I'm quite proud of this painting, and I wonder if I have the patience to do something like this now. I don't know the exact location of this corner. It was painted from photos I took during a weekend in NYC in 1982 or 83.
Arm chair traveling is great; yesterday at this time I was looking at Atlanta GA and today I'm back in Delaware. New Castle, located on the Delaware river a few miles below Wilmington, was on the Rockefeller "short list" of towns considered for historic restoration, but it eventually lost out to Williamsburg VA. I'm sure there are many in the town who do not see that as a loss.
I painted and published two Atlanta skylines, one for myself and one for a client. I spent an entire day driving around the city in a rented car photographing everything and anything. Once I returned to the studio I was able to create these compositions:
In a recent post about friendship I described a categorical
list of friends: the best friend forever, the spiritual friend, the friend that
makes you laugh, and more.Driving
from Crossville TN to Paducah 3 days ago I discovered a new and vital
friend…the Fog Friend
At 5:30 in the morning I stepped out of the hotel in
Crossville into an incredibly dense fog.Slowly and cautiously I crawled onto the Interstate just a few blocks
away, unable to see anything beyond 30-40 feet.Even though I am a Tiger, I must admit it was a little
frightening as I crawled along I-40 west, grateful for the occasional respite
from the fog when I could see perhaps 100 feet ahead of me.About 30 minutes into the drive my new
friend appeared, an 18-wheeler that was traveling at a speed consistent with
the conditions.I quickly fell in
behind him and proceeded to be his puppy for the next 2 hours.On several occasions another car would
get between us, much to my dismay, but their relationship with the fog friend
lacked the commitment of my own. As we approached the Briley Parkway in
Nashville I was prepared to say goodbye, but to my delight my friend proceeded
onto the parkway, and I followed him until the approach to I-24 where I lost
him in another cloud of dense fog.But from Crossville to Nashville, the driver of that 18-wheeler was my
best fog friend forever.
I made it on my own from Nashville to the KY line, where the
fog finally dissipated and I enjoyed a peaceful drive through Kentucky farmland
bejeweled with autumn colors.
I arrived home around 10 a.m. yesterday, and as I've done on other occasions, wondered why I ever left Paducah. I miss it as soon as I leave.
Today we go back to the northeast to the island of Martha's Vineyard and the town of Oak Bluff, where you can see an incredible collection of Victorian cottages. These "doll house" like homes are situated in a circular pattern around what once was a large pavilion where church services were held.
I made it to Crossville TN before everything in me gave out. After multiple tries I finally found a hotel room, and am now about to crash. Since I will be in Nashville tomorrow morning...today's UL will be from that fair city to our south. (I will post this tomorrow a.m.)
Today I will be in New Jersey visiting friends and family. Although I won't make it to Cape May, I will be close enough to share this painting. The nations first sea shore resort, and now a popular vacation spot for families, Cape May is famous for its Victorian architecture, almost all of it original.
I published 7 prints of the town during the 1980s, 3 of them featuring the towns B&Bs.
I’m sitting here in my
study wanting to write…something - anything…but there is nothing I can find to
hold my interest.The writing
gurus say one should be disciplined and write every day, even when the spirit
is not there.That is easy to say,
but much harder to do.Perhaps I’m
spoiled, used to impromptu writing, where the subject grabs me and the words
come tumbling out with little forethought; this has happened repeatedly, and I
love it.The only real work I have
to do is the re-write. It is much more fun than sitting at the keyboard,
wracking my brain for something of interest.Besides, I write for my pleasure and enjoyment, so why
should I burden myself with the rigid discipline of a professional writer?
On the other hand, even
though I’m writing for personal pleasure, I want to write well, and that
requires commitment and effort..Looking at it that way, the discipline to daily writing takes on a
different meaning.It is
impossible not to compare my writing experience with my art.They both require the discipline of
practice in order to achieve a degree of competence.I read somewhere that to learn how to paint, one must paint,
and to learn how to write, one must read.That made sense to me and I began reading memoirs, essays, and other
works of non-fiction by accomplished writers.Time will tell if it has been an effective exercise.
