While travelling towards the 42nd Valley Art Center with my brother,
Randy, his good friend, Randy and his wife of over 20 years, along
with Dan, we all talked about how it has been an off and on, lovely
beginning to Autumn. As we entered the Chagrin Falls’ town area,
we saw a lot of wonderful “homemade” or home-inspired costumes.
Dan pointed out a horse head made of paper mache and I saw a
whole set of parents guiding their crew of children, each dressed up
as the main trio of the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow costumes, also
accompanied with Glinda and Dorothy.
We all commented that this was like a town out of the sixties, with
so many people filling the sidewalks, lovely decorated homes and
even a few bonfires, fire pits and a tent with Halloween decorations.
The tent enclosed from the raindrops coming down upon the town,
a couple of costumed adults who were passing out treats from a
huge cauldron on a table with pumpkins and a sash of fall leaves.
We “oohed” and “ahhed” along our way, finding the arts center
and parking in a crowded community parking lot downtown.
The art opening was on Friday November first, I had read about the
recent filming of a movie, “Jenny’s Wedding” in downtown Cleveland
and was surprised to see a couple of blank areas on the walls, where
a thoughtful set designer from that movie had “snagged” the artwork
and left a note that said the piece was going to featured in the movie.
How outstanding was that?
Just a quick summary of the movie and its news-worthy Cleveland
filming. The movie and screenplay was written by Mary Agnes Donaghue,
who also is known for “White Oleander,” “Veronica Guerin,” and a critic
“panned” but one I enjoyed, “Beaches.” Her characters are well defined,
include interesting and diverse plots, and female-driven stories. Katherine
Heigl is being filmed in this movie as the main character. The plot summary,
“A woman shocks her family when she announces her startling choice for
a marriage partner.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer said that there will be 3-4
more movies being filmed locally. I enjoyed seeing the recent Avengers’
movies that were filmed not only around Cleveland’s Public Square but
also on one of the main highways, causing traffic to be rerouted!
I also enjoyed the treats provided by Whole Foods, fresh vegetables and
dip, fresh fruits and some little appetizer treats. The little chocolate truffles
Onward to the awards! I was dismayed to hear the names called out,
looking to where the art director for the center pointed. We had circled the
100 art pieces and “chosen” our own award winners!
First of all, my brother, Randall Oldrieve (all of his art is on Facebook, open
to view there: public domain.) We thought his wooden sculpture was breath-
takingly natural and yet very much created to evoke thoughts. It was titled,
“Stormbreaker.” It is composed of layers of wood that first is carved out of
real pieces of osage orange, cherry, black walnut, spalted maple and walnut
pieces. It is then refined, sanded and transfixed into a moving, flowing and
arcing sculpture that is about my height of five foot tall. It took months to
create and yet, seems very much natural, too.
Our (friend Randy, wife, Kristen and friend Dan) second choice could have
been the European city street created from hand cut pieces of paper. These
intricately layered paper pieces, look exactly like a painting from a distance.
This marvelous “collage” (and I use that term loosely!) is the fine art work
by Christine Weigand, entitled, “Look Left.” We did not have a chance to
meet the artist, although we circled it probably 10 times, we never caught
a woman standing by it.
The third place winner may have been Megan Frankenfield’s “Marblehead
Quarry” art piece that was about 3 or 4 foot tall and 3-4 foot wide. I am a
bad guesser, possibly but it was striking in its colors and composition. The
whole picture using acrylics and a photo superimposed on canvas would be
well worth the price attached of $500. The large wall hanging appears like
you are looking through a warehouse’s window, along the water. The squares
or “panes” of the window are in different shades of green, ochres, oranges,
turquoise and golden colors. The sunset effect is striking and draws your
eyes towards it.
The last piece, my personal: “I would put it on my own wall” type of art
was Annemarie Kall’s “Go With the Flow” pastels done on ampersand board.
