Opening Day – Granary Gallery Show

Here we are…it’s the morning of the Granary Gallery Show Opening

I want to personally thank all of you who have taken the time to read the string of Blog Posts which have lead up to today’s opening. You being with us for this ride and offering kind words of support and encouragement along the way has softened the edges of the rough parts and lightened the air here in the studio.

So…from our studio

To the red barn on Old County Road
on the island of Martha’s Vineyard

And into the homes of all you friends and patrons…

Wish We Were There… a short film from HN Studios


The Granary Gallery…Blog

Good Morning Art Fans…

Did you know the Granary Gallery has a Blog ?

It’s called… ArtifactsMV

Click HERE to read the latest post on…me.

The show opens tomorrow…and don’t forget to check in here
at 11am tomorrow morning when I will be featuring a video interview
that Herself and I made so that we could “virtually” be there for it.

Stay safe out there and thanks for tuning in !

 

 


Postcards from the Ledge – 8

These are the Glory sisters.
They greeted me fully open to this stellar morning…even though I was later than usual.

New Rules…

1 – We can only watch two episodes of any given series at night.
I can’t expect to get any painting OR gardening done if the first number my eyes see in the morning starts with a 9.

2 – I can work in the garden with absolutely no guilt, rationalities or apologies of any kind all morning.

3 – IF I agree to stop at noon.

4 – Where upon I will eat breakfast AND lunch in one meal.

5 – All other work, including blog posts, bill paying, business stuff, and random google searching will be ceased at 1pm.

6 – Where upon I will show up at the easel and begin to paint.

7 – Only two pieces of Easter Chocolate per day…Until Easter…writes the Atheist.

8 – I will put down the brushes by sunset…currently around 8pm.

9 – Going forward I will use only two olives in my Quarantini…s.

10 – This year I will break all records for time spent in the sky chair.

It is now 2:29.
So the rest of this blog post will be a dump of photos showing progress on Rule # 2…

Yesterday was potting up day…
The Dill got new digs…

I am figuring out a recipe for my own potting soil since this is the year of stay at home ingenuity…some sieving required…

A prescription for heartburn pills makes for the perfect tamper downer when seeding flats…

Teeeeeeny seeds…wedding ring for scale…

This morning’s glorious sunshine was perfect to plant parsnips…

Ruth welcomes all seeds…so the last two feet of this parsnip run will have carrots, those white dots are pelleted seeds, Ruth preferred scattering over rows and it was much easier to try that here. The ground was rich dark brown and amazingly…in this the wettest part of the yard…and after a torrential storm in the middle of the night…was well drained and easy to work. I did add a thin layer of peat moss to help keep the seeds under some cover, then added a thin fleece over that to keep the light peat from blowing away, and the netted tunnel over that to keep critters out.

On the other end of the RS garden I’ve got the squash tunnel set up.

Last year, you may remember the loofah insanity, lots of leafy growth, some late hanging fruit, a total of exactly one three inch loofah… was harvested and that was by accident when I found it walking around the yard in January. 

Yeah…she’s adorable.

And I was able to move two more straw bales to complete the entry gate…The bales will have flowers planted in them for the pollinators.

And now it is 2:54…

One of the changes in our lives with this stay at home deal is that we, who do not have a washing machine, are doing our laundry in the sink. The drying part is no problem because we have an umbrella line in the studio yard.

I noticed this morning that my new method of brush wiping…when using the tiny brushes they tend to hold more of the turpentine in the ferrule when I wash them out…which I do more often than usual when rigging boats…hint as to current subject matter…the ferrule is the silver part of the brush pictured below and the paper towels rest on my knee to wipe that excess off.

So this is how I noticed what I noticed…

I guess that my right elbow is resting on…all that excess wet paint.

My uniform wears her battle scars well don’t ya think?

So of course…today’s painting is…

Bringing in the Sheets – 2014

I know people,
ok, two people,who hang their laundry out all year long.
My laundress is not a fan of this.

