In a year of fundamental and existential shifts one of the most profoundly traumatic and transformative was the untimely passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In a year when not a day went by without weeping that day, we heard the news, was truly the nadir among all the trials and sorrows. A test from the Stoic Gods at war with the Muses.
Tribute upon tribute recorded her legacy as a “Prophet of Justice”. That was a fine place to begin.
The hand painted teacup is among my finest Her two gilded handles…the scales The stalwart facade of the wooden bench flanked by a single marble column…on the left Iron clad lace trimming a plain muslin cloth and the beaded stars heavenly hung in dissent and wisps of whimsy trailing notes of the sublime
Dearest Prophet…may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Shivering here in the studio the winter winds are swirling about and a storm is brewing just over the horizon…
in a teacup ?
There is nothing that makes me happier than a monster snow storm in the forecast. So, as I prepare to batten down the hatches for the Nor’easter predicted to hit us soon.. I’ve created a tiny video for you to get a closer look at this temped tossed teacup…stay safe and SHOVELS UP !!!
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 for two.
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…