And Finally…

If I did this right, this should post all by itself on the morning of the Granary Gallery Show opening. And if all else goes well, Pat and I will be waking up to a beautiful day on the Vineyard as you read this.

As I am writing this tonight it is almost midnight and we are still a week away from leaving home, the studio is full of carefully wrapped paintings, the trailer has yet to be cleaned out, and there is much packing yet to do…so you can imagine that this new technology is playing little tricks on my weary psyche.

It has been a long and rewarding journey to make my creative way through this series, Reclamation. And without further ado, I give you it’s finale…

Severe Clear – 40″ x 70″

Severe Clear

My guide at the beginning of this journey was Denys Wortman, a MV Museum Board member whose Vineyard roots are deeply woven into the fabric of the island, Denny was a fountain of information.

I returned to the building many times during that visit last autumn and tried to experience how the light and shadows changed over the course of a day.   One morning Denny met me and brought along the museum flag.  When I stepped outside to walk across the wide expanse of front lawn to help him raise it I commented on how there wasn’t a cloud in the crisp October sky.  “Pilots call that Severe Clear”,  he replied.

Back in my Pennsylvania studio when I was looking through the sketches and notes I had taken I found that I had written down that phrase and, for almost every morning of the dozens of days it took me to paint this view from the balcony, the spring sky here was brilliantly cloudless…so the title fits.

I became intimately familiar with every one of these buildings, and boats and trees over the many weeks of working on this painting. But it was the tiniest of details that the muses insisted on which kept a sparkle in my bleary eyes. The pinpoint of green in the traffic lights at the drawbridge, the rigging on the tall ships, the picnic table where Pat and I eat Chef Hesi’s sushi,  the ducks in the rippling current, the flecks of red paint on the oar…and the best of all…the little dog on the back of the boat.

You will need a magnifying glass to see him…I sure did.

So now my tale is told. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has already begun the renovation work to revitalize this old Marine Hospital, and bring about it’s next incarnation as the future home of the MV Museum. I hope this series of paintings will offer another layer of historical perspective on the long life of this building to those new generations to come who visit the museum.

Now you all go out and have some good old summer fun… and we will raise a toast to you tonight…thanks for listening,


The spaces in between…

When I settle in to work on a big painting my focus narrows, the creative energy tightens, and all the weeks of slogging through pondering compositional elements and deciding what to keep in and what to leave out, of sketching and panel prepping, and of reworking those sketches and printing out piles of detail reference photos…it all reaches a crescendo and, like the stretching of a rubber band, it suddenly snaps ! …and the first brushes hit the canvas. So it was, all that creative momentum strung taut, when I began the large painting, Severe Clear, for this summer’s Granary Gallery show.

But now, some 300 easel hours later, I am looking back and see, on my camera’s photo stream, that there were some wonderful moments in the spaces between all those long days of lifting brushes. When I paid homage to my most favorite springtime rituals. When I literally stopped to smell the roses, and to enjoy the first of the fiddleheads, and the first grilled pizza of the season, the annual pilgrimage to the Sheep and Wool Festival, to sit of an afternoon in the studio garden with loving family, and to enjoy this wonderful life we have together.

I’ll be telling you about the rest of the project, of which this painting is a keystone work, in little bit,  a series of paintings which feature a Marine Hospital on Martha’s Vineyard that is about to open a new chapter in its historic life, but in the meantime…here’s a sneak peak at the big one, Severe Clear, and some of the studio highlights experienced along the way…

And now, I give you… Severe Clear

Severe Clear