In our next house there will be a washer and dryer.
I have promised.

For now, and for the last quarter of a decade,
that weekly chore has been done up to town,
next to the local pizza joint.

Herself is on a therapists basis with the owner,
and most of her best stories have originated
between the spin cycles.
The characters join her there,
making entrances and exits
worthy of the bard Himself,
with the odd parrot  or two
on the shoulders of the jester stage left.

So, when it came time to pose for this painting,I actually had to search the studio for the clothespin.
It’s Ted’s, and that elegant swan shaped clip at the end
is the perfect balance of classic style and Yankee ingenuity…
just like Ted.

I hung the line at sunrise,
between the greenhouse and the grape arbor
and waited.
The first rays of sunlight caught the top of the sheet
and I quickly called Pat over from the cabin to pose.
In the initial sketches, done a few weeks before,
the shirt was to be white,
so I figured I could fake that part or pose her again later.

We played around with the angles and then I sketched
and took some photos and went inside to work.
When she called to let me know that Herself was headed up to the laundromat
I walked outside to stretch my legs and whammo…
a whole new light was cascading across that sheet.
I made her run back and,
in very short order,
I had what would become the final composition.

You can see that the white shirt,
which was still crumpled in the unwashed laundry bag,
when the light changed for the better,
stayed hidden there…
and the striped shirt of the laundress
which seemed to echo the uniforms
of those hard scrubbing for-bearers…
remained.

I believe fundamentally
in paying homage
to the women
upon whose shoulders we rise
and to the makers
of clothespins.


Postcards from the Ledge – 7

So…yesterday I turned 62.

A wonderful day book-ended with a spell in the sky chair. This sunset deepened and lasted for almost two hours. Ta very much nature goddesses.

And a heartfelt thank you to all who reached out to send birthday greetings. You all know what it means and it seems like one of the ways this crisis is impacting our worlds is that the tenor and quality of distance socializing feels genuinely kinder. So let’s keep paying that forward. Good on Ya humans !

We were told to expect clouds all day yesterday so, when the sunshine hung around and around I gave in and putzed in the garden.One ridiculous caper found us wetting ourselves after trying to move just one bale of straw. Now it was rain soaked so that added extra weight but I’m guessing close to 80 lbs. I can normally lift dry bales with some effort and, as you’ve read here,  I used to be able to point a finger and rely on Kory to tote those bales.

Alas, the virus, so Pat and I tried…and collapsed after that first bale.

Lunch felt like a good idea so we retreated and treated ourselves to a viewing of …Fantastic Fungi. Wow. Our son Jon turned us on to this movie and movement. You can rent or buy it only from their website…click here. I highly recommend for every curious mind…especially for inquisitive youngsters. They are going to get to see and drive monumental changes in our planet in their lifetimes based on this science. Pick the biggest screen you have access to and get the room nice and dark…enjoy.

The rest of the day was peaceful…planting here and there and checking under the fleece…

The salad bed planted two weeks ago is coming along…slooooowly. Carrots and those beets on the left and spinach on the right had overwintered. I yanked most of the beets as the roots were gnarly. Carrots ok. Spinach ok too. Three lines of lettuce seeds had no germination so I replanted. Radishes are firing up. Side dressing of Dr. Earth’s organic fertilizer and a good soaking and back goes the fleece.

A mediocre supper of Ina’s roasted shrimp, (the shrimp had lots of freezer burn and it should have been 400 degrees in that oven) was lifted by a wonderful sauce of mayo, ketchup, mirin, touch of teriyaki, capers and curry. And we binged two more episodes of Ozark. Late comers we are only on season one. Whew the dreams I had after that…suffice it to say it was a relief to open my eyes this morning and see that the orange jump suit had been left in that nightmare.

These posts are getting long and are mostly just my own way of leaving breadcrumbs, but I will share this morning’s escapade as a PSA.

We had to go out into the world to take Finn to the vet.

