Saturday, December 13, 2014

Signs of Life

Walking down Fillmore
there was this body
rolled to the curb
wrapped in a blanket
with crushed red tulips
so I stopped
waiting for signs of life
then continued past Geary
remembering this man on
Easter Sunday lying face up
across from City Hall
his arms spread wide
like a black Jesus Christ
his bare feet wounded
and twisted together
as people rushed past
pretending not to see
I went over to a policeman
and asked if he could
check on the man
to make sure he was okay
He's probably just sleeping
off a soda or something
but yeah I'll take a look
he told me grudgingly
so I turned back to make sure
then slowly walked away.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

HAVE A HEALTHY & CREATIVE NEW YEAR!



Francis the Potter & Lulu the Painter
Photo Collage, 2014




 
 
peace cheers best wishes kind thoughts
affection compassion divine blessings
heartfelt gratitude regards hugs kisses
laughter joy handshakes highfives see you soon
sincerely warmly unconditionally love your family
your friends your buddies your chums your pals
your pets your mentors your gurus your teachers
 your guardian spirits your soul mates yourself
 
 
 
 
 
In Memory of My Mother
Alice C. Irving
1920 - 2003
 
 











 
 


 

 

 



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Street Photography




There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.- Henri Cartier-Bresson





Celebrating a birthday and Giant's shutout win after 2nd cancer bout.
AT&T Park, San Francisco 2011


              August 13, 2014

           Walking from Pacific Heights through the Tendernob to the FiDi I took my camera along as usual in case any good pictures presented themselves. I visited the Ferry Building then stopped at the long pier just south of there for a little picnic. I had my Swiss Army knife, the same one used on my first European adventure, and took it from my backpack to slice a piece of cheese to go with some crusty bread. Bright sunlight reflected off the bay as seagulls swooped over boats crisscrossing in all directions. The day was Mediterranean-like with gleaming white buildings looming majestically along the Embarcadero's west side. Despite all the changes, this City will always be the Land of Oz to me. I was headed to AT&T Park to watch the Giants and Chicago White Sox. Jake Peavy (See him on YouTube playing 'Pancho and Lefty' with Tim Flannery in hotel stairwell) was on the mound and fans were hoping they'd avoid a 7 game losing streak. I'd gotten a late start and stopped a guy walking towards me to check if the score was still 1-0 White Sox. He confirmed it was and asked if I was going to the game. I'm watching it from ‘the cage’ (aka PortWalk) I told him and he handed me a $102.00 ticket. Go play, he said. Stunned, I stood there for a moment staring at the ticket in disbelief then gave him a big thank you. I’d never been inside AT&T Park by myself but happily maneuvered past the kale garden and orange and black hyperactivity of it all. My seat was down in front behind the batter’s box and I'd barely sat down before the Giants scored 7 runs in the 7th inning! There was a lot of jumping up and down and high-fiving with  neighbors. Finally, the guy next to me turned and said I was good luck. Later, it occurred to me that if I’d been plugged into some kind of device I would have already known the score and not had to ask the nice guy with the ticket. In short, I never would have had this amazing experience. There's a lot of magic in this world if we just take the time to slow down and notice it.                                         
            P.S. AND THEN THERE WAS GAME 7... CONGRATULATIONS WORLD CHAMPION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS FOR ANOTHER SEASON FILLED WITH AN AVALANCHE OF PARTICLES AND GOOD DOSE OF TORTURE!!! LET IT REIGN! YES! YES! YES! 10/31/14


 
San Francisco Giant's Opening Day, McCovey Cove
AT&T Park, San Francisco 2014
 

Un Baiser Apres Boules
Loire Valley, France 1997
 
 
Bumper Cars
Northern California Fairgrounds, 1979
 

 
Young Girl in Union Square
San Francisco, CA  1979


Revelers on Market Street
Gay Pride Parade
San Francisco, CA 2011
 
Woman Waiting for Muni, Civic Center
St. Patrick's Day Parade
San Francisco, CA 2014
 
Man Under Umbrella, Civic Center
St. Patrick's Day Parade
San Francisco, CA 2014

Intersection, Civic Center
St. Patrick's Day Parade
San Francisco, CA  2014
 
 
Man Waiting for Ambulance
St. Patrick's Day Parade
 San Francisco, CA 2012
 


 
Hopewell - Aim, Birthplace of Dashiell Hammet
Lexington Park, Maryland 2005
 
I walked past this sign every day on the way to visit my father in the nursing home. I hadn't seen him for 28 years and had never been to  Southern Maryland. I was staying in a cheap motel surrounded by strip malls, liquor stores, auto dealerships, and other kinds of dealers. I had never rented a car before so I'd stuff my hair up into a baseball cap and listen to music while walking on a narrow path 45 minutes or so along a dangerous stretch of highway to the nursing home. The irony of this heating and air conditioning sign located next to a marker for Dashiell Hammett's birthplace never failed to lift my spirits.
 
