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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Tour of the Arts

Uploaded: Aug 4, 2015

I received an email from Bill Carmel on last Tuesday thanking me for my comment on John Barry's blog about TrAction painting, which I consider to be an incredibly new art form which is inclusive for everyone.

Mr. Carmel went on to tell me he had an exhibit of his art at the Orinda Library Gallery. "May I extend a personal invitation to you to see it in the next few days and coffee or tea before, during or after? The exhibit comes down on Saturday. However I could meet you there on Thursday (10am - 8pm) or Friday (10am - 6pm) if you can make it. John would love to join us. I can promise it will be interesting, at least."

I appreciated the invitation but I don't drive much anymore even with my new slightly used pickup truck. I was finishing up my Art class and grading the 15 final assignments on Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday would have been the best day for me, but with the exhibit coming down I didn't know what time it would be gone.

Mr. Carmel offered to pick me up on Friday afternoon and drive me to Orinda, which was a great solution since I don't know anything about Orinda and tend to get lost a lot these days. He picked me up at one o'clock on the dot. It took about half an hour to get to the Orinda Library. John Barry met us there.

Mr. Carmel had quite a few pieces on exhibit. It took up a whole wall of the gallery. He said this was only a portion of his work. We agreed on a lot of things about art, creativity, and restrictions on creativity by the art establishment. Below is Bill's painting named "Dragon Breath." It's my favorite of the works he had on exhibit in Orinda.

That was something I had just covered in my class on the Impressionists. What is considered great art today was rejected when it was new. It seems like the establishment is always a few steps behind the real innovators. The painting below is titled, not unexpectedly, "Red Dog."

After I had a chance to view Mr. Carmel's exhibit, the three of us went to the coffee shop at the Library and chatted about art. Bill Carmel said he would send me some photos of his works from the exhibit. I just got them and posted two of them above.

I wanted to see John Barry's full-size TrAction paintings. The photos he posted with his blog cannot do them justice. John invited me to see his house in Danville to see the TrAction paintings up close and full size. He left to go home to prepare for us and Bill Carmel drove us down to John's house where I could see his TrAction paintings close up.

John unrolled some of the paintings he has been working on. Even his deck in the back has TrAction paint stripes all over it. For those of you who have not read John Barry's blog about his art, TrAction painting uses wheeled objects, like inline skates, bicycles, and walker, to move paint across a large canvas on the ground.

John Explained how the skates make different kinds of lines from a bike or walker, which usually has a paint bottle dripping on the canvas and rolling through it. The skates are rolled through paint and then skated on the canvas. The lines are also different depending on the weight of the skater. An adult tends to squish the paint to the sides of the line made by the skate, while a child keeps the paint mostly on the wheel.

I bought one of his pieces at his house. It literally is a "piece" cut from one of the larger canvases and mounted on a wooden frame. The frame is inside the painting instead of outside, and the canvas is painted all around the sides too. I love it! I'm not sure if you can see the different line shapes and widths, but here's a photo of the painting I bought.

John has made TrAction Painting an interactive art for children at his paint camp. You can read about them in his blog. That's what got me so interested in what he is doing.

John is holding a TrAction Event at his house in Danville on August 16th. I'm sure he will post more about it in his blog. I plan to come and bring my walker so I can participate too. TrAction painting is for everyone. Young people on skates and old folks on walkers.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Linda, a resident of another community,
on Aug 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

Sounds like a fun way to paint.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Aug 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Your blog was interesting and fun to read. I clicked on John Barry's site, and enjoyed it also.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 5, 2015 at 11:07 am

It matters greatly that individuals take the time to engage in creative activities. HOORAY!

All you gotta do is make a mark, then another one, don't forget to breathe, shake a foot, and it's on! yup...that's it!

It's an activity that some schools dismiss and fail to understand. It matter how humans experience the world in different way and enjoy sharing their experience. It makes for a more inclusive world.

do it...

Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 10, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Oakland Museum: QUILTS

Web Link


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm

The US is home of many GREAT artists:

. George Orr - The Mad Potter of Biloxi/Web Link

. Forrest Bess - There was an exhibition of selected paintings at the Berkeley Art Museum. A reclusive artist with a history of mental illness.

. It's worth the time to research the art Appalacian basket makers as well as the exquisite quilts of the Amish.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Fascinating American Artist: Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Meyer Shapiro: Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Appalachian Baskets: Baskets are often dismissed and referred to as only crafts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Some of great art in the world TODAY has come out of Appalachia! HOORAY!

Web Link


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Please understand the influence of African Art on Modern Art:

Web Link

All world cultures have contributed to the advancement of American Art.


Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Off the coast of Georgia, one finds the lovely sweet grass baskets of the Gullah!

Web Link Type in Gullah Baskets and many examples pop up.

Lets not forget the artistry of the Pacific Northwest Native American carvers.
Work can be viewed at the Stonington Gallery in Seattle.

Southwest Indian arts: WEAVING is WORLDCLASS.


Posted by Anony, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Henry Darger: Web Link

A well known and greatly appreciated Outsider Artist.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 9:02 am

Roz....This may be a helpful list for your students - Web Link

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 11:37 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Thanks for all the comments and links. I'm very busy this week teaching my Arts class and two Orientation Workshops. I used to be able to teach as many as six classes at a time, but this load is getting to be too much for me now.

Cholo, One of my students is a Native American and she wrote her last paper about her family's pottery art. I haven't had anyone write on baskets or quilts yet. A lot of folk art is getting more proper attention these days.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm


Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Alexander Calder, a GREAT AMERICAN SCULPTOR: Google Alexander Calder toys and tons of his toys pop up!

Mr. Calder is one of my all time fave artists...VIVA CALDER! VIVA!


i rest my case...

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:03 am

Seems like a pretty heavy-handed editorial decision to close the comments on your Planned Parenthood post after only one and a half days. What's wrong with a more inclusive discussion?

P.S. -- For all the ranting about unplanned pregnancies and their consequences, no one mentioned that the teen pregnancy rate has been falling for years.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 18, 2015 at 5:59 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


As I said at the beginning of the Planned Parenthood blog, "no hostile attacks or I will remove the comment." The attacks were hostile and deteriorated into some very offensive comments. I removed the offensive ones and closed the discussion. Blame the person responsible, who goes by the name "Formerly Dan from BC."

Try again. Roz


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 20, 2015 at 9:36 am

Roz...I sure hope that from time to time, you will talk to us about your adventures teaching about the arts.

I totally enjoy reading about what's being taught.


Cholo Pololo Mololo, and i mean it...

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I just started a new ARTS class. I put a link to this blog for my students. I'll post any relevant comments here too.


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