Sisters and the Muse

This falls under Ted’s favorite category of “sorta fun”.

A while back, one of my master muses, John O’Hern, sent a query asking about the painting Sisters. He was writing an article about florals, and botanicals, and Albrecht Durer, and naturally…thought of moi. (She wrote with a grin)

The article came out in this month’s American Art Collector Magazine, which Pat brought in from the mailbox last night.

As I read through and found it today, I see that an image of Sisters did not make the editorial cut. I can see why as the others make a wonderful bouquet of floral still lifes, and my little garden painting is of the more humble vegetable variety.

But, here’s the fun part.
What John wrote about the painting Sisters is…in his most inimitably magical way…delightful.

And I quote,
“Heather Neill observes a helpful symbiotic relationship in her own garden between her tomato plants and a volunteer scarlet runner bean that self-seeded the year before. Sisters refers to the ancient practice of “sistering” or “growing companion plants to, in this case, literally, support one another”, she explains. “Native Americans would plant corn to support the beans, which would shade lower growing lettuces…all in the same patch.”

The subjects are shown after dusk plucked out of the dark by a porch light. Neill’s saturated color and hyperreal painting along with the dramatic light suggest a more sinister role for the vine when the light is extinguised.”

Only John would imagine such sinister designs, plucked after dusk by a porch light.

Brilliant, and ta.


Today’s goal…

to spend at least 30% of the day in an upright position.

Which would triple the output of the last eleven days, wherein I crawled from daybed to nightbed, dragging boxes of tissues, bottles of medicine, and an increasingly bored bernese mt. dog.

Mood-Swing

I have managed the first 18% of that goal by throwing the contents of the kitchen and garden into a large pot, now simmering away with chicken soup. With a few breaks in between to sip some hot tea and cough up a lung, I am upright, sitting in the office chair,  but basically upright, and catching up on the business that piled up while we were away in IRELAND !!!

The fairies were with us all the way, and they turned out to be the only two weeks since late July that I have been free of the plague. Brilliant !

I think the muses have grounded me upon my return so that I could linger in a foggy state and simply drift back to our time there and cement the whirlwind of images and experiences. It exceeded every single expectation, from the traveling companions, to the glorious weather that followed us, to the historical touchstones and meaningful connections, and on and on and on to the landscape and the people.

Here’s one of our favorites, An of Inis Oirr.

inis-oirr-an
We spent a day on that smallest of the Aran Islands, with a bumpy wagon tour,a pint in the pub, a talk with Masie and Thomas, and Herself threw off her shoes and walked in the ocean.
An, or Anya (I’m sure that spelling is not right)  was the owner, waitress, chef at the little cafe at the top of the hill, just below the castle ruins. She fed us marvelous chowder and hot chocolate and smiled and laughed the afternoon away. Apparently Pat has wrangled a room in her B & B in exchange for light housework.

One of the bucket list items I got to cross off was buying a Bodhran, the Irish drum used in acoustic sessions, and it has just arrived here in grand shape from the little shop in Dingle. I did a bit of googling, and discovered that there is an annual Bodhran festival right there on the tiny island of Inis Oirr.

Check it out…http://www.craiceann.com/

Already signed up to the mailing list. Bit of practice to do before I’m worthy of that group but we may take An up on her offer.

Be assured that this trip was a creative game changer and I’ll be sharing thoughts and images as they begin to move from the suitcase to the easel, but I am approaching that 30% threshold and I’ve got some paperwork to finish before this thing sits me back down.

Yours in tissues and dreams, H


Now… available on a screen near you…

big poster72

The movie is HERE…

Oh what a night it was. The house was packed, as they say, with eager friendly faces who came for the premiere and to support all of us who were captured by the magic of David and Barbarella’s brilliance.

movie night

Herself and I were blown away. They did such an amazing job.
Our fifteen minutes of fame stretched a bit further, on into the weekend, where we had a super opening at the Granary Gallery.

There is much more to write and share, but along with the swollen ego that filled the car on the way home…I picked up some swollen glands…and the muses have sat me down firmly in order to heal this viral plague so I can get back to those brushes and fill up some of the empty wall spaces !

So, I’m going to sip on my chicken soup and dream back on all the glamor and love surrounding the week on MV.

Meanwhile….it’s your turn.

All you who were unable to make the premiere, and all of those who left the theater wanting to watch it all over again, and again…you can now just click on the link above and be magically transported to The Artist Odyssey website…grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch this movie on the screen of your choosing.

All manner of good things, and summer love, to you all…


All my bags are packed…

Oversouth Willow

I’m ready to go…

with a HUGE thanks to Alex for his help this morning,
and all summer,
the trailer is now packed with
the paintings for the Granary Show !

We head out before his Ma’s crows get wind of
tomorrow’s sunrise.

First stop, The Follansbees,
where we will get to see his new workshop
and enjoy some time with the family.

Then a hop skip and a jump over to Wood’s Hole
and all aboard we get on the ferry
to the little island of Martha’s Vineyard.

I want to thank you all for the many kinds words
of support and encouragement in response to
this year’s body of work.

I can’t tell you enough
what a difference it makes.

When our heads can fit back into the studio door,
I’ll check back in and let you know how the movie premere
went, and how goes the show.

Meanwhile,
you all stay frosty out there
and be safe.

Yours in heat exhaustion
and just a touch of butterflies.
H


Final Stretch

7th Inning Stretch

This is almost what my studio kitchen looks like today…

Add a kitchen table, stacks of art books and magazines,
two baskets of laundry, another row of teacup shelves,
a different iron, and a large bernese mt dog at my feet…

and you would be welcome to come join us
as we head into the final stages of preparing
to leave for the Granary Gallery show !

