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The Bytesmiths Editions Newsletter June 2002


Essay: The Gem
And The Winner Is...
Welcome, Andie!
Recent Exhibits
This Month
Future Events
Feature Article: Kinder, Gentler Art
Top Ten Titles

Essay: The Gem

by Carol Wagner and Jan Steinman

A beautiful, perfect gem is born into this world. After it is born, each dismissal, harsh word, or indifference is mud splattered onto the gem that is our spirit.

As we grow, we forget the pure, unblemished gem that lies deep within, and instead focus on all the mud that has accumulated over time. Our self-esteem is forlorn, lost.

To feel better, we change to our external appearance, buy fancy cars, acquire clothes and toys -- all in a feeble attempt to bring back the shine and the glow that we were born with. We look for the "quick fix," but these things are but a facade slapped on the mud that covers our gem.

If we mature and grow, we learn to shed the facade of external excess and to wash away the mud of hurt by forgiving the people that we feel have hurt us, by forgetting the harsh words and dismissals.

We learn to be aware of our choices: the choice to be happy or not, to feel hurt or not, to be responsible for our actions, deeds, and thoughts, or not. Every moment of every day we are making choices, or not. Are we letting people tell us how to think and act or are we looking into the gem and letting that truth shine forth?

When finally, the layers of meaningless excess are stripped away and the mud is washed clean, the gem once again shines as the day it was born. Except now, nearby gems with their material facade and mud of pain don't look quite as good as their owners had planned.

The gem shines strong, and with a bit of luck and the slightest interest from others, the powerful glow begins to eat away at the encrustments of nearby gems. Given a chance, the newly-clean gems self-assemble into a lovely bracelet or necklace, a community of love and mutual respect.

Don't let the facade of the material world distract you. Don't let the mud of mean-spirited people dismay you. Shine your light!

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Ella Roggow, you've won the free print drawing this month!

Ella and her friend Georgia, students of acupuncture at the time, visited our studio in December 2000, and were particularly fond of Carol's "Winter Bigleaf Maple." Ella is also a fan of alternative energy, and is hoping build a wind power system someday.

Each newsletter, I give away a signed, open-edition opaque print in an acid-free mat, ready for framing, to a random email newsletter subscriber. (Winners are ineligible to win again for a year.)

Welcome, Andie!

I'd like to introduce my new summer intern, Andie Nagel, who also happens to be my niece. But before you accuse me of nepotism, let me add that Andie is a talented artist who plans a career in graphic arts.

A recent graduate of Mason High School in southeast Michigan, Andie will be attending Clackamas County Community College full-time this fall, but will be jump-starting her higher education with six credit hours for working with me this summer.

When she isn't busy learning Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive and other graphic arts programs, she'll be earning next fall's tuition at the Willamette Shari's restaurant. I understand she's a great waitress -- some of her regular customers from Michigan still keep in touch!

Besides a love of art, Andie enjoys concerts, running, and vegatarianism. Between work and school, she's hoping to be at most of our events this summer (possibly exhibiting her own work if the event permits it), so stop in and say hello!

Recent Exhibits

We tried to "jump start" the season with some early shows this year, but the sluggish economy and typical spring weather kept sales modest.

  • April 10-13, Oregon Dental Association Convention, Portland Convention Center. I have been working with Linda Mahon of LLM Publications, providing artwork for the publications she provides to her association clients.

    This year, I supplied numerous images used in a collage for the ODA Convention program, which was published by LLM. They were so happy with the art that they invited me to participate in their trade show exhibits.

    It was fascinating, walking around and looking at all the specialized dental products, but we missed our "art festival circuit" pals we've made over the past few years.

    Most interested in both my art and Carol's jewelry were the hygenists -- I guess the dentists all have their offices decorated already!

  • April 26-28, Best of the Northwest, Seattle, Washington. This show seems to have problems drawing a crowd, or perhaps Seattlites just don't think about art in the spring. Either way, the "best" turned out to be a "bust" for us, as well as for most other artists we spoke with during the event.

    It's in an old Navy hangar that the City has apparently inherited, but will not maintain. There were pigeons flying around, dropping little gifts on the artists and public, and then the rain came.

    The organization had rigged an elaborate system of gutters and sheets of plastic, but that did not keep at least one artist from having shower-like conditions in her booth.

    And it was cold. The concrete floor sapped the warmth out, and the small heaters the organization had put at the entrances were ineffectual.

    This event seems to combine the price of an indoor show with the ambience of an outdoor show. Seattle should either slash the rent, or fix the building.

  • May 2, June 6, First Thursday, May 30, Last Thursday, Portland Oregon. If you've never "done" one of these monthly events, you should try it.

    The art galleries in Portland's west and east art districts all change their exhibits on the same day of the month: first thursday (Perl District) or last thursday (Alberta District).

    On that night, the galleries stay open late, and often serve wine and hours d'voures. Area restaurants often have specials and live music. And street vendors present their art to the public in droves.

    We find a nice spot for our Van d'Art, and Carol sets up her beadwork, I put some lighted displays up for my translucent prints, and we enjoy the evening, talking art to passers-by.

    With the festival season meaning we'll often be travelling on a Thursday night, we may not be at very many of these opening nights, but perhaps in July or August, we'll see you there!

