mashama bailey wins james beard award for top chef: southeast

The most wonderful news this week came out of Chicago Monday evening: Mashama Bailey of The Grey restaurant in Savannah won the James Beard Award: Top Chef: Southeast.

For those of us living and eating out in Savannah; we have been well aware and have been waiting (kind of) patiently! It brings a gush of fresh air into the lungs to see this woman recognized for all she is, thinks and does.

“We should all be very proud of ourselves,” she said. “We are moving this country forward in the right direction. I am a black girl from Queens, New York, and my most influential cuisine is Peter’s Kitchen Chinese take-out, ” the AJC recently quoted Bailey.

Bailey is the first black American to win this award. She is the second woman of color as Nina Compton (born and raised in the Caribbean) of Compère Lapin, in New Orleans won for best chef in the South. But only LAST year - 2018. Good grief. May more women rise to be recognized!

Congratulations to Mashama Bailey, John Morisano and The Grey team. Thank you for your two fabulous locations and thank you for bringing a bright shiny comet of GREAT and redemptive news into our week.

mashama bailey of THE GREY restaurant, top chef in the southeast + in this writer’s heart

mashama bailey of THE GREY restaurant, top chef in the southeast + in this writer’s heart

what is a thumbnail sketch?

The difference between a thumbnail and a sketch is that the thumbnail is bound by the orientation and proportions outlined by the project or art director.  

It is a small, thumbnail size-ish drawing that tells two things:  the basic composition and the basic concept of the image.  A good art director will tell you, “I want three compositions for this concept,” or “I want three concepts for this scenario.” That should prompt you to draw one concept three ways, or draw three concepts one way.


This here's a thumbnail for a potential image for the 2017 book of short stories titled "The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead." by Chanelle Benz.  I like one-eye stories and folks whose names end in "Z", so even though I haven't read the book, I can speculate.(Eye joke!)

Specs:  The image is squarish - or so the thumbnail indicates.  Someone is standing in front of a shooting range.  They appear to have a shot out, or, at least, a very dark eye.  He or she is holding an urn.  Draw conclusions. 

Facts:  The flower on the urn is a stinking corpse flower!  It grows the largest individual bloom in the world, larger than 3 children, and smells like a rotting body!  The shape of the shot-out eye person is similar to the target silhouettes.  The shot out eye and the stinking corpse flowers shapes are also similar. Alice Walker, who I used as my hair model for this piece,  is a one-eyed wonder.  This comparing and contrasting of shapes and relationships is also a strategy for making strong or stronger concepts (see concept vs. idea) and visual communication.  

Fun things:  Give the AD something to worry about so they don’t harp about your drawing skills or lackadaisical visual strategizing:  Why does he/she wear a Frenchy-like striped shirt?  What does that have to do with anything?  What is the subject a he or a she?  Are all shooting ranges found in the desert? 


An apt totem for the beginning of 2016, the noble king of the marshes signifies new experiences, filtering and discarding what is not beneficial, discernment, rebirth, creativity and vision.  Additionally, this steadfast migrator draws power from the water and is considered to be a heart healer. His color arrives from the pigmenting of the food (carotenoids, especially) the bird eats.

katherine sandoz, mixed media, january 2016

katherine sandoz, mixed media, january 2016

saaabmb15 | peter makebish

The paintings of Paul Kremer and Les Rogers dare you, "C'mere! Come here!" They say, "Hey, girl! Wanna listen to some music, hear some poetry, let the sun beat down on your head, shake your hair, your haunches? Care to think about heartbeats, the power of color and shape-making, mind and space shifting in a secret, through-all-the-ages-and-time-but-it's-ON-now language?"

Not so fast, sister. The award for excellence in transforming live, genuinely engaged human beings (who can be plied with greetings, information and the promise of owning the most-best painting-makings currently exhibiting) into cold, lifeless stone forever goes to Peter Makebish. His craft in curating a vibe, turning up the music, creating poetry and dashing hopes and hearts is so honed and precise, I named this award after him.

Congrats, mon frère Pierre.

katherine sandoz portrait of peter makebish at  untitled art fair , miami, florida, december 2015

katherine sandoz portrait of peter makebish at untitled art fair, miami, florida, december 2015

saaABMB15 | sasha wolf gallery

Even though a super dirty dude with dreads, badly in need of a shower, had just breezed through Sasha Wolf Gallery at Miami Project, the booth looked substantial, open, felt inviting and proved very well planned.  We remarked to Ms. Wolf that it had been very thoughtful of fair coordinators to provide inset flooring that created an arc that visually extended the "gallery" into the corridor. Like the open feeling of the space, Ms. Wolf thanked us warmly for complimenting the strong feng shui and even admitted that it took much maneuvering to find the right balance of the location of the work, her chair and that of her desk. On the tabletop, a sweet little vintage looking book sat just so at Ms. Wolf's left. I wondered if the gallerist planned on reading much (cool breeze that she is) or if the little piece of prose served as part of what we decided was the best installed of all that we saw.

Clearly, Ms. Wolf knows things other gallerists don't and I bet that book holds some of her secrets. Why didn't I take a photograph?

The "breath of fresh air" Sandoz Art Award for Art Basel Miami Beach (using this to represent the whole shebang - fairs, hotel installations, street, private, etc) 2015, enthusiastically goes to Sasha Wolf Gallery.  

katherine sandoz, sasha wolf, prismacolor on paper, december 9, 2015

katherine sandoz, sasha wolf, prismacolor on paper, december 9, 2015

naughty or nice?

This year, for those deserving, I'm recommending paintings - always.  I'm also suggesting works on paper as they are often a very unique and unusual offering of the artist's process and presentation.  They travel light, safely and cheaply.  Last, cost of this work tends to come in slightly lower than those on more substantial substrates.  

I have a number of smaller works on paper available on SANDOZIA.  You may consider some mid to large scale works through the Spalding Nix Fine Art shop on 1st dibs. I also have some very large works (8 feet plus) at the studio. If you wish to inquire about these, please call or email me.

For the naughty set: coal. It's a traditional and classic way to communicate the required message.  For 2015, artist made stockings in paper, fabric or upcycled materials are de rigueur. Maybe you are just the artist?

(color fields) water's edge, 8' x 12', water-based media on paper, 2015

(color fields) water's edge, 8' x 12', water-based media on paper, 2015

willie nelson

I return to draw Willie Nelson's face one more time.  I'm late to this as his 82nd birthday fell on April 29th. When I go online to check dates and facts, there are reports of his death.  But it's a hoax and this is a "normal" thing; it happens often.  What?

willie nelson at 82

willie nelson at 82

mlk jr day 2015

Every year, I draw a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I try to do this with one or both of my children and we talk about his dreams and then ours.  

Today, I feel as I often do, that maybe I shouldn't dare or try to dream because I am not educated enough about politics, or how the world works.  I am too idealistic.  My ideals carry no weight. Maybe I am too liberal or too conservative so I don't deserve to work toward making my dreams come true.  Maybe my dreams will be judged because I have or am too much or too little.   But that's not quite right, and I wouldn't want any child in the world to feel this way.

Regardless, as with every single day since I-can't-remember-when, I have this thought whether recalling King's legacy or not: 

My stone of hope for this nation and especially for red hills Georgians is that we might rise up (seriously! RISE UP!) and fix these durn schools.

I might go on about the things and events Americans will "rise up" for and I'd hazard that's not right either. If the schools don't work very, very well, I can not see a future of freedom for children or for us. And that is a heartache that haunts my dream.

kds + hambone, prismacolor and graphite, this morning