Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Vampire Hunting Kit with Michael deMeng, Day Six, Seven and Eight

Today is Friday, May 16th, in New Orleans and after working in the workshop until 1:30 a.m. last night, I slept in until 7:30 a.m.  It was later than my announced arrival time for breakfast but that was OK as I had an enjoyable morning repast with Vicki.

Then it was into the workshop.  The time has come to get down to working on the adornments to the box that will fill in the story.

 Today I had lunch with Keisha and Sue because they wanted to walk to the Green Gator Gallery to look at Linda Berman, Andrea Matus deMeng and Deb Petronio's art.  The gallery is perfect for artists like us and the gallery owner was very kind to poor artist who are obviously not going to buy anything.

We had lunch at the Petite Amelie.  On the walk back who should come strolling by with a box of art under his arm by Michael de Meng.  So we walked over to the Graphite Gallery where Michael is going to have an opening tomorrow night.


For those of you who don't know, Michael deMeng also teaches on-line.  His latest "class" was a film about his creation of this piece from finding the various parts at various locations all the way to the final touches of paint.  The class, called Method to My Madness, was great.

Keisha and Sue Inspect the Goods

After we walked back to the hotel there was time to work in the studio before we got ready for dinner.  I know I ate at a restaurant on the way to the theater but I have no recollection of which or where.

Tonight we are attending Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller at the La Petite Theatre.  I love this play as some of the relationship that is shown between Biff and his father reminds me of myself and my Dad.  My summation of this production was that it was weak.  While the acting could do justice to the playwright's intent, the direction and set lacked something.  For me, the whole production lacked the appropriate emotion to carry off the playwright's story.

After the show it was drinks at Vacherie with Bill, Katherine and KD until it was time to call it a night.

Saturday, May 17th I am in lobby by 8:00 a.m. for a scheduled breakfast at The Grill with KD.  We are joined on the way by Marilyn and John.

You know the old advice in a house with cockroaches:  "Don't be the first one down to breakfast in the morning."  The same is true of New Orleans' Bourbon Street.  There is such a bacchanal there every night with behavior being so poor that every morning the city has to push the garbage to the center of the street, scoop it up, and then sanitize the streets because of all the piss, puke and whatever else ends up on the sidewalks.  This is not the part of NOLA that I like.

Can you tell I like it at The Grill?

There is tension in the air at the workshop today.  I call it Workshop Anxiety.  I used to get it:  it comes from rushing to get your project "done" by the time that the workshop critique is going to take place.  Today's workshop critique is at 3:00 p.m. and rumor has it that we will be visited by Thomas Mann, Lord Chaz and "vampire" Marita Jaeger (who will make sure our vampire hunting kits are "art" and not real!).

I do not get Workshop Anxiety anymore.  I am content to be where I am when I am and in the case of these long distance workshops, perfectly happy to finish the work when I get home.

Others--not so good.

 Photo by Katherine Engen

At one point today I was babbling away to my table partner KD who then informed me because she had "anxiety" she was not listening to a thing I was saying.  That surprised me because I was not aware she ever was listening to anything I was saying.  

Lunch today was a slice of pizza on the street--rush out to eat, rush back to work.  Now it is time to stick my stuff together to see what we got here.

Everyone is sooooooooo happy.

Because Mary had to get to the Post Office to mail her piece home, she got an early critique from the master.  

Photographic proof that Michael de Meng can stay up all night
because he sleeps standing up during the class.  

Before we get to our efforts, here are some close ups on Michael de Meng's class sample.

At the end of a Michael de Meng workshop, he does a critique of every one's work.  It is the highlight of the event as we get to see the fruition of all the hard work everyone has done plus learn from the master how things work and do not work.  Plus, it is a ton of fun.  Above are pictures from Mary's critique which had to be done early in order for her to get her work in the mail.  Below is the parade of projects just prior to the critique.  

 photo by Sue Urquhart

As it turned out, Lord Chaz could not attend the critique because the sun was too bright however Marita Jaeger blew in to do a fly by. 

Michael de Meng and Thomas Mann

To his credit, Thomas Mann arrived on time and stayed for the whole critique which I thought was very kind.

Vickie Trancho

An embarrassing moment in mid-critique when Michael heard his muse calling.  Nope, false alarm. 

Kristy (KD) Duncan

Betty Anderson

Here is the whole gang in a group photo taken by Thomas Mann with my camera:

Curly, Moe and Larry

After the festivities, everyone had the task of cleaning up their space in the workshop.  I also took the time to pack up my room so I would not have to worry about that when I got home tonight.

Everyone had to be in the lobby by 5:45 p.m. to hike over to the Graphite Gallery for Michael de Meng's opening.  One of the truisms of NOLA is you cannot walk down most streets without seeing something worth of picture:

The place was packed with all of us in there.  Of course, the featured piece is Pegasus which if you like it, you can pick it up for a mere $11,000.  

Michael completed his on line class Method to My Madness by filming a critique in the gallery.  You can see that here.  

The was a lot of Michael de Meng art in the gallery and it was so cool to walk around and study each piece. 

My favorite piece in the gallery

When the reception was done, we all took a hike to Frenchman Street and The Praline Connection Restaurant.  Praline's is an African-American home cooking establishment and it is one more unique and fascinating place to eat in NOLA.  Especially when it is filled with crazy artists after a week of partying.

Photo by Kathrine Engen

 Photo by Kathrine Engen

 Photo by Kathrine Engen

 Photo by Kathrine Engen

 Photo by Michael de Meng

I had a morning flight out of NOLA and was home by 3:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday.  

And so another Valley Ridge / Katherine Engen / Michael de Meng adventure came to a close.  Thanks to all the organizers as well as all the participants.  This was another special time in a special city and I plan on returning next year to do it all over again.  

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