Tuesday, December 31, 2013

action figure


and that's mostly what I've been doing the past few days.
So there hasn't been much time to reflect on 2013.
But there'll be time enough to do so next year.
Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

another winter diner

This 2008 painting (Diner, Hudson, 16"x20") came to mind (also as a bookend to the more-recent small Winter Diner I just posted) after seeing 'Nobody's Fool' last night with friends in a bar on a snowy Christmas Eve. I'd watched it when I first moved to Beacon nearly 7 years ago, because it had been filmed in the town in 1994, and it was fun to identify some of the locations. The exterior shot of this diner is featured, although it's actually in Hudson (the film- based on a book by Richard Russo- takes place in a wintry and depressed upstate-NY small town).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

winter diner

Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder,  salt, icing colors. 

Winter Diner, 8"x10" oil, 2013. In the Small Works Show. $450.

Custom Cake Shop, 6"x6" oil, 2012. Also in the Small Works Show. $200. 

Ten of the prints. $25 each.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

clutch and release

I'm at the counter this afternoon in between wood-stacking jobs, warm and cozy in my insulated overalls- or Superalls, as my mother called them. It's not the most flattering look, with wood bits clinging to my sweater, but I feel like I'm ready for anything in this weather. Cold but sunny after yesterday's snow. I'd arrived just as the wood was being delivered, and as the last piece was flung off the truck, the customer came out and said he'd ordered 15", not 17"- these were too big for his stove. Somewhere there had been a mistake. Back on the truck we tossed the wood, piece by piece. The driver had one pallet of shorter wood, meant for another customer- he released that, and I set to work. Then I had some lag time while he returned to the yard to get another load, so I went for lunch. I drove through Carmel past the location where I'd had my driver's test, exactly half my lifetime ago. I was 17. It had taken me awhile to get comfortable behind the wheel. (It had taken me awhile to get comfortable behind a lawnmower, too.) I'd failed my first attempt a few months before- the guy could tell I needed more finesse- and I was beyond determined to pass.
It was snowing lightly that morning but I'd refused to cancel. I felt my imminent success would prove my expertise. I drove an '86 Toyota Camry and my foot moved on and off the clutch as if I'd been doing it for at least a year. This was barely true. Yet you could feel safe as my passenger, whether I was merging onto a highway or maneuvering late at night through a group of deer ambling across a dark road. They had emerged, as they do, out of nowhere, but I calmly braked and eased along while they dispersed. I had panicked more when I was lurching and grinding around an empty parking lot than I did that night, and it was one of my proudest moments as a learner's permit driver. My father, who had been beside me, would recount this incident several times over the years, impressed at my levelheadedness. I would beam and hope that the weight of this triumph might balance out my many less-composed (read: hysterical) moments.
I passed my road test and drove home through the snow, elated. When I told my mother about this memory, she laughed, remembering her own road test. It was 1961 and she had learned to drive in their '55 Thunderbird convertible. The guy giving the test was so excited to be riding in that beauty of a car that he barely paid attention to her driving. But my father had taught her well, so she passed, too. I smile, thinking about this. Then I head out to my car to do the second stacking job, executing a perfect three-point turn in the road.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

wholesale confectionery

This is one of my oldest paintings that I still have and that I still like a lot. From back in January of 2004 when I lived in Washington Heights, worked in Brooklyn and drove around upstate. This painting combines elements of all three. Shuffling my boots along the sidewalk through drifts of billowing snow on the night of a snowstorm, as I carried a 5-pound bag of sugar from the corner bodega back to my apartment. Arriving home I ripped open the bag too suddenly and it spilled another vast grainy drift of white over my table onto the floor. Earlier that month, I'd seen a vacant storefront on a street in Carroll Gardens, the faded gold letters spelling out 'Wholesale Confectionery'.  There was only an oversized pack of Wrigley's gum in the window, advertising nothing. I held the image of the sign and the buildings in my mind until I started the painting. Then I had a photo I'd taken in South Salem of a particular yellow truck. I thought about receiving a wholesale delivery of sugar, of trudging through snow heaped in doorways. I was so cold that winter, pushing my own weight around the city, finding refuge in thick sweaters and in places that made the best hot chocolate, knowing there must be a small bit of color, somewhere, and a shovel to dig through to it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

