The Morning Bell – Painter’s Notes

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
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.


Storm Study – Painter’s Notes

It’s an early start for me in the studio this morning…

but I want to take you to the end of another day…

last October…when the wind was raging

and the clouds were heavy and dark

and the sea was gathering it all in

Storm Study – 12 x 20

We kept chasing this sunset.
After we watched it move in
and over the Vanderhoop House
up on the hill
we thought it was spent.

Wanting to make our last night…last
we took the Moshup Trail
where the wind picked back up
and blew a sand devil across the road.

I turned around and the clouds
were on fire…so…
I parked at this trailhead
and taking one step out of the car
was blown back into my seat.

Undaunted..
I managed to make it half way up this dune
before my weak knees gave out
but not before I caught a glimpse
of what the sea had to say…

Right before
everything in the world
changed.


Aquinnah Sunset

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…

And then…
the reckoning.


Painter’s Notes – 2

Next up for this year’s Granary Gallery show is…

Derby’s Wake – 16 x 20

Part of what makes October special
on Martha’s Vineyard
is the Derby.

Fishermen from all over the world
come to test their mettle
against each other
and the sea.

When the weather blows in stormy
as it did last year
and Nor’ easters backed up
one after the other
it was really exciting…
to grab a couple cups of chowder
at Larsen’s and drive up to the beach.

From that vantage you could
see the bravest amongst those shore rod and reelers
fighting the waves and wind
and feel all cozy and safe and warm
as you rooted for them to beat the odds.

On our last night on the island
we drove to Menemsha to say goodbye
and no one was home
we were the only ones in the parking lot
and this boat was the sole vessel afloat.

Turns out we were there at the exact moment
when all those fishermen were at the other end of the island
celebrating the victorious among them
at the awards ceremony.

So this is literally…
In the Derby’s Wake.


Painter’s Notes…now premiering on YouTube !!!

OK…

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.

It did not
disappoint.


Postcards from the Ledge – 23

The intense emotions and recalculations of this roller coaster of a week have left us dazed…but we are closing it out in a much better place thanks in no small part to the true kindness of friends.

And honestly…that could describe every single week of this year so far…probably for each one of us.

So…Onward !

While this particular morning rings in a foggy soupy kind of summer day…

In this next painting, I want to take you to another kind of summer’s day…

The Morning Bell  –  24 x 30

A bright and colorful familiar along the Menemsha dock.

What I wouldn’t give to be sitting on a bench there now.

You all stay safe out there…

 


Postcards from the Ledge – 22

I remember this heart piercing quiet now.
In Finnegan’s wake the studio may feel empty…
but it is full of paintings.

The logistics have all been ironed out for this year’s Granary Gallery show to travel on up to the island.

With the wicked virus floating around, we are most gratefully relying on the helpers in our world to make it safe for us to manage the parts of this workflow that require contact with the outside world. This week the frames arrive, thank you Julie and Kory. Next week the trailer gets loaded, thank you Matt and Paul. And then it gets hooked up and driven north.

Now all those thank yous are in advance and it will take some powerful angel to sync these steps smoothly into place…
luckily we have a brand new one.

Seems fitting then to show you today’s painting…

In the Derby’s Wake  –  16 x 20


The Flock

The Flock  –  48 x 92

And we have arrived at the end…
only to start at the beginning.

I owe everything Vineyard to my friend Lynn.
She brought me here for the first time.

We would throw a box of spaghetti and some brownie mix
into her car and drive from our shared apartment in Somerville
out to the ferry and over to her beloved island.

It was ten years or more before I even knew there were towns
other than Chilmark.

We drove straight from boat to bluff
and left only briefly for the annual lobster from Larsen’s
…and regular visits to Chilmark Chocolate.

Lynn had the biggest heart I’ve ever known
and its core and depths were chiseled out of those cliffs.

Her honest and joyful humor was wedged in between
every one of the giant stones she tended along her wall.

Her kindness and overflowing generosity
live on in the daffodils that now soak up her spring sunshine.

Her friendship and her family have given me
the closest thing to a home that I have ever known.

The monarch is for her.
Actually it may BE her.

For me
they always will be.

On the day I captured this light
there was a very short window
of this calm after the storm
just enough time
for the sheep to make their way
across the field to where I stood
and as the sun began to set
she flew behind me
and landed on this bend of grass
and stayed until I turned around.

Her smile was exactly as I remembered it
with that laughter and love
come to share the moment
which I had been searching for
all those years
as we had made a ritual of stopping
at this turnout each time we left her camp
to see if the sheep were there
and the muses might be too.

After four decades …
and with a wink and a nod
from one happy dancing angel
they did.

Thank you dear sweet soul.


Visions revisited…

Last year at this time,
I was polishing up the tiara,
and mirror ball,
for the opening of …

Since then, the dynamic creative production duo of David and Barbarella Fokos,
aka Salt and Sugar Productions
have been dividing their time between studio work, filming and editing of new productions for TAO, The Artist’s Odyssey (check out their updated website),
oh…AND enjoying awards ceremonies at International Film Festivals.

Indeed, news that Visions of Home
was an official selection of NOVA Fest — the Northern Virginia International Film & Music Festival (http://www.novafilmfest.com), came across the airwaves back in March.

Then comes news this week, that TWO of their films will be included in the
Oceanside International Film Festival 2017, next month !!!

Yep, that’s me at the easel again…still painting that blue door !

So, as I am in final production for my next show, at the Granary Gallery in only a couple weeks, I have been given the opportunity to provide my readers and viewers with a special chance to see the movie, Visions of Home, in all it’s seaside glory, here from my website.

For anyone who might have missed it the first go round,
or who may be new to this site because they saw it at some film festival without knowing beforehand who that old woman with the paint all over her shirt was,
and for the rest of you who just simply cannot get enough of watching paint dry,
and do not let me overlook Finnegan’s fan base…

Anyway, David has made a lovely page dedicated to the movie where you can see the trailer and watch the full film and get some backstory, with the wonderful blog post that Barbarella wrote about last years’ debut screening and some of the process behind their process, which alone is worth the read…and he’s included the article which The Vineyard Gazette published around the time of the opening in which they interviewed Barb and David about the making of the film.

So grab a bowl of popcorn,
pull up your lawn chair by the kiddie pool,
put a straw in some cool beverage,
set your favorite viewing device to this link…

Visions of Home

and Herself and I will welcome you into our lives…
and our hearts.

 


Betsy’s Gift

In honor of the 42nd anniversary of the opening of the movie Jaws…
I give you Betsy’s Gift.

These dear lads had spent a glorious afternoon fishing up and down the dock in Menemsha. I sat outside of Larsen’s eating my steamers and enjoyed their serious minded focus and the simple pleasures of the day.

At one point the blue shirted boy came running out of the back door with that blue bin
and brought it over for the others to inspect…”Look what Betsy gave me !”

The boys were excited and immediately set to work cutting up the bait fish.
If you had been there, I think you would have smiled along with me.

And then you could look to your left,
just there around the basin of fishing shacks,
no more than a hundred yards
from where these young fisherman are standing,
and…using your imagination,
and a healthy dose of nerves,
you could see where Steven Speilberg himself
directed, from the dock out back of the Galley,
lo those 42 years ago,
as they filmed that epic sea drama.

I’m heading home now,
the pizza has just arrived,
and it’s time for the annual viewing.

Yes, we are going to need a bigger boat.