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Ventura’s “ArtTales” Contest Closes 3/1

February 27, 2011

Here are the images chosen to inspire writers of all ages to create stories and poems to submit to the City Of Ventura’s “ArtTales” contest which closes Tuesday March 1, 2011. There is no charge to enter but you must be a Ventura County resident. Click here for Art Tales Guidelines (PDF)

Many stories come to mind about these pieces: I grew up with art by Duane Simshauser in our house and I am always drawn to his large scale paintings of ravens when I see them on exhibit around town or at the County Fair. I have written several poems that feature ravens.

1. Raven Reflecting by Duane Simshauser [acrylic on canvas]
To Simshauser, “Birds offer interesting shapes, patterns and attitudes. Crows and ravens are also featured in literature and legends. They have demonstrated intelligence as well as adaptability.”

Connie Jenkins and I teach at Ventura College; I highly respect her as a teacher, a colleague and a union activist. I also love her work; my own writing reflects my deep connection to earth, rock, land. I love the blue in this painting and feel like I could gaze forever into this paintings blue waters.

2. October: Waiting for El Niño by Connie Jenkins [oil on canvas]
The artist hikes to the source of streams near her canyon home to document the change of seasons in a political testament to the depleted wilderness. Her oils on canvas, with photo-realistic precision, emphasize a profound connection with the cycles of the natural world and the beauty of the California landscape. The land itself is formed by uplifted rock, and subsequently worn down by water in an endless cycle of birth and death.

Two Trees is one of my favorite places around; I have several poems that mention Two Trees. I have also always admired Bob Engel’s work.

3. From Two Trees by Robert Engel [oil no canvas]
The artist, inspired by nature, paints landscapes en plein air (outdoors in the open air) as well as from memory in the studio, saying, “My drawings are a visual meditation on the mystery and wonder of existence.” Two Trees is a living Ventura landmark seen from all over the city.

This artist is new to me and I don’t recall seeing this piece on display in City Hall. I look forward to finding this piece and seeing it in person next time I’d at City Hall.

4. The Four Seasons painted chest by Jack Farquhar Halbert
The wooden chest, created for a Ventura Music Festival contest, evokes not only the changing seasons on its many panels, but also, with its banded swirls of color, the music staff, notes and movement of music. “After careful cogitating on the chest, I see four sides, and a top,” said the artist “Four tops? Four Seasons? Four of a kind? I went with the second singing sensation from the 60’s. When I started drawing it, the swirling sky top just happened!”

Another piece that I’m not familiar with ut that engages my imagination:

5. Caribbean Sun & Giant Green Anemone by Gerri Johnson-McMillin [fishbone, monofilament, glass beads]. The artist, inspired by the ocean, practices fiber art, primarily knotted fiber sculptures and fishbone vessels she calls “jewels of the sea.” She says, “In working with bones I feel I am weaving life back into the fish, experiencing their migratory path throughout the world, only to have me send them on another journey as another form.”

This piece is very memorable. You cannot pass it in City Hall without stopping and looking at its intriguing self.
6. End of the Rainbow by Hanna Lore Hombordy [clay, underglaze and glaze, fired with nails]
For the artist, “imagination is the catalyst” in her internal process of considering her materials, methods and elements of design that show keen interest in architecture and expertise in clay.

Now I need to decide whether I am going to finish up something new inspired by one of these pieces or something I’m previously written. What will you submit?

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