Spencer Hatton – Art’s Bottom Line

by on May 2, 2014

By Spencer Hatton

Buying art is an acquired skill that takes money, patience and a discriminating eye. And yes, more money.

Art buyers will get a chance to strut their stuff in several weeks when the annual Tour of Artists’ Homes and Studios takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17. Sponsored by the Larson Gallery Guild, it’s great fun. You meet talented artists and get the rare opportunity to check out the nooks and crannies of their homes where their exceptional artwork is on full display.

But beware. Don’t make the mistake I did several years ago during a previous tour when my wife, Leslie, and I entered one of the most famous domiciles in the Yakima Valley — the home of Leo Adams, a Yakama native who ranks as one of the Pacific Northwest’s foremost artists and designers. His home is as fascinating as the artist himself, and was featured in Leo Adams/Art Home, a handsome, 160-page hardbound book recently published by Seattle’s Marquand Books.

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Spencer and Leslie’s foray into the art world netted them these two pieces by notable Yakima artist Lee Adams.

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As we reached the entrance, I declared unilaterally: “We are not leaving Leo’s house without a painting.”

Again, knowing when to zip the lips is important when buying art. Exaggerated statements like mine invariably get you into trouble, which invariably leads to spending more money.

Sure enough, Leslie became fascinated with one of Leo’s classic paintings of flowers. Infused with pink hues, it was stunning.

“Yes, Leo, we want that one,” I told the artist. He smiled warmly, as he always does.

Then Leo pointed to another framed work of flowers and said, “I painted these two together.” He raised his hands, seeming to embrace the two paintings in a gentle, fatherly gesture.

How do you break up a set of nearly identical twins? And more importantly, how do you say no to an artist whose paintings grace the interiors of homes throughout the West Coast and beyond?

“We’ll take both,” Leslie exclaimed.

I unsheathed my Cross ballpoint pen and wrote out a check. Our initial $400 purchase doubled to $800. That’s the nature of buying art. The bottom line is always moving — in an upward trajectory.

That’s especially true when entering an art gallery on a vacation. These galleries prey on unsuspecting tourists eager to bring home a memento of their trip to paradise. Again, resist the impulse to buy. That could cost you dearly as we discovered several years ago when we visited Las Vegas and stopped by the Centaur Sculpture Galleries in the Fashion Show Mall.

We became fascinated with a framed Picasso print prominently displayed among the gallery’s other paintings by the likes of Monet and Salvador Dali. I pointed to the bright yellow “sale” sign hanging above it and tried my best to muffle a belly laugh. Some sale price. Instead of $95,000 for the famed artist’s Tete de Faune, the gallery had marked it down to $70,000.

Seeing that we were attracted to Picasso’s unusual print, a gallery sales representative chimed in, “The sale only lasts another week.”

That’s when Leslie did the unthinkable. It’s one of the cardinal sins of buying art. Never admit to having any spare cash whatsoever. Wear cutoff jeans if necessary to emphasize your poverty.

But whatever you do, don’t utter the words that Leslie did: “Well, we could sell the farm.”

In the blink of an eye, three gallery sales reps descended upon us and whisked Leslie and me into a private viewing room. They sat us down on comfy chairs while an employee hung the Tete de Faune on a bare wall. Lights in the room dimmed. Then came the flick of a switch. Two small spotlights magically zeroed in on the Picasso print.

“Now you did it,” I muttered to Leslie.

For the next 15 minutes the gallery’s assistant curator regaled us in an art history lesson of how Picasso had created the limited edition print of Tete de Faune by carving out the image on a piece of linoleum and then making repeated colored imprints of it on paper.

Extricating ourselves from this embarrassing situation wasn’t easy. I apologized profusely for any misunderstanding, explaining that our family farm is not a thousand acres but a mere plot of dirt in the middle of Illinois that my grandfather received in payment for dental work given during the Great Depression. “The monthly rent barely pays for our drinks at Starbucks,” I joked. The gallery sales reps weren’t amused.
To set us free from their clutches, I coughed up my email address. I figured that was a fair exchange given the alternative — calling Solarity Credit Union for an emergency loan.

A signed copy of Hatton’s book, Counting Crows: Stories of Love, Laughter and Loss, is available at spencerhatton.com or at Inklings Bookshop and Dunbar Jewelers in Yakima. A Kindle-ready version can also be purchased at Amazon.

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Duncan MacLeod: Yakima’s Renaissance Man

by on Jul 6, 2012

Duncan MacLeod, Yakima's Renaissance Man. Photos by Chad Bremerman.

It’s hard to imagine living a day in the life of Yakima’s Duncan MacLeod. But with a name like that, a man’s bound to be far from ordinary.