It’s all good…don’t fret…Saren…she’s fine…

But part of our goal is to stay on top of a couple of issues that trouble the old gal and part of that regimen is regular shots and meds that we had run out of. In this state, Veterinary Hospitals are considered essential but they are asking to hold off on normal checkups and shots with the exception of Rabies vaccinations. Fortunately for Finn she was due for a rabies booster. And fortunately for us, eternal gratitude to Saren for all things dog here, our vet practice is bang on top of this new world order.

Hill Street Veterinary Hospital

…and a great shout out to Finn’s hero…Dr. Sara Alfano.

They have walk-in hours in the mornings, and a carefully orchestrated protocol for curbside care.

After hearing the tenor of the experts changing over the weekend, alerting that the coming couple of weeks would see the worst impact of this virus, we decided that a quick controlled visit now would be best for Finn.

The only exception to our own protocol was that Pat got to ride along. The poor dear hasn’t been in her car, Martha, for almost a month and that deprivation has been real for her.

Finn requires the aid of a very heavy ramp to help her into the back of the Volvo but we work well as a team and not being able to do HER absolute favorite thing…riding shotgun for her buddy in the car…is an even greater deprivation around here. So…the whole damn family loaded up.

Gloved and masked we drove up and parked. Called the office. They got things ready. Tech came out with mask and  I got Finn out. They whisked her up the ramp and into the clinic. Dr. Sara called on my phone and we chatted about Finn’s treatment and meds and got to check in on her, Sara. As one of our special people…we worry. All good she says. The tech brought our girl back out with a bag of meds. We paid via phone. And Bob’s your uncle that was that.

We took the long way home so we could see the flowers and our favorite trees and, since I got out of the car and was in contact with the bag and the harness Finn wears which they had touched, I performed the decon drill and gave Finn an extra treat and here we are.

A great big high five paw of a thank you to the staff and Docs who made that experience go so smoothly. It honestly felt very weird to leave the house, to see other humans, so little traffic, a small group of teenagers in the high school parking lot standing six feet apart and chatting. And I was hyper aware of the invisible villain lurking just beyond the closed windows of the car.

It feels good to have that addressed and done with and now, after a quick walk around the sunny garden, I can settle back in at the easel.

I think these three are a perfect fit for today…all were Saren’s dogs and all were Finn’s pals…but her Bestie was and always be… Tallie…

Nina – 2010

Margie -2010

Tallie – 2010


Brushes Down…

Last night I put the very last brushstroke on the final painting for this years’ Granary Gallery show.

Whew. These last few weeks have been an artistic marathon.

Now it’s a sprint to the finish line.

The show opening is August 4th.

The trailer needs to be ready to roll out of here a few days before that,
and there is a slew of work that needs to happen before then.

My pals at Artworks, in Mechanicsburg have been busy getting the frames joined for me and we scheduled the delivery for later this week. That gives me a little time to clear some room for them.

So, varnishing, comes first.
And it’s summer. The middle of a very hot and humid…
and throw a few more humid-ers in there…summer.
A while back I invested in an industrial humidifier for the studio. This has been quite helpful for just these type of varnishing days. Controlling the heat and humidity in here means that the varnish dries quickly and evenly and I don’t have to wait for the weather to cooperate, which…being July…it won’t.

After that I can shoot them.

With a camera.

Our business, HN Artisan, Inc. is set up to own the copyrights to all of my work. For all the possible uses of said copyrighted images, now and in the future, which include prints and publications, I need to obtain the best possible reproductions for the archive. And that needs to happen before I send them out and into galleries.

I used to farm this part of the operation out, which was wonderful while it lasted, even though it meant many trips to lug the paintings up and back in stages over the course of several weeks, so that the entire group of paintings was never in one place until the very last few days.

With my dear photographer John Corcoran easing into retirement, I scrambled to work out another option. Technological advancements, and time invested in learning about them, has led me to pick up the photography ball myself.

I’ve had some months to study and experiment with a new camera, fancy lights and another round of tutorials to brush up my Photoshop creds, and so far so good.

