Monday, July 21, 2014

Day Two, Monday

Big day today, the only day this week that I don't have a scheduled event. So I got up at 5.30 to paint a bright red barn as the sun came up. Great plan. Terrible painting.
Spent the rest of the day at a dairy farm painting a grand barn

grand barn on EE 12 x 24

and a window detail.
Window

By 6pm I'd run out of water and energy so I came home to tidy up the first three and get one of them ready to take to the gallery tomorrow. Have to have something hanging on the wall by 11am

Sunday, July 20, 2014

day one. Sunday

Barn on Red Cherry (I think) 
I realize that Ive been talking all evening and now I've run out of things to say and this is a very boring, prosaic blog post.

Began the day with a morning at the house waiting. Reading, looking at my watch, pacing. I tried to get more sleep but I was too agitated and eager to start. At 2 o'clock the event began and I got all my blank panels and watercolor paper stamped by the organizers at the Peninsula School of Art. This is to make sure that only work done during the week is submitted for the exhibition on Friday. Got my information packet, lanyard and tee shirt (which I have to wear all day every day for a week), and signed up for three sponsored painting events. These are scheduled painting events at specific locations in Door County where the pass holders who have paid for the privellage, will be guaranteed to find us painting at a certain time, and will be able to eat muffins, pastries and be served beverages while we paint. The rest of the week I am free to paint where and when I please on the peninsula.
We had to be back at the school at 5 for a logistics meeting and for a meet and greet with collectors and hosts, so that only left me with 2 hours to paint this first afternoon. Which was frustrating but I got something largely finished, and Im pleased to have got underway.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Door County summer 2014

For the past four years Ive been invited up to Door County in Northern Wisconcin to paint, and each time I have returned to Chicago exhausted and exhilarated. This is the most adrenaline-filled, frenetic and challenging week of my professional calendar each year. A week of painting against the clock, in spite of the elements, in front of fellow artists, collectors, gallerists and the swarming throngs of vacationers in this beautiful peninsula. Up before dawn each day and on the go till after dusk each evening to produce an exhibition by Friday night. It s the closest I will ever come to an olympic event.
So I arrived at 10 this evening in the beautiful lake home of Chicago architect (and my friend) Jim Nagle.

Usually he is here too (a keen watercolorist himself) along with his partner and my longtime studio mate, Mary Ann Alexander, but for one reason and another i have the place to myself this year, which is a bit weird. And lonely. 
On my way up I stopped in to the Public Museum in Kenosha to jury the local school district High School student art competition with my colleague from the American Academy, Tom Herzberg. High school art is a lot better than it was in my day, or at least in my day in my high school. And on our way to the art competition we took in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA) annual juried exhibition which was very good to see. Saw a lot of work that one would expect to see in such a watercolor show, and certainly a great deal of technically excellent works, but there were four or five that would have looked very handsome in the Barber Kennedy home.
Reservation Wall, Dean Mitchell
For a few years Ive heard the name Dean Mitchell, as in "You remind me of…." or "You probably know…" or "I bet you like…"
Well today I saw my first Dean Mitchell and I can say that I like and I remind me of Dean Mitchell.

So its time for bed and tomorrow the games begin.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dirk Fosgaard. The Wheels (excerpt)

Dirk Fosgaard was the wheels for most of their activities. He'd learned most of his skills driving crates of fish in the family's old Saab truck, from their home near Lom back and forth across the icy Sognefjellet pass.
The family had a long history as fish merchants and, as a boy, Dirk had always dreamed that one day he would drive his father's truck full of shiny, bright eyed pike clear over the pass and not stop till he reached the great ocean at Bergen.
As it turned out, he did make such a journey one clear summer's night, but as a hitch-hiker, drunk, at the age of twenty four,  having driven the old Saab into a drainage ditch, leaving Pere Fosgaard without transportation and Lena Olmstead without a solid plan about who'd be helping her to raise the baby come December.

from the The Burnley Street Gang archives.
Photo credit to: Jarle W√¶hler / Statens vegvesen

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A gift from my mother….an Anthropomorphic worldview

I stand deliberately to the south of the room whenever people gather in my kitchen to talk. Its not because of the light or to create an easy flow around the island, encouraging people to enter further into our home.
Its because I feel sorry for the floor joists who are already straining to support a considerable load from the stove.
My mother once dreamed she was a bed sheet, neatly folded about halfway up a stack of bed linen in the closet.


There is a tree in our garden, a mighty mighty oak which must be a hundred years old. Its my favorite tree, of all the trees I have ever known. But I can't help but wonder how much it must hurt having its arms out like that day after day.
Today I read an interview with Mark Mothersbaugh, co founder and singer of Dadaist Post Punk band Devo. It made me smile and helped me understand a little more about myself and my work.

"We decided in the vegetable kingdom we would be potatoes. Potatoes were dirty and asymmetric and lived underground, yet they were a staple of the American diet and were on your plate just about every single meal. But you never talked about them. So we decided we were potatoes, where Brooke Shields was an asparagus."



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ELEVATION a major exhibition of my work in the UK

Venice   watercolour on panel 24" x 24" 
There's a lot of emails going back and forth, and a buzz of excitement as I work with Antlers Gallery and my brother in Bristol developing the plans and logistics for what will be the largest collection of my paintings ever displayed in the UK. Its taken a year so far to get the gallery, the dates and the work all in alignment and now, with only four weeks to go there seems to be still so much to organise. I cant imagine how this kind of thing ever happened before email was invented.

Monday, May 19, 2014

On The Road

12 pieces on their way up to Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Northern Wisconcin tomorrow. It will my first attempt at driving up and back (5 hours each way) in a single day. Looking forward to listening to JK Rowling on the journey.
I shall probably look grumpy when I get home.