News Flash…

for all the Wolsey fans out there, and I have heard from a surprisingly many of you…

 

Himself

 

The Wolseys have become new parents…

her nest

I discovered this nest, which is in a bush just outside the kitchen window, when we were watching the tree cutters taking down another of the dying Pin Oaks. When all the noisy machinery quited down…the tiny chirps alerted me to the source. You can imagine my surprise when Herself, THE Cardinal Wolsey, flew out of the middle of the bush. You can see that the nest is well hidden. I wasn’t able to get a shot of the babies…yet.

proud papa wolsey

Now, my theories of evolutional avian psychology are about to be tested…

Will the offspring of the ever tapping cardinal be taught that the woman behind the curtain, the one in the baseball hat, with the tiny paint brushes…is She Whose Cocentration Must Be Toyed With.

Instinctive behavior…
or Muse.

Stay Tuned…


Sky chair summer

After the big summer shows I usually come home and crash…
for a week…
then get right back to the easel.

Well, this year I’m taking it slooooow.
We have been blessed with a new studio apprentice, Alex.
Here he is with his Dad, splitting away the mountain of wood that arose
after the two great, but sadly decaying, pin oaks came down last month.

neighborly

Alex is one strong, enthusiastic, and smart worker, and he is making it possible for this old artist to cross off a long list of chores that have been put on hold…for a decade…while all focus has been on painting.
He has begun to learn the art of panel making and is teaching me a thing or two about snakes, and we’ve both enjoyed some spoon carving on the back porch after the mornings of hard work.
Pat and I feel like we have won the lottery as far as good neighbors go. Every which way we turn, we find kindness and generosity. Believe me it is appreciated.

And, after all that fun morning work…the garden beckons.
Those straw bales are producing, and though I have had an attack of storm trooper squash bugs, there has been progress…

albino zuke early harvest watermelon

Time to try the new slushy machine…

slushy

and of course… Reesers…with friends

reesers

and, at the end of these perfect summer days…

sky chair summer sky

Sending you love from the Sky Chair.


Granary Gallery Show 2015

We have returned safely to the studio, and the GG2015 show moves into the exhibition stage. Every two weeks, during the summer, a new show opens and the granary elves play musical paintings and shift the artwork to make way for the new works. I took some photos, after the crowds dispersed, so you can see what a masterful job the gallery staff does in hanging the show.

solo

gallery gallery2

mass act smalls pedestrians mirror lite wash katama crow wolsey wharf trident
It has been a terrific start to the summer show season, with a satisfying double handful of red dots filling the walls. We return home to a triple digit heat wave and one very happy puppy to greet us. I had promised myself a week of uninterrupted gardening days, but with this weather I’ve turned up the A/C and brought out the quilting bag. The creative soul needs some rest but the hands…never.

Stay frosty out there and thank you all for your support.


She who started it all…

Wolsey…
this is one hysterical muse.
I had a momentary respite, from her staccato background tapping. You’ll read below, that as the last Painter’s Notes were written, the studio fell silent. I took it as a sign. After years of Wolsey’s bombarding, every window through which I can be seen, and both wing mirrors on the truck, I thought maybe she/Ted/my father/whomsoever is driving that bird’s bus…was finally satisfied that I had received whatever message she was laying down.

Yesterday was a major clean up and trailer repair, so I was outside most of the day, but when I was inside…quiet.
Today was a marathon of making the garden secure for the gardener to be away for a while. And now, I’m cooling down and crossing off the last things on the list. The second I sat here at the computer to log in the last of the new paintings…tap. TAP TAP TAP.

She’s back. Ya know, I was sort of afraid that the wandering cat, or a predator bird might have eaten her. So, I have to confess, after all this time and in spite of all the myriad levels of annoyance…I guess I sorta missed her.

Well, we are at the end now. These last three paintings complete the 2015 Granary Gallery Show. I hope to see some of you at the opening this coming Sunday, and, for those of you who won’t be able to make it, I thank you for all your support and kind words of appreciation.
And now…
I give you…Cardinal Wolsey…

Wolsey  -  10 x 12

Wolsey

The following is an excerpt from November 2014. The bird had been pecking, steadily, at that point, for over a year. It is now June…2015…and if I could figure out how to put an audio recording on this site…you could hear her now.

