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.

 


Noli Timere

Noli Timere cx

Be not afraid.

I called her Scout.

Because, I knew I was going to be spending
a lot of intimate hours with this sheep
and she needed a name.

Because, on the day I started this painting,
the news came across the airwaves
that Harper Lee had died.

And because I wanted to be just like
Atticus’ curious, strong,
loyal and fiercely brave
daughter Scout.

It was late in February
when I began this painting.
We were deep into a very rough winter
of care-giving and hospice nursing
for Pat’s elderly aunt and uncle.

His death in November
left a wife of 72 years to grieve
through the cobwebs of Alzheimers.

Two days after I began this painting,
Aunt Mary died, in the dark hours
between dusk and dawn,
while Pat slept
on the floor beside her bed.

The afternoon before,
out of a deep state of rest,
Mary sat up in bed and cried,
Pat, help me, I’m so afraid.

Taking her hand Pat comforted Mary
with the words that her room was full of angels,
and all of them were there to take her to Bob.

Pat’s art is her compassion.
She was born to be a hospice nurse.
It is hard, meaningful work,
that only someone strong,
and fiercely brave can do.

Her courage runs fathoms deep.

The grief that followed Mary’s death,
was interrupted by waves of peace.

In the wake of that chapter in our lives,
I was drawn into a profound intensity of focus,
as I tried to shine some light on the emotions
that were trying their best to hide.

Scout and I spent those weeks together,
weaving our way through her pasture of grasses,
and catching the sunset in the fibers of her fleece.

I had been listening to Louis Penny’s wonderful
Three Pines Mystery series, and was so happy to be
among the old friends her characters have become.
They are real, and honest, loyal and brave.
Spiked with just enough wit and humor to keep my pencils sharp.

At some point,
most likely when I was struggling with
refracting the rainbow of light
through one of those four hundred million locks,
I caught a new word, and paused the book
to go back and listen again.

She was describing the words that Seamus Heaney
had written to his wife, on his deathbed…

Noli Timere

I put down the brushes.
Scout smiled.

As I am writing this now,
in this troubled world,
with so much to fear,
I am sitting next to Scout,
framed in her quiet island pasture,
searching my soul
for the courage… to listen.


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.

 


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.


Vernissage 2 …

My first solo show, way back in 2001, was titled, Vernissage.

Wiki defines it thusly…A vernissage (varnishing, from French) is a term used for a preview of an art exhibition, which may be private, before the formal opening.Guests may be served canapés and wine as they discuss with artists and others the works in the exhibition.

Right about now I’d love to serve you up some canapes and wine but, since we are here in cyberspace, this will be a Virtual Vernissage.

You are cordially invited to preview the new paintings which will be exhibited two weeks from tonight at the Granary Gallery !

This year I am going to launch the new work in groups.

As I sat last winter, with sketchbook in hand and snowflakes flying outside the studio, and began to pare down the list of compositions, some distinct and new series began to take shape. Try as I might to fit them all under the umbrella of one theme, they pushed back and up and out and I gave up worrying about it and just kept painting.
What emerged after several months of work were a few smaller grouped ideas with the occasional common thread. I’m not sure if anyone but me will see those threads, but I’ll point them out along the way.

We start, yes, at the beginning.
The first three paintings I did were studies of barns, and wood, animals and earth.
So…from the ground up…here we go

Stable Light  –  24 x 30

Stable Light

Click on this logo below each painting to read their Painter’s Notes – 

notesLink

The Hay Whisperers  –  24 x 36

The Hay Whisperer

notesLink

Angle of Repose  –  60 x 40

Angle of Repose

notesLink

Time now for a bit of my own repose…
tomorrow the journey continues…


The Article

Heather Neill.indd

John O’Hern has kindly sent me a PDF file of his article which can be opened and read by clicking on the highlighted name/link  below…

HeatherNeill Click HERE

Here’s to kindness
and the summer solstice
oceans waving
loafers leaning
and winding pathways to the beach


Captain my captain…

the captains 72

How, on this first day of spring,
I would love to be there again…
a step or two behind on the path
just out of earshot,
though I suspect there were few words to overhear,
and light years away from their memories…
but there, at least, to offer a wing, and a grin,
and to listen to these two old crones
telling their tales
to the sea.

Ted and Pete,

Against the odds,
they both weathered this winter
but neither is here today to welcome the spring.

Or, maybe I’m wrong about that.
Think I’ll grab my hat
and my stick
and strut the old pegs
and see what they have left along the trail
to brighten my sad eyes.

Pete Darling
March 19, 2014

 

 

 


Tiasquin Orchard Newsflash…

Debbie reports that early Macintosh Apples are for sale today at the orchard…State Road, Martha’s Vineyard.

Tiasquin Orchard

This is exciting news since last year there was almost no apple crop due to early spring weather. I sure wish we could stop over and pick a few, they’re some of the best flavors on the island. The orchard is just a stone’s throw down the lane from where the Obama family will be staying this week and they are due to arrive this afternoon. Might want to leave a basket by the road for the secret service Debbie !

Windfall

I just got off the phone with Ted, who modeled for this series of paintings a few years back, and he reports that the Chilmark Road Race runners had perfect weather for the annual run up Middle Road. This month is the busiest on the island and, though I often wish we could be there to share in the fun…I’m quite happy to be home enjoying some “quiet” summertime days.

All This and More

Here in the Pennsylvania studio I am catching up on chores and getting ready for another Follansbee drive by as he heads south to lead a workshop at Drew and Louise Langsner’s Country Workshops. You will know him by the spoon shavings that appear in his wake…and the ones that gather shortly thereafter under my sky chair.

Some new work is…in the works… and I’ll give you a sneak peak next time. Til then, take a big bite out of what’s left of the summer and say hi to the Magnuson’s for me if you stop by for some of their Macs !

 

 

 


The Caretaker

Today we leave the Chilmark store and continue up island…past the long lines of devoted fans waiting in line at Chilmark Chocolates, down the hill and over the little bridge that was washed away by Great Hurricane of 1938, slow down when you reach the Quitsa Pound, and just after the dog leg you hang a left onto Greenhouse Lane.

Now this is not a public road, just a sandy old chisled up vineyard kind of a lane that has been used gently for centuries. For the last three decades it has led me to the closest thing I have ever known to home. Camp Sunrise, in all it’s humble glory, sits on the edge of the bluff overlooking the dramatic vista of the Atlantic Ocean. And sadly, that sentence is soon to become past tense.

Much of the island’s south shore has been devoured by the recent series of intense storms leaving unprecedented erosion. A handful of vintage buildings which, for the last few years now, have been tenuously clinging to the craggy edge of the planet…are losing their grip.

So the beloved old chicken coop of a cottage must be torn down. I can hardly bear to write that sentence. So many years of magnificent memories there. A new house has been designed for the meadow behind the marsh and it promises to retain the “character” of the old place. I will get over myself and summon up excitement to see it.

And I have a few more compositions from the old place which I haven’t yet painted, and which need to be painted to tell its story. And now, there will be new chapters as well as new vistas…

It seems fitting then, that this painting got finished this year…

The Caretaker – 18″ x 24″

The Caretaker

It has come to pass.

For the second time in my lifetime,

the bluff on which this tiny house sits

has been carved away by the elements.

The spirits have reclaimed the sands

and stopped just short of its fragile wooden front porch.

It was easier to take the first time.

We were younger

and there were more of us

to remember how the pieces fit back together.

Now its time for the next generation to take care.

We older ones

the veterans of the storms

we’ll tend to the ashes

and kindle our memories

And lean gracefully into the wind.