Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Captive Audience - A Halloween Story

This has very little to do with painting, but the story takes place in my studio:

I live in an old house and my painting studio is a roughly finished upstairs attic. I was painting in my studio the other night and I heard a chirping sound behind me. My first thought was that it's a bird in the chimney which runs through that room. But I turn around, and see a bat squeezing himself through a gap in some loose ceiling tiles.

I yelled and told him to "Go Away!" But he just screeched back and kept working his way out.

I quickly grabbed a 5 gallon plastic bucket and trapped him against the ceiling. So there I was, standing with one arm pressing a plastic bucket against the ceiling, a wildly screeching bat trapped inside, wondering what the heck do I do now...


What now...

With my other hand, I pulled some nearby shelving over a little closer and started building a tower of boxes and turpentine cans - anything within reach until I eventually wedged the bucket so it would stay in place. It seemed secure and I was out of ideas, so I finished my painting, and then went downstairs to watch the American Masters special on Bob Newhart.

The next morning, the bat sounded like he was tired out, so I carefully and every so slightly pulled the bucket away from the ceiling, and quickly slid a lid over it. I took it outside, and set him free, but Mr Bat just sat there with wings spread out on the lawn.

I thought maybe I injured the poor thing but didn't know what else to do. So I went back into my house, and turned around just in time to see the bat flying straight for my open door! He wasn't injured, he was just waiting for his chance to get back inside. Sneaky! But I closed the door just in time and he sat on the side of my house screeching for a while. Later I saw him flying laps around my house. Chances are that he's back inside my attic already, but I'm trying to fix all of the gaps where bats might get into my living space again.

So that's my tale of painting for a captive audience, a bat in a bucket, a few days before Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Benefit Weekend!

Saturday, Oct 20 is the big day for 2 benefit events that I participated in this year:

"Hidden Gardens Revealed"

at the Artists' Gallery, 32 Coryell St., Lambertville, NJ

"The Art of Conservation • Landscapes as Inspiration"

at the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ

First: Back on June 9, Artists' Gallery members joined the annual Hidden Gardens of Lambertville tour by setting up and painting in the gardens during the tour. The artists "added a wonderful compliment to our event" said Fran Bardusco, Garden tour chairwoman, "and now these beautiful paintings are going to be offered for sale with half of the proceeds being donated to the Kalmia Club to help benefit the club's community efforts."

The exhibition and sale of the paintings that we did runs from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28 at the Artists' Gallery located at 32 Coryell St., Lambertville. Opening reception for Kalmia Club's "Hidden Gardens Revealed" is on Saturday, October 20th from 4:00 to 7:00. Kalmia Club members will be handling the food and refreshments, and I'm told that they're all great cooks.

Second: On Sept 23, I joined 26 other artists in "A Day At The Farm", a paint-out at the Dvoor Farm in Flemington, NJ. We all donated our paintings from that day to the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance. This Saturday Oct 20, beginning at 7:30, they'll be auctioned off at the Land Trust's Fall Gala at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ. This should be a pretty nice affair too. More details can be found on their website, along with a preview of all the art work to be auctioned off.

That gives me 1/2 hour to get from Lambertville to Clinton. It'll be a busy day for me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On the Wing Dam

Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day around here and I headed into Lambertville to do another painting along the river. Just south of the Lambertville boat club which I painted recently, there's a wing dam across the Delaware River. You can walk out on the dam to almost the middle of the river - it's a wide dam so it's pretty safe, and it's fun standing out there completely surrounded by the river, peaceful above the dam, roaring rapids below.

This first painting is from the New Jersey shore, looking across the wing dam toward the old mill works and new townhouses in New Hope, Pa:

"Lambertville Wing Dam"
8x10 oil on panel

I finished the first painting but it was such a nice day that I really didn't want to leave. So I turned 90 degrees and painted the view looking downstream. There's a small island on the right, and this channel joins the main river in the distance:
"Below the Wing Dam"
8x10 oil on canvas panel

Just for kicks (and if this works right) here's a satellite view of the wing dam. Lambertville, NJ is on the right hand side:

View Larger Map

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Road Not Taken

I have 3 paintings in a show called
"The Road Not Taken" - Journeys into Nature

It's organized by the D&R Greenway Land Trust and will be held at the Marie L. Matthews Gallery at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ (off of Rosedale Road). The show opens October 15, 2007 and runs until January 11, 2008. 35% of all sales go to support the D&R Greenway’s land preservation mission.

Meet-The-Artists RECEPTION: Thursday, November 8, 2007: 5:30 – 7:30 pm

POETS’ & ARTISTS’ RECEPTION: Thursday, December 13, 2007: 5:30 – 7:30 pm

The poets' reception is an interesting twist on an otherwise typical art exhibition. Because of the Robert Frost connection in the show title, poets are invited to visit the exhibit and choose a work of art to inspire their own work. At the December 13 reception, poets will be reading these poems. If you're a poet and you're interested, more information on how to participate can be found the Land Trust's website.

The theme of this show, land preservation and pathways into nature, is right up my alley, since I do a lot of painting on preserved land. These are the 3 paintings I have in the show:

"Winter Over Amwell Valley"
12x24 oil on canvas

"Towards Stanton Mountain"
8x10 oil on panel

"Pine Tree Trail"
11x14 oil on canvas on board

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Third Annual Hillsborough Art Show

Hillsborough, NJ, my township of residence began an annual art show for township residents a few years ago. So far, I hadn't entered because it didn't seem right for a person who shows in art galleries, like myself, to be competing with local kids and such. I guess I wasn't the only one thinking that, and in the interest of fairness, this year's show has separate categories for professional, non-professional, and students (through grade 12). So I'll enter a painting this year. (I haven't settled on which one yet). It's a one day event:

The Third Annual Art Show and Cultural Fair
sponsored by the Hillsborough Cultural and Arts Commission
Saturday, Oct 13, from 10 am to 3:30 pm
Municipal Complex
379 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Besides the arts show, over 60 different cultural organizations will be showing off their goals and activities. Music will be provided by the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band. It should be fun!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lambertville Boat Club

"Lambertville Boat Club"
8x10 oil on linen panel

My 2-person show with Carol at the Artists' Gallery is over - we both did well, and it was fun while it lasted. Yesterday I took down my half of the show and while I was in town, I did this painting at the boat launch area, just behind the Lambertville Station. I think it's my first painting of boats. These pontoon boats are mostly straight lines - much easier to draw than the curvy lines in other boats. But I did have one big challenge: I have a checklist which I check before heading out to paint - it's frustrating to setup somewhere and realize you forgot something. This time I forgot my big tube of titanium white. All I had was a tube of zinc white. Non-painters are probably thinking "so what - white is white!". But that's not really true with oil paints. There are several varieties of white paint, all chemically different, all with different handling characteristics. Titanium white is very opaque and has great covering power. Zinc white is the most transparent white - it's great for mixing with other colors to lighten them without making them look chalky as titanium white can do. But, that transparency is a problem when you want to cover something up, and titanium white would have made certain parts of this scene much easier to paint. Still, I'm happy with how it turned out. And a little extra challenge now and then can't be a bad thing.