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.

 


Celeste envies Ruth…

So, here’s the thing…

The way my brain scampers about these days,
I need to take notes.
Okay, I’m being generous with the “these days”,
I’ve always taken notes.
Journals full.

With scraps of paper and napkin corners
and dog-eared pages of old magazines,
I have jotted and doodled
hundreds and hundreds of ideas for paintings over the decades.

Sometimes just a few gestures,
often a phrase run across while reading,
or listening to music,
or watching a movie.

Two or three times a year,
I gather the sketchbooks and journals
and thumb-tacked notes,
and review.

So, there I was,
in review mode,
when I remembered that there were notes…
on my phone.

Been a long while since I was in a place without a pencil,
but there have been the odd times when I had to use my phone app to jot down an idea.
Some of those pencilless moments must have been in the middle of the night.

For the life of me, I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote…

Shackled and dilled
Walker
Jigsaw pieces
Exploding from the center
Tomatoes

Anway,
Two entries from the bottom was this sentence,

Celeste speaks well of Ruth but secretly envies her aprons

A perfect jewel,
which there is no way I thought of myself.
No reference, just that rarefied run-on of perfection.
I instantly ran to the teacups,
searched the studio for my two favorite aprons,
and got to work.

Here is where I must beg forbearance,
from whomever I am so shamelessly plagiarizing,
I thought enough of your playfully glorious words
to save them in my “Painting Ideas” folder,
though I have absolutely no idea where they first crossed my path.

The Muses made certain that the sentence stayed hidden
until the precise moment I was ready, or rather,
THEY knew I was ready.

So…
tag me for the steal,
and thank you from the bottom
of my Aunt Imy’s wedgewood,
and wait for it…
I may catch Celeste and Ruth
in some future,
dare I hope…compromising,
compositions.

 


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.

 


Betsy’s Gift

In honor of the 42nd anniversary of the opening of the movie Jaws…
I give you Betsy’s Gift.

These dear lads had spent a glorious afternoon fishing up and down the dock in Menemsha. I sat outside of Larsen’s eating my steamers and enjoyed their serious minded focus and the simple pleasures of the day.

At one point the blue shirted boy came running out of the back door with that blue bin
and brought it over for the others to inspect…”Look what Betsy gave me !”

The boys were excited and immediately set to work cutting up the bait fish.
If you had been there, I think you would have smiled along with me.

And then you could look to your left,
just there around the basin of fishing shacks,
no more than a hundred yards
from where these young fisherman are standing,
and…using your imagination,
and a healthy dose of nerves,
you could see where Steven Speilberg himself
directed, from the dock out back of the Galley,
lo those 42 years ago,
as they filmed that epic sea drama.

I’m heading home now,
the pizza has just arrived,
and it’s time for the annual viewing.

Yes, we are going to need a bigger boat.


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.


Ana of Inisoirr

At the top of the craggy hill,
inside of the stone walled gate,
is a small patch of Irish green,
a few wooden picnic tables,
with heavy stones in their centers
to keep the ever blowing wind
from sailing the menus up and across the burren
and out over the wild Atlantic sea,
and blue aproned Ana,
who serves the best fish chowder
Herself has ever tasted.


Tomas of Inisoirr

Ah, yer ever so kind…
such a warm and hearty response for Macy,
and I’m humbled, for my sins, by that.

This then, is Tomas.
He who lets Macy take the lead
as they welcome travelers to their tiniest of the Aran Islands.

This week, the annual Bodhran festival is taking place there.
On my bucket list, it is.
When they throw open the barn doors,
I’m certain Tomas and Macy
can hear all those drums a’ beating.

Brilliant.


The Granary Gallery Show

It’s been right there,
over my shoulder,
for lo these many seasons gone by…

I’ve kept my head down,
brushes flying,
and creative fires burning
all the days in between this and my last post.

And just like that…
the summer show at the Granary Gallery is HERE !!!!!

Sunday July 30 is the opening reception
I’ll be rolling out the new work on this blog and on Facebook and Instagram,
so I’ve got lots of fidgity computer work to fit in between the last few brushtrokes
over the dwindling weeks in the next month. Gulp.

I just wanted you to know I’m still here.
So,
to get us started…I give you…

Black Irish  – 32 x 48
This is Thomas’ horse Macy.
They both live on the island of Inisoirr, off the Wild Atlantic Coast of Ireland.

I’ll fill you in on their story,
and ours along the way, so stay tuned…
for now,
it’s back to the easel.


This just in from the rain forest…

a text..

from the jungle…

from Granary Gallery qwner Chris Morse…

“I thought your hat should cross a suspended bridge in the rain forest
today…in the shadow of the volcano Arenal in Costa Rica…cheers.”

That’s sorta fun…and thoughtful indeed.