08 June 2016

     Yesterday I worked at a polling place for the election. (I had done that for many years and then stopped when Mom moved back to California near the end of her life. She died at age 98 in Dec 2014, and I am now doing more things.)
     I had called Yolo County Elections to offer to drive things around or help in the central office -- because I had a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning and so had not applied to work on a poll. They called back and said they had had a cancellation and would I please be an inspector at the polling place in the City's Corp Yard (behind KDRT) -- even tho I'd have to be gone for a while, they still wanted me. So that's what I did.
     It was THE HARDEST DAY of pollworking I've ever had!
     First one of the judges (that's the title of 3 of the pollworkers) was out of the country and hadn't been replaced, so we were short from the get-go. Since I was only asked a few days before the election, I missed all of the training sessions. One judge had been a pollworker for years but the other had never done it before. We in Yolo County are very lucky to have FANTASTIC INSTRUCTION SHEETS for all the tasks, so we did just fine.
     Until, that is, the gas line broke and we were evacuated along with that entire building. Oh, my! Imagine having guys in orange shirts charge in the door calling "Get out! Get out!" and smelling gas strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. What could we do? What I did was to grab the ballot box and my purse and we walked outside together.
      The City staff was GREAT! By the time we had walked two building down, Sherry Hosking (who had also been evacuated from her office) had already found us a place to go (their conference room) and organized people in that building to clear things out an arrange tables for us to use as a polling place. Meanwhile, some of the guys in orange shirts had asked me what was essential to get (in case they couldn't get it all) and went back in to the original room and brought the things off the table -- roster, lists, blank ballots, markers -- and within 15 minutes we were able to let people vote again.
      I'm proud to say we did not turn away ANY voters; they just got evacuated with us and had to wait a bit. Pretty soon the fellows got everything else delivered and we were running close to normally.
     I don't know the names of those staff people but do appreciate them.
     The hardest part of working this election was dealing with all the non-standard voter situations. Usually there are a few folks who end up in the wrong place (often because they moved or didn't read their mail carefully) and need to be shown where they can vote; and sometimes people who don't register ahead of time (who cannot vote in this election); and a couple who lost their mail-in ballot and need to vote provisionally. In all primary elections there is extra work because (since the state lets the parties hold their party primaries along with the regular government elections) there are a great many different ballot types involved. THIS YEAR there were far more people who had asked for mail-in ballots [VBM] and then not used them. Some because they never got them and most because they were lost. Because of the possibility of someone voting twice (unless they surrender their VBM ballot), anyone needing a replacement had to fill out extra paperwork and use a 'provisional ballot' -- so that their name can be checked against the mail-in ballots before their vote gets added to the pool. (I haven't heard of anyone intentionally cheating like that in Yolo County, although I heard a rumor of an elderly person who forgot they had sent the first ballot and did come in and vote a second 'provisional' one -- which was caught in time.)
     We also had a number of voters who were not listed on the rolls at all. They also voted provisionally -- so that the Election office could look for their registration and find out what the problem was and fix it (if possible) or reject it if they voted twice or were ineligible.
     I talked to all of these folks and tried to find out when/where they had registered; many had filled out paper applications at some rally and given them to some person (instead of mailing them in themselves) and so it is likely a portion of those were never turned in to the County or were submitted late. [This happens every election cycle; some registration-gatherers are more responsible than others. In my opinion, it's always best to register directly with the County Elections Office or at a polling place or mail things in.]
     Some also made changes or applied online. One said she had sent a change of address from the Post Office and so thought she should be listed.

     I did a lot more than usual talking with folks and solving problems; we had a fairly constant stream of voters but no long lines; and we did LOTS of extra paperwork. By the end of the night (10pm), my back hurt and my brain was very tired. I'm recovered now, but I'm not sure if I'll volunteer next fall.
      We'll see.
     Hope you-all are doing okay.

24 August 2010

post-Fair recovery...

The 2010 Yolo County Fair is now done. My show there (as a Featured Artist) went well. I spent most afternoons hanging out in Waite Hall and thoroughly enjoyed watching people interact with my art. I've posted a few snaps of the displays at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loisrichter/sets/72157624774747720/

I did have a mailbox there -- with notepapers and "This I Like!" checklists -- so visitors could either write me a letter or tell me which things they liked a lot. (It's interesting to see what folks checked.)