I left the ironing ’til last.
Despite my predilection for sweats and smocks,I do try to make an effort to look respectable
when I leave the studio and venture out into the real world.

And, while this heat dome is determined to hover over the east coast,
I am determined to let linen
keep what little air movement there may be…flowing.I’m halfway through the ironing.
For the last two hours, Finnegan has been laying in front of the air vent.

I needed a break, so I’m writing to say hey,
stay frosty out there my friends,
and island breezes…here we come !


the budding young artiste

So, you who fall under Stephen King’s classification of “constant readers”, will remember that the team Fokos, ( husband and wife team of creative artists, writers, photographers, emmy award winners,etc.), and executive producers of TAO…The Artist Odyessy  have been working on an episode featuring…yours truly.

They are now in the production/editing phase and sent along a request for some background images, stuff from the archives, waaaaay back when the dream of being a full time artist was taking shape.

Those archives are slim but I did find a few pictures and boy do the belly laughs when viewing make up for the sparsity. Thought I’d share a few here, in a generosity of humor.

crayons

The personalized label is funny, since my stealthy younger brothers certainly couldn’t read back then.

first painting

This one I remember, but the realistic doctor kit, stage left, was what I remember most fondly from that birthday.

budding young artist on location

Oh the hair…think I need to put this one up on my refrigerator now.

the model

From a summer program at Cornell while in high school. For all you tender readers, I blurred the tender bits. Funny because what I remember most about this pic is how much I loved that shirt.

In the interview that Barb and David did here in the studio, we talked about how my college days were awash in… black and white. I found an etching whose subject matter somehow percolated through the decades and carried over as an echo into a painting from 2009…dipping into a few teacups full of color along the way…

egg etching

the-night-crew72

And I’ll leave you with one of my very favorite snaps of Herself, and myself, photographed by Beth Larson Willoughby, back in my chairmaking days, when I had a small show at the Smithsonian gift shop in DC. We sat and shared a bottle of champers across from the White House. Very chic, and oh so young…

PH 92

Team Fokos tells me that Pat will be a main feature in their film, and that makes happy because she is the ENTIRE feature in my life.

We have just come through one of those rougher patches, after years of caring intensely for aging loved ones, where it feels like a twister has reached down into the core of your world, this one was a cat 5. Though most days we just held on tight and surrendered to Dorothy, we made it through together, in tact, in deeper love, and as we take the first tentative steps out of that storm shelter, look around and see the house still standing, it feels so good just to turn in the sunlight and see that smile back on her face.

 


Noli timere

Lite Wash

In the early hours of tuesday morning, Pat’s Aunt Mary took her last breath and left this planet. Pat was sleeping fitfully, curled under an afghan on the floor beside her bed. Having been by her side, and on their sides, and on their behalf, for decades, there is so much more relief than sadness, and gratitude, finally, for their peace.

So, in a couple days we will sit in one more pew, among the others who celebrate the long lives of two kind souls, and all the ways in which we worried for them…will be washed away by the light.


A new year…

Looking out of the studio window on this, the first day of the new year, I am eager to let the last five months of challenging emotional detours fade into the history books…carrying the lessons forward that sustained us in the deep waters,  the rock solid humor that kept us sane, and the love that is at the core of our precious little family of three.

The work begins anew today and the muses are tingling with anticipation.

It’s time for the annual editing of the ideas. Pouring through the stacks of sketchbooks, the mountains of photo references, compiling all the notes and phrases and scribbled phrases that have been gathering in the corners of the studio…and my mind…for the last year, and putting them in some manner of order. Then teasing out the concepts and titles and compositions which scream the loudest to have their turn on the easel.

Acutely aware of time, and the energy that is required to push the boundaries further for each new painting, I can here Polly’s voice over my shoulder, telling me to “Shake yourself together”. She’s right. All the pressure I’m stressing out over, to chose the right images, to meet gallery expectations, to take on the harder subjects, to bring the work to a new level, and to clear away enough of the outside world to find that focus which is essential to make a space for the magic to happen… I do know better.

It just simply won’t happen unless I get out of my own way. Let all those “shoulds” go. Pull up what you can of the drawbridge. Bite the head off a tiny chocolate santa and dig in…

So today, I cast the net. A wide arc of review, in which the first wave of ideas, old and new, will be gathered into a new listing. There are no limits to the criteria… I’ve always wanted to work on that…I think I might be ready for this one now…I can’t wait to try my hand at that subject…oh yeah, I forgot about that light…on that boat…and look who wandered into that photo shoot…I still love that title…and this one makes me smile.

Time will do the weeding. For now, make the list. There are always one or two ideas that rise quickly to the top. Usually it’s something fun and light that practically paints itself. Just get the brushes flying and the muses will smooth out the rough patches.

What I need is a nice long walk on the beach…with my girls.

pf1 pf2 pf3 pf4 pf5


A Meinelt Christmas

Ted-polly-meinelt.jpg

I just read a wonderful article by Lindsey Lee, oral history curator on Martha’s Vineyard, who, along with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, is putting together a show based on Ted and Polly Meinelt and their annual Christmas displays.

Readers here will know how deeply Ted and Polly touched our lives, and we got to see a few of their holiday trimmings in person over the years. This article brings to life their unique creativity and cherished love of art and people and the Vineyard.

Clicking on the picture below, one of Ted’s famous holiday cards, will take you to the article on MVTimes web page.

teds goose

A great big thank you to Lindsey for her dedication to telling Islander stories,
and for putting a smile back in my heart on this, as Ted would call it…

Dull winter day.