Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Living for the weekend

I had a good weekend, the kind where I think, if only I could continue on this way, maybe I could actually be an artist.

Friday I went to the opening of the 2010 RISCA fellowship recipients exhibition at Imago Gallery. It was packed, so much so that it was hard to actually see who beat me out for the grant. From what I could see, it looked pretty interesting, although nothing made me stop in my tracks. Some good people there to talk to though, and the glass of white wine in the little plastic cup hit the spot after a full day of work and pilates class.

Saturday it felt really good to get back into my studio, despite the fact that my tubes of paint were icy cold and it never warmed up to more than 50 degrees, even with the propane stove running full blast.

I'm reworking the big (almost 4x5 feet) painting that I had envisioned as the finale to my Shoemaker series. Even though I had already exhibited it, I was never really satisfied that I had pushed it as far as I could have. So I'm going at it again by changing some large areas and ramping up the color. The only problem is that when I finally get a chance to heat up the studio and spend a few hours working on it, it's a bit hard to connect back to it. But it might help that now I have a deadline that will force me to make it more of a priority. I have to deliver a painting by June 9 for the Art League of RI's members show at the RISD Museum and I'd like to submit it, being a big museum show and all. It's the first, and probably only, time my work will grace those hallowed halls, so I hope I can pull this painting together.

Sunday I took a break to spend with my valentine. We went on a snowy winter hike in Borderland State Park. I had never been to the 1700 acre park before, which is just north of Mansfield MA, but it's a beautiful spot.

We started out the hike by heading towards the mansion. I wasn't especially interested in it, until I found out that the couple who built it were a botanist (Oakes Ames) and a painter (Blanche Ames). Born in 1878, Blanche actually designed the mansion after firing the architects who were making it too ostentatious. From the distance it looked pretty square and unremarkable, but closer up was full of surprising patterns of granite, a huge bell imported from Cuba on the roof and stained glass windows. Unfortunately the mansion wasn't open, but I looked up Blanche online when I got home and found she was a really neat person. She illustrated her husband's book of orchid research, painted in oils, and worked hard for womens rights, especially for access to birth control, all her life. She engineered the dams that created the lakes in the park, and received a patent for inventing an antipollution toilet at the age of 90. All this while raising 4 children.

After peeking in the mansion's windows, we walked around the ponds and over the earthen dams. The biggest pond was frozen over and people were walking across it inspecting several ice fishing holes. We skirted it instead, to avoid a cold wind. Otherwise I was perfectly comfortable in the mid-30's temperature. We walked for about 4 miles, but only explored a small part of the park. I'll have to return to see how it looks in the spring or summer.

• • •

A good article in the NY Times on Sunday. Enough with Minimalism, how about some Maximalism for a change? (my headline)

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