Tuesday, March 27, 2012

EPCOT 2012

After delivering the first three greyhounds last week to my client in West Virginia, we headed down to Florida. Green and warm, we enjoyed perfect weather. One week was not nearly long enough, especially when trying to connect with so many great friends that I dearly miss. I also pined for the river and will plan mightily for two weeks next year. Unfortunately, there are no alligators in upstate New York.

The week concluded with plein air painting at EPCOT. I'm so honored to be invited and this was my third year. Assigned to Italy, I readily pulled out my oils and got to work.

Friday's effort produced a strong painting that sold. Many thanks to a couple of wonderful new collectors, Barbara and Bruce!

Saturday was an equally great day and the piece also sold! Hugs for Cheryl Anne who was visiting from the west coast.

Although sales are a an amazing bonus to painting in the park, we're really there to engage with the guests, especially children. Most people never have the opportunity to observe the process of art-making or converse with artists at work. I find this friendly banter great fun and the day flies by with laughter.

Sunday's painting is still available for only $150. plus shipping. It's an 11"x14" oil on canvas and you'll be getting a piece of Italy!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blanket Finish is Finished

Even though the dogs are much smaller that the horses, painting the forms remains a physical undertaking. Because the dogs are waist high the view from above must be constantly checked from where it will be observed most. Up and down the step ladder, on my knees and 'round and 'round the table I go.
Lo and behold...another delivery!
Here's the design submitted to the client. Only eight greyhounds can run in a race (think twenty horses in the Kentucky Derby). The green and white striped #7 is often referred to as "the candy stripe".

The finished "Blanket Finish". He's pretty and colorful as the blankets cascade over his form...referring back to my first Horse Fever design "Champ" depicting the jockey silks of fourteen prominent Marion County (Ocala) thoroughbred breeders.
Onward to greyhound three. This one illustrates deep sea fishing in a more painterly style.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jacksonville Jaguar-Greyhound

Here's the finished "Waguar", my first of the greyhound painting project. The design is quite graphic with lots of steady-handed hard lines that took me much longer than expected.

 Logos galore...

Next greyhound: "Blanket Finish." The numbered cloths the hounds wear in a race are called blankets. The design will depict blankets cascading over the form. I cut out a paper template resembling a flattened blanket and used it to draw my outlines so the sizes would be consistent. Lines quickly got complex as they weaved in and out of each other and to keep from getting too confused, I indicated where the numbers will be.

Back to the dog house,

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Help Me Get This

Recently, Michael and I visited MASS MoCA. It's contemporary art on steroids and I'm sheepishly admitting that I just didn't "get" most of the installations even after reading the accompanying literature. Guiltily, that little voice in my head whispered "is this art?" As an artist I'm old enough, experienced enough and should be open to alternative perspectives and sensitive to nuance. A video installation of a person in a self car wash hosing down a non-existent vehicle elicited a silent "huh" and made me feel disconnected and, well...stupid. As a working artist I should get this stuff.

I belong to the school that believes art should tell a story and engage the viewer. Call me old fashion but I love the immediate emotional connection.

Emotion + skill + experience = great art (in my opinion). I want to be blown away by a piece and unable to take my eyes off it. And that includes abstract painting, sculpture and yes, installations that are intellectually accessible and provide relevance.

So, imagine my relieved joy when we discovered The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, about an hour drive west from the studio. A small and unassuming building, it houses the painting collection of Bartlett Arkell who founded the Beech-Nut Company.  Paintings of beauty, luscious color, light, form and provocative subjects. Wow. Amongst the Homers, the Bentons, the Wyeths and the O'Keefes were some amazing artists I'm not familiar with.

For example: the stunning snowscapes of Walter Launt Palmer:

 I thought this was masterful...
...as well as this special exhibit by artist Jay Connaway:
I've stood on the stormy shore and nervously felt these ominous waves:

Powerful and compelling, these paintings inspire me to become a be a better painter.

Call me a boring traditionalist,