Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coffee and Conversation

Tomorrow, Sunday May 31, is the last day of "Connections" - my 2-person show at Artists' Gallery, and we're having a little closing reception called Coffee & Conversation. If you haven't had a chance to see the show yet, this will be your last chance. Beatrice and I will be there with coffee, ice tea and some nibbles, from 2:00 to 5:00 at:
Artists' Gallery
32 Coryell Street
Lambertville, NJ
map & directions

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ribbon of Life

"Woolverton Lawn Chairs"
11x14 oil on panel

My painting of the Woolverton Inn was selected to be part of an exhibit highlighting the history of the D&R Canal. The exhibit features old photographs showing vintage views of the canal from the archives of the D&R Canal Commission, as well as contemporary views by regional artists (that's where I fit in).

The exhibit is presented by the D&R Greenway Land Trust in partnership with the D&R Canal Commission and Delaware Mill Society and is being held at:

Marie L. Matthews Gallery
at the Johnson Education Center
One Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ

Exhibition dates: May 18 - August 14, 2009
Opening Reception: June 19, 2009, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

If you know the Woolverton Inn and how it sits up high on a hill, you may be wondering what it's connection is to the D&R Canal... The Inn was built in 1792 as a manor house by pioneer industrialist John Prall Jr, who owned and operated the Prallsville Mills complex at the bottom of the hill, and the Mill was very actively using the D&R Canal for shipping. It not a very obvious connection, but you can read more in this history of Stockton Borough if you're interested.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Institute Woods

Continuing to paint for the D&R Greenway Land Trust's upcoming plien air show, last week I was exploring The Institute Woods - a 589 acre tract of woods and farmland owned by The Institute For Advanced Study, the Princeton, NJ institution where Albert Einstein thought some big thoughts. There is an extensive trail system on the property and it's open to the public. The D&R Greenway folks were just one of the groups involved in the preservation of these lands. Here are 3 paintings from last week's explorations:

"Updike's Sky"
11x14 oil on canvas on panel

Although I love walking through the woods, it can be difficult to paint there - the overwhelming green and lack of any strong subject to focus on is not the makings of a good painting. When the trail left the dense woods, I found my subject - the sky over the historic Updike Farm whose farm buildings can be seen in the distance. The simplicity of the landscape and subtle interest in the sky really caught my attention. Across this field is the route that General George Washington took in the pre-dawn hours of January 3 to engage the British troops in the Battle of Princeton in 1777. There are a couple of granite monuments to mark the route:

"Cornfield Trail"
11x14 oil on panel

This scene is very near the location of the last painting, and the Updike Farmstead is across the field on the right side of this painting. This one was such a pleasure to paint because I was standing out in the open but in the most wonderful patch of cool shade the entire time. Simple pleasures are the best. :)

"Stony Brook"
8x10 oil on linen on panel

This spot on Stony Brook is on the other side of the Updike Farm. If the foliage wasn't so dense I think I'd be able to see the farmhouse to my right. I was confronted with that overwhelming greeness of being in the woods, but a creek can provide such lovely subject matter, I love doing scenes like this.

Further downstream on Stony Brook is the Swinging Bridge, and what an understatement that is! Walking across this bridge is more fun than an amusement park ride! Even walking at a slow pace, the bridge swings, it sways, it bounces, it creaks and it groans. But I trust that it was sturdy enough to carry me:
So if you're in the mood for a quiet walk in the woods, a ride on the Swinging Bridge, a walk through Revolutionary War history, then head to The Institute Woods!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cedar Ridge

The D&R Greenway Land Trust has been working hard for 20 years to preserve land in central New Jersey. As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, they've invited a group of plein air artists to paint on some select pieces of property that they've preserved, and I am privileged to be included in this group of artists.

The paintings we do will be exhibited this fall in the Marie L. Matthews Gallery at Johnson Education Center, Princeton, NJ. We'll also be donating some of this work to the Land Trust for a silent auction to help raise funds for, and awareness of their land preservation mission. I'll post more about this exhibit and silent auction as the time approaches later this summer.

Here are some of my first paintings related to this project. Both were done at Cedar Ridge Preserve near Hopewell, NJ.

"Cedar Ridge Fields"
8x10 oil on panel

"Cedar Ridge Woods"
11x14 oil on panel

One side benefit of this project is that I'll get to explore some places I've never been to before, and exploration is one of the things I like best about being a plein air painter. Cedar Ridge is not far from where I live but last week my first visit there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

4th Annual Hillsborough Art Show

The Fourth Annual Hillsborough Art Show has just past. Unfortunately it's only a one day event so there's barely time to blog about it before the show is over. This year it was organized by a professional artist, Kevin Murphy, who recently founded the Art Academy of Hillsborough and it sounds like Kevin has some ideas about making this a bigger event next year.

The show has separate categories for students and adults and most of the show is comprised of students' work. You've probably heard the famous Pablo Picasso quote "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child", and it's often said that we are most creative as children but somehow loose that spark when we become adults. I have to say that I was really impressed with the student work at this show! The level of talent was impressive, but what impressed me the most was how imaginative some of the works were. These kids have not yet lost that spark of creativity, and lets hope that they don't.

Being a bit too old to qualify as a student, my entry won First Place in the adult category - I've posted this one before, it's my driveway in winter:

"Winter Drive"
24x18 oil on canvas

Monday, May 04, 2009

Connections - a 2 person show with Beatrice Bork

I've warned you before but now it's time for the official announcement:

A 2-person show with Joe Kazimierczyk and Beatrice Bork
at Artists' Gallery in Lambertville, NJ
May 8 - May 31, 2009
Opening reception: Saturday May 9, 6-9pm

My big show of the year starts later this week and runs the month of May. It's a 2-person show with Beatrice Bork. Bea is a talented watercolorist who specializes in wildlife paintings with a strong emphasis on birds. Her subjects range from the creatures found around her home in New Jersey, to the more exotic species she sees on her trips to the Caribbean.

My own work continues to focus on the New Jersey landscape but this time I'll be showing a lot of my smaller works. It's funny that my intent this winter was to work larger, but then I did a couple of little 5x7" paintings and had so much fun with those that it turned into a whole series. But I'll still be showing a few larger pieces to balance things out. I thought a wall of nothing but 5x7" paintings would look a bit odd!
The show runs May 8 through May 31.
Opening reception is Saturday, May 9 from 6-9pm at:
Artists' Gallery
32 Coryell Street
Lambertville, NJ
map & directions
Gallery hours: every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am-6pm

Here are a few of the paintings I'll have in the show:

"Princeton Battlefield Winter"
12x24" oil on canvas

"Millstone River, Early Spring"
5x7" oil on board

"Canal in Winter"
5x7" oil on panel

If you can't make the opening, please join us for coffee & conversation, a closing reception of sorts on Sunday, May 31 from 2-5pm.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Round Mountain Farm

"Round Mountain Farm"
6x8 oil on canvas on panel

I found this scene while exploring some trails near Stanton, NJ. This trail system connects some otherwise disconnected pieces of parkland, and the trails pass through some active farmland which made for a very pleasant walk. The trails were nicely cut through some grassland, but wow, the ticks are out in full force this spring - just one of the many hazards of plein air painting!