Repeat after me…

F-R-I-E-D Motherboard

After spending the better part of two days watching the slow train wreck of my studio computer and learning that they call the window that kept popping up… the BSOD which is short for Blue Screen of Death…I filled my teacup, went to the bathroom, charged up my phone and called India.

Simon and I got right to it and I was with him…swapping out memory cards and testing and retesting the slots…listening as the fan noises got worse each time…right up until the thing started to smoke. OK he says, I’ll put you on hold and speak to my supervisor. Tap tap tap… glad I took those earlier call precautions…on hold musak…then yep we are sending out a technician to replace the motherboard. My Dell extended warranty at work.

So I left the mess in the office and as I was closing the door behind me I saw this painting which I had finished a couple weeks ago…

It’s title is The Tinker and it’s headed out to Denver next month but it’s prescient composition made me laugh…all I needed for today’s tinkering was a screwdriver and a man 5000 miles away.

And yes, that is the number 3 !!! which perplexed so many of you. I’ll get you a better shot in a day or so. For now…I’m heading back to the easel and something that does not require electricity or motherboards…although I could use a few more memory cards if you know what I mean.


Midwinter Details

 In the early days of January, in the deep midwinter studio, when I sit down with the piles of sketchbooks and sort throught the long lists of painting ideas… I feel unfettered. Before the filters of deadlines and salability and subjectable subject choices begin to weigh me down… I take chances. I choose challenges. I tease the muses who whisper, “keep it simple” and  “No not THAT nightgown”.

I have spent the last few weeks wading in that most wonderful of seas…the sea of details. Frolicking with the tiniest brushes. Taking extra days to glaze down and bring back up entire areas of light only to glaze them back down again and slowly, slowly refine. I’ve taunted and tweaked compositions and twisted ribbons and fringes in the wind.

Here is a sneak peak of the first of these, The Mender…

It will appear in Denver in March at the Gallery 1261 Contemporary Realism Show. It’s companion, The Tinker, was finished last night and you will have to wait a bit for that pic but it shares a few elements with it’s Mender…a rug, a teacup, a pair of spectacles…and the number three.

Now, all the wheels of creativity turn to…the island. The trove of images which I’ve stored up from Martha’s Vineyard is indeed full of treasure. And before those afore mentioned weighty filters and deadlines begin to creep in…I will let only the carefree muses in from the cold. The ones who say, “Go for it” and “If not now, when”, and let them sit alongside while I turn the pages of this sketchbook…

and decide what to paint next.

A new year, a new knee, a new wave of creative energy…

and a good time to catch you up on the progress here in the studio…
It’s now been two months since my first knee replacement surgery and by all accounts things are moving along swimmingly. The first month was all about learning to walk again…

and the second month has been about taking a defibrilator to my mojo. Even though I was able to walk over to the studio by week three…the creative muses had decided to take a longer vacation and it was many more weeks before I had the energy to lift even the tiniest of brushes. But…thanks to my long suffering nurse and team of PT helpers… I’m back !

Before this saga began I had decided to get a painting started so that I would have all the setup work done and, post surgery, could just sit and paint. I had posted a facebook photo taken early one morning as I came to work in the studio…

and the muses must have been working on that website because the responses made it clear that I HAD to paint this. So with a few tweeks I  I painted right up until the day before surgery and had a pretty good start…

And after sitting patiently on the easel for weeks, it was more than ready for my impatient attentions. The first few days were short controlled bursts of playing with puddles of paint but finally the spark returned and I put the finishing touches on this work in the very last hours of 2012 and it felt great.

And day one of the new year found me in the studio beginning again to fill requests from galleries for new work. My goal is to sharpen the focus of who I am as an artist and to lay back and enjoy the gift of being able to do what I love right up until the fat lady sings…or at least until she has finished her mending.

May all of you find your sparkles alive and well in this new year.


New Works in Small Sizes

Gallery 1261 is about to open their Small Works show. It will be running from November 16th through December 31st…but I thought you might like a little preview…

A couple little sketches from the studio garden…

Green Bean Tea

Cadmium Harvest

And this one…Spent… which features Polly’s antique cigarettes and that ever faithful red pump…

I’ll be offline for a while…gotta go see a man about a new knee.
So, while I’m recovering…just talk amongst yourselves…and I’ll catch up with you just as soon as I’m able to manage the 50 ft. commute from log cabin to studio.

Stay frosty out there !

Small works in a big way…

All hail the return of civilized weather. When that first waft of cool air hit my lungs I all but fell to weeping. The edges of my soul were beginning to get crispy and my eyes felt like thickly glazed donuts.

With the earlier sunsets and the thin carpet of leaves, the studio is poised for a hiatus. We are once again returning to Martha’s Vineyard for an autumn sabbatical and an opportunity to work among the gulls and the waves in person.

