Rosemary Allen in her studio, Oakland

A few months ago I shared some photos of my uncle Wheat with his sculptures here on the blog. Last month (oh, the summer is just flying!), I was welcomed into his lovely wife Rosemary’s studio, to do some portraits and copy work of her gorgeous paintings.

We had such a great afternoon together! Her studio is near downtown Oakland, near trains, planes and automobiles, as well as ferries. She’s been there since sometime in the 1980s, but I hadn’t ever seen it. So, it was a perfect excuse to take some shots of Rosemary, see what she’s been up to, and enjoy a sunny day in Oakland.

Rosemary has been painting for decades. She and my uncle met and married in the early 1960s, and shortly thereafter moved to the wilds of the Mendocino coast, to create art and family. She told me some romantic stories of their first tiny, funky home together, in the middle of nowhere and with few modern amenities. I think in the winter (Mendocino gets cold!), they could only live in one of the tiny rooms, where the woodstove was. Now they live in Oakland near her studio, but still spend holidays and some weekends with their two wonderful daughters (my cousins, Lisa and Daphne) and grandchildren. I love the Allens, and only wish we could get together more often!

Rosemary’s been working on this amazing project for a few years now. Check out her her website, particularly this newer series of Construction Worker Portraits. The Artist’s Statement about the project puts it into words much better than I can. Rosemary often does abstract work, so this work is very different, but still amazing! It is even cooler in person.

I loved her custom-made palette. Color!

Here are just a few of the pieces she’s been working on:

I am really lucky to have been raised in a family of artists – and more importantly, of people who didn’t look at art-making as something only certain people can do. So, it took me a long time to realize that not everyone feels they have that freedom to make things, take photos, or even just doodle. My goal is to take portraits of all of the creative types and art-makers in my family! Who’s next? Suz? Mom?

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