Monday, September 29, 2008

Great Shout Out

As Michael and I were hanging the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Equine Art Exhibit 2008 last week, we were interviewed by Lashonda Stinson Curry, entertainment features writer for the Ocala Star Banner local newspaper. In her reliably excellent journalistic style, she covered our show with insight and articulate observation. A fabulous story resulted that you can read about here. Unfortunately, the online version doesn't illustrate the fantastic photographic spread featured on the "Arts and Travel" front page.

Many thanks to Lashonda, photographer Erica Brough and the Ocala Star Banner!

Publicity, publicity, publicity is the greatest moral factor and force in our public life” - Joseph Pulitzer

Friday, September 26, 2008


Michael and I have spent the last week preparing for the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Fall Equine Art Exhibit 2008. You see, Michael as curator must attend to all the paperwork involved in addition to acquiring the artwork and fielding phone calls. Events Coordinator Betsy Whitaker and Public Relations Coordinator Meredith Woods have lent their invaluable help with all facets of organizing this event.

florida thoroughbred charitiesMichael has his hands full. Not to mention his wife dumps the monumental task of hanging her huge nine-panel piece, "Diagonal" It took almost two days and required a lift to install the upper canvases.

sharon crute diagonalThere were logistics of weight and balance to be considered. During creation, I often pondered how the heck we'd hang the ever growing artwork but was told..."just paint it and we'll worry about that later". Uh-huh, as one canvas begets another and another.

A request that we minimize the impact on the wall led to further challenges. The bottom third of the piece is suspended with the gallery hanging system and the top third is secured directly to the wall.

horse racing artThe back of the canvases are secured with t-braces and the top three pieces are reinforced with one long horizontal aluminum brace. Because the gallery hanging system would not allow the cohesive unit that I originally intended, a bit of velcro and tape secured the transition into the top canvases. Of course, this won't be an issue when permanently installed.

"A painting that makes me stretch beyond the comfortable and easy is one that makes me want to paint more. Too many of the easy ones and I'd be looking for something else to do". - Gary English (I hear ya, Gary)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tile Experiments

The task of tiling the shower is now upon me. I thought it best to do a few test runs. I've never tiled anything, but I thought, heck, it's not rocket science. Sure, the pros could show me some techniques and shortcuts, but I'll jump in with both feet and see what this thinset and grouting is all about.

terracotta planterFirst project - a small terracotta pot. The fun part is smashing up the tiles and then embellishing with found objects. Here, I've added marbles (see, I haven't lost 'em all). I purchased terracotta stained grout to match the pot. The bromeliad is thriving in it's new stylish digs.

terracotta paversOn to large round pavers with my big foot to illustrate scale. These will go out into my garden, however, the grout instructions call for a 21 day wait. Until then, they pretty-up my concrete studio floor. Hmmm, arty stepping stones throughout the studio?

tilesYou can add just about any found object or use stuff that's piling up in the junk or jewelry box. Those round opalescent objects are too-heavy earrings along with a few sterling and plastic beads. One must be mindful of small things that will be swallowed up by the grout.

You can forget about placing another tile on the roof of your country house. - Monique Gadaud
(huh? what about my marbles?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

North-South Bovine Theory

A scientific report released last month disclosed that cows and other types of grazing animals have a knack for aligning themselves with the poles of the planet. Most face north and about 1/3 face south.

cows facing northYup. I'll never look at a herd of cows the same ever again. From now on, upon spotting these languid creatures out my car window, I'll be searching for the position of the sun and other directional clues to test out this theory.
cows aligned north and southNotice there's a few rebels in the herd. Those that graze on their own terms, refusing to follow the herd. Are these the visionaries? The creatives? Or are these the bad girls who can't help being naughty and contrary...

bisonDeer also participate within these uncanny sensory parameters. Do bison?

Okay, before you dismiss me as udderly corny and silly, wait...if you share the humor of an eight year old as I do, prepare yourself for:

Q. Why did the roping horse head west?
book previewA. He wanted to see Cow-la-fornia!

No longer diverted by other emotions, I work the way a cow grazes” - Kathe Kollwitz (and now facing north, no doubt)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Awakening 9/11/08

kronos quartetKronos Quartet

"We hope to create equilibrium on the midst of imbalance: a special covering on an open wound" - David Harrington, Kronos Quartet.

Such is the explanation of an extraordinary experience for a tribute to the anniversary of 9/11 that we attended last night at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida. The program was mesmerizing, powerful and profound. The compositions were compelling. This artist's imagination was launched into the outer boundaries of time/space continuum.

The evening ended with a performance of hope and renewal by the P.K. Yonge Middle School Performing Arts Chorus. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

I've followed the quartet for many years as this sound is synonymous with extreme epiphanies and inspired soulful perceptions. What a long, long way from my California days of eccentric stringed-out versions of "Purple Haze".

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture". - Laurie Anderson (who performs at UF next week)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Building Relationships

There are times that I experience frustration that sales here at home in Ocala are somewhat lukewarm. After all, this is the self-proclaimed "Horse Capital of the World". Fact is, while there are many wealthy, gorgeous horse farms here, the well-heeled owners just don't shop in Smalltown.

So I shrug off the pity jacket and focus on the wonderful business relationships I've developed that are of crucial importance. These connections take time to form and are strengthened through trust and reliability. My primo gallery, The Paddock Room Galleries here in Ocala is one essential association. The University of Florida Equine Veterinary Hospital is a new and promising one. Countless individuals also fall under this relationship subject.

The Florida Breeders' and Owners' Association is a significant affiliation for me. They appreciate my good will contributions to the racing industry and in return, generously support me with invaluable publicity by using my artwork like this:

thoroughbred artThis invitation is sent out to the FTBOA members (over 2,000 nationwide) to attend the annual Membership Cocktail Party on October 5th during the festivities of Ocala Week.

Michael is busy curating a terrific exhibit of top equine artists from across the country to be installed in the FTBOA gallery. A portion of the sales will benefit the Florida Thoroughbred Charities. My artwork, again, on the invitation:

equine art
More info on the exhibit to come.

Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships. - H. Ross Perot

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Color Correction

Never say never. I stated to anyone who'd listen that I wouldn't turn my "real art" into giclee reproductions. Well, this piece is extremely popular and these are difficult times. As soon as I begrudgingly caved (to convincing pressure), I received three orders.

thoroughbred racing artMile and a Sixteen (and change) oil on eighteen 12" square canvas panels

The piece depicts an entire horse race from start to finish. For a more detailed description of my thought process, click here. I've spent the last couple of days "color correcting" which I must say is becoming easier now that EVERYTHING is going digital - however it's still a daunting task.

But I did get out tonight to attend the opening reception of the Ocala transplant Bobby Goldsboro painting exhibit at the Marion Cultural Alliance. Remember him? He had a string of hits during the 60's, most notably the tear jerker "Honey". I spoke to him a bit through the throngs - he's quite witty and interesting and I was surprised to learn that he's only been painting for a couple of years.

Money doesn't talk, it swears. - Bob Dylan