Another summer storm has moved over the island and the steamy air is warming up again…as we head over to Menemsha to pick up some lobsters for supper tonight we found a copy of this week’s MV Times. Front page photo of the Menemsha Basin painting which will be featured in tomorrow’s show at the Granary Gallery.
Please excuse the mess…My apprentice and I are putting the finishing touches on some upgrades to the website. The big summer show is a good opportunity to refresh and reconnect with patrons and friends and the website is the focus for the launch of the new paintings….soooo it’s time for a mini makeover.
Most of the improvements are happening in the background, thanks to my webmaster Ross ! He’s making it more user friendly for me to load images and select options. It’s making my job so much easier in this season of deadlines. I’ve added a new look to the boring lines of type that provide links to and fro within the site, and we are including some video and revamping a new studio tour…coming soon !
This week it’s all about the show. As of yesterday afternoon all of the paintings are back here in the studio. Half of them are framed and half…not. There are painters notes to be written, files from the photographer to be cleaned up and sized for the website and the gallery’s use, art supplies and equipment to be packed…and oh yeah…the trailer vent which failed and had to be ripped out and sent back to the factory…ugh…has been replaced with a new one which arrived yesterday…in the pouring rain…so that has to be reinstalled before any of these babies get loaded.
But we’re on the positive side of this adventure and …all shall be well.
New paintings will be launched on the website on Saturday…I hope !
There was a major fire in the fishing village of Menemsha yesterday. The coast guard boathouse and several docks burned down to the waterline. It happened quickly and as of this morning there are no reports of major injuries. The other miracle of this story is that the wind was blowing out to sea. Within a few feet of the burning structure on the inland side are the historic fishing shacks that line the basin. They are bare wooden shacks, many of which are simply standing wooden tinderboxes…and most of which are working boathouses for the few remaining commercial fishermen on the island. Had the wind turned, they all would have been gone and with them the history and charm of that tiny island village.
There are reports of bravery this morning of fisherman who towed flaming but untethered boats out of danger and away from the gas station on the other side of the harbor, and firefighters who managed to control and contain the blaze, and townspeople who set up watering and cooling stations and helped to clear the roads for emergency vehicles.
This is the Vineyard. They know how to take care of each other.
Shortly after the fire began there were reports filtering onto Facebook and via local TV stations. Pat got the news and came over to the studio to let me know. Earlier that morning we had picked up the big paintings for this summer’s show from the photographer and I was in the process of framing this…
For most of the winter the shacks and boats and birds and scenery of Menemsha were my companions as I took care to faithfully render the rigging and shingles and horizon full of houses.
Like many generations of artists, I have been drawn to the historic charm and beauty of the fishing village. My own tastes tend to run toward the somewhat grittier side of the working aspects of the place. The way the detritis of the commercial fishermen, their boats and gear and comings and goings, make for a constantly evolving composition. Lobster pots and long lines, bouys and traps, pulpits and netting all get tossed around by the wind, the tides and the human hands that haul them to bring in the catch of the day.
And if you hang around long enough, and show up when the tourists have left for the day…or the season… the light that is so strong and ever changing on that island will reveal hidden treasures of beauty. For the last couple years I have concentrated on trying to capture some of what I see there and have used the challenge of the large canvas to find my way into the corners, behind the boathouses, and between the shadows of Menemsha.
As I look back now, the focus has been pulling outward…
from the closeup of the swordfishing troller Strider’s Surrender…
to the larger view of the boats and shacks Out Back O’ The Galley…
and opening wide up to the basin as seen from the top of Crick Hill just after dawn on a late October morning…
And in all of those paintings the Coastguard Boathouse can be seen. At first just a hint of the end of the dock to the left of the Strider. Then a sliver of white with the famous red shingled roof at the end of the road to the left of the big shack Out back of the Galley.
And this year, sadly the final portrait… it is the first building to catch the full morning sun at the far right of the painting and, weighed down by the gaggle of seabirds, it serves as an anchor.
The second in the series of traveling summer shows is opening this sunday at the Granary Gallery. The theme continues with…Vegetable…
My entry is titled Heirlooms and features some heirlooms from our dear friend Polly Mienelt who graced this planet and the island of Martha’s Vineyard for 95 years. Her husband Ted gave me that photo of her making a daisy chain and a collection of her handkerchiefs. The rest are heirlooms of a different sort that have found their way into my keeping…and the tomato…was delicious !
Can you imagine a better frame shop than one which delivers ?
My pals at Artworks are the best. The very best. And this morning Julie hauled all the frames for this year’s show in the big van and delivered them right to the studio door. Julie is one of the many young people it was my great pleasure to work with over the thirty years that I made my living as a picture framer. I’m so proud of her evolution into a strong, confident mother, business manager, and all around decent human. Good on ya J.
So here we are again… a studio full of frames, most of which are still up at the photographer’s being shot, and less than three weeks before the trailer heads out of the driveway for the vineyard show.
I finished the very last of the paintings late yesterday afternoon. That one will be for the Vegetable portion of the Animal, Veg, Min. show …more on that later but the first show opens this sunday at the Field Gallery…more info here.
There’s a mountain of office work to do and bills to be paid and commission portraits to be started … and today Julie made that list a lot shorter by bringing the frames to me. Big thanks.