I enjoyed the way with simple strokes this painting evokes the reflection of
water and the serenity of the countryside around a lake. I would have given
it an award due to how challenging I have found pastels to be, when you
work with them, the chalky appearance can really look “muddled.” This
“painting” is outstanding in its clarity and precision.
Of the four above mentioned pieces, NONE of them won any awards! The
third choice one won “Honorable Mention.” We were disappointed about
my brother’s work but I told the guests that were with us, he has won from
out of town, out of state jurors along with the People’s Choice Award at the
Ohio State Fair Professionals level entry. He was not dismayed and has high
hopes of someone wandering through the small venue and purchasing his
sculpture or at least, enjoying the view.
Our night out together, led us to drop off Dan and going on over to the
Fatheads’ distillery, newly opened on October 18th, called The Tap House.
This place, different from the restaurant, houses the huge vats or large
silo-shaped distilleries for the varied Fat Heads’ hometown brews.
I enjoyed tasting over the summer time, the Bumbleberry brew, which
happened to be Kristen’s favorite. My brother, Randy, chose a darker
beer and his friend, Randy, chose one of the lighter (Pale India Ale) ones,
with the Headhunter logo on it. I tried a new
brew, “hop nectar mead.” It is my favorite one yet! It has a strong flavor
but does seem to make me think of wine, too. The Bumbleberry brew
is my second favorite. Creative names range from “Bean Me Up,” “Oompa,
Loompa” and “Battle Axe,” with each of their logos funnier and crazier
than the next. The “Kohlminator” was inspired by a dark German draft
beer, could have been the one my brother drank. There was a great crowd
considering its being opened only a short time. I am hoping to spread the
word amongst Ohio beer drinking fans… Oh, there is a Pittsburg, PA and
will be Fat Heads in Tennessee and Oregon, too. They have won National
awards for their brews.
We were very thrilled to go to this place, seeing the clouds throughout
the huge building on the inside walls, the different voodoo guys along the
one area, the tables made out of barrels and the arrows in the wooden
pillars, and the hops vines crawling along varied surfaces, even wood-
burned into a wooden sign: all the handiwork of my brother.
Well, that is about all for the creative endeavors of my brother for this
post, the “critic’s hat” that I placed upon the other Randy, his wife,
Kristen and friend, Dan, too. We had a blast the whole night out!
Getting home to my Mom’s apartment, you needn’t worry about my
waking her! She is sometimes up until 2:00 a.m. and when I opened
the door at only midnight, she exclaimed, “Home already?!!”
We had our little juice glass of Sangria, looked into each other’s eyes,
saying our little Spanish toast together in unison, then watched a couple
of old detective shows on television, until I started to nod off. Mom got up
and covered me up.
On my last night visiting Mom, I had felt guilty leaving her. We had had a
lively conversation and loads of memories all week long, some personal
revelations on both sides, like two good old friends.
Mom had been happy, showing her thoughtfulness in this,
“So glad you had some fun tonight, Robin.”
I replied, in all earnestness and lovingly,
“I always have fun around you, Mom. I wish you would have come but am
so glad you were here at the end of the night to tuck me in. I miss you,
always, back in Delaware.”
Who knows, hopefully Dad had fun looking over our shoulders, at the
art gallery. He always had loved painting with bold, broad and big strokes
of intergallactic spaceships and large Lake Erie ships, too. With darks skies,
either stars and constellations or storms brewing in the background. He
would have loved the brews, too, seeing his son’s artwork presented in a
gallery and a brewhouse would have tickled his fancy. If he had been around,
Mom would have “rode along” from the gallery, dissecting the art pieces with
Dad. Then, to the Tap House, where she would have been the “designated
driver” between the two of them.
I am sure while I was gone, Mom spoke to Dad, she does this daily. Of her
thoughts on the news, her views of television and her looking and searching
the sky for falling stars, our family’s sense that Dad is playing with the
constellations, keeping them in order so all will be “right with his family’s