I’ve been playing catch up after an extended time away from the easel, and have been hitting the brushes hard for the last few weeks. So, I am a bit behind with this blog, and a long list of other things…
There are two new paintings which are out there in the gallery world and I wanted to let you take a peek.
This first one, The Self Portrait, is a painting of Zoe when she visited camp Gran and Mima last summer. There are traces of this chalk portrait lingering on the studio porch, and it warms my cold winter heart every day.
The second is a still life, Reeling, for which I have Alex to thank. He’s the one who got me excited about learning to fly fish, and gifted me with that lure, and a few hundred stories about his fishing adventures. I have my new rod, Sister Bean, at the ready by my kitchen door and on sunny days I practice my casting out in the yard. That may be as close as I get to hooking a fish, which would be fine because I mostly just enjoy the time spent with Alex. He’s a keeper.
Reeling is hanging in the current show at Gallery 1261, in Denver.
OK, now it’s back to work.
You all enjoy these lengthening days, and play nice out there.
We want to send huge love to Jane Slater, as today she celebrates her 40th year at the antique shop she and her husband Herb have operated in Menemsha. Someone else will be sitting behind this desk next season, but for me, I shall forever see her smile looking back.
Jane will step boldly into a new chapter and we wish her full speed ahead.
I always dreamed of being able to see the ocean from this kitchen window, while the bacon sizzled. The last summer we gathered on the bluff, this was the view.
I will remember this tiny galley space, full of friends, grabbing for pots and pans, reaching behind the dish-washer, who was sudsing away at the old porcelain sink… criss-crossing some other arm, in search of a knife for the cheese plate… and the two of us who were wrangling the lid on the about-to-boil lobster pot, which took up three of the four burners on the little stove, leaning to one side, as the screen door came banging in, and one or other of the urchins came flying by, after being told to fetch the bug spray for those who were re-applying after showers and a day at the beach.
If you were standing in that kitchen, looking out this window, and turned to your right, you would be enlisted as the “passer”.
The sliding window, opened to the sun porch, was the pass through for the ones who were charged with setting the table,and relaying drink orders, and hurrying the cooks along as the hungry beach stragglers, who had done the breakfast service, were seated at the long blue benches.
So many meals, so much laughter, some dancing, and not a few kisses, we just simply lived love in that space.
When first I visited this camp, on the bluff, at the edge of the world, there were six.
The most perfectly weighted, richly glazed, smoothly worn, ceramic mugs.
They aged with us, but even with a crack or chip or two, I could happily lose myself in that deep marine indigo cave.
“The muses wanted to weigh in on this election cycle, the prop room decided to step things back a century, and by the time I got around to choosing the right teacup…the eagle was doing a flyby.”
Goodnight Moon – 16 x 20
“Our youngest grand daughter, Zoë, is a firefly, sparkly, bouncy, Tigger sort of a girl. She has the gift of a magical curiousity, and the rare patience to make the most of everything new her 5-year old eyes come across. Our days together are a blast, but I think my favorite part is tucking her freshly brushed and pajama’d self under the covers, giving her an eagle hug, and listening from the room next door as her Gran reads one more book. Goodnight Moon is a favorite for us both. Zoë has her own copy; the book in this painting is the one that sent me to dreamland when I was her age. The mouse is eternal.”
And, after a frantic couple of days when this very website was off the rails…I want to send a shout out of thanks to my tech crew…Ross ! We in the creative department are so glad you’ve got our backs.
In July, when we were on the island of Martha’s Vineyard for the Granary Gallery show, I gave blog readers a teaser which may have left some of you wondering, why is a world famous photographer, David Fokos, following HN around with his camera ?
And why were his Emmy winning wife, Barbarella, and Herself in such gleeful moods down at the dock in Menemsha ?
Well, their award winning selves are executive producers for a new art venture,
A successful Kickstarter campaign launched them into the production phase where they have begun to film and interview artists. These documentaries will be featured on the network site.
I agreed to be one of their flagship projects and the fun began in earnest on MV in July.
David Fokos and I have been paired for the same group show week in the Granary’s summer schedule for a few years now, so we have come to know each other after long respecting each other’s work. He creates breathtaking, large format black and white photographs, like this…Eight Rocks and a Stone, Chilmark, Massachusetts, 2000.
Barbarella is, well…a Diva. I’ve linked the image below to the bio page on her website, and, while there, you can click around and find out a bucket full of interesting, humorous, artsy and eyebrow raising tidbits about Barb, her juicy creative mind, and her many projects.
Together, these two are a force for creative good, and, after two days of being tethered to them, (Literally, my pocket was full of wires and my every word…heard by a studio full of machines.)…and trying to keep up with their production energy…Pat and I fell into heaps of old lady exhaustion.