But now it gets real.

This year I have done another 8 foot painting,
and I have to shoot it, and there is no place in my world big enough to do that easily.

You may remember that last year our pals Matt and Paul came over to attempt to shoot last year’s big panel.

While it was the start of a great friendship, but we had no success in coming up with an archive worthy file.

Over the winter I pondered this dilemma and decided to explore a tip which David Fokos gave me. Having been to my studio, he suggested rigging something up…to shoot down.

Laying the panel flat and suspending the camera above, then moving it in a grid like pattern across the entire panel and “stitching” it together in Photoshop.

Trick to that scenario is that the camera MUST be positioned at the exact same distance from the panel every time the camera shifts.

Long winding internet searches lead me to this…

A cool company, 80/20 makes erector sets for adults, and I got them to cut aluminum square tubing to my specs and then Kory and I assembled this frame. It was extremely difficult to figure out how to make this able to be DIS-assembled but we…ok he…muscled the plastic joints enough times that it can be done.

This has been set up in the garage for several weeks, remember that painting marathon ?, well now that is over and it’s time to step this photography game up.

I went with the aluminum rather than building this out of wood for the higher precision tolerance, that’s an artists’ rather than an engineers’ technical description, to keep the camera equidistant from the panel.

The top bars on this frame have a lip facing up. This was designed so that a small “sled” could ride inside those flanges and slide evenly along the top rails. Here’s a look at the sled and the clamping gear I bought to try and secure the camera to it…upside down.

I will work on that tomorrow morning when it is not 95 degrees out there.

Theoretically, the panel will be placed on the inside of that large frame laying horizontally.
The sheet suspended above is to capture insect droppings from the garage roof, no it’s not an ideal workspace for artwork, but it’s the only space I have where I might be able to control the variables which include lighting and distance.

When …IF …I can get this dialed in, then Paul and Matt have promised to assist with the lighting and shooting of said panel. I better throw some more beers in the fridge for that.

So there’s a behind the scenes peek into the studio and the progress towards the big show of the year.

I’ll leave you with some pics of this morning’s wonderfully peaceful garden adventure.

With those hot temps here to stay, it was time to clear out the early spring bed for some heat loving veggies. So down came the pea towers. You can just see Herself hidden beyond the wheelbarrow full of pea plants using her super powers to pluck all of the last pods…I LOVE it when she joins me out there.

The before…

and after…

AND…the greatest gift …

Turns out the garlic was spared the nasty allium leaf miner after all !!!!

Yes, 100% of the plants are bug free.

The bulbs were smaller than usual, but that may have been a result of the pea towers blocking a good bit of light from them, among other factors.

Only last week I was crying in my suds that for the first time in years I had to ask Pat to by garlic from the super market. It was terrible by the way.

And now…voila… mother nature has blessed our greenhouse with a drying stack of bulbs.

Oh my heart is smiling all over again just writing that.

Ok back to my day job.

Stay tuned…the GG Show drumroll has begun and the lineup of new paintings will hit this blog page any day now.

In the meantime you all stay frosty out there.

H


Circles…

‘Twas a lovely surprise a few weeks back, to receive…by way of a thank you of sorts…a package from Matthew Stackpole. He, by way of Martha’s Vineyard and Mystic Connecticut, and a lifetime of service to both seafaring villages and museums and maritime history everywhere.

He had sent me a copy of the book, The Charles E. Morgan – The Last Wooden Whaleship, written by his father Edouard A. Stackpole. It’s a lively in depth history of the ship and her adventures published in 1967. I’m only part way through and it has me hooked. Great sky chair reading. Thank you so much Matthew.

Matthew and his brother had the run of the Morgan when their father was at the helm of the Mystic Seaport Museum.

So he had fond memories to share when looking at the paintings I had done from the museum and the ship for last years’ Granary Gallery Show.

Then yesterday’s mail arrives and here, in the American Art Collector Magazine article by John O’Hern about maritime art, is that same ship circling back…

I just love it when that happens.

