Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12

Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12
Night Time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12View at Strand Center for the Arts Plattsburgh, NY

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Incantation" – Wishes for Good Snow

Half way through the month of February and it is a long one - Leap Day this year.

I have two pieces in the Adirondack Artists' Guild Benefit Show for the Dewey Mountain Ski Center in Saranac Lake.  The first, "Incantation",  is based on visions from my back yard here in the Adirondacks, where weather changes, light changes dramatically, really in the blink of an eye. One minute snow will be so thick I can't see the back line of trees, the next it can be crystalline with sharp edges on fast scudding clouds racing off to their next destination. In this strange climate change season of little snow and vacillating temperatures, "Incantation" stands for the wishes of all for a steady supply of snow with a balanced proportion of bright sun.

"Wind Rising" is the second piece in the benefit. Periodically I see the wind. One might say, no that is the effect, but in my mind it is the wind dancing, teasing the eye, letting light through then making tree lines vanish.  "Wind Rising" is not a particular place - more a particular feel of winter and light.

The pieces can be seen on line or better yet see them in person at 52 Main Street. Online pics sometimes are deceiving due to so many different variables. There are over two dozen pieces up for the auction. One could bring home a really unique winter scene for not so much and be helping the Ski Center move closer to their goal of a new building. Final day is February 26, but don't wait - cause ya never know - you may be snowed in. And February is alot longer this year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Road Trip! Degas!

Sunday was the last day of the Degas exhibition at BMFA. Better late than never and peculiar logic (Super Bowl Sunday in Boston) led to the days itinerary. Arrived earlyish so we - I could spend as much time as I could there. Degas could draw. Even early work shows the soft care for the bend in a thigh, the structure of bones under the skin, and the nature of the models personality showing in her or his face. So many drawings proclaiming the round sweep of the curved back, then the towel - exploring the awkwardness of a figure drying ones back. How did the model do it? Long hours, soft light, translucent inner glow of life under the skin. Then the brothel minis - what a find! - never before seen little drawings and monoprints of the ladies plying their trade. So casual is their presence in these secret prints, one will always wonder how well the artist knew them. Degas first saw everything, then continued the rest of his life revealing and hiding simultaneously the bend of the waist over the towel and leg, get distracted by the life of the skin and move on to the flow of the hair.

            The Tub, 1886, Pastel, Edgar Degas, Musee de'Orsay, Paris, photo by Patrice Schmidt

I couldn't get home soon enough to my Monday night life sessions. 6 + hours in the car takes its toll. What I look forward to exploring myself is adding some mystery in the figure. Drawing is about seeing and drawing the figure is about seeing everything. I find with a new model there is a period of time of getting to know the nuances of that figure, the length of the chin, the curve of a shoulder, the tip of the head, the individual grace of hands, fingers, toes. Each series of sessions brings with it its own peculiar set of drawings, nights when the work flows out of the charcoal and times when the only solution has to be mulching the work.

I am inspired Degas' abundance of drawings. I know that no matter what other class I instigate or let fall by the way, drawing the figure will be my favorite.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can't find your way? Mapping the Familiar is online.

Saranac Lake is one of those places that has seemingly dodged the homogenization of the American town. Yes - it does have a donut franchise and hamburger too, but what is important is it is home to a wildly diverse and vibrant population nestled in the middle of the Adirondack mountains. There is an embedded can-do spirit that is witnessed in this years ice palace construction for Winter Carnival. The palace is rising in defiance of global climate change. Saranac Lake often makes the weather news for being the coldest spot in continental US, but not this year. Today it is way above freezing, and rainy - all detrimental to the concept of Ice Palace and Winter Carnival, but I am very sure the palace will be finished for opening ceremonies. Saranac Lakes determination is also witnessed in its fierce resistance to that box store that guts so many other small town Main Streets. But that spirit did not stop there. Visionary positive thinkers came up with a viable alternative. Saranac Lake now has its own Community Store. Not bad for a population of about 5000.

At the Adirondack Artists' Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake, the exhibit Mapping the Familiar: Artist Maps of Saranac Lake closed this week. The exhibit focus is on methods of printmaking and artist ideas of place. Ten artists made art maps of the town and each produced an edition of 15 maps. The methods of making the maps encompass silk screen, intaglio, digital, drawing and photography. The concepts are as diverse as the town yet all have a connection to each other. Each piece holds an idea that lead viewers to look closely and appreciate not only the place but the sense of the community. In emphasis of this community spirit, the curator and map maker Jess Ackerson has involved the community in its own map - a community map that has been added to all month. Walking trails, secret places, locations of interest - like where one could see peacocks - have been added to the Community Map.

The exhibit is not gone. It can still be viewed online. The exhibit is looking for another bricks and mortar venue to continue to be viewed. In the meantime, the Guild has maps for purchase until February 28 and includes the full edition of all 10 artist maps, the purchase of which will provide the funding for printing the Community Map. 

Purchase my map "An Incidence Of Bridges", silkscreen on unbleached mulberry,  three prints available, by calling the Guild at 518-891-2615.

Logging bought a population to this junction of river and lake. Bridge-making made it a town. The Cure kept it here. The River is thinking about washing it away, begging the question: How would one get there from here?
Recollection of the first print project was kindergarten using pre-carved potatoes. Then lino cuts in eighth grade which is still in the artists possession. A fixation with pen and ink occurred for many years. When a pen and ink was completed after days of inking the original, Xerox never failed to astound that 50 could appear with a flick of the button. Other methodologies of reproduction have been used since, mostly direct scanning of originals then digital reproduction of the work.

Bottom line though, I'd rather be painting.