Spending this insanely hot day sitting at the computer compiling and updating all the Painter’s Notes. This kind of repetative is a challenge for my semi-dyslexic self but you do not hear me whining about having to do it at the computer…in the office…in the air-conditioned studio !
So, today’s divertisement for all you folks out there finding creative ways to beat the heat…
#6 – The Herald 28″ x 40″
This was, is, part of the laundry series that I worked on for last year’s show. If you look closely you will see the little clothespin basket which I did a smaller study of in The Windwalker…
the feather is just a hint that this little songstress was once sitting on the roof and singing.
As the heatwave nestles into the valley I was disuaded from my early morning weeding by the ever watchful apprentice who decided that we should heed the air quality warnings and head inside to the cooler chambers of the studio.
So I’m getting an early start on the frame carving…
It’s been a while since I have done one of these and I’m loving the chance to get out the woodworking tools and make some tiny shavings. I mentioned earlier that the first painting, “All this and more”…
was based on an NC Wyeth quote and so that’s what is being carved into its frame. I spent all day yesterday getting the words onto the wood. Years ago I created a digital alphabet by first drawing out each letter on graph paper and then scanning it into Publisher and then laboriously cutting and pasting separate files for each letter. That allowed me to open a new file and cut and paste the letters as needed to form the words in each quote. Then I size them to the frame, print out and transfer with graphite paper to the wood itself.
A large part of the morning yesterday was spent trying to FIND that file which was buried on my old harddrive. Ugh. But once I got it on the new computer it worked like a breeze. Still laborious but way easier than the way I did it before, drawing it all out by hand several times until I got the spacing right. Difference of hours vs. days.
But I have to back up a step…the frame really starts with a trip to the local lumber yard…where my trusty assistant volunteered to let the poplar boards rest on her lap rather than on top of the roof for the ride home.
I didn’t get a photo of him but the next step is hauling the boards up to the frame shop, Artworks in Mechanicsburg, PA,( my heros), and back to John Weist, my super hero. He chops the moulding and the poplar boards at the same time and then joins them seperately so I can work on it assembled which makes it much easier to design.
What I end up with is this…
Then I cut out the words, lay them out on the boards, tape them down and use the graphite paper to transfer lines to the boards.
Clean up the lines…
and break out the tools…
Raking light is essential to see where the cuts need to be trimmed and refined…
and then it’s all about the fun and challenge of removing the wood that doesn’t want to be there.
I was going to continue with the Apple Series for the unveiling of today’s painting but …there’s an outrageous assault on artistic expression raging on Facebook as I write so I’m switching gears a bit.
Last night John O’Hern posted this photo on Facebook which is the announcement for his latest Re-Presenting the Nude show at Evoke Gallery in Santa Fe.
Within minutes of his posting… facebook removed the image from his page. Yes, that’s right…censored. A few of us were able to repost it on our FB pages and the Evoke Gallery responded by posting the individual images of the paintings up on their website starting last night. I just got word from John that the Evoke Gallery has now been blocked from posting for 24 hrs.
Below is John’s posted response to the initial censoring on his page…
It amazes me that an organization like Facebook, begun by people of obvious intelligence and sophistication, should hire creatures who have only recently slithered onto the shore to control its department of censorship. I’m grateful for the many “Likes” and good wishes posted in support of the artists in my exhibition “Re-presenting the Nude II” before the announcement (with pictures!) was removed… from my profile page. The Roman poet Juvenal wrote in his Satires: “Quis Custodiet ipsos custodies?” (“Who will guard the guards themselves?”) It’s a question that is as true today as it was then. Who knows what Neanderthal censors might have ordered their artist kin to scrape off the wall? When more secure people occupied the ranks of those directing our society, the historian Henry Steele Commager wrote: “Censorship always defeats it own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” More chillingly, the African American scholar Henry Louis Gates wrote: “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” I’ll give the last word to someone who knew the subject well, the buxom bombshell Mae West, who said: “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” May all Facebook-censored artists do so as well. (And the curators.)
The original reason I signed up for Facebook was to keep track of the fast paced thoughts and lives of our grandchildren. It has become a valuable resource for connecting me to friends, family, and ideas and is an integral part in promoting my artwork and keeping in touch with patrons and introducing me to new artists and their work. Frankly I’m shocked that their “censors” have decided that any of these artistic representations of the human figure are too risky for us to lay eyes upon…when they so freely allow the children to post obscene and offensive language defining the explicit parts and usage of those parts of that same human figure.
So… my response to the environment of repression, discrimination and censorship in this year of political discord… is this…
This year’s show at the Granary Gallery will mark 10 years of representation there for me. I can still remember walking out of the gallery after Chris had said, “Yes, we’ll take all the paintings you’ve got.”…and being shell shocked and unable to speak until we got to the Black Dog and sat down and my heart stopped pounding.