In between takes, and camera set ups, and retakes, and hours of listening to myself ramble about…myself…we had a few breaks to get to know each other better. Oh the laughter, the stories, the entertainment quotient was stellar, and we agreed that we live in exciting times.
Here are a few behind the scenes snaps from the first “shoot” on Martha’s Vineyard, and the last two days of frivolity, here in the studio. Click on thumbnails to view photos.
A bite at The Bite
Tea Cup Glam Shot
Herself as apprentice
The Artiste ?
A bit of bubbly Barb
Tree Top Tripod
The case for support
Going out…take three
Leaning in to listen
The Apprentice inspects…
Microphone on…and on….
It’s a wrap !
I’m in awe of the amount of work they managed to accomplish in this small and densely packed studio, and I’m in a stupor thinking back to my bumbling responses to their thought provoking questions. I have no idea what documentary worthy words they will be able to tease out of the mess that was my commentary…but I am confident in their abilities to make the visuals stunning.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress and let you know when they deem it launchable.
Now, it’s travel time for us…a weekend of wedding celebrations, then back to the island for some working R and R.
Here’s to the autumnal equinox and clear cooler days to come…Stay frosty out there, HN
Wolsey… this is one hysterical muse. I had a momentary respite, from her staccato background tapping. You’ll read below, that as the last Painter’s Notes were written, the studio fell silent. I took it as a sign. After years of Wolsey’s bombarding, every window through which I can be seen, and both wing mirrors on the truck, I thought maybe she/Ted/my father/whomsoever is driving that bird’s bus…was finally satisfied that I had received whatever message she was laying down.
Yesterday was a major clean up and trailer repair, so I was outside most of the day, but when I was inside…quiet. Today was a marathon of making the garden secure for the gardener to be away for a while. And now, I’m cooling down and crossing off the last things on the list. The second I sat here at the computer to log in the last of the new paintings…tap. TAP TAP TAP.
She’s back. Ya know, I was sort of afraid that the wandering cat, or a predator bird might have eaten her. So, I have to confess, after all this time and in spite of all the myriad levels of annoyance…I guess I sorta missed her.
Well, we are at the end now. These last three paintings complete the 2015 Granary Gallery Show. I hope to see some of you at the opening this coming Sunday, and, for those of you who won’t be able to make it, I thank you for all your support and kind words of appreciation. And now… I give you…Cardinal Wolsey…
Wolsey – 10 x 12
The following is an excerpt from November 2014. The bird had been pecking, steadily, at that point, for over a year. It is now June…2015…and if I could figure out how to put an audio recording on this site…you could hear her now.
Cardinal Wolsey. The ever present window slammer of a bird, is still with me. I now believe she is more than just a disturbed bird. Pat and Finn met a woman at the park last week who, after hearing the story of the intrepid one, immediately suggested that she was someone who I had known who had “passed on” and did I know anyone in the clergy. Well I sat back in my chair at that one. Seriously, my father, the Presbyterian minister, returned as the slammer ?
Possibly ? I’m still pondering that one. But this bird is definitely trying to tell me something. She now follows me from window to window and watches me all day long. The hurling Herself at the panes behavior seems to diminish when I settle in at the easel. Then she just flies up and stares at me…the rubbernecker.
Well, ok, that part could be Ted. He is definitely nudging me to focus on painting…probably as I write this…which is taking time away from what I began this blog with…
that perfect painting day.
Well, the dreary rain has turned to our first snowfall of the season. The promise of a winter wonderland, a bird in the oven, one at the window, and two dozen at the feeders…that’s all I need of Thanksgiving.
And, this…to all my friends and patrons, whose support allows me to do the work that is so meaningful to my soul…
Post Script – June 2015
After painting those eyebrows…I do believe it is Ted. He would wear the cappa magna with panache.
The Cardinal – 10 x 12
If you read the other notes on this little gal you understand the determination behind this gaze the relentless dementia of the tapping behavior the persistence of the muse
but you know what ?
ever since I finished these bird series paintings as I have been sitting here in the office for almost a week working on the computer to get these files up on the website and composing painters notes
Not a single tap.
The only other time that happened was when Zoe was here in the studio painting along side of me.
Now what do you make of that ?
Himself – 14 x 12
This is Ted’s teacup. (Thank you Terry) And an old coin silver spoon with which Ted gifted to us a long time ago.
But that bird… she’s all mine.
Cardinal Wolsey. Each time I painted her, I fell deeper into those eyes.
There’s a thing about birds. You can never get close enough in person to really look into their eyes.
I have dozens of good photos now of Wolsey, but there are hundreds of blurry rejects that were snapped just before and just after she smashed into the window.
The split second of the camera lens has given me a gift.