fresh prints II

I have a new set of prints made from these paintings. I am sending two of them, Orange Coffee Cup and Howard Johnson's, to my sister (she already knows, so no surprises to be spoiled here). I tell her the cup is from the Eveready Diner, a couple of years ago when they had brightly-colored dishes rather than the plain white mugs they use now. I was waiting there to meet my parents one morning for breakfast and the shiny orange cup and saucer looked so good there on the table, filled with hot black coffee, that I snapped a shot before I added a drop of cream. Later that year I came across a piece of wood, found my photo, and the cup practically painted itself that day. 
The HoJo's, as I noted after I painted it last year, I based on an old (possibly 1950s) road map: "Landmark for hungry Americans. Used to be thousands of these restaurants/motels across the US, now there are only two left. There is nothing like painting from a graphic image like this- two colors printed on top of each other with white- to make me pay close attention to details, simplified as they are, like the shape of a fold in a woman's skirt… Not my own nostalgia I am tapping, but my appreciation of an American ideal. Turning a stop that's 'on the way to someplace' into a destination in itself, complete with "delicious food" and 28 flavors of ice cream. In researching them I noticed many variations on the architecture of each location, but always with that distinct orange roof."
The Casa Grande Trading Post, Cerrillos (also known as 'Bottles'), of the Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum, I'd never have painted if I'd spent any time thinking about just how many bottles I'd be painting. But I had the hours to put in. It's nice to think about those hours now. The same goes for Grass- when I had the time to push through to see if and how I would finish. I still have both of these 36"x36" oils.. it's still harder to sell my larger works, unless I can burst into the big time.. In the meantime I can offer the prints, which are a handy and mailable 8.5"x11".

Monday, December 9, 2013

light spots

Startled to realize I haven't posted since before Thanksgiving. Then there was Hanukkah.. then there was the Small Works show to be installed and publicized and feted and all of the stuff that went along with that- then a gallery (and phone booth) to be decorated and a lot of wood to be stacked and a ukulele to be practiced. Calendars to be promoted and more cookies to be made and all the rest to recover from, just another December and we haven't even made it to the solstice yet. Keeping busy and being among friends is the light that pushes back the darkness.
Never too many photos of the view from the Cobleskill house, especially on a snow-dusted Thanksgiving sunrise.

It was nice to be able to light menorahs with my family this year. Here's mine from a later night.  Hanukkah always goes by so quickly. Can I celebrate it again in January with latkes?

Oh yes, the calendars! For sale at the gallery on weekends & by appt and at the Cherrybomb pop-up shop also on Main St, and by dropping me an email (erica@ericahauser.com). $16.

If you listen quietly you can hear the five golden rings.

Monday, November 25, 2013

catalyst small works show

This is one of the projects I'm busy with lately- organizing this big group show for Catalyst Gallery in December. It's been fun collecting all the work- we're going to install the show next week- over 120 pieces of art. I'll have a few pieces up- not brand-new, but close enough. Also by then I should have calendars, some new prints and the t-shirts for sale at the gallery and by mail.
There is also Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this week! I've found my menorah, so no need to repurpose an egg-carton again, and have planned my pies. Pumpkin and pecan. First time I ever cut turkeys and star-of-david cookies out of the same round of dough. Yesterday the temperature plummeted and found me freezing as I transported wood with numbed fingers, but I need that sort of exercise to combat the turkey-feast-and-latkes-party one-two punch.