It has been a dream come true of a decade and I am grateful every single day for the chance they took on this wannabe artist. Because they are so good at doing their jobs…I get to paint for my living and that still takes my breath away.
Though I have grown comfortable walking through the red barn doors and being welcomed by hugs of friendship, it is not because I am one in their stable of artists… this is the way that they treat everyone. It’s a gift and it flows from the top down which I attribute to Chris and Shiela Morse’s spirit of character and community. It’s a family affair and we are honored to be a small part.
The show is now a little over two weeks away, opening is July 15th, and I thought I’d do something different this year by rolling out the new paintings one at a time. This year there are 18 which will be making their debuts in the annual summer show so that will take us right up until the day we pack the trailer and haul them up the eastern coast…island bound.
I’ve continued the “theme” idea begun last year and there are a few overlapping ones this year… Apples is the big one, Seagulls get to play politics, Garden Graces make an appearance, and the first of many planned paintings of a special and seldom glimpsed corner of the Vineyard, James Pond, make the scene.
I hope it will be fun to follow along and see what each new day has to offer as I work in the background getting the frames put together and the painter’s notes written…in between harvesting and weeding the burgeoning garden !
So here we go…
#1 – All this and More… 28″ x 36″
This painting was inspired by a quote from NC Wyeth, “I have all this and more, yet how I would like to relax; to be content with a wheelbarrow, a rake, an apple basket, a pipe.” From his letters, September 19, 1910.
I’ll be picking up the wood for the frame tomorrow and I’m going to carve that quote around it. And yes, I’ll be content with my carving knife, a pile of shavings…and maybe even a slice of apple.
Turning this old Boston Library building into a brand new Museum dedicated to Realist Art is the dream project of Co-Founders, Pamela Sienna and George Kougeas. They are well on the way to making this a reality and have just launched the website which is a virtual platform to provide a look at their progress and for the growing list of artists and artwork which they have curated into the museum as “Inaugural Associated Artists”.
I am honored to be included in this group and will be providing milestone updates so blog readers can follow along as this important new venue comes to life. Here’s a blurb from their site and a link to read and learn more about the museum and the artists…
Welcome to the future Museum of Realist Art in East Boston.
The Mission of the Museum of Realist Art: Create a world-class cultural destination in the neighborhood of East Boston by exhibiting and collecting well-crafted painting, drawing, photography and sculpture with a specific focus on realist and narrative art.
Our focus is on contemporary realism, illusionism, magic realism, surrealism and visionary realism.
A planning team is working with Co-Founders George Kougeas and Pamela Sienna to develop this non-profit museum. See examples of art and follow our progress on Facebook as we establish relationships with a selected group of ‘Inaugural Associated Artists’ that we will exhibit in a future physical museum in East Boston.
This is sorta fun…writing a blog about the garden… IN the garden.
Last weeks steamy hot summer days drove me deep inside the air-conditioned studio and forced me to focus back on my day job. Which is a good thing because the Granary Gallery show deadline is looming large and there is much work to be done and time for one, maybe two, dare I hope for three more paintings to fly off the easel.
But yesterday was so beautifully cool and clear that I gave up most of it to the garden. This time of year I am doing a lot of selective viewing. Only half of the beds have been weeded and there are a few of the vegetable beds left to be planted. The Greenhouse is a-l-m-o-s-t finished, the shed has still not been organized, the piles on the porch have grown a bearded patina from the pollen purging of six different species of hardwoods and there are maple trees growing in the gutters.
But from the sky chair…all I can see are the roses, and the herb bed which is thriving. And I can smell the wonderful hay which Pat hauled from the neighboring farm which is now snuggly mulching the veggies.
And the birds…oh the birds. This chair swings at the low end of the yard and I’m far enough away from the feeders to not be a bother so it is a perfect place to watch. This morning they are anticipating the storms on the horizon and busy picking out the last of the Service Berries and the sunflower seeds I put out yesterday.
At the end of the perfect yesterday, and I mean the very end because we didn’t sit down to supper until almost 10pm AFTER we cleaned out those gutters, we had the once a year treat of grilled garlic scopes. With some clams and a beet salad thrown in it was a magnificent feast.
This morning it is cool and cloudy and time to put the cucumbers in their cage. Just one of the experiments in small bed growing that I’m trying this year.
The broccoli is coming along but as this is the first time I’ve grown in I’m not sure just when to harvest. Suggestions ?
The potato bags are finally beginning to flower.
And if these beauties are blooming…
then it must be June.
There’s no stopping this garden now…but the raindrops are threatening the well-being of the electronics…so I am headed inside to the easel…for now.