 
 
Sutter Street Art
San Francisco, CA 2008



San Francisco Giant's particle energy at AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA  2012
 
I took this photo from China Basin Park as I was about to cross the Lefty O'Doul Bridge
before dawn on October 24th - Game 1 of the World Series. The rest is history.
 
 
 
World Series Celebration for the San Francisco Giants
McCovey Cove, AT&T Park
San Francisco, CA 2012
 
 
 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oblivious

 

Morning Glory in Bay Window

Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something.
You are not here long.- Walker Evans

 

This girl, oblivious, all wired up
hair flying out
like a raven's wing
arms tattooed in black roses
stem & thorn
bent at the elbow
was hurrying past cars
blasting horns
then just missed
getting hit
by a skateboarder
rounding the corner
like he was rolling on ice
but this oblivious girl
just kept winging it fast
praying to her phone
& didn't see
this morning glory
the shocking blue
its fragile vine twisting
through a sidewalk crack
as her boot crashed down
pounding it back
in the ground & then
she almost stepped on
just didn't see
this woman
sitting at the corner of
Van Ness & California Street
opening up a plastic bag
of cigarette butts
very slow & carefully.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cultivating the Lifetime Habit of Art



Time changed. It disappeared. Time went away. There isn't as much time as there used to be. I don't know, its magical, and kind of mystical. What happened to time? Everybody's always looking at a watch and saying, 'I gotta go! Gotta go!' It's all those time saving devices that are using up all the time. Somewhere, a lot of time is being saved and stashed away, for other people.
 -Herb Caen, quoted by Mark Powelson, "Citizen Caen", San Francisco Focus




This photo was taken on a boat ride going down the Mississippi River during Mardis Gras. After enjoying the festivities, I parted with friends then travelled alone up the east coast to reunite with my father. Next, on to New York to rendezvous with another friend who in dim lit fern bars reminded me of Bogie. I bought him a fedora and we took a horse and carriage ride through Central Park with a bottle of champagne. After a few days, I waved goodbye to him in his fedora from aboard the SS Leonardo da Vinci docked in New York harbor. This grand ship would be the last Italian ocean liner to cross the North Atlantic. David Bowie was on board and I met Elizabeth Rightor who encouraged me to apply to the Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in Aix-en-Provence http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2012/01/still-life-of-fruit-bowl.html  Later, I visited Le Mas Theotime her home in Lourmarin, a provencal village located in the Vaucluse. The voyage on the SS Leonardo da Vinci took seven days from New York City to Genoa, Italy. It was a great way to begin my first European adventure and being served three meals a day by Italian waiters was a definite plus!


Finding My Way Back to Painting and Drawing


In 1998, I was visiting mother who had returned to Cathlamet after living an expatriate's life in the Loire Valley for ten years. One day in the mail I received my portfolio from 1976 when I attended the Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in Aix-en-Provence. That first body of work of mine had been in storage in a Boston basement for two decades. Looking through this mildewy assortment of oil paintings, charcoal sketches of nude models, and Mont Saint-Victoire watercolor landscapes  was the best gift I could have received at the time. It re-ignited my passion for painting and drawing that had been dormant for twenty years as I supported myself with a myriad of jobs while working on writing/photography projects whenever possible.

 
Life as Art
 
Following are jobs I had (not in order); writer, editor, art gallery sales and exhibitor, video production assistant, corporate website content manager and technical product developer, interviewer, sales clerk, commercial real estate loan processor, volunteer (Streetside Stories, Room to Read, Missoula Children's Theatre, BayKids MovieMakers Program, ArtSpan, Eldergivers: Art with Elders, International Rescue Committee, American Red Cross, Project Homeless Connect, SFMOMA Development, Steppingstone Adult Day Health, Arthritis Foundation, American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery), pet sitter, client services representative, volunteer coordinator, file clerk, supervisor, event ambassador, xylophone player, flea market vendor, sandwich maker, barista, babysitter, hostess, waitress, dishwasher/buser/grape leaf stuffer (In 1972, I lived in Manhattan Beach,CA for a year in between WSU and CAL Berkeley. I remember dropping a tray full of cups and saucers at this intimate, outdoor cafe in Beverly Glen Canyon. The manager, my boyfriend, had gotten me the job washing dishes, busing tables, and stuffing grape leaves to make ends meet.  Then, I caused a loud, crashing mess of an accident and as a few croissant chomping customers applauded I quickly retreated to the kitchen to stuff more grape leaves), executive assistant to ceo's, presidents, vp's, litigation/corporate attorneys, commodities brokers, directors of finance, health care, marketing, advertising, communications, and humanities. I was also a curator, executor, caregiver, property manager, biographer, medical  transcriptionist, office manager, receptionist, hospital media coordinator, event planner, photojournalist, development associate, social justice advocate, lingerie model, and librarian.

