Here in the city, the chill of winter is setting in but memories of Rabbit Island are still stoking my creative fire. While my collection of paintings from that trip have been away at the De Vos Museum of Art exhibit, I’ve been busy working on some commissions in my studio. Recently I published another story about Rabbit Island on the Stio blog and I hope you check it out! As an ambassador for Stio, I share my writing on their blog throughout the year, you can find links to other articles like this on my press page. Big thanks to Stio for keeping me warm and dry!
I always have small paintings for sale in my studio and I usually sell them through word-of-mouth. If you are interested in buying something, my small paintings are all between $200- $800 (sizes range from approx 5″x7″ – 9″x12″) These are all plein air paintings that I’ve done on my travels and excursions out of the city. Each one comes with a story behind the day I created it! I’ve tried to organize an album of available paintings here, and I hope that before too long I’ll get a real online store up and running. Meanwhile please email me if you are interested in learning more about a painting or buying something: email@example.com
Salmagundi Club Thumb Box Exhibition, 47 5th Ave, NYC:
November 18 – January 3. Reception is Thursday, December 5th, 6-7:30 PM. All paintings in this show are under 108 square inches. Here are the three paintings I’ll have in the show:
Group Show at the First Bank of Greenwich, Cos Cob, CT.
Reception is November 20th, 5-7 PM. These paintings will be on display (and for sale) at the bank throughout the holiday season:
Stay tuned for more exhibits coming up this holiday season!
Rabbit Island, a 91 acre oasis of wilderness in Lake Superior, first came to my attention in 2011 when a friend emailed me about a Kickstarter campaign. An artist residency was planned for the island and when I read about the fledgling project online my heart skipped a beat as I realized how much I would love to go there. The Great Lakes have captured my imagination for many years and this summer I had the chance to be one of the artists at work in this magical setting.
Under the creative vision of Rob Gorski, the residency has been developed with considered restraint – the only shelter from the elements is a 3 sided cabin that serves as a communal kitchen and dining area. Artists sleep in tents, cook on the campfire, and swim in the frigid water. The intention is to leave behind all distractions of modern life and live close to nature. We tried to cultivate an ethos of simplicity by keeping our off-island imports to a minimum. For instance, processed food and beer cans were discouraged in favor of a “less is more” approach. We were constantly asking ourselves “what else can we live without?” This being the third summer of the residency, we were essentially part of a beta testing phase and learned so much that will help shape the experiences of future residents.
I shared the island with a colorful cast of artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and chefs. The atmosphere was abuzz with creative energy, and adding to that dynamic was the presence of a New York Times journalist and photographer who were writing a story about us. I felt some conflict between my desire to find solitude, and the excitement of the activity around me. In my normal routine I spend a lot of time alone but I recognized the value of this opportunity to work alongside such a diverse group. I loved seeing what fascinated other people about this unique environment and imagining how it would manifest through each individual’s creativity. While I was out painting, completely absorbed in my canvas, I could occasionally look up to see one of the other artists at a distance, equally absorbed in another kind of work. Once when I was walking back to camp, I passed Jessica Kilroy, who was standing on a wobbly rock, shifting her weight side to side and listening intently to the hollow clunk underfoot. I knew she was collecting field recordings to use in her music compositions … I had never thought of it on my own, but now I heard a melody every time I wobbled across those rocks! This is just one example of the kind of energy that was sparkling around me this summer, and I encourage you to visit the Rabbit Island blog to read about all the different projects that took place.
I spent my time making small plein air paintings, choosing my subjects based purely on a fascination with light and form. The warm sandstone bedrock of the island as it disappears under the deep turquoise waters crashing over it was a fun challenge for me to decipher. As a group, these paintings are a collection of intimate moments, each one exposing a piece of Rabbit Island’s character. To me, they serve as windows through time, bringing me back to the moment I was painting in quiet meditation surrounded by waves, wind, rocks, and sky. Those afternoons spent in focused awareness were precious for their lack of distractions. Even though we had cell service and I was able to use my phone daily, it was often out of commission with a dead battery. If I were to repeat this trip, I’d give myself a true digital detox and I might even give up the ability to take photos altogether, that way I’d be forced to use my drawing and writing skills to record my memories.
Exercising smart-phone restraint has been a popular topic of conversation around me this summer. They are such powerful tools to connect us, and as an artist it is an invaluable way to promote my work and share the journey behind how I make it. My instagram feed has allowed me to stay in touch with my friends and find inspiration in their adventurous lives. Maintaining this sense of community has been a positive gain, but at times I feel overwhelmed by information and I struggle to find the presence I need to fully develop my thoughts. On the morning we were packing to leave the island and re-enter the outside world, I considered how I could simplify my life and bring more presence into my daily routine. I realized there were quite a few things I could live without – in material possessions, habits, and thoughts. So, in keeping with the “less is more” motto we had on Rabbit Island, I’ll be doing some spring cleaning this fall!
Some of my paintings from the trip:
and some photos to help tell the story!
Over the past six weeks I’ve been traveling and painting in some amazing places across the Rockies, Great Lakes, and New England. It’s been a whirlwind tour and I’m excited to share some photos from the field. There are quite a few new paintings and some good stories to share, so this will have to be spaced out over the next few posts. Stay tuned for more summer updates to follow.
For July 4th, I took a trip with my family to Aspen, Colorado. It felt so good to be out in the Rockies again! Ever since my years spent traveling and living out west, Colorado has had a special place in my heart. Early morning trail runs through Aspen groves and fields of wildflowers … there’s nothing quite like it. The days were hot and I sought refuge along Hunter Creek in the mountains above town. I became fascinated by the challenge of painting the elusive qualities of moving water… a theme that captured my imagination everywhere I went on my travels this year.