Blog post – 26 November 2014 (click here to read complete post)

peering

Cardinal Wolsey. The ever present window slammer of a bird, is still with me. I now believe she is more than just a disturbed bird. Pat and Finn met a woman at the park last week who, after hearing the story of the intrepid one, immediately suggested that she was someone who I had known who had “passed on” and did I know anyone in the clergy. Well I sat back in my chair at that one. Seriously, my father, the Presbyterian minister, returned as the slammer ?

woolsey

Possibly ?
I’m still pondering that one.
But this bird is definitely trying to tell me something. She now follows me from window to window and watches me all day long. The hurling Herself at the panes behavior seems to diminish when I settle in at the easel. Then she just flies up and stares at me…the rubbernecker.

Well, ok, that part could be Ted. He is definitely nudging me to focus on painting…probably as I write this…which is taking time away from what I began this blog with…

that perfect painting day.

Well, the dreary rain has turned to our first snowfall of the season. The promise of a winter wonderland, a bird in the oven, one at the window, and two dozen at the feeders…that’s all I need of Thanksgiving.

And, this…to all my friends and patrons, whose support allows me to do the work that is so meaningful to my soul…

Thank you.

Post Script – June 2015

After painting those eyebrows…I do believe it is Ted. He would wear the cappa magna with panache.

The Cardinal  -  10 x 12

The Cardinal

If you read the other notes on this little gal
you understand the determination behind this gaze
the relentless dementia of the tapping behavior
the persistence of the muse

but you know what ?

ever since I finished these bird series paintings
as I have been sitting here in the office
for almost a week
working on the computer to get these files up on the website
and composing painters notes

it’s been….quiet.

Not a single tap.

The only other time that happened
was when Zoe was here in the studio
painting along side of me.

Now what do you make of that ?

Himself  -  14 x 12

Himself

This is Ted’s teacup.
(Thank you Terry)
And an old coin silver spoon
with which Ted gifted to us a long time ago.

But that bird…
she’s all mine.

Cardinal Wolsey.
Each time I painted her,
I fell deeper into those eyes.

There’s a thing about birds.
You can never get close enough
in person
to really look into their eyes.

I have dozens of good photos now of Wolsey,
but there are hundreds of blurry rejects
that were snapped just before
and just after she smashed into the window.

The split second of the camera lens
has given me a gift.

For all her racket,
and by that I mean
demented
torturous
unrelenting
eternal-faucet-dripping
madness of the tapping…

she really has beautiful eyes.

God, I’ve fallen for the bird.

 

 

 

 


Home stretch…

The Pedestrians

The Pedestrians  -  32 x 38

This, I owe, to David P. Wallis.

I love it when people say, ya know what you outta paint ?

So, David says, ya know,
I just stopped over at Mermaid Farm,
and I think it would be great
to paint that pedestrians and bicyclists
quote thingy that they have, written in magic marker over the vegetables.

We have stopped there of course.
It’s a gem on middle road.
I often wish I knew the farmers,
because they have a really groovy thing going on there.

So I gathered reference shots, and sketches,
from several different times of the day, and year
and, when I was sorting through them, I saw
the chickens.

Bam, I’m in.
Bird series here we come.

But I had an editorial decision to make.
Half of the detail shots were from July
and half from October.
The light was different in both but I can handle that.
It was the produce.

Dahlia’s catching the warm afternoon light,
a bag of papery dry onions,
and an autumn tapestry of leaves,
or…
those luscious purple onions,
bunches of thick leaved dinosaur kale,
potatoes and beans, and summer hot green leaves.
And someone WILL notice if I mixed them together.

You can see I went with summer,
but I figured I could pick and choose
among the two versions of tables and tin cans,
rows of seed packets inside the shack,boxes and buckets,
and the fifty different positions in which I caught light cascading on the scale.

But among all those changing details,
one thing stayed the same…
the red bicycle pump.

Did you find it yet ?

And that little lizardy thing…missed that one didn’t ya.

Thank you David P.