 
 
Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.
                                                                                                                     - Leonardo da Vinci






A SELECTION OF ABSTRACT PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS 
FROM THE LAST DECADE
 
 



Succession of the Elements
Mixed Media on Canvas, 2014



 
Biospheric Rumble
Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 2014


  

Mischievous Interludes
Acrylic on Canvas, 2013
 

Complicated Relations
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2013
 

Spontaneous Cacti Couplings
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2013
 

Camouflaged Intentions
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2013
 

 
The Man in the Yellow Boat
Acrylic on Canvas, 2013 
 
 
 
 
Rhythm of the Universe Series: Invisible Helpers
Fluid Acrylic on Paper, 2010
 

Rhythm of the Universe Series: Jazz Session in Outer Space
Mixed Media on Paper, 2010
 

Calm Before the Storm
Mixed Media on Canvas, 2013
 

Pier off Emerald Cove
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2012
 

Celebration of Life
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2012
 

Rhythm of the Universe Series: Night Swimmer
Fluid Acrylic and Pen on Paper, 2010
 

Rhythm of the Universe Series: Broken Links
Mixed Media on Paper, 2010

Rhythm of the Universe Series:Web of Desire
Mixed Media on Paper, 2010
 

Rhythm of the Universe Series:Gravity Tango
Fluid Acrylic and Pen on Paper, 2010

 

Abstract Paintings and Drawings 2006-2010: Red Triangle Breaking Away
Mixed Media on Paper, 2010
 

Abstract Paintings and Drawings 2006-2010: Falling Kite
Watercolor and Pen on Paper, 2010
 

Abstract Paintings and Drawings 2006-2010: Celestial Harmony
Fluid Acrylic on Canvas, 2008 
 

Rhythm of the Universe Series:Hurricane
Mixed Media on Paper, 2010
 

Abstract Paintings and Drawings 2006-2010: Cacophony
Mixed Media on Canvas, 2007
 

Abstract Paintings and Drawings 2006-2010: Seven Moons over the Leonardo
Watercolor and Graphite on Paper, 2010 
 

Mystic Gardens, Ciphers, and Shapeshifters Series (www.artslant.com)
 Chain Reaction
Graphite and Crayon on Paper, 2012









I grew up in Cathlamet, Washington on the Columbia River where there were no strip malls, condos, movie theatres, art museums or galleries. It was in this rural enviroment of natural beauty and wide open spaces that I began to develop my artistic skills.
 
In 2001, while working in the corporate world as a web content manager and technical product developer, I started painting and drawing again. In 2002, I was accepted into the MFA Painting Program at the San Francisco Art Institute.http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/10/augury.html I was fortunate to have a Directed Study with Christopher Brown who emphasized the importance of developing good drawing skills.

Other artists who have inspired me are Wassily Kandinsky, Arshile Gorky, Alexander Calder, Joan Miro, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Brown, Paul Klee, Alice Neel, Cy Twombly, R.B. Kitaj and Terry Winters.

Figurative Paintings and Drawings 2011-2012

Figurative Paintings and Drawings 2009
 












Friday, August 30, 2013

Champion


 Antique Bowl of Ripe Pears
Watercolor & Graphite on Paper, 2014


The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time. -Friedrich Nietzsche


 
It's happened before...
 
you charge into a room like a Roman soldier hell-bent on a mission
 
So then why are you standing in the middle of the kitchen looking like an idiot
staring at the sink full of dirty dishes you planned to put off until tomorrow?
 
Surely, this can't be the reason that propelled you like a battering ram
up and out of that warm, comfortable place on the sofa
 
Defeated, once again, you return to Charlie Rose interviewing Paul Rudd
against a black back drop and it is then, at that precise moment,
that you remember 
 
And, you can see it right there on the top shelf of the refrigerator, that half-eaten
turkey sandwich with spicy mustard, red onion, and no pickles
 
You can even see the condensation forming on the plastic your lover's hands
so carefully wrapped around it
 
So, you get up again and this time you saunter slow back to the kitchen
with all the cocky self-assurance and ultra hip attitude of a backward baseball
cap gansta rap'in teen because, this time, you are damn sure why you're
approaching that scene as you reach like a champion for the prize like
its your very first time.
  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lauren Alexander-Irving, Artist Biography