But I haven’t been idle in the last few weeks. My brushes have been flying in pursuit of some smaller panels but no less meaningful gestures. I will shortly be loading the car to bring up new works to fill spaces on the walls at the Granary Gallery…and will be sending a parcel of new paintings out to Denver, to Gallery 1261, for their upcoming small works show in November.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d give you dear readers a sneak peek. Here, for your perusal, are the latest musings from the studio… I hope you will enjoy them with a fresh mug of  cider…or warm cup of tea.


Granary and Garden

We’ve been home for over a week now and the re-entry hubub has settled down and I am back at the easel in earnest. And back in the garden as well but not so earnestly as the summer heat wave continues. But this is all good because I am getting my garden fix early in the cooler morning hours and then the rest of the day spent at the air-conditioned studio easel feels like a spa.

Time then to post some photos from the Granary show. The opening was wonderful…a sea of art lovers with many new faces and lots of kind words of support. I took some photos after the crowds had cleared to show you blog readers the installation.

And not to be left out… a few snaps from this morning’s raid of one of the potato bags.

I’m in the mood for some vichysoisse and decided to dig around for some spuds. A task which I approach like an archeological expedition… gently brushing aside layers of dirt to reveal the brightly colored treasures. It’s just magical. Though I’m not too impressed with the yield so far. I welcome any advice from all my master gardener pals on how to improve next year’s crop.

In the coming weeks I’m going to look back and show a couple “paintings in progress” photos I took while working this spring. And I’ve got a slew of panels ready for a series of smaller paintings which will be headed out to Denver for the Gallery 1261 small works show in November/December.

Meanwhile I finished this piece the other day…(here’s an unvarnished studio shot)

It’s title is “Aren’t We Aging Well”…from the title of that wonderful Dar Williams song. I’ve carried just the title forward through several sketch books and when I decided on a visual interpretation it was originally supposed to be an anonymous couple, though always two women. But after Pat and I posed together in the studio yard…I used the remote shutter release on the camera to sneak some shots from behind the chairs…and I looked at the pictures, I realized that we were in no way anonymous. And then it became so deeply personal that I took it out of the Granary roster and put it aside to work on after the show.

I’m so glad now to have it finished …and have cleared some wall space in the studio to hang it after it dries, is varnished and photographed…just for us.

It has been years since I allowed myself to do a painting that wasn’t destined for a gallery or show. It’s good, as the song says, to “steal out with my paints and my brushes”…and paint as if nobody is watching.

But now…I’ve got to be getting on with the current still life. A few of the familiar props are making another appearance like the red stiletto, the silk camisole, and is that one of Polly’s cigarettes ? Really ?

Patience dear reader…all will be revealed…in good time.




Group challenge

The  new exhibition getting ready to open at Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO.
This new painting, Master Violet Ray #11, has been shipped out west for the show…which opens June 29th.

In case you are not familiar with exactly what a Master Violet Ray is… you might enjoy reading the Painter’s Notes for this one. Click HERE for the link.


There was a surprising gift under the studio tree this week…

John Seed has included my painting, The Beginner…

in his Huffington Post Blog as one of the top 10 Mememorable Paintings of 2011 . The painting is currently on display in the Small Works Exhibition at Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO.

From the depths of my creative hibernation… I thank you John.

Here’s the extended snippet of the comments I sent to John with my thoughts about the work…

I’ve got this friend Ted who just turned 95 and lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
Ted was a high school art teacher and artist and has spent almost a whole century now inspiring and encouraging artists. I met Ted about 10 years ago and he has been “schooling me” ever since. (I’m working right now on a painting of him in an apple orchard which he posed for last fall.)
We talk often over the phone as he lives alone now but when we are on the Vineyard we spend a lot of time with Ted.
His house is chock-a-block full of antiques and stories to go with each one.
I noticed a tin can in his kitchen one day that had a bunch of those old pencils in it.
Wonderful chunky thick lead Dixon pencils that he used to introduce younger students to drawing.
I got up the nerve on our last visit to ask him if I could have one and he said, “Oh, those old things…here take the lot”.
When I got them home to the Pennsylvania studio and took a closer look I saw that they have the word “Beginners” embossed on them. And, since I’ve recently been hammering home the importance of a strong foundation in drawing skills to a couple of our grandsons who have brought their art questions to my studio… the idea of pencil as prop began to congeal.
The pile of rocks which are from the beach in Chilmark brought it full circle back to Ted and the tiny swiss army knife was one of the few items I brought home from Florida where I had to take my father off of life support earlier this year. That experience and it’s wake have been slowly filtering into my work in some quite unexpected ways. So, while I wasn’t aware of this until I just wrote this out for you, I guess it weaves a thread through three generations… with the iconic pencil as talisman.