For all her racket, and by that I mean demented torturous unrelenting eternal-faucet-dripping madness of the tapping…
The eagles nest. Late winter. Two eggs. The whole world watches. In the wee hours on the morning of Herself’s birthday I lay in the dark and looked on my phone at the snow covered nest.
There was a crack. And then a hole. And then a tuft of down. And then a beak.
By that evening. There were two.
After months of tuning in. After Zoe and I noticed how the Mama would tuck those babies in tight with her giant eagle wings… and we started giving each other eagle hugs. After learning that I could keep the video playing by leaning the phone on my easel ledge. After dozens of terrifying tippiness of the tenders scooting along the edge. And cringing into a fetal position each time the bully knocked the bobble head heck out of his sibling. After tilting our own heads to see what was shooting out of…oh. And identifying the species of dozens of carcasses. After watching them break through the shell of ice covered wings. And sympathetically panting along with their tiny tongues in the hot afternoons. After learning that this branching thing they do… flapping untested wings and hopping OUT OF THE NEST onto the nearby branches…is normal. And seeing up close and personal some pretty raw footage of feeding. After all that… They ate the camera.
Well, not really. But they jumped on it and it tilted to a very vertigo unfriendly angle straight down to the ground… 150 feet down.
Occasionally now, there is a wing tip. And once I saw three minutes of a talon. But it’s pretty much over for the ten million of us who raised these kids. They have fledged.
The nest is about 20 miles from us. So their weather was our weather. Their snow, we had to shovel. Their lightening, was our thunder. And their dark, was our bedtime.
Trespassers were prosecuted. But there is an outpost, across the lake, where watchers can watch. I’m told they stick around the nest. You have to use a massive lens for not much eagle. So I don’t go. I’m still upset at getting them so far only to miss out on the big exodus.
So I painted this. A little eagle tea hug from the studio.
After our pal Ted died, my friend Katie and I decided to honor his being in our lives, with a road trip.
Ted used to grab his stick, and match a stylish hat to his shoes, and lift the plastic handicapped parking sign from the kitchen hook and into the truck we would climb to wander the island in search of painting ideas.
Ted knew everyone and every corner on Martha’s Vineyard. Even after he lost most of his sight, and all of his hearing, and none of his wits, he could still navigate us to the most god forsaken dirt road dead ends, and take three steps further, and be standing before beauty.
Gay Head lilies, at the end of a meadow, that we reached by marching straight through a woman’s yard to see. Should we knock first Ted ? No, she won’t mind. Turns out she didn’t.
The towering brickyard chimney, at the bottom of the steepest rockiest dirt road the truck had ever seen, which all but bounced his own self into the heath. PG was in the front seat, and Ted was folded like a Gumby in the tiny back jumper.
Climbing to the top of Crick Hill, all the while swinging his cane dangerously close to my head, to illustrate his historical narration.
Posing, unknowingly, at the top of the beach steps alongside Pete in those weathered moccasins.
And so, so much more. So, anyway, Katie misses him too, so we are now doing Ted Trips. On this one we did most of our looking from the car, because my new knee was still pretty new, but we did manage to climb around Cedar Tree Neck long enough to get the tick that gave me Lyme Disease, and we did some knitting parked at the beach in Menemsha eating our snack, and Katie wanted to take me to see the new library, where she spends some quality time with friends and literature. But it was closed. We walked around the building, getting a glimpse here and there of the shiny new interior, but coming back up the hill to the car it was the big old grey mailbox that caught my eye.I had told her of my rambling idea of painting “Up Island Openings”, gates and windows and granite pillars and such. Not a theme yet, just a whisper of a concept really.
She thought the mailbox would fit right in, actually I think she was humoring me and inwardly suspected that the cheese was sliding off the sandwich. But she’s a gem and a kind soul… and after some consideration her razor sharp brain came up with Portals.
Yep, that’s much better than openings. This is the first in that whispered at series… notice how I got it to fit into the more concretely thought out “Bird Series” ?
After an afternoon of conversing, on the studio porch, about all things Star Wars with Steve and Denise, and hearing about their adventures at the convention in Anaheim, I dug into the archives for this painting, and a visit back to the blog entry about the book Visions…Here’s another look…and a link to read the full post…CLICK HERE
So this morning…
I was taking the first look at the newest addition to the studio library, STAR WARS Art: Visions published by Abrams, (the cheap version). It’s a stellar collection of Star Wars inspired art by contemporary artists.
And it occurred to me that I had done a Star Wars painting too…
Here’s a closer look.
While it wasn’t commissioned by George Lucas, that little McDonald’s Toy version of Yoda has been a constant muse since the very early days of the saga and sits ever vigilant by my easel watching… and whispering…
Kudos to the artists whose work fills the new book…I’ll enjoy dipping into that this winter…