“I make a hobby out of picking up hobbies,” says MacLeod, the 39-year-old pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, whose laid-back manner belies the number of pastimes he’s picked up over the years.

“I’m a poly-hobbyist.”

“Poly-hobbyist” is a term he and his twin brother, Alex, use to describe their constant desire for more sideline interests.

Of Scottish descent, MacLeod and his brother were raised in Edmonds by their mother and grandparents. His grandfather, Norman A. Krebbs, was both a professor at Whitworth and a pastor. Although MacLeod grew up in a religious household, as a child he didn’t imagine following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

But follow he did.

In 1991 MacLeod began his undergraduate Philosophy degree at the University of Colorado, but left in the middle of his studies to become a missionary to college athletes in St. Petersburg, Russia.

He lived in Russia for six months, and contrary to his younger self, says this is where he found his calling to ministry. “I had several pretty dramatic faith experiences,” he says. And though he preferred not to go into detail, he said these experiences led him through dramatic personal growth.

MacLeod returned to Colorado, but left school in 1996, just two classes shy of a degree. On the road again, he went west to California, getting into youth ministry, and meeting his future wife, Shannon. They married in 1998 and now have three children. Each was born in a different state of the U.S.

He finally earned his Bachelors degree in 2003 from California State University at Hayward and his  Master’s of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2006.

In 2009, MacLeod said he was called to Yakima’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.

“I’m a northwest kid,” says MacLeod.

“I knew Yakima, but I had never lived in it. There was a chance to be close to my family again.” 

MACLEOD HAS BEEN an outdoor enthusiast since his youth.

While an undergrad, he worked as a whitewater rafting guide during the summer months. He now adds fly-fishing, bird hunting and all kinds of boating to his growing list of interests. He’s even building a wooden drift boat in his garage.

He and Alex like a challenge too — they recently donned blue body paint while taking on the 3.55 mile Warrior Dash — an extreme obstacle course in North Bend.

“[It’s] a big excuse to go be silly, celebrate your warrior spirit and have fun,” says MacLeod. But don’t underestimate its difficulty — from scaling walls to jumping fire, it’s far from a novice course. MacLeod also brews beer, makes wine, plays the banjo and gardens. (His brother, adding to their shared “poly-hobbyist” lexicon, is involved in urban sheparding and also plays the fiddle.)

When asked how he fits it all in, MacLeod humbly responds, “The hobbies are seasonal, so they aren’t all the time.”

Shannon supports his “poly-hobbyist” lifestyle.

“She loves that I do it,” he says, quipping, “Just bring home the salmon.”

Today he chooses hobbies that also involve his children — like farming and bee-keeping. And although they live in a residential neighborhood, they’re still able to raise chickens and pigs on a nearby piece of farm property. Each child has his or her own chicken.

MacLeod’s easy smile, Scottish heritage and adventuresome spirit make his Sunday sermons — and his Celtic midnight masses — anything but dull. Ultimately, though, he’s a family man who couldn’t be happier here.

“Yakima is sort of a paradise,” he says. “Everything I’d like to do is within a few minutes away.”

 

Sidenote:

MACLEOD’S FAMILY IMMIGRATED TO IDAHO from Scotland in 1904, and he has been wearing a kilt since age three.

“Each family has their own tartan,” he says, referring to some kilts’ unique plaid pattern. MacLeod was married in a dress kilt.

The traditional dress kilt is typically worn to weddings and funerals, but in recent years, the “Utilikilt” — something MacLeod describes as an “urban rough and tumble kilt” — has become popular. Since it has several pockets and hammer hooks, much like cargo pants, MacLeod wears his Utilikilt while doing woodwork, construction and even bird hunting, a tradition he’s taken up with Alex.

The two brothers even wore their Utilikilts during the Warrior Dash.

MacLeod feeds the family pigs.

MacLeod catches a King Salmon on The Wind River.

MacLeod is a woodworker. He is currently building a wooden drift boat.

MacLeod retrieves a swarm of bees from an arborvitae bush.

The bees swarm around their nesting location, built by MacLeod.

MacLeod daringly lifts the bees - in kilt...eeks!

Chickens run freely on the MacLeod family farm.

MacLeod smiles after discovering some of his chicken's eggs.

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Helping Animals is a Bark in the Park

by on Sep 8, 2011

One of last year's participants in "Bark in the Park." Photo courtesy of Laurel Burk Sherman.

By Scott Klepach Jr.

If dogs are our best friends, then why not take them to a party?

Believe it or not, you can do just that right here in Yakima.

The third annual “Bark in the Park” event, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Central Washington, is Sept. 17 at the Yakima Greenway next to the Humane Society.