After Aspen, I had a 24 hour transition in NYC before jetting off to Jackson, NH for the Hudson River Fellowship. This was my 5th summer as a fellow at this wonderful retreat, where I spent 4 days painting before my next adventure in northern Michigan as a resident artist on Rabbit Island. More on that experience in my next post! For now, here are a few paintings from my time at the Fellowship:
- And with this I leave you, a parting shot. Until next time!
Summer is upon us and I’m about to leave on more painting trips, so I thought it was about time to update the blog before another two months slip away.
In early June I went up to Vermont to begin making studies for a new commissioned project. It’s a dream job and the perfect blast-off to a great summer: painting an incredible view across Lake Champlain of the Adirondack high peaks. I began talking with the couple who own this property about a year ago. They’ve been restoring an old summer lodge on the lake and wanted some custom made paintings that would fit the old-fashioned vibe of the place. In April I made my first visit to see the land and talk about possibilities for the paintings. We decided on two larger studio paintings as well as a series of smaller pieces to hang in the house. Here are a few of the pieces I painted on location during the week I was up there. I also made a series of careful drawings that will be useful in the studio painting process. These loose color studies of the view across the lake help me remember what I was feeling and observing when I was there in the moment. As I get further along with the studio paintings, I will share progress photos and talk about process on my blog.
Since I returned from Vermont, I’ve been working on composing the first studio painting for the commission. There’s also been time to get out to enjoy some of the local beaches and escape the heat too!
Next up: I’m looking forward to painting in Aspen, CO next week, then meeting up with the Hudson River Fellowship in Jackson NH before heading out to Michigan to paint at the Rabbit Island Artist Residency.
Man, time has been flying lately! Tonight we celebrated the end of another year at the GCA. It was a year ago that I finished my own studies there, and this is the first time in four years that I won’t spend the next three days on my knees scraping gunk off the floors as part of my work-study duties. It’s been an incredible first year out on my own, I’ve grown and gained a lot of self-confidence and skill. In the past few months my anxiety about survival has begun to subside and I’m having more fun with the challenges of this wild ride. I feel surrounded by opportunity in NYC and my biggest concern is how to divide my energies efficiently so that I can make time for the most important thing: putting brush to canvas. Tomorrow morning I’m heading north to spend a week painting in Vermont – I’ll be gathering plein air studies for a commissioned studio painting. I crave these uninterrupted blocks of time when I can sink into the tranquility of nature. I’ll try to get another blog post up with some thoughts on how that experience goes. For now … here are some events I have to look forward to when I return from my little retreat:
June 1st: Rabbit Island Benefit Party and Silent Auction
Saturday, June 1st 981 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY.
Rabbit Island is a 90 acre wilderness island in Lake Superior which was preserved and then developed into a remote artist residency. Each summer the island hosts collaborations between artists, architects, writers, scientists and chefs and each winter they apply lessons learned to conservation and cultural projects on the mainland.
Proceeds raised during the event via silent auction will be distributed amongst this year’s artists in residence program.
+ Silent Art Auction
+ Live Music by bluegrass trio, Morgan O’Kane
+ Food by Sweet Deliverance & Stumptown Coffee
+ Performance by modern dancer Giorgia Bovo
+ Guest Speaker TBD
June 8th “En Plein Air” at the Drawing Room Gallery, Cos Cob, CT
I have TEN paintings in this group show. It will be up until August 8th, so if you’re in CT check it out! Here is a painting (that will be in this show) I did when I was in the Cos Cob area a few weeks ago for Edward Minoff’s show opening at Cavalier:
this one will also be in the show:
June 15: Small Works Show at The Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, VT
This show is up until December 22! The opening party on June 15th sounds fun – there will be a gypsy band playing – Caravan of Thieves.
Last weekend’s studio sale was a huge success, thank you so much to all of you who bought paintings last weekend! I am completely blown away by the response I got, and feeling very encouraged by your support.
Here’s what’s up next – it’s looking like another busy and fun summer full of painting adventures!
*Im teaching a workshop this weekend in Prospect Park Brooklyn where we will focus on careful studies of nature in the tradition of the Hudson River School Painters.
* I’m busy making some new paintings for a group show in Cos Cob, CT at the Drawing Room Gallery, the opening reception is in June 8th.
* I’ll be exhibiting at the Bennington Center for the Arts in my home state of Vermont – June 15th is the opening reception
* I can’t wait to start on my next big studio painting project – a commission of a spectacular private view on Lake Champlain! Looks like that project will occupy my month of June.
* I’m teaching another workshop at the Hudson River Fellowship July 21-24 in Jackson, NH. Sign up through the GCA.
* This will be my 5th year as a fellow at the Hudson River Fellowship and I’m just as excited as always for our annual summer landscape painting retreat. I was on the selection committee this year and the applicants we had were the strongest group ever. I’m so excited to meet the new fellows who are accomplished academic artists coming from all over the world to follow in the footsteps of the Hudson River School Painters. This annual experience has been the most defining influence on my work and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.
Meanwhile, here’s a recap of the open studio last weekend:
Below are the paintings that sold, either online, or at my studio.
Stop by my studio between 1-6 PM on Saturday and 1-5 PM on Sunday! Here are a few new paintings that have been added to the collection since my last post. Plein-air paintings like this are $7.00 per square inch. Help me make space on my walls for new work to flourish!
A: my studio, 102 Montgomery St, Brooklyn, NY
B: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – see the Cherry Blossom Festival going on all weekend!
C: the Brooklyn Museum of Art – see the Sargent Watercolor exhibit, the American Drawings exhibit, and El Anatsui