As we approach the end of this event-filled, media-saturated year, I find myself involuntarily withdrawing into the cocoon of my studio and family. Never can I remember such bad news continually coming through the airwaves. When did media decide that "news" is whatever bad that happens? I find myself looking more and more for common ground, only to see those who delight in discord and division. Many creative types look for beauty, whatever their definition of this means. I've always found beauty in nature. New work strives to find that meeting point of man and nature in garden design, and the forces that make the most of the natural and "built" worlds. Here's hoping our next year sees more evidence of good and beauty in this world. Happy New Year to all. Charlie
Invited artists for an upcoming Chestnut Ridge Benefit Exhibition along with artists from a landscape painting workshop gathered at Chestnut Ridge County Park on a recent beautiful Sunday. They spent the day exploring, sketching, painting and photographing the park in preparation for the exhibition. Thirty five artists spread out during the day, gathering reference material. It was an art-filled day at the park, as artists socialized, compared scenes, materials and technique. It was a beautiful day, and many artists will return to the park this fall and winter to work and gather references. We'll look forward to the exhibition to benefit the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy next May 30-July 18 at Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora. Judson Brown is shown painting at the Commisioner's Cabin pond.
This summer, Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora is coordinating with the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy to organize an art show to benefit the Conservancy and Chestnut Ridge Park. The CRC has activiely been involved, working with the Erie County Parks Department to improve hiking trails, parking areas, the tennis courts and ball fields, and bring public attention to the park.
A number of artists, including painters and photographers have been invited to explore the park and create work based on their impressions. A "paint out" day will be held Sunday, September 28 to allow artists to work directly on location in "plein aire".
The Chestnut Ridge exhibition will be held May 30-July 18, 2015. Proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy. Check with Meibohm Fine Arts (www.meibohmfinearts) or the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy (wwwChestnutRidgeConservancy.org) for more details.
Recently, a friend favored me with an original poem, on the occasion of my birthday. Gary and his wife Carolyn have long been supporters of my work, and good friends to our family. Thank you, Gary for the lovely writing and your consideration and friendship. Gary has given me permission to use his poem on my site, and I'm pleased to do so.
As an addendum: "Artists don't get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working"- Stephen DeStaebler, in "Art and Fear", by David Bayles and Ted Orland
There's a canvas in his mind,
White and pristine
With only a hint of the tint's, hues,
and layers of color that will be carefully applied.
I've long been fascinated by American History, and have read and reread books by my favorite authors on the Revolution and Civil War. As I've been forcing myself to expand my reading, I've realized some of our favorite places to visit: turn of the century estates and mansions- correlate to the period at the turn of the last century. The rise and wealth of the American barons starts with the period following the Civil War. In many cases, these magnificent buildings and grounds have been turned over to the state or local governments, often because of the tax burden, or lack of family involvement. These grounds are now cared for by local garden clubs, or community groups, or in some cases, return to the "natural" stage, reminding my of the Thomas Cole series of paintings, "The Course of Empire". Lovely places to visit, and so evocative of a different time in our country's history. I've been working up images from the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, next to the Roosevelt Mansion and Library. There is a ghostly, haunting feel to the grounds. I can only imagine the manicured beauty of the grounds in their prime.
Each year, Jim Hall of the Oxford Gallery in Rochester, NY invites artists to participate in a theme show. Each theme is carefully chosen, and can be a scholarly exercise. This year’s theme will allow artists to interpret or reimagine proverbs and old sayings.
While looking into the backgrounds of other examples, I found my selection when not looking. "Every Crow Thinks Their Own Young the Whitest" is in the introduction to "Memoir Of a Revolutionary Soldier", by Joseph Plumb Martin. This book is cited by many historians of the colonial period. As soon as I read this, both the "eureka moment" and the image appeared to me. I’ve tried to keep the image essentially true to the original vision. While working on it, possibilities for different viewer reactions occurred to me. I’ll be interested in seeing how the piece is received. The show "Proverbs and Commonplaces" will be on display from May 3- June 14 with a reception on May 10.
On seeing progress images of this painting, my friend poet Gerald Wild contributed this poem, which I like very much:
VARIATION ON A THEME
A Reflection on a Painting by Charles Houseman:
Every Crow Thinks Her Own Young the Whitest If I were white, I would perch enthroned In a marble niche 'bove a nest disowned. Tho' my brothers in black may learn to hate, The straw & the cold will not be my fate.
One shrill note is their crowning glory; epitaph of wind their empty story. Dullness for them, but when I take wing, The higher I fly, the grander I sing.
"Oh, Mother, grant me the gleam of the lark! In all other eyes I'm soiled with the dark." "Yes, Mother, do raise him to Heaven as 'white'. And we'll ban him forever from our humble sight."
*American proverb in Peter Prim's Pride; Or,Proverbs That Will Suit the Young and the Old Published 1810 by J. Harris in London