I'm setting up today for tomorrow's Open Studio Sale from 12-5. It's only one day this year because of the marathon tying things up on Saturday, though it turns out that the race was cancelled after all due to ice and cold.
I'll be here no matter what the weather. I've got hot cider, and later this afternoon I'll be baking the cookies I mixed up yesterday. So come on over if you're out and about, or if you've got a little cabin fever built up. Hopefully we're through the ice, but I'll be open regardless.
April in Paris and Lessons in Spanish is UP! It's my joint travel paintings show with Elizabeth Alley at Memphis Botanic Garden. The opening is tonight from 5:30-7:30 -- free and open to everyone. Bring your friends and have a glass of wine on us!
It was a long hanging day yesterday. I'm grateful to be working in a smaller format these days. Instead of hauling huge canvases (or, even worse, huge pastels under glass), I could carry my entire show into the building in one trip. Here it is:
The downside is the long layout process for that many pieces. I ran out of time at the end and didn't get a final count, but I think I hung almost 100 watercolors and prints.
I lay them down on the floor first, take a snapshot of the layout on my smart phone (a marvelous tip I got from Elizabeth last time we hung a show together), and stick them on the walls with poster tape. Marvelous stuff.
There were tons of nail holes in the walls, so my arrangements changed a bit as I moved to the wall, trying to hide as many of them as possible.
I worked so late it was pretty dark to get a decent photograph, and the lights weren't adjusted for my show yet (hopefully MBG can make that happen before the opening tonight), but here's how the first wall looks. Overall I'm pleased.
I've just started my sixth black and white print from Paris. This is the Rue Damrémont that the apartment I house sat was on. It's a bit up the hill from "my" place, near the grocery where I bought my Greek yoghurt. I sat on the sidewalk to do this, and a kind old lady stopped with her companion to see what I was doing and excitedly pointed to her window where she lived, right at the top of this building.
I love these buildings that extend right into the funky-shaped corners of streets coming together. And if they have domes as well, even better.
(And, yes, if you have sharp eyes and are wondering, some professional artists do still use the Paddington's Special Rulers from their childhoods. )
In other news I typeset the invitation for my Open Studio Sale on December 8th. I managed to sprain my ankle this week, so I'm waiting a few more days to print it, since the treadle operation is likely to be a little hard on it. But it's good to have the invite ready to go.
I needed a break after the last print, which was architectural and complex, so I decided on a garden one next.
I've always loved the geometry and mass of formal gardens and had been hoping to find more of them in France than I managed to. Most of the topiary I found was a disappointing knee high, but I did find a few gardens I wanted to paint.
Chateau de la Chatonniere was a few miles out of Azay le Rideau, where I spent several happy nights at the beginning of my trip. I didn't have a car, so one day I packed a lunch and my painting gear and just hiked out to see the chateau gardens. That was the day I discovered that while the French are scrupulous about crosswalks, they are less likely to give quarter to pedestrians on the side of a country road. But it was a lovely day, and I had fun painting in the gardens.
The carving on this one went much more quickly, which was a welcome break after the Opera print. I was able to pull a proof on just the second day of work and see what it was looking like.
I did a bit more refining, especially in the chateau itself, before pulling the second proof. It's almost finished now, and I'm trying to figure out which watercolor I want to work from next.
I'm working on my fourth Paris print, a view of L'Opera from the roof of the department store behind it. It's been an incredibly intricate scene to draw and carve both, but I'm getting close to finished. Below are the block in a half carved state and the first proof I pulled.
Here's the second proof. I've continued to fix minor details, but it's quite close here. I'll probably proof it again later tonight and see how it is.
In the meantime, I took a break and drew out a new print. It's not quite Paris -- I dipped down into the Loire valley and visited a few chateaux as well. This is Chateau de la Chatonniere and its gardens. I love the structure of formal gardens.
In other news, I got my calendar proof back from the printers, and the calendar itself ought to be ready next week. I'm excited about this one.
The other thing I did today was help hang the Memphis Urban Sketchers show at ANF. It took three of us two hours to hang artwork from about 16 of our regular artists. It's fun to see the group's work all up together, and I like spreading the word about the genre of urban sketching.
Elmore started out having this show in his unheated garage studio, and I froze my butt off out there the first year I knew him, just hanging and helping. The next year we moved it inside to my front room/gallery, and I added cookies and hot cider to the mix as well as showing my work alongside his. Last year I had acquired the 1909 printing press and did a printmaking demonstration as well. I hope to have the press rolling this year as well, though with the Cape May trip (pictures to come soon, once I get ready for the open house) and my calendar launch party at Burke's Books last night, I'm even more down to the wire than usual. At least it's for a better reason than my usual procrastination.
The show at Burke's was great fun. They have a huge bank of barrister bookcases up front, holding their special books, and Cheryl suggested using the glass fronts as shelves for my artwork. I was completely delighted with how the juxtaposition of art with books looked. Bookstores are among my favorite places, along with public parks and Gothic cathedrals, and I was thrilled to have my work in my favorite store.
My favorite bookstore is throwing me a calendar party tomorrow night. They're now in a funky, pedestrian neighborhood that throws a neighborhood night out each month, when stores stay open late, bands play, etc. I understand Santa will be in the gazebo for this one, so hopefully there will be a lot of traffic.
I was delighted they asked me. It's the same store that had used my design for a t-shirt several years ago and paid me in books. They're wonderful.
Along with calendars, I'll have prints and watercolors as well. Come on out if you're in Memphis -- Burke's Books in Cooper-Young from 5:30 to 7:00 tomorrow night.
AND this weekend is Elmore's and my open house -- Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 in Midtown (1780 Autumn Ave.). Stay tuned for more information...
When I got to my opening last week, these flowers were waiting for me on the sales table. Friends of mine for all my life, friends of my parents before I was born, had kindly marked my big occasion of the year this way. They were the first people in the door for the show as well. One of the things I love about living where I've grown up is the continuity of friendships across the decades. I'm so grateful for all the old friends in my life.
I wanted to send a nice note, so this is the quick sketch I did of the flowers for the thank you card. Years ago I found a book about Edouard Manet's last paintings, small paintings of flowers that his friends sent him while he was sick. He painted them in bed, I think. They are exquisite. I can't come close, but it was a bit of an homage to Manet's inspiration for my painting that I gave it a try.