A special thank you to John, as ever.

It takes a village and we have some fine fine humans helping to row our boat.

 


MV Museum Opens

Reclamation…

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum  opened the doors of their new home this week. Here’s a bird’s eye view nearing completion from their website…

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0292.JPG  photo credit probably Denny Wortman but I’ll check.

It’s an exciting time for all who have supported the dream of transforming the old marine hospital into its newest reincarnation as home for the MV Museum and its collection of island history, artifacts and lore. The Museum, as a collective, is a living breathing vibrant organization which brings archived island history to life for each new generation.

Readers will remember that way back in 2013, can it be that long ago, I worked on a series of paintings, Reclamation, which explored the Marine Hospital building as it then stood, abandoned and restless, on the hill overlooking Vineyard Haven harbor.

The MV Museum had just purchased the property with the goal of converting it to their new headquarters. And, after five years of hard work and visionary grit, the board, staff, construction workers and volunteers have realized their dream.

As part of the opening exhibit in their space devoted to Island Art, “Lost and Found, The Marine Hospital”, the museum has curated examples of artwork inspired by the original building. They managed to round up, and have included, several of the paintings from my Reclamation Series, and Adam Smith sent me some photos of those paintings in situ from the show…

Escape…

Here are images of the rest of the series…

Marine Castaway…

Vineyard Porcelain…

Transom…

Sailing Camp Shadows…

Memorial Day…

Maplines…

Island Passages…

Severe Clear…

 

And for the bonus round…

The 2008 painting of Strider’s Surrender, which was donated to the MV Museum by a supportive patron, has now found a home in its permanent collection. Chris Morse, owner of the Granary Gallery, sent me a photo of the crew installing the piece…

And Adam caught it again at the opening…hello from the studio to Phil Wallis, MV Museum’s Executive Director, down along the hallway there…

 

The Painter’s Notes for both the Reclamation Series and Strider’s Surrender fill in some of the inspiration and back story for these pieces and can be read by interested parties by clicking on their highlighted names in this sentence.

It is both personally and professionally kind of amazing to see these paintings hanging in the new museum.

As artists…
we churn our days away at the easel
challenged by the muses
tossing paint around with tiny brushes
grounded, as far as our left brains will allow,
and working primarily
in the present.

It is humbling
to see one of those creations
hanging in a museum
which is grounded, as far as any good mission statement will allow,
in the past.

In preserving the past.

I don’t often get to see where my paintings go after they are sold.
If I’m brutally honest, it is sometimes so emotionally difficult to put so much of my self and soul into the creation of the artwork only to let it go and never be seen, by me, again that I have to compartmentalize that bit into a dusty corner of my heart.

If I had a gratitude journal…
today’s entry would be this blog post.

I am grateful for all those whose support has given these paintings a new audience to tell their stories to…and I am looking forward to getting to see them again…in person soon.


Late to the party

I’m getting a late start today.

My frantic mind had settled enough to let the sun come up without my help,
which gave the overnight coating of sleet enough time to begin to melt,
and sorting the box of newly arrived garden seeds was a most pleasurable task to begin with, then a walk to the compost pile turned into a bike ride in the greenhouse,
which lead me to Ruth…

(photo credit Mother Earth News)

Ruth Stout.
The other party to which I am late in coming today.

Arriving at this sixtieth decade I seem to be only just now stumbling across the paths of quite a few amazing humans. This week it is Ruth.
Or was, as she left the planet after 96 years of living here, back in 1980.

I’ll bet that most of my hard core gardening friends are smirking as they read this having known of Ruth and her simple ways well before my stumble…Ruth Herself didn’t throw away her tillers and pesticides until she was 60…so there ya go.

The evolution of my own gardening life saw me give away a brand new tiller a few years ago after learning about building better soil by letting the critters do the work..and I know many of you followed along as I adopted Joel Karsten’s Strawbale method which I have been experimenting with for about 5 years now… and that has morphed more recently into my latest guru Charles Dowding’s No Dig compost only beds which Kory has been helping me build and tend.

