Sankaty Sails

After a loooooonnnng day of firing up the old framing muscles,
and after an arduous winter, lifting tiny brushes,
and bowing to hard driving muses,
it is sooooooooo nice to look at this painting,
the ferry docks at Wood’s Hole,
and know that in just a little over one week,
we will be right there.

With a car full
of freshly framed oil paintings,
two tired but happy old women,
on board a great iron vessel,
steaming for home.

I never tire of that 45 minute trip.
Even the passages which I have spent deep in the bowels,
catching a few last zzzzz’s on the 7am boat,
before the long drive back to Pennsylvania,
or the one’s where I chose to shelter
from the raging winter storms,
and look out over the freight boat’s rail,
while knitting those fisherman’s patterns,
in the warm and cozy cab of the truck.

For those, and all those other trips,
when the summer sun was shining,
or the October fog blanketed the sound,
when the passengers played with the following gulls,
and the benches left our shorts wet from the waves,
and my camera caught
just the right raking light
on a rigging of canvas sail
that was carrying some other sailor
home from the sea…

I owe all of that magic,
all of those memories,
all that the vineyard has become in our lives,
to that very first voyage,
can it be so close to 40 years ago…
with my friend Lynn.

Sail on silver girl.


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.

 


Granary Gallery 2016

There you are…

Fifteen paintings to mark the fifteenth year of showing at the Granary Gallery.

Our wildly good fortune has evolved into enduring friendships and unwavering support.

Herself and I are grateful every single day that Chris Morse agreed to hang my paintings on the wall of his Red Barn. For the last fifteen years, he, his wife Sheila, their entire family, the extraordinary staff of the gallery, and the generous patrons and supporters on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, have made it possible for me to wake up every day and go to my studio and …paint.

I am one lucky artist, and I do not take one single minute of the last fifteen years at my easel for granted. With just a bit more of that luck, and all the energy I can muster, we will have many more years of collaboration, and friendship, together.

Thank you all.


In Our Wake

osprey

We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

Stripped bare of its family…

of all their resting,
reading, playing,
love making,
place holders…

with every thread
of their living here
hauled away…

and her shelves
and floorboards
gently
swept…

where wildflower,
and wildlife,
are set to reclaim…

here,
in our wake,
in the light of her last sunset…

after all those days
of our exploration…

what I know of this place…
is that it was home.


The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rugged Cross

Nothing,
for me,
so captures the soul of Camp Sunrise,
as this garage door.

For over a century
it has swung open
to let in the ocean breezes,
and, when those winds
took a turn for the worse,
she shuttered up tight
and kept the storms at bay.

But really,
it’s all about the paint.
I often felt
that the paint itself,
hundreds of layers thick,
and dried to a deep crust,
was all that was holding those
doors together.

That,
and the stick of cedar
that we used to keep
closed the hasp.

They were able to save this building,
and the doors,
but she will never reflect
this same view again.

None of us will.


A Sense of Place

gull

One of the things I found on this bluff was a sense of place.

During my early childhood we moved every two years or less.
From state to state, and coast to coast.
But I began my life on an island, Oahu.
On the other side of the planet.

It could only be a cosmic coincidence,
since I was barely 2 when we left Hawaii,
and lots of people describe the experience,
but maybe there is something on a cellular level
about an island,
that feels like coming home.

On a deeply emotional level,
this house, this land,
this ocean-side slice of the planet,
the friendship that first offered it,
the new ones that blossomed here,
the family that shared summer breezes,
and quiet moments of solitude,
the hours of creative inspiration,
and the deep inhalation of peace…

they have all been woven
into a marvelous tapestry of memories,
that echo through my soul
each and every day of my life.

When I walked through these empty rooms
for the final time,
with the house slated for demolition,
those memories washed over me
like a rogue wave.

Tumbling with the roiling tide,
amidst the laughter and song…
my heart thudded against remembered losses.

Loved ones whose hands we held
when the camp welcomed a sunrise…
and had to let go of too soon,
so they could walk into their sunset.

Saying goodbye to those friends,
again,
I was drawn into a melancholy
that stayed with me for most of
the winter months.

At home, in the studio,
I had planned to work on a series of paintings
from the camp.
A sort of final chapter with some favorite views,
and unexplored corners.
A way to lift me up and back to the happier times.

Then someone sent me a photo,
taken from Squibnocket beach,
looking back up at the bluff,
and when I saw the empty horizon,
I lost it.