 


Born La Mesa, California, 1951

MFA Painting Program, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Creative Writing Program, San Francisco State University, CA
Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing, Aix-en-Provence, France
B.A. English, University of California, CA


SELECTED CHRONOLOGY

2008-2011 Recent Painting, Visual Aid Big Deal, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
2009 Recent Paintings, Chillin' Productions at the Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA
2009 Painting, SOMArts, Visual Aid Big Deal Benefit, San Francisco, CA
2008 Painting, Visions of Childhood Utopias/Dystopias, Drawbridge Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2008 Painting, 111 Minna Gallery, Gorilla Foundation Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2008 Recent Paintings, Fort Mason Center, Fall Open Studios, San Francisco, CA
2008 Painting, Los Coyotes Country Club, DSA Benefit Auction, Costa Mesa, CA
2007 Recent Paintings and Drawings:Dreamscapes, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
2007 Painting, Group Show, California Modern Art Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2006 Recent Paintings: In Memory of My Father, Fall Open Studios, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/12/william-c-irving.html
http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/12/drawings-and-sculptures-by-william.html
2005 Painting, California Modern Art Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2004 Recent Paintings, The Canvas Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2003 Recent Paintings, The Whitney Young Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
2003 Recent Paintings: MFA Program Group Exhibit, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
2003 Recent Paintings, The Canvas Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2002 Painting, SOMArts Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2002 Painting, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, The Canvas Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 Recent Paintings: Short Stories, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 Recent Paintings: The Human Spirit: Tragedies and Triumphs, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 Painting: REACTIONS, Global 9/11 Project, Exit Art/First World Gallery, New York, NY
2001 Painting, SOMArts Gallery, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, San Francisco, CA
2001 Photography: Urban Wallscapes II, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001 Recent Paintings: New Work, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001 Recent Painting, ArtSpan Benefit Auction, The Canvas Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000 Photography: Urban Wallscapes I, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1997 Photography: Un Baiser Apres Boules, Photography Contest Winner, The Alliance Francaise, San Francisco, CA
1977 Recent Paintings and Drawings: Cinq Americains a Aix, Maison des Jeunes, Aix-en-Provence, France


PUBLICATIONS

2010 Article: Editor, BayKids Opens New Doors for Students in the Pediatric Dialysis Unit at UCSF, BayKids MovieMakers Program Newsletter, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, San Francisco, CA
2009 Short Story: Editor, Stories by the Homeless, Project Homeless Connect, San Francisco, CA
2006 Painting: Spherical Harmony featured in Fort Mason Newsletter, San Francisco, CA
2004 Commentary: Country Life in the City, The Wahkiakum County Eagle, Cathlamet, WA
2003 Commentary: Alice Irving's Spirit of Encouragement Lives On, The Wahkiakum County Eagle, Cathlamet, WA http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/12/alice-cook-irving.html
http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/12/ceramic-sculptures-by-alice-cook-irving.html
2003 Commentary: The Spirit of Home, The Wahkiakum County Eagle, Cathlamet, WA
1997 Photography: Un Baiser Apres Boules, Photography Contest Winner featured in Alliance Francaise de San Francisco Newsletter, San Francisco, CA
1997 Photography: Jazz on Fillmore featured on front cover of The New Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
1993 Short Story: The Gift, The New Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
1992 Commentary: Heroes Are Watching Us, The New Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
1990 Short Story: Danny's Apartment,  The New Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
1988 Interview: Joe Judice, a Jockey at Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley, CA
1987 Interview: Love Club, San Francisco Rock Band, FAD Magazine, San Francisco, CA
1986 Marketing Article: Range of Motion Dance/Exercise Video, Joint Efforts, Arthritis Foundation Newsletter, San Francisco, CA
1976 Journal Excerpts: The Simple, Elegant World of Elizabeth T. Rightor, Lourmarin, France http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/08/elizabeths-world.html
 A Train Ride to the Ancient Greek City of Selinunte, Sicily, Italy http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/09/a-train-ride-to-ancient-greek-city-of.html
 Hiking on the Istrian Penninsula, Croatia http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2012/05/quotes-of-day.html
Escape from Dubrovnik, Croatia http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/09/escape-from-dubrovnik.html
 Searching for the Windmills of the Lassithi Valley, Crete, Greece http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/08/windmills-of-lassithi-valley.html 
1976 Essay: The Fishermen of Naxos, Greece http://labellelettre.blogspot.com/2011/09/the-fishermen-of-naxos.html
1974 Poetry Anthology: A Gathering of Poems, Reflections and Statements by Women, University of California, Berkeley, CA
1971 Poetry Anthology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
1969 Editor: Wahkiakum High School Yearbook, Cathlamet, WA