Well move on over and pass the hay…
it’s time to quit working so hard and strip down to the essentials.

I’ll let you enjoy this introductory video… for those who are not smirking,
and you can google down this rabbit hole to your hearts’ content…
because it’s time for me to lift some brushes…
but before I go…
here’s a little teaser of a nod to my favorite part…
she gardens in the buff.
Yes.
Yes.


Solstice Gardening

A little dirt on your hands…in December ???

You bet.

I’ve been watching the forecast like a hawk and we’ve got a slight warming trend for the next week or so…averages above 40 and near 50 degrees. And coupled with the sunshine Finn and I headed out this morning to soak up some of that vitamin D, and I thought you’d like to join us.

In the photo above you can see those beds which Kory and I tucked in for the winter. The two in the foreground have some plantings and a cold frame. Let’s take a peak…

Under that tunnel on the right is an earlier fall planting of carrots. I invested in those tunnels for the first time this year and they are terrific. The manufacturer is Haxnicks. I went just now to Amazon to find a link but they only have the fleece version. The one shown here has a poly netting. Very sturdy and allows a lot of light in as well as terrific insect protection. They also make a heavier shade version which I’ve used with great success in deep summer heat. I’m using this one to cover the carrots and provide a structure over which I can drape a heavier plastic sheeting for insulation. We’ve had weeks of sub-freezing temps and so far they are not dead…so that’s a win.

The mini greenhouses, one shown on the left, are new this year. They fit the bed perfectly and I anchored them to the wooden frames for extra security. I did find that link…click here. (Actually I just checked the link and it is not the exact one shown above but it is the same manufacturer. Might need to do more surfing than I have time for right now to find the right one.)

So far I love them. I had a larger version of them years ago and, in the warmer winters, it gave me a full extra season of growth for kale and chard and even some pop up spinach volunteers.

You can see this swiss chard, planted last march, is still going strong and is my go to smoothy ingredient.

Today it was time to experiment with the second one I bought, and so the flat of seedlings which have been keeping me company inside the studio were ready to rock and roll…

I popped out a few of the kale and Hakuri turnips and out we went…

My theory is that this one may be warmer than the other as it is sheltered from some of the winds by the greenhouse which may also throw back some warmth from the south facing sun.

Here you can also see the easy access from the zippered panels.

Boy did it feel great to sit on my garden bench and hold the Hori Hori knife, and just like that they were planted. I have zero expectations that newly planted seedlings will make it planted this late but I live in hope these days.

It wasn’t in the original plans, but I thought adding one of those tunnels here might give an extra layer of warmth, and it worked out perfectly as a support for…

Yep…the christmas lights.

Somewhere I read of a  gardener putting a string of lights inside a cold frame to add a tiny bit of heat during the night. Why the hell not. I can never get enough of christmas lights.

I’ve put the compost thermometer in there so I’ll have some idea of the comparison between the two covered beds.

As you can see, a solid 43 degrees before I covered was promising.

And here we are all bundled up and ready to grow…maybe.

 

It’s a sea of mud out there now, and shortly after I wrote last week’s post those pesky Muses actually did show up and have made up for my basket of angst by hurling half a dozen new and sparkling challenges my way.

So…as Finn conquers…it’s time for me to get back to the easel…

But Oh My Goddesses did it ever feel good to be out working in the garden on this almost Solstice day.

 

 

 


Panel Making Time

‘Tis that time again.

The studio stack of ready to roll panels is dwindling…

( Drawing credits to Daniel (top) and Rose (underneath) Follansbee )

And so it’s time to get out the magic 8 ball, no I don’t have one of those even as a prop, and try and guess what sizes of panels I might need for paintings that I haven’t even thought of doing yet.

I have a few big panels already made up, but I’m giving myself a wee break from working on those huge compositions…they take a physical toll as well as a mental one, and this old artiste needs some time to rebuild both body and soul before tackling the next one…or two.

