THE ARTFUL MIND THE SOURCE FOR PROMOTING THE ARTS IN THE BERKSHIRES SINCE 1994
MAY/ JUNE 2018
Photographer Tasja Keetman
EDWARD ACKER PHOTOGRAPHER
Time Flies D Get Pictures EdwardAckerPhotographer.com 413-446-8348
THE ARTFUL MIND ARTZINE
Summer of Love.
Off the wall & into your
THE ART OF LESLEE CARSEWELL ... 10
CHARLES CAINE Costume Designer photography by tasja Keetman.. 20 OUR REMAINS OF THE DAY: WAITING Carl berg anD juDy berg ... 28
Selfie Oil on canvas 36" x 36"
the artFul minD gallery 22 walKer street, lenox, ma tuesDay through sunDay 12 - 5
opening reCeption, saturDay, june 23, 4 - 7pm
RENEE AND THE ENABLERS interview with renee harvitt photography by stephanie sKaarup...30 RICHARD BRITELL / FiCtion ...31 THE VOICE OF JOYCE Color anD perCeption part 2 joyCe silver...38
GRANDMA BECKY’S OLD WORLD RECIPES laura pian ...44
Contributing Writers and Monthly Columnists Richard Britell, Laura Pian, Joyce Silver, Carl and Judy Berg Photographers Edward Acker, Lee Everett, Jane Feldman Tasja Keetman, Sabine von Falken Publisher Harryet Puritzman
Editorial Proofreading Kris Galli Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Puritzman
email@example.com 413 854 4400
FYI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. All commentaries by writers are not necessarily the opinion of the publisher and take no responsibility for their facts and opinions.
2 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND I LOVE YOU JEFF
Spring Suite, oil on canvas, 54 x 72 inches The Artful Mind Gallery
22 Walker Street, Lenox, MA Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5pm, 1 May – 30 June
firstname.lastname@example.org http://jenniferpazienza.com THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 3
MARGUERITE BRIDE summer exhibits
paul stanKarD, Flowers From emily, DiCKinson's seCret, garDen, 2018 enCaseD glass sCulpture, 3 9/16 x 2 7/8 x 2 7/8"
SCHANTZ GALLERIES nature in glass a DeliCate balanCe
Schantz Galleries proudly presents an exhibition of three renowned glass artists: Paul Stankard, Kelly O’Dell, and Raven Skyriver. All three are deeply in tune with their environment and demonstrate how growing up surrounded by nature can truly get into one’s soul. All three also have a deep appreciation for glassmaking and the unique qualities that make glass a compelling medium for interpreting flora and fauna. More than keen observers of nature, they offer a visceral experience of the sublime but precarious beauty of the Earth. Their glass sculptures immerse us in nature, allowing us to contemplate our mortality and encouraging us to change our way of being in the world. The opening reception is Friday, June 1, 4–6 pm. Paul Stankard combined his early career in industrial glass with his love of poetry, wildflowers, and floral paperweights to become a pioneer in the field of flameworking. Stankard’s process—using a torch with pincers, pliers, and other tools to precisely manipulate colorful, thin rods of glass—is about more than just making things. It is a spiritual exercise that brings the artist closer to the essence of nature. The monastic notion of laborare est orare (to labor is to pray) guides Stankard to see the miraculous in the ordinary. Diminutive and detailed meditations, his paperweights display not only a flower’s elegant countenance but the brimming underbelly beneath the soil, paying homage to what Stankard has termed “the mystery of unseen energy and the fecundity of nature.” Veneration of nature also defines glass artists Kelly O’Dell and Raven Skyriver, who live and work together in Washington. O’Dell was raised in Hawaii, where the arts and the lush environment were woven into her upbringing. Skyriver grew up on Lopez Island, in the Pacific North-
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west, in deep communion with nature. They met while working together on William Morris’ team of glass artists in northern Seattle. Kelly O’Dell sees nature in the long view— its far-reaching past, its captivating present, and its precarious future. O’Dell mimics the fossilized impressions of extinct sea creature in panels, liquid glass melting like a massive glacier, suspending shell slices in perpetuity. She also revives these species in glorious dimensions. Glass is blown and sculpted, then carved to move light effortlessly through helix-like forms. O’Dell also brings this amalgam of scientific accuracy and artistic license to endangered creatures of today and contrasts this