This Month

  • June 21-23 (Friday-Saturday) The Taste of Beaverton: (free) Griffith Park, Beaverton, Oregon. "The Taste" is an open-air festival, featuring unique hand-made arts and crafts, local restaurants, popular regional and national entertainers, multicultural presentations, children's performances, and a variety of family-oriented activities -- named BEST FESTIVAL by the Oregon Festivals and Events Association.
  • June 28-30 (Friday-Saturday) ART a la carte (Taste of Tacoma): (free) Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington. This juried visual arts fair, held in conjunction with the Taste of Tacoma (The Ultimate Family Picnic), drew over 200,000 visitors last year. Besides the wonderful arts and crafts, there is a huge selection of food, over 40 acts of live entertainment, and children's activities, all in the cool, shady setting of beautiful Point Defiance Park.

(Our complete events schedule, with links to event websites and maps to event locations, can be seen on the Events page.

Future Events

This month brings the end of our outdoor season, but also brings the beginning of our classes and other indoor events.

    • July 5-6, Art in the Vineyard, Eugene, Oregon.
    • July 12-14, Sandy Mountain Festival, Sandy, Oregon.
    • October 13, 14, 20, 21 (two weekends) Portland Open Studios, exhibit and demonstrations at our West Linn, Oregon, studio.
    • August 10-11, Coupeville Art Festival, Coupeville, Washington.
    • August 17-18, Silverton Fine Arts Festival, Silverton, Oregon.
    • August 23-25, Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Vancouver, Washington.
    • September 21-22, Village of Willamette Arts Festival, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 12-13, Portland Open Studios, West Linn, Oregon.
    • November 23, Pacific Luthern University Yule Botique, Tacoma, Washington.
    • We also have been "sidewalk exhibiting" at "First Thursday" near NW Glisan & 13th and "Last Thursday" near NE Alberta and 12th -- look for the Van d'Art!
    • October 1 (Tuesday evening): Digital Photography Overview (Jan): $8. Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 7, 14 (two Monday evenings): Beading 1 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26 (eight Tuesday evenings): Art & Science of Photography (Jan): $60. Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 21, 28 (two Monday evenings): Beading 2 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • November 4, 18 (two Monday evenings): Beading 3 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • TBD (Wednesday evening): Digital Photography Overview (Jan): Canby High School, Canby, Oregon.
    • TBD (eight Wednesday evenings): Photoshop for Photographers (Jan): Canby High School, Canby, Oregon.

For Rosemont Ridge classes, contact West Linn/Wilsonville Community Education at 503.673.7190 to sign up.

For Canby High School classes, contact Canby Community Education at 503.266.2086 to sign up.

(Our complete events schedule, with links to events and maps to their locations, can be seen on the Events page.

Feature Article: Kinder, Gentler Art

Not too long ago, doing photography meant exposing oneself to chemical fumes. Even traditional fine-art printmakers had to contend with toxic chemicals. These chemicals often find their way into municipal sewage systems, greatly amplifying their effect in contast to "point source" polluters, who are sometimes big enough to actually attract the attention of regulators.

Today, my darkroom, easel, and palette sit on my desk, humming quietly and glowing gently into the night, without chemical fumes, and without daily disposal problems.

But is this actually all that better? Just a short time ago, I painted art on my screen with the blood of salmon, ground to bits in massive turbines, that I might be spared the discomfort of breathing darkroom fumes. In other parts of the country, such "new art" comes at the expense of acid rain or nuclear waste.

But it need not be this way. Like this month's drawing winner, Ella Roggow, I dreamt of low-impact electricity, but put it off for "someday," or "when I get time," or "when I get the money." Building your own alternative energy system is not simple. But I'm proud to say that "someday" has arrived!

With the availability of clean power alternatives from my electric utility, Portland General Electric (PGE), I leapt at the chance to make a difference. Today, all the electricity I use comes from wind or geothermal sources. This includes all my computers, including the server that provides my web sites and email. This email is coming to you powered by wind and geothermal!

But I have an inherent distrust of greedy monopolists trying to get me to voluntarily part with more money, so I asked Jeff Bissonnette, of the Citizens' Utility Board (CUB) of Oregon, about the guanantees that are in place regarding claims of green power.

Jeff assured me that CUB was involved in this program's development, and that, through Oregon Public Utility Commission regulation, regular audits are performed to verify that the energy consumed by "green energy" customers is actually offset by energy provided by "green energy" providers.

Although one cannot guarantee that the electron lighting my screen at any given moment didn't come from a dead salmon, for each watt-hour that PGE sells me, it must purchase one from a wind or geothermal provider.

By using clean, renewable energy sources, I've taken a major step toward leaving a better world for future generations. In a future newsletter, I'll tell you about materials upon which I present my art, which I have carefully selected for their low environmental impact.

Top Ten Titles

Here is a list of my most popular images, based on sales of nearly 1000 prints to date in all media combined, from 25 cent postcards to huge, custom-sized framed prints of nearly $700.

and the most popular image this month is:

The events of September 11, the slow economy, and the end of the art festival season have all conspired to keep things pretty much unchanged this month.

Do you have a favorite image from my Top Ten Titles? Let me know what you like!


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