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…
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 and…
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.
So… 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.
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 can change in the blink of an eye.
Last year, 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.
Looking back… From where we all are now… I can seen how powerfully looming a harbinger the raging… and then clearing… of that Nor’easter was.
We thought our world had shifted something mighty back then…
NOW I can finally tell you that I have finished all of the Painter’s Notes for this year’s Granary Gallery show and …. they are all up on my new YouTube channel.
I’m going to test a link here to see if it will take you there...click here.
Ok that seems to have worked…at least it does on my computer but please let me know if it’s not appearing on your end.
You can enter my name in a YouTube search and find them as well.
I’ve had some help along the way…thanks from my tech gurus Barbarella and Paul…and a whole lot of patience as I came home later and later each night…love ya babe…but for the most part, climbing this learning curve has been fun.
I’m going to publish them here on the blog as I have in the past but this year I’ll be including the brand spanking new video versions along with the traditional printed ones.
In the shameless self promotion department…if you like what you see they tell me it really makes a difference to hit that like button…and if you also click the subscribe link you will get notices of all future videos that I share. Bonus tip…there will be at least one more coming…a studio visit which Herself is already ironing her outfit for.
So we’ll start with the big one…Menemsha Morning (video link above)
This painting is the culmination of a dream I have had for over 40 years.
To spend the night and wake up in the village of Memensha.
Last year that dream came true.
And every morning for a week I got to experience for my creative soul everything magical that harbor has to offer.