By far the most smiled-at piece was a photo of Sandra's kitty 'Mocha' in her pose as a "SunWorshipper". Framed in brown velvet, I borrowed this from Mom's wall for hanging at the show. (Of all my artwork, this kitten is the only photo of mine that Mom has ever wanted to have hanging in her home.)

Now I get to choose which of all my pieces I want to hang on the walls at home now. I had unearthed forty years' worth of stuff while deciding what to put in that show. Now some will go on display in my home gallery and the rest will go back in storage or get put into a box to be donated to the silent auction next year. (The silent auction is where items donated by local artists are sold off and the $$ raised goes to help art programs in the local high schools. I just discovered that paintings/drawings do NOT have to be framed to be donated! So I will pass along a few items. Even some framed photos may go there.)

Preparing for this event, I realized just how much the Fair has influenced what I have available to show.
Almost all of my framed photos only exist because I entered them in the Fair some time. A few very large ones pre-date my Fair years (2003 on), but most photos don't get printed -- let alone framed -- unless I plan to enter them. I have a few dozen un-framed photos lying around, and several THOUSAND unprinted images stored on my computer. (I'm starting to put some of my favorites online now in my Flickr account.)

Lois' Rainbow Eye 3Although I'm apt to be proudest of my computer designs and LineArt (digital photos I've messed with a lot), for many years I could only enter one item in that category while there were a dozen categories in the photo section that I could enter -- SO... My framed photos outweigh my framed computer graphics by about 20-to-1.

On the other hand, each PAINTING is physically present to start with; so although I have only ever created a few of them, they take up a large portion of the of wall space. My ATCs, on the other and, are mostly tucked away in binders.

Well... I've rambled enough for one day. I hope you-all are doing well.

-- Lois Richter, recovering nicely from a wonderful weekend.

22 July 2010

2010 pre-Fair OPEN HOUSE July 30-31

I'm going to be a "featured artist" at the Yolo County Fair in 2010 !!! Ya-hooo!!!

That means I'll have a show August 19-22 in Waite Hall on the Fairgrounds in Woodland, California.
(The hall is open Thurs-Sunday, Noon->10:00). You-all are certainly welcome to come by. I plan to be present Fri-Sun Noon-6:00; ready and willing to chat!

This is a little more that just an invite to the Fair; it's an invite to HELP ME DECIDE which art pieces to show! The show is a six-panel area (2 sides of three 4x8 panels), so I can put a lot up.

I figure this is my big chance to have a nice show -- and get famous! -- but I'm not sure WHICH of my pieces would be best to hang/display there. Not that I don't have my own favorites! But sometimes I can get so distracted remembering the subject ("that was the softest-feeling kitten") or an emotional response ("M. was so happy to get that one!") that it's hard to pick out the pieces that are "good" in an artistic sense.

So, if you live in the area, I'm asking for YOUR OPINIONS. ...
You-all are invited to drop by my house either Friday (30 July) or Saturday (31st) afternoon/eve (2:00-8:00pm) to snack, chat, browse around my art, and pick those items you think I should include in the August show. (I'll have all the likely candidates hung up, leaning on the walls, and filling up the furniture; you'll get a handful of stickies to apply to things you like best; and everyone can stand around eating and schmoozing as long as they want.)

I'm extending this invite to lots of people via email & Facebook & a blog. So do NOT feel you have to reply just because you see this! (But, of course, you can always write to me if you really want to.)
No RSVP needed. If you don't know where I live, call or email me for directions.

Whether you come next weekend or in August, I look forward to showing you my art.

-- Lois Richter

05 October 2009

“Heat Embossing: Melt Your Way to Art”

I'm offering this free workshop workshop next Monday morning (12 Oct. 2009) at the Davis Senior Center.

How this event came about is kind of cool.

Every month, one of the art groups at the Davis Senior Center supply artwork for a show in the main hallway. There is a schedule of which shows which month; reserving September & October for ANY senior who got a ribbon at that year's County Fair. (Sept = first place winners, Oct = all other ribbons.)

The "Watercolor Class" meets with a teacher and holds formal classes from 9:30-11:00 on Friday mornings. (They have a group of teachers who take turns month-by-month from Sept-June; skipping the summer.) Since they have a great many participants, they never have trouble filling the hall with work done in their class.

