Friday, November 19, 2010


Laurie Zuckerman's former teacher, Nathan Oliveira, the hugely famous figurative painter from California, passed away a few days ago. The New York Times reported his obituary today. I was shocked and saddened, as Nathan Oliveira was the best teacher and by far the best painter I ever had the opportunity to study with. Oliveira was an art professor at Stanford University. In the summer of 1977, I applied to study with him at the Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington. I was accepted for this small and exclusive three-week workshop. I had just finished graduate school in painting at the University of Oregon. A huge fan of all the Bay Area Figurative expressionist painters, I was thrilled to have this opportunity to paint alongside Oliveira. He was the nicest, kindest man—fatherly in fact. He was also the most inspiring teacher I had ever worked with. The students lived for three weeks with him, his wife, and young son at Fort Worden State Park in the idyllic World War II army barracks at the beach. Undoubtedly the best teaching experience of my life. My heart goes out to Mr. Oliveira's family.

The following summer I received a scholarship to study with Elaine de Kooning, ex-wife of Willem de Kooning, one of my other most favorite painters. Back at UC Berkeley, my undergraduate alma mater, I studied figure drawing with Elmer Bischoff, another major figure from the Bay Area Figurative group, of which Richard Diebenkorn is the most well-known. Diebenkorn, is most famous for painting the ocean landscape I grew up in in Los Angeles in his renowned "Ocean Park" series. These men were my contemporary heroes.

Read his biography at:

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Laurie Zuckerman was up in Saratoga, Wyoming this summer and photographed this sign in the historic downtown. Unfortunately there were no antiques for sale inside this antique building. Just ice cream! These four letters sum up what I do best—shop. I think it is my greatest skill besides arranging all my treasures on my altars, memory jugs, and memory boxes. I design found-object assemblages while pacing up and down the aisles of my favorite flea markets, thrift stores, and antique malls. These stores are an extension of my studio. I debate each object for how it could be incorporated into my artwork, with most objects receiving a resounding NEVER! I am extremely picky, as I try to only buy what I intend to use now or the near future of my work. I shop alone, as few people have my stamina. And I shop frequently, something most people find a bore or a collosal waste of time and money. Not me, I do my most creative thinking on my feet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

LAURIE ZUCKERMAN DIA DE LOS MUERTOS OFRENDA ALTAR at Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery Fiesta in Denver on October 30

Laurie Zuckerman was invited to create one of her eclectic Day of the Dead ofrenda altars at the Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery's Diá de los Muertos Fiesta, October 30 in Denver's Wheat Ridge area. Two of the six altar artists included Denver santeros, Jerry Vigil and Rob Yancey. We all gave presentations about our altars to a crowd of approximately 125 people in the Pavilion. Denver's Westword Magazine voted this the Best Day of the Dead in a Cemetery award for 2010.

This was a brand new altar for me and I had many constraints, worst of which was not being able to put anything on the wall. So I choose to let the window be my wall. It was such a sunny fall day and the Pavilion was so dark. I will make a version of this "Old Mexico" folk art altar again, hopefully next year at a venue where I can take the altar up the wall and onto the floor.