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Meet the Artists
Bob "Gourd Man" Bischoff, U.S. Army WWII Veteran
Born in San Jose in 1926. Fast forward eighteen years, drafted to the U.S. Army in 1944, trained at Camp Roberts, shipped to the Philippines, served in the I & R Platoon of the 108 Reg. Combat team. When the war was over, Bob was deployed to Korea.
Post military career, Bob attended San Jose State College, majored in commercial art with a math minor. He continued to further his education at UC Berkeley School of Architecture until his G.I. Bill ran out.
For over sixty years, Bob searched for his medium, exploring pencil pen, and ink, paint, sculpture, stained glass, and wood carving. He tried them all.
About twenty-one years ago, he discovered gourds at a craft fair. Today, he draws, he carves, he colors. Bob spends fifty to eighty hours on each piece and every minute of that is sheer pleasure. He has one unbreakable rule: "I am through for the day when I start thinking! "
Bob Bischoff's Gourds Collection is Inspired by Abstract Shapes and Earth's Colors
Many of the gourds Bob uses he has grown himself. Currently he is growing a new group of gourds in the Tug McGraw Foundation's Brain Food Garden. This particular collection was inspired by Earth's colors and abstract shapes. Bob uses several techniques in creating his one-of-kind pieces. They include pen, etching, carving, and staining,
Bob has shown his work at numerous art fairs, including Yountville's Annual Sip and Stroll and San Francisco's Fleet Week in partnership with the San Francisco Art Academy and the Tug McGraw Foundation. Bob lives at the Veterans Home of California, Yountville. When he is not creating art, you can find him in the Tug McGraw Brain Food Garden or on the Borman Field Baseball Diamond as a member of Tug's Mixed Nutts Softball Team. Where he has earned the nickname "Gourd Man."
Judy Brown, U.S. Navy Veteran
Judy joined the U.S. Navy in in 1968 and was based at the Naval Training Station in San Diego. Post military, she worked at UCSB in the Education Administration.
My foray into watercolor began in the 6th grade. I loved the way the water moved on the paper and pushed the color around sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Over 50 years later, I found myself in a watercolor class in Flagstaff, Arizona taught by a woman who spent years teaching at the Sedona Art Center. My interest was immediately renewed. After 6 months of classes, I was off on my own exploring this fabulous medium. Today, I have now found myself at the Veterans Home in in the glorious Napa Valley. With no other responsibilities I can now take all the time I want and paint whenever the mood strikes me.
Sandra Woodford, U.S. Army | Peace Corps Veteran
I am the daughter of talented painters and art collectors. I began my formal art education at the age of four. My family was living in Quito, Ecuador where we met a renowned Dutch artist, Jan Shroeder. He and his wife had a fully equipped studio and worked closely with the indigenous peoples to meld his designs of modern art with their traditional fabrics, pigments, and technique. I learned silk screening, ceramics, block printing, water color, sculpting, and enameling. This early foundation allowed me to find my own expression of paining and sculpting.
I dabbled with the arts in & out of school. Near failures in college art courses eliminated pursuing an art career. Instead, I attended nursing school in San Francisco, California.
In the early 1970s I joined Peace Corps, Afghanistan. I was able to travel to surrounding countries including India. I also returned to Ecuador. My eye was captured by various art forms, textiles, colors as I traveled through these foreign lands.
The 1980s brought me into the US Army, assigned to Frankfurt, Germany twice, Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
1990s I was back home in California working at San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and working in ernest with my art work, displaying in all the Bay Area Art & Wine festivals.
I made medical anatomical sculptures which were soon in various physicians offices. After 25 years as a nurse, I retired to pursue my art more seriously. I found the perfect home, venue, & local on the Big Island of Hawaii. I won several awards at juried shows for my furniture art and sculptures.
2013 brought me back to California yet again. I entered the Veterans Home of California, Yountville. I work at the Creative Arts Center aiding other Home Members with crafts, painting, and ceramics. It's the perfect place for me to continue to express myself through art work. Art is like a balm. It eases everyday tensions. It allows the inner self a venue of expression.
Sandra has shown his work at numerous art fairs, including Yountville's Annual Sip and Stroll and San Francisco's Fleet Week in partnership with the San Francisco Art Academy and the Tug McGraw Foundation. Sandra lives at the Veterans Home of California, Yountville. When she is not creating art or advocating for female veterans, you can find her on the Borman Field Baseball Diamond along side her husband, Coach Tom as the assistant coach of Tug's Mixed Nutts Softball Team.