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.