Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day Ten: Paintings and Reflections

Welcome to Day Ten in The 24 Days of Books! Today we're going to celebrate local and talk about a new book from a local artist: Paintings and Reflections, by Shirley Gittelsohn. Shirley was born in Portland in 1925 and, aside from a few years living in the Bay Area, her home has always been in Portland or in Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast -- one of my most favoritest places in the world. Her time at Reed College nurtured her artistic and humanistic interests. She also made many lifelong friends there and met her first husband, Bill Gittelsohn, who died in 2000.

Shirley has been painting for more than five decades, and the book presents more than fifty of her works. But, more than that, it presents her story, told in her own words. She is the daughter of Thomas Georges, an immigrant Greek entrepreneur, and Daisy Ostrow, her Oregon-born Jewish mother. Her paintings reflect her passions -- specifically, family, gardening, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and particularly Cannon Beach, where she has a second home and studio, and Mexico, where she travels frequently with her second husband, Ernie Bonyhadi.

The foreword is by Arlene Schnitzer, former owner and director of The Fountain Gallery of Art in Portland, and the introduction is by Stephanie Snyder, John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College (I'm guessing her business cards must be huge!).

In Shirley's own words: "I have lived a long and fortunate life. My art reflects that good fortune: joy from family and friends, from blooming flowers, from Oregon's blue mountains, from the ever-changing atmosphere of Cannon Beach, and from Mexico's dazzling light." What a wonderful gift this book would make! Best of all, Shirley will be reading here in March, so the recipient of this gift could come to the reading and get the book personalized.

For many more gift-giving ideas, check out our gargantuan December newsletter, which you can read by clicking here.

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