All those damned Teaspoons – 18 x 26 Available at the Granary Gallery
I have Pete Seeger to thank for this one…and for his lifetime of advocacy and good trouble.
The aging hippie that I am was raised on ’60’s folk music
It runs through my veins and wallows around in my soul
While my fingers can still strum it plays out on my guitar
The aging artist that I am is informed by those chords
And accompanies those rhythms tapping brushes on teacups
Among the many tributes to Pete upon his passing to that big sing along in the sky
were many references to his activism. Lending his powerful musical voice to social, political and environmental justice inspired many a generation.
But this particular parable…inspired my Muses…
Parable of the Teaspoon Brigade
Imagine that there’s a big seesaw. At one end of it is a basket half full of rocks. That end is on the ground.
At the other end is a basket one-quarter full of sand. And a bunch of us with teaspoons, we’re trying to put sand in that end.
A lot of people laugh at us, they say
“Oh, don’t you see, it’s leaking out as fast as you’re putting it in.”
Well, we say, “It’s leaking out, but we’re getting more people with teaspoons all the time. One of these days, you’re gonna see that whole basket with sand so full that this seesaw is going to go zoooom-up in the other direction.”
And people will say, “Gee, how did it happen so quickly?”
Us and our damned little teaspoons.
I don’t remember where I lifted this from but it has been carried over from one sketchbook to another and another for years until…
the Muses decided it was time
the silver topped stick was Ted’s
the well worn cane came by way of my great grandfather
the teaspoons sat in Jane’s shop
the teacups from my shelves…
the hope and the joy…
that’s all Pete…
will you grab a teaspoon
and join us ?
Feathered Harvest – 18 x 24 Available at the Granary Gallery
As we walk softly into these longest nights of the season
my heart skips lightly back
to the remembered warmth
of a late summer day
when there were just enough
ripened green beans
to make a supper’s serving
A much needed rainy day here in the studio affords me an equally much needed rest.
The last few days of summer like weather nudged me outside to put the garden to bed and my body is respondingly sore…but my soul…that is very very much alive.
Heavy sweaty work of raking and mulching the mountains of leaves felt as cathartic as counting up all those votes here in the great state of Pennsylvania. I danced some righteously happy jigs while tossing the hay all over the Ruth Stout garden. The crows, bluejays, wrens and one shy bunny all raised their voices in joyous song while I dug up the last of the late season potatoes.
The winds of change have indeed shifted and for me, it happened in a flash. Just like that, ding dong…the weight lifted, the doors flew open wide…and there was spontaneous partying in the streets all across the land. It reminded me of the sublime enthusiasm that Skip had while directing her swan song.
The Muses are vibrating with this newfound energy and I’m listening.
First order of business is to clean up this website. It is almost 20 years old now and since we are on about the business of clearing out cobwebs I’ve signed on to update and upgrade and give it a general overhaul.
We will be working throughout the next couple months with most of the tweaking being done behind the scenes and under the hood…or so Ross tells me. (More on his new company and adventures to come.)
Along with some design changes I will be using this opportunity to reorganize the Print section of my site. The time is upon us to make good on what I had promised to do this time last year…raise the prices on the prints. The material and shipping costs have increased even more so we have settled on $295 as the new charge for the 17 x 22 sized prints.
I’m announcing that now because, like I did last year before the holidays, it will give those who are interested an opportunity to purchase prints at the current $195 until the NEW website goes live early next year. Shipping will continue to be FREE.
A total revamp project like this signals to the Muses that I am ready to rock and roll.
Uncharacteristically…and quite surprisingly…I have absolutely no idea what I will paint next.
Which feels just right.
Herself told me she’s not the least bit worried about that.
So there you go.
I’ll bring you along for the ride…
let’s see where this train takes us !
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
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 !
And we arrive…
at the beginning…
I began this painting in January of 2020
It was meant to be a talisman…
something I could literally touch to bring me closer to my dream of living on Martha’s Vineyard
And to be a portal…
a window that could transport me to that bluff on that island
And then everything in the world changed…
Except that dream.
Signaling Home – 24 x 36
Standing high on the bluff
rising over Stonewall Beach
on the island of Martha’s Vineyard
where centuries of wind and waves
have been chiseling the shoreline back
further with each blow
after stormy blow
Where generations of Langmuir hands
have moved that dotted line of great white rocks
signaling safety in the moonlight
pulling them back and then
further back again
On that grassy sandy ledge
that has listened to my heart
taken the measure of my Muses
rounded off my edges
and holds all I know of love
Here on this edge
of all that I hold sacred
I plant my soul
holding tightly to my flags
and signaling HOME.
I am home.
Morning again here in the studio.