Good Morning America…

It took an illegal neighborhood fireworks display, which I had to duck and cover from on my walk home from the studio last night, to remind me that here we are at the 4th of July already. Whew, and I’m still framing.
I was distracted this week by the crew who were waterproofing our basement, but it was quite a wonderful feeling to actually “enjoy” listening to the sound of the rain falling on our roof as we nodded off to sleep. And not just because it put out the giant sparklers across the creek. That rain is still around this morning, and the sky is a rich umber grey.
So today’s painting is a good fit.
Head north from here, hang a sharp right just above the Rhode Island border, watch the trees get shorter and shorter as you head east, go round about and round about and slow way down, then get in a long line of cars with bikes and kayaks on the roof, bump your way over the steel plates and onto a ferry. Doesn’t matter which one, they will all get you to the same place. The island of Martha’s Vineyard. If, after floating by the first light house you see, the boat starts to take a wide turn to the right, you will be coming into this port, Vineyard Haven. We’ll be doing just that in a few days…geez, I better get back to work…

Wharf Company  -  24 x 38

Wharf Company

I knew this was going to be a long stretch at the easel.

I started a new detective series.
12 plus hours of audible per book.
20 books.

Then I switched back to my favorite author, Laurie R. King,and reread most of her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series
in advance of listening to the newest addition.

Looking back at it now,
I can hear the Scottish brogues of both narrators.
The perfect soundtrack to this stormy wind blown sea.
And, for one more note of synesthesia…
I give you…
Holmes Hole.

In the “Confessions of the Artist” department…
I borrowed the crow from another composition
which I am working on, that features the great big tug boats
anchored over by the gas station.
And I moved the pallet of chains a bit to the right…
boy were they heavy.

But everything else is completely honest and authentic…
right down to the tiny light on top of the pole on the ferry.


Breakfast with the birds

I’m munching on my own breakfast of granola, and berries picked from the garden, as I write. It’s Uncle Barney’s birthday, so I added some flax seed in his honor. Go Barn. There’s a lot more of everything to do today, so I’m getting a jump on the blog post. If we cross two more off today that will leave five.

I give you…

Breakfast with Nancy Luce  -  24 x 20

Breakfast With Nancy Luce

Gallery owner cum muse.

I had this painting in mind from the beginning
but somehow it got saved until the end.

So, it had a lot of time to percolate
on the back burner of the creative mind.

Which was fortunate because
the first scarf was red and I really like that vintage blue check.

The wooden chickens were originally supposed to be feathersbefore the box of my father’s remnants arrived.

The eggs were always going to be Homer’s
but he added a few more colors to the coop for the spring layers.

And then there was Mr. Morse.

I had been texting him images of the paintings as they were finished.
It’s always nice to get feedback, and in the early stages, my fragile ego
can only handle positive comments, which…he knows and respects.

But, when he saw that I was working on this homage to Nancy Luce
he told me he had just purchased one of her original pamphlets of poetry.

I had him send me a photo and just like that…
the piece came together.

It’s a wonderful life.

Scare Crow  -  12 x 29

Scare Crow

You should have seen Pat modeling for this.

I dressed her in my plaid shirt
found just the left glove so that decided which hand to hold up
the straw was…everywhere…from my straw bale garden
that pitchfork is the one we bought back from cousin Eddie’s estate sale
and the crow…flew in just for a guest appearance

My model fees vary

I got away easy with the crow
she needed the straw
and was satisfied with the handful from the sleeve

Herself…
well let’s just say
she doesn’t work for peanuts.


Katama bound…

Katama Flyway  -  24 x 48

Katama Flyway

This is a lonely outpost
in the last of October’s light.

The warmer cerulean hue
which promises cold and snow
is just beginning to change
out there on the horizon.

They know
those geese.
And they are calling…

As Mary Oliver wrote,

“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

Wings of Katama  -  12 x 18

Wings of Katama

It was cold.
We were on our way home.
We had just buried Ted.

And he was free
to soar.

 

 


Edgartown… the glory and the guts

Took me all day but here are three from the town of Edgar…

Lite Wash

Lite Wash  -  16 x 20

A view from choir loft in the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.
On window washing day.