Here is an idea;I should keep a list of subjects I
might want to write about, then periodically select one and simply begin
writing, exploring the first thoughts that come to mind and letting them lead
the way, with no pressure to complete a “finished” narrative.
Well I’ll be…I’ve just
written 290 words about not having anything to write about.
I will be in Wilmington today, and if time allows, will check out a new Jerry's Artarama store on Market St. When I lived there, Market street had been converted to an urban mall, with no vehicular traffic, an experiment that was later abandoned. When I visit now I have to adjust to this change, as well as many others since I painted this portrait of one block of Wilmington's "main street".
Limited Edition print from original watercolor
The elegant structure in the middle is the Grand Opera House, with its cast iron facade. It was restored to its original beauty in the late 1970s and is a great venue for live music and theater. My very first art show was in The Grand Gallery in 1977 located on the ground floor. (long since gone)
Since I'm in the area I thought it only fitting that Wilmington be the subject of the daily urban landscapes for the next few days. I loved the visual and culinary delights of Fourth Street between Market and King streets and the aroma of the cheese and olives in Colavritas' market.
This was a challenging commission, working from a stack of photographs that was sent to me. Unfortunately they were all mixed up and it took forever for me to figure out the right sequence. Then I had to arrange a work space to accommodate 60 inches of watercolor paper. But it was worth the effort - Delancey Place is one block of elegant homes in center city Philadelphia.
Left the hotel at 6AM only to find traffic backed up on the interstate on ramp. Bad accident ahead. Fortunately my hotel is just blocks from the highway and I have been able to reclaim my room and wait things out in comfort. Thus this early post today.
I will be in or near Odessa MD today when I visit my daughter Beth.
I'm posting this quite late since I've been on the road all day, on my way to Maryland. Stopped for the night in Weston, WV. It seems appropriate to share with you my painting of Chesapeake City on the Delaware canal in Maryland, a place I will be visiting soon.
Across the Potomac River from Washington DC is the town of Alexandria VA. In the historic Old Town Alexandria is this lovely street, once the home to many of the local sea captains, thus the name, Captain's Row.
This is a most remarkable structure, with William Penn standing at the top, looking out over the city he designed. For years there was an unwritten law that no building could be higher that Willy's hat, but that was abandoned in the 1980s when the first Liberty Place eclipsed dear William.
We're back in the Big Apple today. Well, not "in it" so much as looking at it from some point convenient for me to create this imaginary skyline, focusing on selected, historic skylines from the early 20th century.
A Skyline of my own design
Completed in the summer of 2001, this remains one of the most complex pastel paintings I've ever done. I wonder if this is what drove me to the barns.
In this intense political season the term "values" is easily bantered about without much clarification, usually referring to one or two volatile public issues. I would like to offer a specific "value" that I think is overlooked and/or ignored in our public discourse.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines
thoughtfulness as: absorbed
in or involving thought,showing
consideration for the needs of other people, andshowing
careful consideration or attention.
thoughtful expressions of beliefs and policies have given way to toxic diatribe
and name calling, where substance is replaced by emotional and often
inflammatory exclamations. Anyone
paying even the slightest attention to public media has experienced this in the
growing division in so many areas of our culture.We are now “at war”: there is a “war on women”, a “war on
God”, a ”war on the 2nd Bill of Rights”, and more.What thoughtful dialog that does exist
is drowned out by the noise of the extremists whose only concerns seem to be to
discredit the opposition and rally their “base”, rather than present a
well-reasoned narrative explaining their position and supporting it with
facts.The losers in this climate
are truth, understanding, and we the people,
am not proposing that we ignore our differences; that would be neither possible
nor desirable.On the contrary, we
should, learn from one another by embracing them and selecting the best that
each has to offer.And this cannot
happen until we learn to respect opposing viewpoints, and replace diatribe with
representing over 300 million people cannot survive without reaching for a compromise
on political, fiscal, and religious differences.
