Sunday, February 18, 2024

2024 02 Andrea Matus deMeng in Savannah Georgia, Day Three To Eleven

                                                Lucid Dreamscapes: Shadows & Specters

Savannah, GA

February 4-10, 2024


Saturday, February, 3, 2024

Today we were able to meet up with workshop organizer Katherine Engen and Bill Weber for breakfast at The Little Duck Dinner. We yacked the morning away getting caught up and everything that has happened over the winter and future plans for art related and other enterprises. 

Denice and I went on a walking tour of stores this morning. It started with a tour of The Paris Flea Market, a store of things that seem disparate but blend with ease. The only thing I am beginning to see here is that some of the experiences are for people with a deeper wallet than what I have The other thing I am really enjoying is so many people here are younger. Denice and I are so used to attending things populated by people somewhere between 65 and death that is nice to have a younger vibe in the air Also, there are a lot of dogs in Savannah.

Our next stop was a geode, mineral and shell shop called Savannah. Both of us bought some interesting pieces, possibly things we can use on this project. 

Then the big haul for me came at the Wright Square Vintage Store where I bought some things that again may work here but will certainly work for future projects.

With bags in hand we walked back to the Indigo to drop off our stuff and ran into Marilyn and John Werst, fresh off the plane from Louisville. Next up in the lobby was Cris Smith and her husband Glen McCoy. Then it was into the workshop to discover our workshop instructor, Andrea Matus deMeng, busy setting up the supplies for Monday’s class start. We decided to take advantage of the access and ordered our van up so that we could unload all our art supplies for the class into the workshop space. 

Denice and I decided to take a walk to the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District where we wandered and shopped. 

We did waltz into the Golden House Gallery with the intent of doing the museum viewing and we walked out with a teak wood carving from Bali. The story from the gallery owner is that this was carved by a one-armed, 15 year old boy on Bali. Whether it was or not, we both fell in love with this piece because it reminded us of Hawaii. Because we have the van, the sculpture went home with us.

Dinner this evening was at Coco and Moss, an Asian fusion place with Marilyn and John, Cris and Glen and the latest arrival, Tara Schimberg. The meal was good but ended with all of us on our knees trying to find Denice’s wallet under the table. (Turns out—the wallet never left our hotel room).

It became another night of NCAA basketball tonight including watching Caitlyn Clark move towards being the greatest scorer in women’s basketball ever. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

This morning Denice and I walked from our hotel to the river and into the River Street Market District. We had breakfast at Huey which proved to be a bit of a problem to find thanks to GPS issues, staircases and a lack of wayfaring signage. However, once there, we had a delightful breakfast on the river.

Then for the next four hours we shopped the stores in the District, returned with a bag of goodies to the hotel, ventured out again to shop Ex Libris, the art store connected to SCAD and then back to the workroom to drop off more supplies. We have enough stuff here to make a dozen projects but is will all go without if unused to be used there.

At 3:30 it is time for our first official event of this art experience: the Old Savannah Historical Overview Trolley Tour. By this time of day, it is pouring down rain in Savannah and our plans to walk to the trolley pick up are altered when Katherine arranges for the trolley to go the extra mile and pick us all up at the Indigo. Our tour guide is Nelson, or the Elvis impersonator Nelvis. This guy is a hoot. The tour around downtown Savannah includes some of the places Denice and I have been but the review is good. What was not good is that the weather is deteriorating to the point where it is hard to see out of the plastic windows pulled down to keep us from getting soaked. 

The rain proves to be even more of a challenge when it is time to “walk” to our Meet and Greet Dinner so Denice and I, with Andrea, share a Lyft to the restaurant.

Our Meet and Great Dinner is at 6:00 P.M. at The Grey in a private dining room located on the 2nd floor of the restaurant. The building is a 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal that the owners, Johno Morisano and Chef Mashama Bailey, have painstakingly restored to its original luster. The exterior is like an old theater palace while the inside feels so deco. The food was outstanding and the dinner conversation was funny and entertaining. 

When it was time to go, believe it or not, the weather was even worse with lightning and thunder our new addition. Marilyn was kind enough to bag a big Uber but we still got pretty wet just getting into the ride.

Once back at the hotel, we were back in time to watch the first NASCAR event of the season, The Clash at the  Coliseum from Los Angeles.  

Monday, February 5, 2024

Because we are on deadline today we decide to sample the breakfast offering in the Hotel Indigo. After that , we decide that we are not going to do that again.

9:00 a.m.marks the first day of your workshop which is located in the Forsyth Room in the Hotel Indigo on the lobby level. It is great to be back with one of my favorite instructors, Andrea Matus deMeng.

Here is the class sample for the project we are going to make: a multi=layer mixed media piece in a cradled board and surrounded by decorative frames. 

For lunch today Denice and I walk to the Wright Street Café with Cris, Kelley, and Kelley’s mom Shirley.

The afternoon is filled with art making and instruction on how to build the art. 

Tonight it is raining again but we are lucky: it is a lighter rain and the trolley tour is willing to pick us up at our hotel. We are on the Grave Encounters Ghost Tour with the same driver, Nelson, that we had last night. The bad news is some of the stops (and the jokes) are the same; the good news is the weather is less severe and I can peer into people’s windows as we cruise the haunted streets of Savannah.

Our dinner included in the ghost tour is at The Pirates’ House, a place with its own unique Savannah history. But first the dinner: I ordered the pecan honey chicken and got a half-of-a-chicken. I did eat two of the pieces before giving up. 

