Monday, January 22, 2018

Dove Hunting and Tony Calvello - SF Graphic Artist

Unlike a Central Valley Dove Hunt
Growing up on our farm, one of constants was the dove hunt in September. This event was not like the gentile eastern U.S. or European affairs with horses, and hounds, brightly colored sporting attire, and verdant scenery. This was a more gritty event when my Dad and his Elks Club friends, many of whom were World War II Veterans, descended upon dryland prairie pastures at the back of our ranch in their pickups and cars, waiting for sunrise and the Mourning Doves' return from feeding on grain fields that had been harvested earlier in the summer. The birds would fly in waves, with the hunters then popping up from dry creek beds that ran through the fields, pointing their shotguns in the general direction of the approach, pulling their triggers, and waiting for the result. You knew when there was action by the bursts of discharged shells, and the instant there was a hit: the cheers from the entire party as a bird crumpled in mid-air from its flight path with gravity taking over, and the birds falling to the ground waiting to be found among the tufts of dried grass or brush. When recovered, the birds were slipped into the rubber-lined pouch that ran across the back of the tan-colored hunting vests - the uniform of the day. As the morning passed, hopefully the number of birds shot was directly inverse to the fewer numbers of shells that were held in the stretchable fabric that lined the front of their vests. The shells were within easy reach to reload the gun after each discharge.

Back then I used a single-shot Sear's 20 gauge shotgun - my younger brother the same brand, but a 410 gauge version. The two of us brought down more doves in a morning with a third of the number of shells as my dad's friends did with their semi-automatic 12 gauge pieces - a fact our dad often pointed out to his buddies. This must have been a point of pride, probably more a result less to do with our skill, but more to do with the men and their morning beer drinking.

With the passage of decades since those Opening Seasons in the 1960's, the routine seems much the same - just a lot fewer WW II Veterans to fill the ranks of hunters. An article in the local newspaper reports the annual late-summer tradition still continues. I still remember many of the hunters names: Norman, Kibby, Mic, Roger, Guy, Bob, Sheldon, John, Kim, and Jerry. Some of the names dropped from the ranks over time, and a few new ones added.

Jezebel the Hunting Dog
As part of the folklore from that past, it was reported that my dad's pointer named Jezebel once climbed up a broken down tree to retrieve a dove that landed in that snag. Several of the hunter verified the story, and Norman reported what he had seen to a friend who was a San Francisco illustrator. The result was a gift to my dad of a framed sketch  documenting the event, though stylized for effect: the dog hanging precariously from the tree, a dove in her mouth, and her wearing a vest like the rest of the hunting party. That drawing hung on my dad's office wall on the farm for decades, and then in his home office when he and my mom build in town after they retired in the eighties.

It wasn't until two years ago when Jan and I were helping take care of my dad in his home that I searched for information on Tony Calvello the artist. This picture finally hung on the wall of my dad's apartment when he moved to an assisted living facility in Sacramento. It was there as a nine-month reminder of the many people, and places, and times that had passed time with him. Jezebel now hangs on the wall of my home office where I see it every time I work at my desk.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Maryland Evening

Cool Maryland evening,
Sitting on the porch,
Hearing song birds sing.
Wind blowing softly,
Sundown and the light dimming,
Cottontail on the lawn eating a clover patch,
While we listen to Jackson Browne.
We haven't done anything like this,
Since last autumn in Colorado.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Vintage Ellie Bogardus - The Italian Job

I was not able to recover my saved blogs for a couple of months since changing email systems and addresses. While on vacation, I puttered around a few times, with also the complication of having my iPhone not accessible because of a lost pass code, and finally figured out how to bring up my saved blog entries. 

At the top of the list of incomplete draft entries, was one that earlier contributor Alessandro La Villa in Italy sent me back on May 14th. At the link is a video cartoon for Becchi la Beccaccia, Becchi the Woodcock. It is an early era cartoon that Ellie worked on while living in Italy. The cartoon is sponsored by a domestic appliance company - note the advertisement at the end of the cartoon. The video has been preserved by an organization to document Italian culture. (1)

Below is the message with information that Alex sent me. Again, I greatly appreciate receiving information that I can post about artist Ellie Bogardus.

Becchi the Woodcock

First of all, sorry for the time I took to write. You can't believe what I've found digging in my mom's memories... an old Italian adv partially drawn by Ellie!
Unfortunately I didn't found more info on this, but My mom said she saw Ellie drawing it when she was living in Milano, so let me introduce to you: Becchi la Beccaccia!!!

