said. “We were able to get this going in just over a week and delivered to the students within a few weeks.

" We try our hardest to give back to the community through the means we can and we wanted these students to know that we were all thinking about them through this difficult time.” Hood River News