Continuing the Arts & Crafts tradition

August 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph of Audel Davis's first lamp by Melati Citrawireja

Photograph of Audel Davis’s first lamp by Melati Citrawireja


Audel Davis and his wife, Lynne, live in a home tucked down a shady street off University Avenue in Berkeley. Apart from a few pesky crows that terrorize their coi fish by day, they have created a lush and quiet sanctuary, greatly influenced by the philosophy and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement — a concept that took flight and reached its peak in the 1890s as a reaction to the age of mass production. It emphasized traditional craftsmanship as a way to put integrity and skill back into the design and manufacturing process.

Davis is a Bay Area coppersmith, widely known for his Arts and Crafts style lamps that have his own added twist.

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That city feeling

June 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

“I LIKE SPEED, I like buildings, I like cars,” cityscape artist Veerakeat Tongpaiboon says in this video. “It’s all art.”

A sweet bit of magic

April 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Mark Ulriksen | Dogs Only

Mark Ulriksen | Dogs Only

SAN FRANCISCO ARTIST Mark Ulriksen has painted 48 covers of The New Yorker during the last two decades. He’s become its go-to guy for wry reveries focusing on dogs and baseball — and their friends and fans.

Now Ulriksen has collected nearly 100 of his favorite paintings of dogs over the years and woven them into a hand-lettered heart-warming story in his new book, Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly.

Some of the paintings have a familiar look.

“Alta Plaza Park was the setting for some of my earliest dog paintings,” Ulriksen says. “One in particular, Dogs Only, was done for the Thomas Reynolds Gallery, one of the first galleries I showed with. One reason I’m pleased with that particular painting is because I was able to capture a recognizable city location, incorporate a lot of graphic shapes and paint an image about animal interactions.”

Mark Ulriksen | Rod and Gussie's Dogs

Mark Ulriksen | Rod and Gussie’s Dogs

He adds: “I’ve always been attracted to patterns and shapes and the steps and paths leading up to Alta Plaza are really interesting. Plus being on a bluff leads to some very cinematic cropping of the attractive architecture circling the park. It’s still one of my favorite paintings and one of my favorite city parks.”

Ulriksen’s book is available locally at the pet boutique George at 2512 Sacramento Street.

“The aesthetics of George make it feel like an art gallery dedicated to all things pets,” says Ulriksen, “with an emphasis on my favorite type: dogs.”

So far the book has gotten enthusiastic reviews, both for the paintings and the text. One critic called it “an easy book to love.”

Mark Ulriksen | Good Dogs

Mark Ulriksen | Good Dogs

“I’m really pleased that a lot of emotions have been touched,” says Ulriksen, “because the book is both funny and sad.”

He singles out one review as a personal favorite:

“What a touching and whimsical book! My husband and I picked this up in a gift set at a winery and opened the book because we couldn’t resist the sweet cover. We started smiling, then chuckling, then laughing out loud and then crying. (We had lost our dear boy a while back.) Mark Ulriksen has captured the wonder that is dogs perfectly with his words and illustrations. Thanks for creating such a sweet bit of magic.”

book jacket small

Ken Auster wanted more

March 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Ken Auster | Market Share

Ken Auster | Market Share

BIG BRUSHES, a lot of paint and the simplification of shapes allowed Ken Auster to create impressionistic images of complicated scenes. Painting nature was fun, but he wanted more. Instead of going to the coast and looking west, he looked east and saw edges, cars and telephone poles. He rejoiced in this newfound ability to paint anything and everything — cafes, train stations, airports, street scenes and, of course, never far away was the beach, his first love.

Auster found a dynamic irony between the new man-made and the ancient coastline. The next step was an inside move. He started painting the interiors of bars and restaurants. He found a hidden dialogue that existed in the paintings and the warm and good feeling they created.

Read more: The art of surfing

Botticelli to Braque

March 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

ANYONE WHOSE APPETITE for painting has gone cold will find it inflamed again by “Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces From the National Galleries of Scotland,” a spectacular exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Read more: “Scotland’s stupendous stash

A Facebook story

March 7, 2015 § 1 Comment

Inside Move | Ken Auster

Ken Auster | Inside Move


It all began when John Seed, the art blogger for the Huffington Post and a Facebook friend, posted his interview with Sandy Ostrau. Her exhibition was at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco and the work captivated me. As a painter, I feel connected with the artists from the Bay Area and am strongly influenced by Richard Diebenkorn’s figurative work. Here was a gallery showing work that I related to.

I became FB friends with the gallery and loved what Thomas posted. Along with posts about work he was exhibiting, he put up interesting articles and photographs. I certainly would have missed the talk Gretchen Diebenkorn gave about her father if he hadn’t posted a link.

When he posted the painting “Inside Move” by Ken Auster in December, I shared it on FB. My cousin Charles in Boston fell in love with the painting, especially because it reminded him of a bar he used to go to in lower Manhattan. He showed it to Jackie, his wife. Charles’ birthday was approaching and Jackie wanted to buy him the painting as a surprise. I encouraged her, she called the gallery, and now they have a beautiful painting by Ken Auster in their living room.

A long lost painting comes home

February 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

David Park | Woman With Coffeepot (1958)

David Park | Woman With Coffeepot (1958)

SF Weekly

The 10 million people who read the June 8, 1962, issue of Life magazine saw an America that was undergoing profound cultural shifts. More people than ever were worried about weight gain (Kellogg’s advertised a cereal “for common sense weight control”). More people than ever were flying abroad (“Americans in a new age of world travel,” read one article teaser). And more people than ever were considering the art world’s “current resurgence of the figure in painting,” as the magazine labeled the trend.

Life devoted eight full pages to the art-world development, paying close attention to the work of Bay Area painters Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner, Richard Diebenkorn and David Park, whose featured painting in Life, “Woman with Coffeepot,” offered an unforgettable image: A woman both beautiful and monstrous, whose body was a pastiche of thick, colorful paint strokes that were like bandages on a burn victim. Park, who painted “Woman with Coffeepot” in 1958, was straddling the line between abstraction and representation. The people in Park’s paintings from this period seemed half-finished and even primitive, as if they were a race of human sculptures trying to find form.

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