Horizon Continues

7 April 09

Buckle down time …

In a little over a week our little family of 2 will triple… and then some. The Follansbee Family will be arriving for the better part of a week so Papa can give his lectures at Winterthur Museum Furniture Forum and so that we can have our much needed fix of hugs and giggles from Mama, Rose and Daniel.

And …at the tail end (pun intended) of their visit…we bring home our new pup Finnegan !

My goal was to get this mammoth painting finished by then … sooooo brushes up !

Here’s where we stand as of 8am this morning…

horizon-continues

After days and days of rendering those tiny little shacks I have enough detail on them to move over and get some paint on the right side of the panel. It’s amazing to me how much harder it is to get a building to appear convincingly ( jury’s still out on that ) real when it is an inch tall vs. 6 inches tall.

 little-houses

The line of buildings in the distance will be partially obscured by boats and pylons and loads of nautical detritus in the middle and foreground …you can see a piece of the sketch taped to the easel which I will have to re-trace on top of the foundation work I’ve done…so I’m holding off of the final details until I see what will be revealed.

But I needed to see some real progress… so last night I blew in some vegetation and roughed in a few more of the houses on the hill. I have one good reference for the late afternoon October sun that I am striving to portray…Menemsha is a popular place for islanders to come and watch the sunset and pick up their fish or lobsters for supper at Larsen’s and the quality of the air and light makes the autumn sunsets particularly magical…but when I took those photos in 2004 I was concentrating on the fishing shack and I did not pan over to get shots of the houses on the hill or the buildings in the distance. And almost all of the several hundred other shots I took in the ensuing 5 years are in vastly different lighting conditions. So I am using that age old artistic license to render a continuity of light…and throwing in some clouds to suggest that one could be blowing over at any moment and throw a house or two in shadow.

vegetation-layer

One part of sharing the process of painting something step by step that I don’t like is that you don’t get to watch the viewer as they see a painting for the first time and are drawn closer, from the back of a gallery, to discover a whole new world of details and whimsy at the surface level and beyond. Feels like I’m a bit of a spoiler.

One such conceit that I am consciously preparing for them is this tiny little version of the Quitsa Strider…

tiny-strider1

For last year’s Granary Gallery  show I painted an 8 foot homage to this wonderful old swordfishing boat…so it seemed fitting to include her here…even if she’s only 2 inches long. Diminished in size but certainly not stature.

Forgive me if I take this opportunity to mention that I do still have some of the limited edition prints we made of that painting available…

striders-surrender

Click on the boat for more information and to purchase a print.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of each print is donated to help support the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society … and this year I will be extending that support to include a dontation to the newly formed MV/Dukes County Fisherman’s Association .

Your support now filters down to become a multi – layered stimulus package.

Thank You !

NOW… enough shameless commerce…!!!!

Back to the easel…


All A-Buzzing

6 February 09

The mid-winter sunshine is melting away some of the sadness in the studio and work and life continues to push me forward.

We had a wonderfully healing visit from my pal Peter Follansbee this week on his way to and from giving a lecture at a furniture conference in Colonial Williamsburg.  Many of you know that Peter is THE world renowned expert in 17thCentury Joinery and I got to tag along with him on tuesday as he went to the nearby Winterthur Museum to take a look at a painted wooden box made in 1698. It was a blast to be his lackey and get a rare behind- the -scenes look at the museum and meet their  curator and top scientist. Peter has been hired by the MFA, Boston to reproduce the missing top half of a cabinet which is in their collection. The details to which his assembled team is investigating how the original might have been produced and decorated…and the microscopic analysis of the paint samples from the four existing examples of this furniture…are beyond amazing.  If you’re at all interested in woodworking you will find his blog entries to be a remarkable wealth of information both historical and practical.  www.pfollansbee.wordpress.com

follansbee-the-professor72

This week also saw the launching of Laurie R. King’s Fifteen Weeks of Bees project. Regular readers of this blog will know that LRK is one of my favorite authors and that listening to her books in the studio has inspired many a painting. So, when she wrote to me a few months ago to invite me to participate in a fun project to help launch the newest installment in the Mary Russell Series…I couldn’t reply fast enough.

The idea is an old one … in the authors words…” Russellscape is an ‘endless landscape’ or myriorama—a series of panels with precisely the same colors at precisely the same places along their left and right edges. If all those edges match, then the individual panels, when laid side by side, form a continuous image…” 

In this case she was looking for the illustrations to relate in some way to the MR series characters, story lines or geographic locations in the books. My first thought was of the painting that I had finished last year… The Beecharmer. The idea for which had blossomed many years ago while I was reading the very first book in the series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. It took  a few years of incubation and a larger studio to bring my composition to the panel … and it has taken the same number of years for LRK to return to the hive, so to speak, with her latest novel’s title…The Language of Bees  which hits the bookstores on 22 May 09.

So, with a little bit of help from Photoshop… and a lot of artistic license and latitude… here is the image I came up with …final-draft-jpg-web

and here’s where you can see how they integrated it into the Russellscape… (Scroll down to the bottom of her home page to see the slide show ) http://www.laurierking.com/ .

It was a lot of fun and a huge honor for this humble artist to be included, so many thanks Laurie.

You too can participate as she is encouraging other artists to add their own panels… so follow the links on her site to find the details. There will be a contest coming up to pick the favorite panel…so get to the library and bone up on your Mary Russell stories and have fun. ” The Games A-foot !”

And, one last plug…the original painting,  The Beecharmer  can be seen here on my website…and is available now at the Granary Gallery .

And Now… I weave my way from Ye Olde Cabinet Shoppes of the 17th century … through the back alleys of  19th century London… across the moors and back across the pond…to the dune swept seascapes of Martha’s Vineyard…and straight onto a movie set ?  

Next up on the easel… a painting commissioned for a movie currently wrapping up production by producer/director  Tappan Heher … “Mistover”.

Much more to come on this exciting project soon… but, for now, the muses are calling.

Be well,   HN