Painter’s Notes

I’ve spent this stormy day working on the Painter’s Notes for the new paintings.
If you are of a mind to spend some time away from the news of the ongoing apocalypse,
and would welcome some detours down the pathways of this artist’s musings,
follow this sign…

On my website…http://heatherneill.com/
Under the menu tab…Portfolio
You will find, sorted by year,
all the paintings I’ve ever done.

As I have been loading the new works onto the website,
Small thumbnails appear when you open the window for 2017…
http://heatherneill.com/portfolio/year/2017/

When you click on a thumbnail there,
you open up the larger format image for each painting.

There you will find info like size, and which gallery it is currently exhibiting the work.
Down there, at the bottom of each of those pages, is that quill and teacup logo at the bottom left.

When you click on that…POOF !
It takes you to the Painter’s Notes.

I started writing them when I had my first solo show back in 2001.
I had been a chairmaker for a decade or more,
so I could make money,
so I could paint.
That was a whole lot of work,
and scads more fun,
but a creative reality check.

Turns out, 16 years later,
it was a better bet to try this painting gig out,
so I could carve spoons in my free time.

At that first show I wrote some journal like notes with each painting to help my chairmaking patrons understand that I was putting the handtools down and picking up brushes.

These notes have become an integral part of the painting process for the patrons who took that leap with me, and I offer them for anyone who might be curious about where my mind was wandering when I was at the easel.

We’ve got some new people checking in, hi there,
so I thought a review was in order.
For you well-seasoned followers…
this is just to send a nod and a wink,
and all the thanks in the world.

I’ve written the PNotes for all the new paintings I’ve launched so far.

Tomorrow I begin to document the last six of the new works.
They are the beginning of a substantial body of work that has taken me full circle,
back to the core of my artistic soul,
from the very first brush strokes,
and all the halting stages of creative adventures in between,
to the cascading circles of how I’ve gotten to here…
to the painter, who walks into the studio each day,
wondering what does it mean to be a mature artist.

Who picks up the brushes,
with aging hands,
and trusts that the muses have her back.

Stay tuned.

 


Visions revisited…

Last year at this time,
I was polishing up the tiara,
and mirror ball,
for the opening of …

Since then, the dynamic creative production duo of David and Barbarella Fokos,
aka Salt and Sugar Productions
have been dividing their time between studio work, filming and editing of new productions for TAO, The Artist’s Odyssey (check out their updated website),
oh…AND enjoying awards ceremonies at International Film Festivals.

Indeed, news that Visions of Home
was an official selection of NOVA Fest — the Northern Virginia International Film & Music Festival (http://www.novafilmfest.com), came across the airwaves back in March.

Then comes news this week, that TWO of their films will be included in the
Oceanside International Film Festival 2017, next month !!!

Yep, that’s me at the easel again…still painting that blue door !

So, as I am in final production for my next show, at the Granary Gallery in only a couple weeks, I have been given the opportunity to provide my readers and viewers with a special chance to see the movie, Visions of Home, in all it’s seaside glory, here from my website.

For anyone who might have missed it the first go round,
or who may be new to this site because they saw it at some film festival without knowing beforehand who that old woman with the paint all over her shirt was,
and for the rest of you who just simply cannot get enough of watching paint dry,
and do not let me overlook Finnegan’s fan base…

Anyway, David has made a lovely page dedicated to the movie where you can see the trailer and watch the full film and get some backstory, with the wonderful blog post that Barbarella wrote about last years’ debut screening and some of the process behind their process, which alone is worth the read…and he’s included the article which The Vineyard Gazette published around the time of the opening in which they interviewed Barb and David about the making of the film.

So grab a bowl of popcorn,
pull up your lawn chair by the kiddie pool,
put a straw in some cool beverage,
set your favorite viewing device to this link…

Visions of Home

and Herself and I will welcome you into our lives…
and our hearts.

 


7 Years Young

Have to take a break from rolling out the new paintings…to wish this amazing young human a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Zoe turns 7 today !!!

She has been exploring her creativity as student, model and muse in her 7 years of visits to the studio, and her independence, gregariousness, and focused curiosity have left their mark on this artist/grandmother.

Here are a few other Zoe inspired paintings…she’ll be here in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see what she’s got up her sleeve next.

Happy Birthday Zoe.


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.