Have a good life!
Alessandro La Villa.
(1) UPA Advertising Graffiti is a cultural, non-profit organization, created to offer a cross-section of Italian society through the collection and categorization of commercial trailers disclosed in our country from the [19]60s to today. The movies on the channel have been made available by companies and advertising agencies, or come from media libraries and private collections.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's About Vocabulary - More Details On Artist Ellie Bogardus

Following is another California central coast newspaper article about artist Ellie Bogardus. I found this one in a scrap book compilation my mom had kept of newspaper and magazine articles about family and friends. The article is full of information that was reported from an interview of Ellie by managing editor Sam Vigil, Jr. of the Cambrian. (I don't know what is the relationship of The Cambria/San Simeon Country News to The Cambrian, but the writer of this interview is also a managing editor of the Cambrian.) This article pulls together a lot of the information that has been turned up in earlier posts: her house, the cats, travels in France and Italy, her style...

Buenas Noches print by Bogardus
This past week I also received a photograph of an Ellie print titled "Buenas Noches" from the Johnson collection - a family that was a neighbor of hers' on Nottingham Drive. The family also has a print of the painting titled "The Streaker." As pointing out in the interview below, Ellie kept a book of photographs of her paintings, and as other artists do, sold prints of the originals as well.


The Cambria/San Simeon Country News
February 18-24, 1981

Gourmet-artist-author in love with life

By Sam Vigil, Jr.

It was anticipated that an interview with Ellie Bogardus, know as the “Cat Lady” in deference to her penchant for feline images, would take the familiar form. However, the artist had a different course in mind.

She handed over a scrapbook containing photographs of her work and suggested I look through it while she discussed her art and continued on her latest painting – a couple sitting in a European café.

On the wall was the only painting she said she kept, a self portrait showing her having a good time in an Italian café. She spent ten years in Europe, about half that time in Italy.

Ellie Bogardus sits before one of her works in progress.  The feline friend with her is included in her painting so frequently she is sometimes called the "Cat Lady." In the accompanying interview she talked about her painting and philosophized about cooking, humor, and life in general. When her painting style was likened to that of Matisse, she researched the great artist's life and found coincidences that "sent shivers up and down" her spine.

People kept saying my work looked like Matisse,” she said. “But it doesn’t.” Then people must be associating her bright and vibrant colors with those of Matisse, I thought. She continues; free association is her guide.

“Not too long after I was back from Europe, I thought, ‘I wonder where Matisse lived?’” She researched a little and found he lived in a place called “Cambrai.” “It just sent shivers up and down my spine” she said as shivered again. To top that, her voice rising, “He died in 1954 and that’s the same time I went into Chouinard (Art School!).”

“There appears to be a similarity,” wrote Richard Challis of Challis Gallery in a brochure of Ellie’s work, “to the bolder works of Henri Matisse, but compare carefully: Matisse, more often very serious, with Bogardus, bursting with humorous satire, unafraid to mix special art form with unmitigated jole de vivre.”
Ellie’s joy of life is probably illustrated well in her self-portrait in which she is joyfully sitting in an Italian café, while in the background the proper Italian ladies have their tea and cream in their little tea cups and an Italian gentleman looks on in wonder at these crazing Americans. And of course, there is a feline peering into the café through the wrought iron-type fence.
Another painting, probably my favorite of the ones I saw, shows a girl talking on the phone. As the cat behind her reaches for a fish from those on a platter, the girl is saying, “Come on over, darling. We caught some lovely fish for dinner.”

Speaking of which, Ellie is a gourmet cook.
“I’m an inventor in the kitchen,” she says. She is also in the process of inventing a cookbook. “Some of those recipes are my friends and some are my great inventions,” she says as I turn the pages of the cookbook she had plopped before me.
“I love to go mushroom hunting,” she says as I try to pronounce “Des Champignons,” “The Mushrooms,” one of the first recipes, illustrated with large mushrooms of the type one only finds in a wooded area. Ellie proceeds to tell me the story of a friend of hers who she says believes that mushrooms go back into the ground when the sun comes up.
Other recipes appear: Tart aux Fraise Al’ Alaska; The Three Little Clucks, “I see no reason that humor can’t be eaten,” she says; Crab Meat Mousse; Mock Canard, a leg of lamb made to look like a duck; Charlie’s Gin Fizz. She also has a section with kitchen hints, like putting a slice of raw potato on a burn and the pain goes away immediately.