Friday, November 22, 2013

apple pancakes

It's 7 in the morning and I am sitting in the cafe in Middleburgh that my parents used to stop at for breakfast on the drive from Cobleskill to Brewster. My mother still occasionally stops in when she drives down. The pancakes are good and the owners would always come by the table to chat awhile with my parents. Everyone liked to chat with my parents. I used to join them here for breakfast now and then, and I enjoyed seeing how warmly welcomed they were, whether here or anyplace- always a smile and some amiable conversation, my father's deep laughter filling the room.
My apple pancakes arrive, with a side of applesauce and crisp bacon. Each pancake is plate-sized. My coffee is topped up. My car is parked across the street, and I remembered to put a dime in the meter. A dime for an hour! Outside, the sky is brightening gradually, in that half-mast November way. The morning will be clear, with a few distant low-lying clouds, and then by mid-afternoon the shadows will lengthen as the light begins to fade. The last bright leaves always seem to fall overnight, as if someone has pulled them down over the ground like a blanket. A few patches of color remain and now the light catches them, makes them glow for a moment against the surrounding bare branches. In a little while I'll be driving southeast again into that morning sunlight, driving too fast over the gray ribbon of road because there are never any cops around and it's too tempting to speed. Fields and farmhouses flash past and I'm as close to flying as I could be. I slow down as I pass through the little towns. After years of driving this route, each turn of the road, each hill and speed zone is familiar. With my eyes closed- if I'm not behind the wheel- I'd still know where I was at any moment. Though with my eyes closed, lulled, I'd likely fall asleep. I watch through the window as the sun fades and reappears.
I pay my check and fold my remaining half-pancake into a styrofoam box. My coffee is refilled again. I am still the only customer in the restaurant so far this morning, though the easy chatter in the back continues. Someone has heard the temperature is going to drop soon. Yesterday was warm for mid-November up here. Last night I moved a few loads of firewood into the garage for my mother, so it would be easily within reach. It had been stored in the bigger detached garage for the summer and was very light and dry, so I piled the wheelbarrow high each time I rolled it across the driveway. There has been so little rain this fall that even the wood in the yard is drier than usual, which makes it easier to move, especially when I have to wheel it across an uneven lawn or carry it in armloads up the steps to someone's deck. The weather will not stay this agreeable for long, so I appreciate it now. I remember very well the rains that render peoples' yards muddy and rutted and the unlikely snowstorm that blew in last November to strand me, shivering and sodden, at a customer's house after my truck fishtailed all over the slippery roads. There's no doubt that winter will arrive eventually, bringing with it the snow and cold we expect, but I am glad enough to wait a while longer.
A tableful of large men in plaid shirts and work jackets has come in and ordered pancakes and omelets. They lean back in their seats chuckling, their big hands wrapped around coffee cups. An older couple sits quietly nearby. These are the regulars. I crane my head around, waiting for change. I'll have to put another dime in the meter, or else get back on the road. I recall the gas light is on. I'm driving so much these days, it seems that light is always on. 60, 50, 40 miles left, then just a dotted line to notify me it's not kidding around. Once, for no reason, I pushed it too far, and suddenly found myself stopped dead in the middle of a 3-lane interstate at rush hour. Cars and trucks veered around me, honking, as I frantically called triple A for an emergency gas delivery. I'd like to say that was the last time I let the tank get so low, but I had another close call a couple of weeks ago. It's the time of year when I find myself hungrier and my car thirstier. At the same time I'm making enough money to meet these needs, at least for a few months. I imagine, as I often do, what it might be like to have a steady cash flow all year round. I gather my change and leave a tip, tug on my jacket amid the hum of conversation and head out into the street.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

soupy sales

I painted this bowl (yes, a spinoff of one of my oil paintings from earlier this year) for Empty Bowls Schoharie County, an event happening tomorrow at SUNY Cobleskill to raise awareness of hunger issues in their community and raise funds for local food pantries. My sister runs a ceramics and art/craft studio in Cobleskill and is very involved in making this event happen, providing hundreds of bowls for people to paint, and then they're sold and filled with soup donated by local businesses. This one will be auctioned off, so hopefully it will bring in some bucks. I was flattered the bowls I made last year did well, then I found out my mom bought them. But the money did go to the cause- still a win.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

seed money

 Coming soon, next year's calendar! It will be here in time to make a super gift for those upcoming holidays. Hanukkah being hot on the heels of Thanksgiving this year, it's a little close, but I think I'll have it by then. They'll be for sale at the gallery, online (details soon), and probably by arranging to meet me on street corners and at bars with my briefcase full of calendars.

Last Saturday I went to the opening in Kingston of the Seed Pack Art show and picked up some of the brand new packs. Seeing the original art was wonderful- work by 20 or 24 artists, and so many different mediums and shapes, and then to see how the art was developed to fit the pack design. It was such a colorful show. I meant to take photos of the other work but ended up with only this one pic of my own piece.

