Crazed Anatomy with Michael deMeng
Shake Rag Alley, Mineral Point, WI
June 23-26, 2022
9 am-4 pm Thu-Sun
Wednesday, June 22, 2002
Today starts the last of three weeks straight at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. This time it is for me the penultimate experience: my art mentor Michael deMeng from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is coming to teach Crazed Anatomy. Here is the course description: “If you’re like me you have plenty of spare body parts lying around your studio …(hmmmmm that sounds kind of weird, perhaps I should rephrase this) … If you’re like me you have plenty of mannequin and toy doll parts lying around your studio (much better). If so, it’s time to bring out your inner Dr. Frankenstein and rebuild and reimagine these parts in strange and wild ways using the process of assemblage and my special paint techniques. Students can approach this class in a variety of ways … from picking a singular body part, i.e., head, hand, torso, etc., and adorning it with other found objects, texture and paint … or mixing and matching the body parts to create wild and freaky beasties. In this class, students will learn a variety of techniques, such as assemblage, clay work, faux patina and texture and painting. I suspect this will be unlike any class you’ve ever taken … just a guess. Bwahahaha.”
It was my job to get out of Milwaukee and pick up Michael at O’Hare (Chicago, IL) at 9:30 AM. It is a three hour drive from O'Hare to Mineral Point and we were in place by 1:00 PM. This is set up time for the instructor but I was able to set up my table as well.
The Yellow Brick Road
At the last minute I switched my project to the three farm hands who become the iconic characters of the Wizard of Oz movie. I have seen the film twice in the last month as it is Judy Garland's 100 birthday so I think this will be appropriate and fun.
Other participants also arrive early at these events and tonight it was Lynn Ovenden and Lisa Dittmer. Tonight the crew went over to Dodgeville to dine at Bob’s Bitchin’ Barbeque.
Thursday, June 23, 2002
Today is the first day of class and many students will be showing up at the Shake Rag Alley Lind Pavilion early so the same crew who went to dinner last night is a The Red Rooster for breakfast at 7:00 AM.
Class starts at 9:00 AM and Michael begins his instruction and guidance. The basic pattern in a class like this is the first two days are for construction and the last two are for painting and detailing.
Lunch today was at Café 43 with the whole gang. Then it is back to the studio for more instruction and work, work, work.
Class ends at 4:00 PM and dinner tonight at Grey Dog included Tom Goodman, Toni Neuman, Kelley Clarke, Lynn Ovenden, Lisa Dittmer and me.
Cris Smith and I were the last out of the Lind Pavilion at 12:30 AM. Here are photos of what the trio looked like after day one.
Friday, June 24, 2022
A 7:00 AM breakfast at The Pointer Café included Kelley Clarke, Lynn, Michael, Tom and me.
Today was a special day for me because after a day of hard work the crew headed up to the Green Lantern Studios where my exhibition, But I Know That, is in its closing weekend. It was great to have my mentor of 15 years, Michael deMeng, visit the gallery.
Here is a link to a video from the gallery that night: Michael and Me
Tonight dinner was at Popolo’s Pizza with Lynn, Kelley, Tom, Michael, Lisa, Mardy and me.
Cris and I were the last ones out at Midnight and here is what the gang looked like when we left.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
A Red Rooster breakfast today included Michael, Lynn, Kelley, Tom and me. Today is a major painting day in the studio and everyone is work real hard. Dinner was at Grey Dog with Kelley, Lynn, Lisa, Michael, Tom and me.
Cris and I were out of the Pavillion at 11:00 PM. You may notice while the farmhands are getting more interesting I am tiring earlier each night.
Hulk (who is getting pretty close to done)
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Today is the last day of the workshop which means so many things. It starts with a desire to finish the work we have started. It also means that by 3:00 PM, when Michael deMeng plays the theme song from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, it is time for the critique. The purpose of the critique is to allow Michael to tell everyone what is going on with each piece while we get one final time to see what our fellow students have made.
So as the workshop comes to an end, thanks go to Michael deMeng for sharing how he makes art with all of us.
Photo by Ryan of Shake Rag Alley
We were very lucky tonight at Katherine Engen, the generous mentor of Valley Ridge fame, was able to join us for dinner with her husband Bill. Those who were left in Mineral Point after the workshop (Toni, Lynn, Mardy, and me) joined our teacher and the visitors for dinner.
Monday, June 27, 2022
This morning Mardy, Michael and me headed to Red Rooster for breakfast before we packed up all of our stuff in the Linn Pavilion. Michael and I headed over to Dodgeville to the bank then into Madison to hit FedEx so we could ship Michael's crates back to Vancouver.
After lunch on the square in Madison I drove Michael to O'Hare and his flight home. It is always a bit sad to end a workshop but the good news is I know the two of us have plans for additional workshops in the near future.
What about the trio? Well, there is still work to do. Here is what they looked like for the critique.
Hickory (who is barely started and needs a lot of work)
Zeke (who needs more detailing)
Hulk (who may be done--time will tell)
Photo by Michael deMeng
As for me, now that I am home, all I need is some free time and I am going to be working on these creations so they can feel proud to be on The Yellow Brick Road.