Monday, March 2, 2020

2020 01 Ghost Riders: The Krewe du Ghoul with Michael deMeng, Part Two


Michael deMeng Workshop sponsored by Katherine Engen ArtVentures

New Orleans, January-February, 2020

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The alarm goes off a 7:00 a.m. today so we can eat breakfast in the St. Marie and be ready for class.

Our orientation to the experience comes from the workshop coordinator, the marvelous Katherine Engen.

Andrea Matus deMeng

The class today, taught by Andrea Matos deMeng begins at 9:30 a.m. and is called Pocket Poltergeist Workshop. Here is the course description: "Want to liven up a boring dinner party? Get yourself out of a bad date quickly? Scare off the neighbors, or the taxman? You need a Pocket Poltergeist! An ancient device long forgotten has been rediscovered and now you too can have your own Pocket Poltergeist™.  In this one-day workshop we’ll capture the spirit of a lost soul and create a beautiful and portable reliquary for our new guest. Using an abandoned cigarette case as our container, we’ll integrate collage, transparencies and found objects into a work of art as exquisite as it is haunting. How you choose to use your reliquary is of course up to you."

Denice is taking this workshop so we grab the table in the front row of the workshop.

We began the piece with a cigarette holder provide by Andrea (along with a lot of other goodies) that is to be altered into a story using images and paint. The outside of the case will be altered with epoxy clay.

We worked all day on our pieces in between instruction by Andrea. At the end of the day most of us were not done--but done enough to put our cases out for inspection.

Here is Denice's work:

Tonight was the Super Bowl and I made a choice to watch The Game instead of going on the Meet and Great. Denice went to the Broad Theater for food and a showing of the film Beetle Juice.

I watched the evil San Francisco 49ers, who demolished the Packer two weeks ago, go down to the Kansas City team in one of the most entertaining Super Bowls in awhile.

After the game I went to the workroom and clayed up the outside of my piece. When the gang got back from the movie, I headed to bed as tomorrow is day one of the Michael deMeng portion of this event.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Today I got up at 7:00 a.m. to get ready for day one of the workshop with Michael deMeng. I went down to breakfast where I was joined by Michael, Marilyn and John Worst, Lisa and Karen.

After some work on my piece from Andrea's class, I cleaned my table to be ready for Michael's class. I moved from the front table where Denice and I had sat to join Lisa at her table. Us Wisconsinites have to stick together.

For the second day in a row, our orientation comes from the always entertaining Katherine Engen.

The class sample

Here is the class description for Ghost RIders--the Krewe du Ghoul:  "Your first day in the studio working with Michael de Meng. You will have a 2-hour lunch break. You know, you hear a lot about haunted houses but haunted vehicles are comparatively rare. You have a few ghost ships here ant there, and of course Stephen King’s possessed vehicle Christine and Pee Wee Herman’s friend Large Marge, but you’d think a few more ghosts would like to hit the road. So in honor of the ghouls with a wandering soul, I thought we’d make a mobile vehicle/Mardis Gras float for them to go cruising in."

Michael deMeng

Today was a construction day in class. I managed to get two projects started. Denice, Lisa and I grabbed a quick lunch in the hotel café today.

At 5:00 p.m., I abandoned class in order to go with Denice to The Bourbon House for some charbroiled oysters. To our surprise, Michael, Andrea, Marilyn, John, Anna and Lois wandered in for supper as well.z

At 7:15 p.m., we all gathered in the hotel lobby for a ghost tour with Lord Chas, our favorite tour guide in the Quarter and a good friend of our classmate Vickie.

We toured the Quarter for about two hours and had a great time. Chaz is very theatrical and a historian so I really like his tours.

We were back in our room by 10:00 p.m., too tired to hit the bar tonight.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Today was a free day and free evening for us. Denice and I started the day by walking to Canal Street to The Ruby Slipper for breakfast.

At 9:30 a.m. a group of people went out to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve's Barataria Preserve. The group included Denice and I, Katherine and Bill, Karen, Janet and Jeff, and Lois. The preserve is about a one-half hour drive from the hotel and we went there with our best driver, Big Mike who also joined us on the walk.

After walking in the preserve and on the boardwalk near the visitor's station, we were back at the hotel by 1:00 p.m.

I worked on my project today so that it would be prepared for painting.

For dinner Denice and I went to The Bourbon House with Marilyn and John Wurst, Lisa, and Lois. After dinner we hiked back to the hotel to clean up for tonight's entertainment.

At 9:00 p.m. we had Big Shot reserved seats at Preservation Hall. The Hall has been in business since 1961 and is a NOLA tradition in my opinion that should not be missed. Tonight's band was the Charlie Gabriel All Stars.

Charlie Gabriel (Photo from the Internet)

Gabriel is an 87-year-old clarinet and sax player and he can still bring it. However, the musical highlight of the night for me was Brandon Lewis, the trumpet player. That guy can play.