Aside from her painting, Ellie Bogardus revels in the world of gourmet cooking. She theorizes "I like to cook probably because I flunked chemistry class the second week. It's kind of like a chemistry class (cooking, that is), mixing thing together." She revealed another maxim, "I see no reason why humor caan't be eaten." She offered dishes with names like Crab Meat Mousse and ...Mock Conard.

Ellie’s cookbook also contains recipes for outdoor picnics under “Un Pique-Nique Elegant.” As a matter of fact, there are four such recipes of four different outdoor picnics she has been on with other friends, including a friend she works with on the Charlie Brown animations. For each one they dressed up in period costume and on the third picnic, even hired musicians. These picnic recipes are illustrated with snapshots so one can see how such an elegant affair should be put together, carpets, table settings and all.

And speaking of books Ellie is writing, she pulls out two children’s books, both of which she illustrated. She says she wrote them a number of years ago but hasn’t marketed them yet. One is an alphabet book, each illustrating what she coined, her humor evident: An artistic acrobat, an archangel, an adorable alligator and an amusing anchovy all ate an apple; On Halloween, a happy heiress hid a hippopotamus in a hermit’s house; With vases of violet, a vagabond on vacation voyaged in a vermillion vehicle to visit a volcano.

The next time I went to visit Ellie, she said she wanted to talk in the kitchen. She said she was more comfortable there. It was obviously the kitchen of a gourmet. There were many “kitchen toys”, as she called them, hanging on the wall, utensils I’d never seen before.
We played a guessing game when I asked her to tell me what some of the utensils were for. I was feeling pretty good after I figured out that a certain mallet was for mashed potatoes and figured out a three-legged metal contraption was some type of shredder. But I never id guess the bean stringer correctly.
Amidst all this she was preparing pigs feet for her dinner. She had tried the pigs feet together and put them in boiling water and from time to time threw in herbs, spices and other assorted ingredients.
“Let me tell you something,” she said. “If you are a gourmet chef, it is very rare that people ask you to dinner. It’s not just me. It’s happened to some of my friends, too.”
To one side of the sink, I notice, is a small placard handwritten on it: “Procrastination ins the only spontaneous reorganization of my priorities.”
“You know,” she said, “if you want to do an interview the right way, should ask me what my favorite things are.”
“Okay, what’s your favorite food?”
She rattled off some name of a meat I’d never heard of, perhaps more because meat had not been a large part of my diet than because of its exoticness on might expect of a gourmet. The blank look on my face must have betrayed my ignorance.
“It’s a cross between a Smithfield ham and…” her voice trailed off as she moved from behind the counter to a shelf of cookbooks. “Well, her, let me show you,” she said as she rifled through the books lined on the shelf. “Oh, where is that book,” her voice had a tinge of anguish.
“I keep my mind continually blank,” she remarks distractedly, still looking for the cookbook. “I don’t want to clutter it up.” She hints this has something to do with creativity, allowing ideas to come to her move freely.
“Chicken liver pate is another favorite. I love any kind of pate.”
One of Ellie’s favorite foods to fix is Chinese food. And she likes a North African dish called couscous, a grain, like millet, used like a rice and put in soups.
“I like French food and Italian food.
“I really think a good dish should have as many “things to tantalize the senses as possible. “It should be exciting.”
Ellie uses the example of a steak that many people just savor, saying she would be bored with it after a couple of bites.
“But if you take that steak and slice up mushrooms and a whole bunch of other things, that’s more exciting”
She turns to her pig’s feet, raises the lid and sniffs as the steam rises. “How’s it smell,” she says half to herself. “Something’s missing. Parsley and tosses it in.

“I like to cook probably because I flunked chemistry class the second week. It’s kind of like a chemistry class, mixing things together.”
Back to favorites, she says James Thurber is her favorite author “because he’s funny.” And she like children’s author A.A. Milne, who wrote among others, “Winnie the Pooh.” She likes Milne because “I had a deprived childhood. I discovered him late.
“Read science-fiction if I don’t have anything else, I’m a nut about atlases. I like to travel. I want to go to China. They say if you’re going to travel, go to China now, because in 20 years they’re going to look like the rest of us.”
Ellie again checks the pig’s feet.
“I’d try anything once,” she says. “if you gave me an elephant’s foot I’d taste it just to see what it’s like.”
A little later we got back to talking about her art and painting.

