Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Memories

Memorial DayLike most, I get misty thinking about my personal connection to this somber holiday.

My grandfather (dad's dad) Samuel John Crute, was killed in action in North Umberland, England during WWI. None of us know much about him as my dad was only three years old. A small framed photo of the toddler was recovered from the pocket of his uniform which I believe my brother, Samuel Reid Crute still has today.

My favorite uncle (ma's brother) Albert M. Salisbury was a veteran off WWII and the Korean War.

heroic veteranAlbert M. Salisbury

It wasn't until after his passing a couple of years ago that his wife, my Aunt Ruth, informed me that he had been one of the first American liberators on the scene at Auschwitz. He never spoke of it and refused to discuss it - even with her. Imagine my pensive contemplation for never having a clue and the life impressions of what he likely witnessed.

Both of my brothers served in the military: the aforementioned Samuel Reid Crute and Richard Allen Crute.

True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world - Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fair Hill Races

Finally! We're back on the road.

All my years spent as a race tracker created a gypsy alter ego. Although I no longer wear skull bandanas around my head, I still savor the freedom of the open road, even if only for a short time. Some of my greatest inspiration manifests from the sense of place I experience as the landscape whizzes by.

Tomorrow (Sat. May 29th) I'll be participating as an exhibitor at the Fair Hill Races in Fair Hill, Maryland. If you're attending, be sure to stop by my booth so I can show off my artwork to you. First time to the steeplechase? Tradition, history and philanthropy permeate the milieu as well as excitement, fun events and lots of parties.

Fair Hill also offers pari-mutual wagering. Did that get your attention?

fair hill racesPhotos by Maggie Furbay & Walt Mateja.

steeplechaseEach handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too. - Lawrence Bixby

Sunday, May 09, 2010

For Your Consideration...

Ever see a copy of Variety before the Academy Awards? Lots of wooing and courting going on in those full page ads.

In a couple of weeks I'll be full-bore schmoozing as I vie for the attention of vendors at ArtPrize. Ever heard of this? It's an amazing art project that takes place within a three-square mile radius in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. From September 22nd to October 10th, artists from the entire planet take over the city. The organizers of the event step out of the picture after venues and artists have registered. "Venues" are exhibit spaces offered by both private and public entities. It's then up to the venues and artists to become smitten with each other.

I entered "Diagonal". That's the big nine-canvas piece that currently sits languishing in pieces in my painting rack. Even my downtown studio ceilings are not tall enough to accommodate. I've had the opportunity to exhibit it twice and I must say, it's impressive. So far, my magnus opus.

oil painting
Okay, I know that painting is passe with the art history/museum curator/trade mag/auction house or otherwise snooty art intelligentsia (you know, those who don't create art but supposedly are the know-all, end-all insiders with dubious opinions). But an amazing painting by Ran Ortner took the whole enchilada last year and that provided enough conviction to enter.

Which leads me to the good stuff: the winners are chosen by public vote. People's choice. And the people still like paintings.

"True, I've been a long time making up my mind, but now I'm giving you a definite answer. I won't say yes, and I won't say no - but I'm giving you a definite maybe." - Samuel Goldwyn

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

PRB - Post Recession Blues

Every artist feels restless angst about their artwork at certain points in their career.

During the bad economy, my productive approach morphed from innovative creating to...well, what the heck will sell. Although my business is optimistically increasing now, I seem to be affected by a bit of boredom and uninspired malaise. No doubt a result of losing sight of why we become artists in the first place.

But there's hope! As I floundered in the "what will sell" mode, I also found myself experimenting into new genres. A New England native with salt water in my veins - ocean paintings seem only natural...

seascape paintingOcean painting sketch, oil on canvas, 11"x14"

It's the foam that's important. The foam will play the leading role in a near-future painting.

"Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent." - H. P. Lovecraft