After we walked back to the hotel you could find me in Vacherie bar with Katherine and Bill for a night a political discussion.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Today I went down to the Vacherie for breakfast before the class started at 9:30 a.m. We had a 1/2 day today as the afternoon is left free to prep for the parade tonight. I worked all day on my project except when Denice and I went to the Napoleon House with Michael and Andrea, Katherine and Bill, Lisa, and Mandy. Right after we ordered our lunch in the courtyard, NOLA suffered this freakish hail storm.

Today is a big day for the workshop attendees as we do a parade and costume event each year based on the workshop theme. At 6:00 p.m. the group gathered in the lobby of the St. Marie dressed in our theme costumes.

Photo by Katherine Engen

Photo by KD

At 6:30, we followed the Panoramic Band down Toulouse to Bourbon Street, then down Bourbon to May Baily's on Dauphine. The band and our troop invaded the bar and we dance for an hour to the great jazz provided by the musicians. Then the band led us back to the St. Marie.

Photo by Tom Ciulla

Photo by Tom Ciulla

After a brief opportunity to clean up or possibly change out of our costumes, we walked over to have dinner at Brennan's. Here is the evening menu for our group:

First Course:
Jackson Salad
Turtle Soup

Second Course:
Filo-Crusted Gulf Fish
Filet Chanteclair
Lobster Pasta

Third Course:
Praline Leidenheimer Bread Pudding
Chocolate Doberge
World Famous Bananas Foster

I took Turtle Soup, Filet Chanteclairk,  and Bananas Foster. Denice was the Jackson Salad, Lobster Pasta and Bananas Foster.

After all of that, it was a easy decision to head to bed.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

After breakfast with the gang it was time to join the workshop at 9:30 a.m. for a day of painting, painting and painting.

Lisa and I walked to Killer Po Boys in Erin Rose for lunch. Then it was back to painting, painting, painting.

The whole workshop met in the lobby of the St. Marie at 6:30 p.m. to jump into three vans for a short ride to the home of New Orleans sculpture and assemblage artist Cathy Rose. Cathy and her partner Shelly were gracious enough to open up their home for lite snacks, wine and a tour of Cathy's studio.

My photo

Photo by Tom Ciulla of me taking My Photo

Cathy's basement home studio

When we got back to the hotel around 8:00 p.m. Denice and I walked to the Mexican restaurant Canada with Sue, KD, Kathleen and Kathy and Bob Gould.

After dinner me, Sue and KD retired to the workshop for a little painting. I put gesso on project #2 so it would be dry for tomorrow's last day of painting.

Friday, February 7, 2020

For the last day of working in the workshop, the daily routine of up at 7:00 a.m., breakfast at the Vacherie with my art buddies and into the workshop by 9:00 a.m. continued.

Today was a slow day for me in the workshop as I was basically touching up my first and nearly finished piece and doing the preliminary painting on the second which I know I will not complete here.

After last night's great experience with Cathy Rose, a bunch of us went to her studio on Royal during our lunch break. Afterward we grabbed some food at Petite Amelie.

This afternoon I cleaned up my spot and made it ready for tomorrow's critique.

Denice and I walked down Decatur to Frenchman Street for dinner at the Marigny.  We timed out dinner so that at 7:00 p.m. all we had to do was step outside the restaurant to view the Krewe Boheme Parade in the French Quarter. My night photography with my current camera is for nil so these photos are from my phone.

After the parade, Denice and I walked Frenchman Street and shopped the nightly art fair. I was on the lookout for my friend John Feskin from whom I have purchased art from during past NOLA workshops. He was in his booth and I ended up buying two more assemblages which will make nice triptych at home in my gallery. John is a great guy, a fine assemblage artist and it was a treat for me to have Denice meet him.

After a long and really cold walk back to the hotel, I went to the bar for some conversation with Michael, Andrea, Evelyn and Alan. Then it was to bed in order to be up tomorrow to pack.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Today is one of the highlights of any Michael deMeng workshop: the critique. It is both an opportunity to hear what Michael thinks of our work and a chance to view everything everyone has been doing all week.

Vinsantos visits our workshop

Michael begins with the critique prayer of forgiveness

Praise Assemblage

Each piece is given a special touch






...and my favorite piece from the workshop (don't tell the others), Sue Urquhart's tribute to Big Daddy Ed Roth.

Denice and I needed to return to Milwaukee a day earlier than normal so we missed the Farewell Dinner and the Krewe de Vieux parade.

We took the shuttle out to the airport in the afternoon. After a flight to Atlanta we flew home to Milwaukee. We got home at midnight, unpack and went to bed.

Both of us want to extend our thanks to Michael deMeng, Andrea Matus deMeng, Katherine Engen and all the participants and take along significant others who made my eighth trip to NOLA a wonderful experience I could share with Denice for the first time.

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