The Monday morning "Open Art Studio", on the other hand, is not a class and has no teacher. People just bring their work and use the space -- sometimes asking advice of each other. There are very few 'regulars' and most of us spend lots of time on each piece, so there is not a lot of art actually 'done in class'. We often have a hard time getting enough pieces of art to hang in our months.

When I got back home in mid-August, I found that the hallway was bare. It was a "Monday" month, most of us were away for the summer, and no one had put anything up. I talked with the other 'regular' who was still around and he agreed I could do a "Lois show" -- so I hung my favorite pieces, including not only paintings (done at the Center) but also photos, collages, and faux-stained-glass.

The piece that drew the most attention was "Volcano" -- a heat embossed image on a black acrylic canvas. The Senior Center's Director was very interested in learning to make one and so I offered to teach her. Since I was going to teach one person, I suggested I offer a class to anyone who wanted to come! So we arranged for a day & time.
... and that's how this workshop came to be! Below are the details from my press release:

Local Davis artist Lois Richter will hold a FREE workshop on heat embossing -- a technique that melts special powders to create a raised surface on paper or canvas.
Lois' inclusion of the art piece ‘Volcano’ in her August 2009 show at the Senior Center led some to ask, “How did you do that?” As usual, her reply was, “I’ll be happy to show you!” and so this workshop was created.
Meet at the Davis Senior Center (646 A St) at 10:00 am on Monday (12 October 2009) to learn “Heat Embossing -- How to Melt Your Way to Art”.
Please register ahead so I can bring enough supplies.
Leave a sign-up message at 530-758-5058.

09 September 2009

2010 guest exhibitor!

Great news from the Yolo County Fair! Betty Berteaux, who manages both the "Photography" and "Fine Arts" sections (i.e., Waite Hall), has asked ME to be one of the two featured artists at next year's Fair! WOW!

What a surprise! What an honor! After initially blurting out "But I'm not good enough!", I quickly agreed to do it. I figured that since I had a YEAR to put together something nice, it shouldn't be too hard. Of course, I wanted to not just show "flat things" (photos & paintings); so I asked if I could include a bookcase to display other objects and Betty said "Yes, as long as you don't block the aisles." Great!

The display they provide is made from 3 horizontal 4'x8' panels raised up about 18" on wooden legs. Hinged into a shallow "Z" shape, the display has pegboard on both side -- so I will have 6 panels with 2 interior angles to use. I'm already thinking about what sort of 'set design' I can add as a background for the hanging works and whether or not I want to put up some 'stories' about how certain pieces came to look as they do. Lots to plan!

20 August 2009

Haiga 3

This is my third haiga, made August 2009.

The more I've seen about haiga, the more I feel that the IMAGE must be one of the elements of the expression -- rather than an illustration or inspiration for a stand-alone haiku.

To me, HAIKU uses TWO ELEMENTS to convey an impression -- a two-line "phrase" and a one-line "fragment" -- with no complete sentence involved. Either of these elements may be first; but the second line of text is generally longer than the first or the third lines. (I take 5-7-5 as an upper limit for syllables, with shorter lines being welcome and usually preferred.)

To me HAIGA uses THREE ELEMENTS to convey an impression -- a phrase, a fragment, and an image -- with all three being necessary to convey the impression and (conversely) leaving out any one element would change the meaning/feeling of the work.

This, my third haiga, was created using a photo I took of the sun behind a sunflower. The haiku does NOT mention flowers and, if read separately, could stand alone. The image adds another layer ... a specificity ... that directs the reader to focus in a certain direction.
I like this one. I hope you do too.

13 March 2009

Haiga 2

This haiga only makes sense IF you know about the region-specific birds involved. In California's central valley, we have some birds which migrate up-&-down instead of north-&-south. Several species, including this Golden-Crowned Sparrow, hang out on my patio all winter long -- eating seed and socializing. Then mid-May they all fly up [east or west] to the foothills to make nests and babies.

So they migrate between food and fun!

I tried to get an up/down sing/song voice into the text, but it wasn't as effective as I had hoped.
(There is also another version on a white background.)

After sending this one in (March 2009), I decided that any future haiga would have the text WITHIN the boundaries of the image -- so that they are a seamless whole rather than looking like an ornamented poem.