In a paraphrasing of C.S. Lewis,
who was “Surprised by Joy”,
I was taken aback by the sense of loss.

I put aside the sketchbook of ideas
for the camp series,
and threw my energies into other compositions.

The hours I spent
painstakingly refracting the light,
of a Chilmark sunset,
through a larger than life woolen fleece,
and the challenges of making
the varnished and weathered
old wooden horses fly…
seemed to provide a cathartic
and creative release.

When the spring light started to thaw
the world outside the studio,
I was ready to revisit Camp Sunrise within.

And what I saw,
in the reference photos and sketches,
and in my heart,
renewed and refreshed
and waiting there all along,
was…the light.

Yes, she, the house,
had made old bones.
And yes, I absolutely love the patina
of that century of lives that marks her walls and floors,
and cherish having added my DNA  into the mix,
but take all those touchstones away,
and you are left with what was always there
surrounding us and holding us…
the island light.

So, that is what I painted.
The bare bones
of a sanctuary,
as we let go of her hand,
and she welcomed a new day.

 


It was my Favorite

this was my favorite

I always dreamed of being able to see the ocean
from this kitchen window,
while the bacon sizzled.
The last summer we gathered on the bluff,
this was the view.

I will remember this tiny galley space,
full of friends,
grabbing for pots and pans,
reaching behind the dish-washer,
who was sudsing away at the old porcelain sink…
criss-crossing some other arm,
in search of a knife for the cheese plate…
and the two of us who were wrangling the lid
on the about-to-boil lobster pot,
which took up three of the four burners on the little stove,
leaning to one side,
as the screen door came banging in,
and one or other of the urchins came flying by,
after being told to fetch the bug spray
for those who were re-applying after showers
and a day at the beach.

If you were standing in that kitchen,
looking out this window,
and turned to your right,
you would be enlisted as the “passer”.

The sliding window,
opened to the sun porch,
was the pass through for the ones
who were charged with setting the table,and relaying drink orders,
and hurrying the cooks along
as the hungry beach stragglers,
who had done the breakfast service,
were seated at the long blue benches.

So many meals,
so much laughter,
some dancing,
and not a few kisses,
we just simply lived love
in that space.

When first I visited this camp,
on the bluff,
at the edge of the world,
there were six.

The most perfectly weighted,
richly glazed,
smoothly worn,
ceramic mugs.

They aged with us,
but even with a crack or chip or two,
I could happily lose myself
in that deep marine indigo cave.

At the end
there was one
alone to remember,

with the patina
of all those morning hands…

the whispers of our days
lived by the sea.

 


A Sign

A Sign

Last October,
on a perfect New England Autumn day,
was the last time I saw the house,
perched on the edge of the planet,
in all her grace and glory,
before they demolished it.

We all knew it was coming.
The time when nature’s pounding would erode the bluff,
wearing away at the land,
until there was no where else for the houses to rest.

When I pulled the wobbly screen door open
and stepped into empty space it froze my soul.
The house had been emptied of all its touchstones.

All that remained,
perhaps all that would truly chronicle the human presence within,
was the patina of marks on the walls, the floorboards and the ceiling.

This painting looks from the main room,
back through the tiny sleeping nook,
through just a razor thin edge of the window,
onto the sun porch,
where beyond, lies the view of Squibnocket Beach.

New nicks, and old, adorn the lintel,
from generations of foreheads which bumped that coop-like low beam,
where a hundred layers of yellow paint,
outlined the symbol of a duck…reminding us to.

All these objects, and a hundred more …
they have been the keeper of our memories.

The sunny days, the stormy nights,
we grew up in that house,
on the bluff,
as she grew old,
and, in her weathered-shingled way,
became…
the things we are made of.

 


Swan Song – An Abstract Chilmark Aria

Swan Song an abstract Chilmark aria

This is Skip.

One of this world’s truly authentic selves.

A person for whom the esthetics of beauty
is the fundamental element of existence.

Someone deeply connected to nature’s expressions,
who finds art and music and dance
vibrating between all living things,
and whose joyful spirit,
when unleashed,
can fill an island with song.

Over a year ago I asked Skip to model for me.
I had some ideas.
Skip had other ideas.

We met and shared some croissants and coffee,
listened to each others’ stories,
talked about art, and Findhorn, and philosophy,
and listened some more.