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Fair Food!

by on Sep 8, 2011

Bradly Johnson shows off hand-dipped ice cream. Photo by Jennifer Dagdagan.

By Heather Caro

The world would be a better place if there were more foods on sticks. There. We’ve said it.

Thankfully, we’ve found like-minded folks at the annual Central Washington State Fair. Each autumn, “fair food” makes mouths water with over-the-top treats — and many are served on sticks. So grab your cholesterol medication and prepare to eat sinfully as we taste our way through Yakima’s State Fair Park.

Young Life Barbecue – The enticing aroma wafting from meats rotating on the Young Life Barbecue spit could tempt even the most devoted vegetarian. This perennial booth is known for serving up saucy treats — including yummy barbecue beef sandwiches — and luring generations of fairgoers.

Dairy Barn – This small booth offers some of the yummiest ice cream around. Try the Mud & Cream, a Bavarian brownie topped with marshmallow cream, hot fudge, vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with crunchy nuts. The sugary treat is made to be shared, so be sure to ask for an extra spoon.

Curly Fries – Who can say no to a giant brick of deep-fried potatoes? Be sure to pick up a carton of the curly comfort food when visiting the fair — and don’t forget the ketchup.

Lamburgers – The Lamburger booth has been fair staple since 1925. Run by the Washington State Sheep Producers Women’s Auxillary, these ladies know their lamb. Their tasty burgers topped with homemade relish make our fair food short list, and the booth’s classic signage brings nostalgic charm to every bite.

Elephant Ears – Doughy deep-fried goodness smothered in cinnamon and sugar — no visit to the fair could be complete without an elephant ear. The classic confection can be found at any number of fair booths, but we love the hand-thrown beauties made by the St. Paul Cathedral School booth. Be sure to bring your appetite — these giant ears live up to their pachyderm moniker.

Corn on the Cob – Fair food is not exactly known for being good for you, but grilled sweet corn may be a healthful alternative to the deep fryer, and one that won’t leave patrons wanting. Even when drizzled with butter and sprinkled with salt, we’re fairly certain it still counts as a veggie. Or is it a grain? Who cares!

Walla Walla Burger – Piled high with the grilled sweet onions known the world around, these burgers are so tasty they are worth the after-dinner mints required later. Not quite onioned-out? Try the battered onion rings served here … but only if you have a very tolerant sweetheart.

Cotton Candy – What’s not to love about a spun sugar beehive? Bags of the timeless carnival confection can be found hanging from plenty of booths, but true aficionados prefer the fluffy, colorful candy eaten straight from the stick.

And to wash it all down …

The Saloon – The over-21 crowd may enjoy libations from the Saloon on Rodeo Drive near the Lamburger booth. Cold beer and “cowboy drinks” are available, as well as a cool place to sit a spell and people watch. For those so inclined, The Wine Shop and Garden located in the Agricultural building annex will also feature wines by the glass, micro brews and wine slushies. The garden is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily during the fair.

The Central Washington State Fair has been an annual tradition in Yakima since 1892. From livestock to grandstand shows, carnival rides to giant vegetables, the fair celebrates the agricultural background of the Valley and serves up a heaping helping of nostalgia on the side. This year the theme is “The Fair is in the Air,” and it will run from Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

For fair details, including hours of operation, ticket prices and daily schedule, visit fairfun.com.

Read the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Sept. 22 edition of On magazine for more fair coverage as well as a daily schedule.

Terri Standfill tries out a crispy curly fry at last year's fair.

A chocolate and vanilla ice cream cone made by Laura Haufek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney Frame stretches out a huge Elephant Ear at last year's fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemons stacked at a booth at last year's fair.

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Back-to-the-Future Remodel

by on Sep 8, 2011

 

Karen and Jim Gilbert raised the ceilings on their new kitchen, installed skylights, and replaced dark cabinets with white cabinets, brightening a formally dark room. (by Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic)

By Melissa S. Labberton

How do you transform a 1970s house, complete with a rabbit warren of dark paneled rooms, in order to suit a 21st century lifestyle? That was the question that confronted Karen and Jim Gilbert in 2008 when their Realtor showed them just that in Terrace Heights. The home, while dated, was close to the Yakima Country Club, where Jim works as the golf pro.

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A Whimsical Cottage Garden Escape

by on Jul 8, 2011

 

Photo by Chad Bremmerman

 

By Melissa S. Labberton

Photos by Chad Bremmerman

Marrying her passion for gardening and collecting, third-grade teacher Claudia Tabayoyon has transformed her small backyard into a delightful retreat from her busy life. Her whimsical cottage garden was featured in the Yakima Area Arboretum’s annual tour of gardens this year — and for good reason.

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