Located on the famed "Eastern Shore" of the Chesapeake Bay, St. Michaels is a pure visual delight, as well as a magnet for boaters, fishermen, and tourists. I painted the town twice, the first time from land, and the second from the water, thanks to dear friends Tuck and Betty and their boat. (In addition to the visual delights I still remember the Red Snapper soup that Betty served us that day.)
Below is the second of the two paintings.
Today we head south to Virginia and back in time to 19th century visiting Willamsburg. The village has everything I like to paint - bricks and texture. The visit resulted in 2 paintings that I published in my portfolio of limited edition prints in the 1980s. Each print is 12x37" ($50.00 each or $75.00 for both)
Decided to stay in Philly for one more day before moving on, but will definitely be returning. I lived in Philly for for four years, 3 of them in apartments on Pine Street, just a few blocks from the homes in this painting. Unfortunately they were not as elegant as these.
I would walk to classes in the morning in coat and tie (Jefferson's required dress code in the earl 60s) and see the students at the nearby Phila. College of Art in jeans, sweaters, etc., carrying their portfolios, and wondered why I envied them as I did.
New York is nice, but my heart remains in Philly. Today it is back to 1982, early in my art "career", to revisit Jeweler's Row on Sansom Street in center city. A Bit of Jeweler's Row is typical of the work I was doing with pen, ink, and watercolor, more illustrative than painterly. I was strongly influenced by the contemporary British illustrator, Paul Hogarth.
We're back in NYC for the second time, checking out the farmer's market in Union Square. Like previous some of the previous urban landscapes, this was composed using countless photos taken as I wandered through the square. It represents one the most challenging watercolors I've ever undertaken. The original plan was to publish it as another limited edition print, but somehow that never happened. It was painted in 1988.
I'm thinking it will be more interesting if these posts become less predictable, so from now on we will hopscotch up and down the mid-Atlantic states, and elsewhere. Today we will be stopping in Newport RI, a fascinating town I visited on a gray, rainy day in the late 1980s. After shuffling through dozens of photos, I came up with this composition.
print 12x28" from original watercolor
Oops! We went from Baltimore to Washington without stopping in Annapolis, so today we back track a few miles to that lovely town on the water. I did several paintings looking for the best composition for a print. This is one that was rejected by the publisher, but in retrospect I think is the best of the lot.
Continuing south, a short hour below Baltimore is our nation's capital, Washington DC. To accomplish this painting I traveled by train from Wilmington to Union Station, and proceeded to walk my little buns off, shooting almost a dozen rolls of 35mm film before returning home. The real fun came when I spread out the photos on my large drawing table and began the process of composing a composition that incorporated all that I wanted to include.
The result was a watercolor 18x45" that became this 13x37" print.
For today's landscape we will continue traveling south, about an hours drive from Wilmington, to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, a delightful mix of shops, restaurants, and museums, as well as its famous Aquarium.
The Inner Harbor
Print (12x37") from an original watercolor aprox. 16x45"
I wonder why some people think I only paint barns and farms. Do you think posting 125 A Barn A Day pics this year has something to do with that perception? It may be time to consider a different approach, perhaps "anything but a barn a day". Naw...that's to vague. It has to be more specific, like "a streetscape a day", or "a storefront a day" - or maybe "the daily urban landscape". That's it! I like The Daily Urban Landscape".
I'll start with the most urban place I've experienced, New York City.
China Town - NYC
Watercolor aprox. 12x16
In 1982 I spent a long weekend in NYC as a guest of my cousin who lived in Manhattan. For 2 days I walked from one end of the island to the other with my camera, shooting roll after roll of 35mm film. I accumulated enough photos (slides) to provide a lifetime of resource material. This is one of my favorites from that series.