“When I really get into a painting,” she says as she stands before a partially finished canvas, “I can see exactly how it’s going to look, all the colors.” She talks with a little wonder about a book she read, “To Paint is to Love Again,” which had been written by a writer [Henry Miller] who had also written some pretty raunchy sex novels.
“Forget about everything else,” she said about the intensity she feels when she gets going at the canvas. “It’s like a love affair with color. It’s hard to explain. “You have to look at things with humor–or else where are you? You have to laugh at things around you, or you could cry. Life is so grim that if you can’t giggle and find your little niche, you might as well go to San Francisco and get mugged.”

She describes how often she gets angry at her semi-invalid mother who lives next door. Ellie says “the mother” calls and complains about some of the simplest things. Like when her mother’s roof leaked, “the mother” called about what to do. Ellie told her to put a pan to catch the dripping water with newspaper on the bottom to keep the water from splashing. Later when Ellie went over to check out the situation, “the mother” had pulled out an angel food cake pan and put it on the floor. It made Ellie mad, she said, but it was one of those humorous situations.

Bogardus house on Nottingham Drive
It was time to say goodbye to Ellie’s cats and three dogs. As I left I looked back toward the gate to see a sign on the fence labeled “Ellie’s Cattery.” I passed the wooden mailbox that looked like a cat. Ellie called my attention to the side wall of her house, that she said she had to move because of a quibble with a neighbor over the lot line, and she had to leave off the wood shingles because of a fire hazard.

Wall mural interpretation
Ellie moved to Cambria when she returned from Europe ten years ago. Her aunt, Eleanor Chambers, Los Angeles vice-mayor under Sam Yorty, had owned the property.
The wall was drab gray plaster, very unlike the Ellie Bogardus I had been visiting. But that was not without her touch. She had drawn felines in a tree and in a garden.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Little, Little Bird Birding

I have been getting a regular diet of bird watching over this past year from the bay window in the kitchen eating area in my dad's California Central Valley house. We have watched the seasons change from spring, to summer, to autumn, to winter, and now back to spring. This past winter we decided to install a hummingbird feeder just outside the window to complement the bird seed one across the lawn - the results have been worth it.

A male Anna's Hummingbird
Our splatters of overall meal-time bird watching have often involved Anna's hummingbirds, males, females, and immature males (no more than two at a time, mostly a solo performance). I have been thinking about the effort as: A little, little bird birding.

Merlin iPhone ap
My Merlin Bird Identification application for my iPhone produced by the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory worked well, once again. I wish there were more than 400 birds in its database - many common identifications can be easily accomplished by clicking on the GUI - graphical use interface, but I keep running into a few limitations once-in-a-while. Regardless, a little sugar syrup produced by my wife in my dad's kitchen has done its part attracting this subject of many discussions around the table: morning, noon, and evening - What was that flash out out there? Was that a hummingbird? More often than not, those were Mourning Doves, White-capped Sparrows, House Sparrows, Blue Jays, or House Finch - still, can be hopeful for the metallic-green streaks that come to sudden stops, take a sip, and again slip away.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

6100 Moonstone Beach Drive - A Trace of Ellie Bogardus

Google Maps, 6100 Moonstone Drive
The Cambria Coast Gallery, 6100 Moonstone Drive, has been mentioned in records where artist Ellie Bogardus had displayed her art. By my memory, I remember the location hosting the Seago Gallery and most recently,
Wearable art advertisement
the Moonstone Redwood Gallery. Also mentioned in a recent post about an article featuring Ellie in the Cambrian newspaper - she had a gallery showing was mention in 1983. A flier also turned up in my mom's files for Wearable Art - I am sure this is for items like the sweatshirt I posted about earlier. Not only does my mom still wear one of these, but my sister-in-law has one that was worn by my niece when young, and I received a photograph of one from a blog acquaintance in Italy. These silk-screen prints were marketed through the Cambria Coast Gallery. I like the descriptors of her art's subjects in the flier:

Bright sherbet colors

An untitled Bogardus acrylic
A more refined, fine-arts-style advertisement of Bogradus art is found in a glossy print from the Challis Galleries in Laguna Beach, California that featured "New Paintings" by Bogardus, Bunkall, Frame, Leeper, Post and Simandle in October 1980. An untitled 28" x 28" acrylic by Ellie was was shown with examples by the other artists. The gallery closed its doors in 2011.