A collection of some packs in a handmade box, crafted by Jon from salvaged wood for this very purpose, so I could give them to a friend for her birthday. The packs are now for sale online from the Seed Library. More gift ideas. What next, t-shirts and prints? Why yes. T'is the season.

Monday, November 4, 2013

seed pack art

I was so excited to be chosen to create artwork this year for one of the Hudson Valley Seed Library's Art Packs. The traveling exhibition, Art of The Heirloom, opens this Sat Nov 9 in Kingston at Anvil Gallery and features the original art and the new collection of seed packs. All the art looks really gorgeous, from the sneak peeks I've seen, and I'm honored to be part of it. The opening is 6-9 pm, and the show runs through Nov and Dec. Info about where it will travel next will likely be on the Seed Library's website.
My variety was Zamboni Broccoli Raab. The packs will be for sale through their catalog/site (along with prints) and eventually at stores around the country!

Original is 15"x15" acrylic on wood.

A peek at the packs.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

the princess tried

Went into the archives for this photo, sorry. It's from '09. Happy Halloween. Off to go stack firewood today, then see what trouble I can get up to tonight. I've been pre-gaming by consuming candy at a most alarming rate, more than I eat in an entire year. It's the snack sizes that do me in, and the extra hours in the car.
In this photo I'm an ersatz Halloween princess in my orange prom dress from a hundred years ago.. all right, 17 years, which qualifies as half my lifetime..

Monday, October 28, 2013


Breaking out the classics for these Halloween cookies I made for Homespun (a cafe in Beacon). Nothing too scary here.

 From the car show a couple of weekends ago. More classics, lining Main St. All the hoods are up, so my pics were for general inspiration rather than direct reference, though I can adapt, and may.

 My 'installation' in the gallery window. Possibly the only thing I painted last week (besides cookies).

Ah, here's an actual painting (oil, 9"x12"). I did most of this one in August, but needed to finish it. This building was farther up (or down) the road from the cabin I stayed in. I suppose it was open for business at one time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

rounding up

I know I've shown this already, but now it's a little different- it's from the lightbulb cutout I painted for  Newburgh Illuminated in June. Jon did one too, and he cut both of our lightbulbs into circles featuring the top parts of the designs (30" in diameter?). I kind of really like this now. I liked it before, and it made sense for that project, but it needed to stand as a new piece. Second time a round.

Friday, October 18, 2013

sign work

I've had my sign-painting hat on the past week or so- that is, actual signs, not paintings of signs, which is a different hat- and just finished these two for a couple of beloved establishments on Main St in Beacon. They are each 4'x4' painted on wood, both sides, and of course it took a bit longer than I thought, because I do it the freehand sketch-it-out way. I think they were seeking the handmade look, so I'm all right. I do this sort of work enough to be reasonably good, but not frequently enough as to be a true master of the craft, effortless and sure. (Although, two separate people who watched me paint said that my long brushstrokes relaxed them. Beats watching paint dry, I suppose.)

Monday, October 14, 2013


I took a short road trip this past Saturday up to Olana, "the 250-acre integrated environment of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church: Art, Architecture, Landscape, Farm and Views", a little over an hour's drive north from Beacon on a most idyllic mid-October day. Their website and these photos describe the place, and its history and beauty, better than I ever could. Imagine the days (1860) when an artist could actually buy such property and build such an estate, with its Persian-influenced architecture, high above the Hudson River surrounded by farmland and sweeping views. I didn't even make it inside for a house tour, just walked along the trails in the sunshine, eating apples.

Monday, October 7, 2013

autumn road painting

A painting I made as a commissioned piece for a PR firm's seasonal card. Original is 8"x10" acrylic on canvas. There would have to be pumpkins in the truck's bed, I figured, or cider donuts. Then I realized the unseen driver and companion were most certainly, while enjoying the fall foliage, eating donuts and drinking cider.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

new prints

These are 6 to start, open-edition, approx 11"x16". Also had them printed at 8"x10". Soon they will be for sale online ($25-35), either on my site or at a link from our gallery's page, but for now, as before, they are available by emailing me (erica@ericahauser.com) directly. 

Gray Cash Register, Cityscape with Water Tower, Ice Machine, Radio Train, Howard Johnson's, Disco Ball

Ice Machine print, 11"x14". Original is oil on panel.