It’s been on the books, so to speak,
the sketchbooks that is,
for a few years.

Some are like that.
You sketch out a composition,
think it’s all set and it goes on the list
of paintings for a given year’s worth of shows.

Then time, or energy, or a divergent theme,
bump that idea down the ladder.

It happens that way.
Then something,
or someone,
comes along and there’s a spark.

So, I was sitting at the big table in the gallery
talking to Chris and Adam one day
and they mentioned something about the Old Whaling Church.
I said, you know, I had this idea for a painting…
but I’m not sure…

They both said, “we’d love to see that”. That was all I needed.
I have done a few from the outside and a couple from within,
but this painting allows for both perspectives,
and then some.

I had worked on it for several days before Herself actually took her first look.
She did what you probably did,
kinda tilted her head…then the other way…
then back. I waited. Then she got it.
“Oh, I remember that day. I was worried about your knees after we climbed up there.”

See, that’s what I’m talking about.
It takes a village.

The Yachtsman

The Yachtsman  -  12 x 19

In all it’s newly shingled glory,
The Edgartown Yacht Club.
I love the simple E.Y.C. over the office door.

As someone who is not a member,
and has only appreciated the landmark
for it’s exterior,
I wanted to edit it down to the iconic elements.

New England cedar,
shiny copper weathervane,
flag snapping to attention,
masts at the ready,
the yachtsman scanning the horizon…
and the lantern softly glowing to guide his way home.

The Gutting

The Gutting  -  24 x 36

Ah there’s always a dark side.

In The Yachtsman, you have a sunny, blue skied, fair weather kind of a day.

Here, the clouds thicken.

The air was heavy and it was deep into the beyond of the shoulder season,
Out in the gun metal grey waters of the harbor,
only the heartiest of working vessels were moored.

The wind was kicking up,
and we had just come from the Newes,
with bellies full of chowder and a pint or two of October ale,
and I thought I could hear a steady tapping…
just there coming around the corner behind us…
like the wooden peg of a leg,
tap tap tapping on the weathered cobbled stone.

I reached over, pulled up the collar of Herself’s Pea Coat ,
and snuggled closer for the warmth,
and we made our way down to the dockside.
‘Twas then I heard the screaming.
Ghastly wales, a staccato of screeching,
and a frenzy of feathers seemed to come at us from all directions.
The water churned and the sky was a roiling mass of gulls.
Through the miasma of wings I could see a figure.
A lone fisherman was tearing out the guts of his supper.

It seemed as if all of the island flock was massing, and thrashing,
to win the foul spoils of his long cold day at sea.
The gruesome sight was more than I could bear,
and my chowder began to repeat.

Just before I managed to steer us away,
in the midst of the carnage and chaos,
I caught a glimmer of light.

Perched on top of the blood red piling,
with a gaping maw of frothing yellow beak,
a white throated gull threw back her head
and just
shudderingly
and stunningly…
laughed.

The fisherman turned his head…
And I will swear that I saw…
a silvery, slithery, black eye patch.

 


Overhead

Today’s two are silhouetted against that vast vineyard sky…

Trident  – 20 x 24

Trident

These Osprey kept a close eye on our friends Pete and Della.

They were neighbors.
That’s what neighbors do.
I got the chance to sit on their porch,
Pete and Della’s porch,
and study the nest for a bit in the summer
and a bit more in the fall.

It wasn’t til I got back to my Pennsylvania studio,
and studied the photographs I took,that I saw the trident.

That stalwart symbol of the sea.
I was faithful in the rendering of every branch and twig
which generations of this family labored to weave,
and, as the days of painting went along,
I came up with lots of stories about
who was celebrating what
with that blue and white ribbon.

Pete’s not around to tell,
and Della can keep a secret,
but that middle bird,
don’t you just think,
with those googly eyes..

she’ll be the one to tell all.

Marsh Watcher  -  24 x 20

Marsh Watcher

On the other side of the Darling’s house is a great expanse of marshy wetlands.

The osprey have permission to do flybys
but this guy is the sheriff.
He’s the one who “gives” the permission.

Human and reptile,
grapevine and vole,
We are all being watched.