After dinner we got a tour of the rum cellar, heard of its haunted history and then got a ride home by 10:30 p.m. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Denice and I went to Quinn Breakfast and Lunch today before class. 

Class started today at 8:00 a.m. and ran to Noon. We continued to formulate our interior collage, work on our boxes and generally complain about how our project is progressing—standard procedure at this point in the process.

Because of the schedule, Katherine was kind enough to walk to Little Duck Diner and pick up a carry our lunch for everyone who wanted one. At noon, two transport vans picked us up and Denice and I got to ride in the party bus.

We were heading to Bonaventure Cemetery, a very old and well preserved historical cemetery here in Savannah. Our guide was. Shannon Scott, aka: Dr. Buzzard, who proved to be a fascinating and well-informed tour guide.

The gravesite of Johnny Mercer

Bonaventure is permanent home to folks like Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken but it is also filled with cool statuary most of which is the work of the famed John Walz. Despite it being a winter day here in Savannah, this was one “cool” walk and I took a lot of photographs.

After we got back to the Hotel Indigo, Andrea used the rest of the day until 6:00 p.m. to do paint demos and teach us how to attach our lights in our box. 

The Clarks, the Komais and the Niebuhrs all went across the street from the hotel for ramen at Yatai Ramen and Yakitori. The bowls were huge but I managed to finish all of mine plus eat Kelley’s rolls. It is the 80 birthday of both Lois Komai and Shirley Clark. What fun!

I worked on my project until 10:00 p.m. before calling it quits on this night. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

This morning the Clarks, the Wersts, Cris and us went to the Treylor Park Double Wide for breakfast, a unique restaurant build like a diner in a, well—double wide. 

We had a half-day class today which concentrated on attaching our collages and objects into our substrates. 

At 12:45 we took a trolley ride over to The Old Pink House, a very fancy and formal eatery in one of the oldest houses in Savannah. This was a class event and Katherine did an outstanding job on conning the restaurant into letting a tour group take three tables, something that is evidently frowned upon by the location. Our food was outstanding as was the service and after our lunch we had a chance to walk about and see the history which includes when the building switched from a home to being a bank.

The group outside The Pink House

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was our next stop where a docent provided information about the church’s history and all its various changes after fire and renovations. 

The last stop on this afternoon’s tour was the mecca of Savannah ice cream Leopold’s. Evidently during tourist season you can wait forever to get ice cream but we were served quickly and even had a place to sit down. Me, no can have so I walked over to a movie palace and shot the neon lights in its marquee.

After being transported back to the hotel I went into the workshop and Denice went shopping.

Around 8:00 p.m. we walked to the Vic’s On the River Restaurant to celebrate the 80th birthdays of Shirley Clarke and Lois Komai. We made a big party at the restaurant but our waiter was great, the food was great and the conversation was also great. What a fun way to add to the richness of the workshop by being able to celebrate with the guests of the participants. 

Photos by Katherine Engen

We got back to the hotel at 10:30 p.m. where we went right to bed to get ready for tomorrow’s all-day in the workshop schedule. 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Today Denice and I walked down to the Savannah River and ate breakfast at Two Cracked Eggs. One of their refrigerators was out so some of the food was not available but we ordered stuff that didn’t need the cold like Bacon on a Clothesline. 

Class ran from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today with emphasis on getting to the finish line. 

For dinner tonight Denice and I took carry out from the Little Duck Diner and ate in our hotel lobby. 

At 6:30 p.m. tonight we met Katherine, Bill, Laura, Evelyn and Alan to walk over to the SCAD Museum of Art. We got a private docent tour of the current exhibitions which included Saul Steinberg: Drawing, Looking, Living; Cindy Ji Hey Kim’s Silhouettes in Lune; Sujay Shah’s The Slant of Thirsting Mouths and Patrick Dougherty’s Making the Birds Proud. 

After the museum Denice, Laura and I dashed across the street to Ex Libris where Denice and I were led to the rack of paper Laura had found that we missed. Some paper was purchased.

We were back to the hotel by 8:00 p.m. with the melancholy of knowing tonight is our last night in Savannah. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Today Denice and I took the short walk to to the Treylor Park Double Wide for breakfast. Shortly after we got there we were joined by the Wersts. 

Today we had a few hours to finish up our projects and pack up before 11:30 a.m.

Then it was time for the class critique. Our workshop leader, Andrea Matus deMeng, let each of us say something about our work and then she provided her comments. 

After the critique it was time to say goodbye to everyone, pack the van and head out of town.

Our goal today was to get some miles and time off the total trip so our ride tomorrow would not be too grueling. When simultaneously it got dark and started to rain, we pulled off into a Holiday Inn in…Asheville, North Carolina. 

Miles for the Day: 316

Total Miles for the Trip: 1449

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Today we just had the goal of driving from Asheville, North Carolina, home to Milwaukee. The goal was accomplished.

Miles for the Day: 759

Total Miles for the Trip: 2008

Denice and I want to thank all of our art buddies for a fun time in Savannah. A big thank you to Katherine Engen who celebrated organizing her last remote workshop of her career. An assist goes to Bill Weber. 

Our art teacher and buddy Andrea Matus deMeng did a fine job teaching the squirrels and I think we all made great art. Please see the next post for a photographic description of my project and the results of all the other students. 

Photo by Katherine Engen

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