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.