Tuesday, April 3, 2012


…there just aren’t enough adjectives for me to begin to describe Mason Williams, composer and performer of the mega hit ‘CLASSICAL GAS’, winner of 3 Grammy Awards, the most played, most loved instrumental hit of all time.

Add to that so many other accomplishments in art, comedy, poetry, books and script writing.  Did you know Mason is a brilliant conceptual artist with many collaborations with long time friend artist Ed Ruscha?  His irrepressible sense of humor has inspired countless works of art with possibly the most famous  ‘BUS’ the huge installation in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.…..perhaps you saw it when it was on loan to the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art in 2007.  There’s a great picture of it on my blog ‘DID you KNOW’ posted August 17, 2009 along with a few of Mason’s limited edition word plays. I could go on but suffice it to say you won’t meet a more talented or greater guy.  I’m honored to call him friend, collector and supreme booster.

Mason and Karen, his lovely and talented wife live most of the year in Oregon so when I was sent an invitation to attend the opening of ‘THE EAGLE ROCK ROCK and EAGLE SHOP’  I was delighted beyond description.  Let me explain….

In ‘64 long time friend Ed Ruscha had a studio in Eagle Rock and Mason,with his usual sense of humor, joked about the play between the words ‘Eagle’ and ‘Rock’ conceiving of a store that would literally sell eagles and rocks.

Another friend of both artists, designer/artist Bettina Hubby became enamored by the concept and conceived the store as an interactive community-enlivening project.

Mason wrote the following poem for Hubby:

Back in 1964, in the days before either Ed or I got famous

Our plays on words, when they occurred, served to entertain us.

For example, as a sample:the town of Eagle Rock

Brought to mind, the two combined, a shop

with both in stock

Pieces of eye-ther and both to-guy-ther-

whatever shrieks to you

‘Palindromically’ clever, words of a feather….

doozies of art derring do!

Thanks to Hubby, who's uber exuberant

artworks of collab co-op

For the eagle collector and rockhound prospector,

After 48 years...there’s a shop!

~ Mason Williams

3rd week of January 2012


I’m just about besides myself with joy!


With lovely wife Karen, a talented artist in her own right and brilliant besides.  She was a prosecutor in Canada.


Here we are with Pat Rude…the greatest raconteur I’ve ever known.




Wait Pat, do you believe this?


The necklace is made of rocks and we couldn’t figure who would be strong enough to wear it.


Meet Arlyn…how cute is she?  Everything was working from the bag to the shoes…so fun!


It was sooooo crowded….the vibe was ‘60’s all the way….


Thank you for the CD Mason…I cherish each and every one.  Brings back fond memories of listening to you play in your home/studio.  What a privilege.


Fun projections outside….


I guess sheer glee is the only word for this one!


Time to say goodnight….


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1 comment:

Wendy Ballard said...

Nan,I was a student of Ron Pekar at the Art Academy in Memphis and would like to contact him via email,can you help me,please?Wendy Ballard (Fifty8facets@cox.net)
Thanks A Million!


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.