Before today’s Painter’s Notes I want to give you a heads up…
There are just four more days until the Granary Gallery Show opens…
Though, as you well know by now, there will not be an “Opening Reception”…
the gallery is very much OPEN and the staff are doing an amazing job and going out of their way to make a safe and welcoming environment for people to get in touch with art.
Herself and I have created a video aptly titled…”Wish We Were There” …by way of letting our island community know we are there with them…at least in spirit. The gallery sent me a list of questions and Pat agreed to read them to me on camera and you can expect some frivolity ensued.
I’ll be posting that video here on the blog on Sunday Morning… we hope you’ll pour a cup of tea and join us for that short studio visit.
So…4 days and counting…
That leaves three paintings to go…and today…
we go back to Menemsha.
I’ve spent so many hours on this dock that this painting almost painted itself.
The Morning Bell – 24 x 30
One of my enduring memories of that most special
week we got to spend “living” in Menemsha
up there on Crick Hill
was wakening to the early morning
sounds of the harbor.
When the wind is right
you can hear the bouy bells
playing a rhythmic bass line
and the gulls picking out the melody
Before the charter engines
crank up you can still make out
the water lapping against the bigger boats
some ropes and chains a’ rattlin’
against the mighty masts
If you’re really early enough…
the putt putt putter of Louie’s
trawler making her way out
for the first cast of the day.
even though this particular painting
is righteously full
of the colors
that bring the harbor to life
for most artists
What I hear…
is just as evocative
as what you see.
This one is special…
I’ve already introduced you to Jack the Lad
and his pal…
Now you get to see the behind the scenes story of our collaboration…
Jack the Lad
This painting came into being by way of a commission.
And a most challenging one at that. The gentleman you see seated in the center is a loyal patron of the gallery who wanted to immortalize his pup Jack …who is an even more loyal visitor, indeed many would say, ambassador to the gallery.
I met Jack there, in the gallery for our first meeting, on a bright October morning. He was sitting with rapt attention focused on his pal, or more specifically his pal’s pocket wherein there was a stash of green beans. I knew instantly that anyone who would carry a pocketful of beans as treats for his dog would be a subject worthy of exploring and that any pup who would gaze that lovingly into the eyes of a human for…a bean…be still my vegetable gardeners’ heart.
So, the challenging bit that I mentioned at the start was not the subjects themselves, but rather the fact that there was a very short overlap in our schedules. We had a brief time together in the gallery so the pressure was on…but I needn’t have worried. I fell instantly in love with both of them.
It was easy to do as neither of them ever stopped smiling.
Jack, the lad, wandered freely among the paintings and antiques but his spirit was primarily drawn to people. He quickly took the measure of each human who entered the gallery and adjusted his greeting accordingly. The wagging bushy tail, energetic and playful with a group of young children…then softly gently laying down before a woman and her cane…and always, always with one of those soulful brown eyes checking back in with the bean man Himself.
The Granary Gallery is a special place. That big old Red Barn is more like a general store than an art gallery, at least for the regular patrons, and the year round Islanders. Like the bar at Cheers, where everybody knows your name, new friendships are made and old ones deepen each time the bell rings above the opening door.. and the owners and staff make the kind of genuinely gracious human connections which these days is an art all of its own.
Looking back now, despite the brevity of our meeting…or maybe because of it…what lingered throughout the months afterwards, as I worked to find my way into this commission, was the tender upbeat energy that those two souls exuded. This painting became a blended portrait both of them and the gallery itself.
There are lots of details which, like the scavenger hunts the Granary makes for the children to have fun exploring the gallery are just that…fun. But zoom in a bit, just past the red dots under the cormorant statue, and before you count those blue violet bottles on the window shelves…just there beneath the table, at the foot of the tie-dyed man you will see what this painting is really all about.
The heart tugging twinkle in that all adoring look
that tells us all we need to know of Jack the Lad…
This is the next painting in order of the way we spent our last night on the Vineyard last October…after Derby’s Wake we drove on up to Aquinnah to see if there was a sunset there…
Aquinnah Sunset – 20 x 30
Anyone who has spent time
on the island of Martha’s Vineyard
will know how dramatically
the quality of light
in the blink of an eye.
in what now seems like
emotional light years away,
we extended our annual fall visit
letting the island and our friends there
hold us a little longer
and a little closer
because we needed to be held.
On our last night
when up-island was as quiet as I’ve ever seen it
we sat in the car in Menemsha
saying our goodbyes to the harbor
we alone were there as the heavy clouds
were obscuring any promised sunset.
We decided to make the loop
out to Aquinnah
and as we came upon the lighthouse
and rounded the bend
the winds howled
and the heavens parted
for waves of color to break through.
From where we all are now…
I can seen how powerfully looming a harbinger
and then clearing…
of that Nor’easter was.
We thought our world
had shifted something mighty back then…