So, I made a plan to carve out some small and medium sizes.

Kory helped me clear out the garage last week, what a mess, and this week he stepped into the roll of apprentice to give me a hand with stage one…cutting the panels out of 4′ x 8′ sheets of Dibond. We uncovered 5 full sheets and I decided to save one for that odd size which I don’t yet know I need.

I’ve written about the panel making process, and the use of Dibond, in three earlier blog posts, one all the way back to 2010. You can read them, if you’re interested, by entering Dibond in the search box…see it there at the top right of the website page ?

We managed to get most of them cut…before noticing that some of the lines and edges were skewing. This happens no matter how carefully I measure and clamp and hold the jigsaw. My professional picture framing experience has made me a master of the art of measurement, alas, even with cutting guides, stronger clamps and an even stronger set of assisting arms, my set up isn’t ideal for perfection.

And, at this stage especially, perfectly squared corners is a must. Further down the road, once these panels hit the easel, and I start figuring out perspective, on something like this composition for example…

I’ve got to trust that at least one corner is true so that when I use a T-square to draw the sketch on the panel,  I can get all these horizontals and verticals to line up with each other in a convincing enough way that you, the viewer, forget about them. I want you to trust that these beams are as solid and sturdy as the original joiners intended, so that you can feel safe enough to walk around in that workshop and study what I really wanted you to experience…the light on those beautiful fibers.

So, if you are aiming for perfection, and you find some fatal flaws in the production, it is best to stop and fix them then and there. I am personally blaming, in no small part, the nine thousand percent humidity that drained our batteries pretty quickly in that stuffy garage. Years ago I stole the line from the yayasisters movie…”I’m puddlin’ here”…this was more like a tsunami.

After re-squaring up a stack, I realized tomorrow’s another day Scarlet, and availed myself of the air conditioning here in the studio office to set about cooling down and restocking my supply of canvas, which is needed for stage 2.

Years ago I did an exhaustive search for the best canvas on the market. Every artist has an individual preference for a painting surface and mine was the smoothest possible. I wanted the durability and flexibility of a richly gessoed canvas without the bounce and weave. The Dibond gave me the best man made substructure, and I settled on Joe Allen’s Portrait grade 10oz Army Duck (see roll in photo above) to wrap around it.

Unprimed, and smooth as silk, this canvas is sturdy and pliable, it wraps beautifully with just enough bulk to avoid fear of tearing, and it comes in manageable 60″ rolls. I order a couple rolls at a time to save on freight and when I did the calculations and I figured that I would be dipping into my last roll I knew it was time to reorder. But when I went to place my order on line there was a glitch. So, I called, got a recording and sent an email inquiry.

This morning I got a response explaining the quirky website glitch was just that and one more click would get me sorted. But there was also the sad news that Joe had died just a few weeks ago from a fast moving cancer. His wife Jacqui said that she and their son Justin, who she notes is “now the artist in the family”, will be attempting to keep the Canvas supply business running.

I never met Joe in person, but remember him as most accommodating, and pleasant to do business with and that kept me coming back over the years. He went out of his way to help keep the costs down as these heavy rolls have to be trucked all the way from Texas.

Jacqui has just written back to confirm the order, and in keeping with that tradition of kindness, has offered some alternatives to help save me some money on current shipping costs.

I wish them all the best as they navigate the business and their lives in the coming years.

If you are in the market for a superb quality product, fine salesmanship, need to restock your studio shelves, or want to try out something new…give Allen’s Canvas a shout. They are even having a sale right now.

Meanwhile, back here in the studio, there actually seems to be a patch of blue sky out there. Maybe that will drive away some of the humidity, maybe not. I’m giving the garage a pass today let my lungs clear out and give my flaring knuckles a rest…I’m going to play with the tiny brushes and watch the birds outside at the feeder.

I’ll try and chronicle the next step of the panel making process so you can see how that goes…in the mean time stay frosty out there.