Then we set out to seek the muses.
Skip pointed me down up-island roads that were hidden from maps,
we stopped for stone walls,
and wildlife,
wildflowers,
and whispers.

There were stories behind every corner,
pebbles on the road, on Skips’ journey,
and a few on mine, and new ones we were creating together.

Skip is a painter.
And one of the things we talked about was
including one of those paintings …in my painting.
We brought it along, and let the muses decide.

We ended up at the bluff, Camp Sunrise.
A melding of sacred spaces.
The morning sun had risen to clear October skies,
and the meadow was just waking up to the light.

This is the part where I get emotional.

Because the morning sessions I spent working with Skip
studying and working,
in that profoundly familiar space,
was the last time I saw the house,
perched on the edge of the planet,
in all her grace and glory,
before they demolished it.

We all knew it was coming.
The time when nature’s pounding would erode the bluff,
wearing away at the land,
until there was no where else for the houses to rest.

In my island time…
which began as the great gift of knowing Lynn Langmuir,
whose generous heart was deeper than the ocean,
and steadier than her beloved stone wall,
that very wall which wanders through this painting…
over the thirty plus years I have been coming to this bluff,
the chicken coop of a farm house,
had twice been moved back from that threatening edge.

It is hard to imagine,
in this painting,
that there is a 40 foot drop from bluff to beach,
just a mere five feet from the edge of her front porch.

And, still, this old Yankee stalwart ship-of-a-shack,
she stood proud,
holding her own,
and by that I mean generations of the Langmuir family,
and the many who were welcomed by them,
into the embrace of this enchanted space.

But the land…ran out.
And so, while the other, more modern structures
of garage and bunkhouse, were able to be moved
out back and beyond the wetlands,
to the farthest section of the parcel,
the bones of this old gal had been deemed too fragile for the move.

You couldn’t tell, from our distant vantage point,
that while Skip and I gamboled among the stones,
and communed with the muses,
the house had been emptied of all its touchstones.

The old wicker woven lounging chair was gone…
the daybeds stripped of their sleep-softened pillows,
kitchen shelves bare of the pastel colored fiesta ware,
paperback mysteries of Riggs and Craig,
no longer insulating the cubby-holed shelves.

Puzzles and kite string, checkers and cribbage…
amber eyed owls who lit up the hearth,
journals of writings from visiting friends,
with new chapters each year for us all to catch up.

New nicks, and old,
from bumps on the bedroom lintel,
where a hundred layers on the yellow painted symbol of a duck…reminding us to.

The tears in each sink from the iron and rust,
the old brown barn coat ever-hanging
on the white wooden hooks behind the green door.

All these objects, and a hundred more …
they have been the keeper of our memories.

The sunny days, the stormy nights,
we grew up in that house,
on the bluff,
as she grew old,
and, in her weathered-shingled way,
became…
the things we are made of.

This painting then,
for the house,
is her swan song.

Skip sings it for us all,
an aria as abstract
as the tapestry of souls
who have ducked to cross her threshold,
and sought refuge in her wings.

In thanks to dear Lynn…
Peace.


Granary Gallery Show

Swan Song an abstract Chilmark aria

It’s that time of year again and oh how those brushes have been flying !

The Granary Gallery Show is almost here…

The Opening is July 31, 5-7pm

I will be rolling out the new paintings here on the blog beginning next week, but the one featured above is a sneak peak at one of my favorites…

I’m calling this, Swan Song – An Abstract Chilmark Aria

I’ve gotten the approval of the dear diva herself, Skip Peterson, to show this now to the world. She modeled for me last October. Among her many talents and gifts, Skip is a painter, and among her many requests and suggestions for how I should capture her portrait, she thought it would be sorta fun to have an actual painting of hers in it.

Locating it some place in Chilmark was a must… as it is for her, like so many others, a treasured place held dearly in her soul…and when I took her to my sacred place, Camp Sunrise, she fell in love instantly.

We knew, when I painted this that the house was slated for demolition. And I had been meaning to capture it from this angle because the meadow in the foreground is where they were planning, and now have built, the new home. When, back in my mid-winter studio, I needed something to carry the energy of Skip’s song, I chose those wonderful swans which were soaring on their way to nearby Squibnocket pond.

But it wasn’t until a few months later, when someone sent me a photo of the empty horizon…when it became sadly real to me that the house was finally gone…that the title came to me.

It usually takes me a while to look back and see the workings of the muses.

With this painting, on so many levels, they have been leading me here for a lifetime.