with the extinct ammonites, concerned that human impact on the natural world will mimic history’s astronomical disasters. O’Dell’s glass pieces memorialize nature’s lost glories, endeavor to forestall future destruction, and contemplate the universal life cycle of life, death, and renewal. Raven Skyriver brings awareness to the fragility of the ecosystem and the risk of endangerment in his breathtaking glass animals. Icons of the Pacific Northwest such as whales, tortoises, seals, and salmon feature prominently in his vocabulary, along with ancient shelled creatures and undulant octopuses. He expertly manipulates glass to express different textures—soft mat seal fur, rough patchy tortoise skin, glistening chromatophore’s cells, iridescent carapaces. Skyriver’s glorious creatures capture a panoply of forms and colors as diverse as marine life itself. The inherent viscosity of glass, its ability to morph in shape and color, and its seeming weightlessness as light filters through and around it, make it the ideal instrument for Skyriver. Schantz Galleries Contemporary Glass, 3 Elm Street, Stockbridge, Massachusetts; Exhibition Hours: Open daily, 10 - 6pm; Tel: 413-2983044 www.schantzgalleries.com. For additional and larger image please contact Kim Saul, email@example.com
marguerite bride will be exhibiting at a number of venues during the summer months. From may 1 – august 31, bride will be one of 23 artists exhibiting at the artful mind gallery at 22 walker street in lenox. a gala celebration is scheduled for june 23 from 4-7 pm, plus other receptions that will be held throughout the summer. paintings will be changed about once a month. the gallery will be open 12n – 5pm, closed on mondays. 51 park restaurant and tavern at 51 park st, lee will be showing bride’s “jazz vision” series of watercolors on canvas throughout the summer, starting in june. matted reproductions of these jazz scenes as well as other berkshire scenes will be available at the good purpose gallery, 40 main street in lee. on Friday, july 14, for the third year in a row, bride will be doing a painting demo from 11 am – 2 pm at the Frelinghuysen morris house & studio, at 92 hawthorne st, lenox, mass. she will be painting under a tent on the grounds of this stunning museum...come sit for a while, get a free watercolor lesson and demo with museum admission. july 28-29, as most years, bride will have a booth at the Church on the hill juried Fine art and Craft show at lilac park, main street, lenox, mass. this show happens rain or shine (usually rain), free admission, ample parking. hours are saturday 10am - 5pm, sunday 10am - 4pm. and plenty more will be happening in august…stay tuned. anytime is a great time to commission a house portrait or favorite scene you would like captured in a watercolor. my most recent commission is of a scene at williams College, a gift for a new graduate. paintings (or even a personalized gift certificate, then the artist will work directly with the recipient) are cherished and personal gifts for weddings, retirement, new home, old home, anniversaries, graduation…..any occasion is special. Commission work is always welcome. be in touch! Marguerite Bride – 413-841-1659 or 413442-7718; margebride-paintings.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: marguerite bride watercolors.
opening reception for artists saturday june 23 4-7pm
the artful mind gallery ! 22 walker street lenox massachusetts tues - sun 12-5 by appointment on mondays ARTGALLENMAN@yahoo.com
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 â€¢ 5
6 â€¢ MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
FRONT ST. GALLERY housatonic ma.
reCent worK presents
eleanor lorD mary beth merritt patti alles sue arKins luCy brotman sharon Flitterman King barbara laFer jeannine sChoeFFer linDa hertZ martha beyer roberta haas anDrea bruCe
june 2- 24 2018
gallery hours 12-5 sat sun 413 274 6607 for appointment
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 â€¢ 7
FRONT ST. GALLERY Kate Knapp
june 2 - 24, 2018: recent work by eleanor lord, mary beth merritt, patti alles, sue arkins lucy brotman, sharon Flitterman-King, barbara lafer, jeannine schoeffer, linda hertz, martha beyer, roberta haas, andrea bruce
Danielle blaDe hanD blown anD sCulpteD glass
PARADISE CITY ARTS FESTIVAL
memorial Day weeKenD
it’s springtime in paradise! the paradise City arts Festival in northampton offers the chance to see the remarkable work and hear the stories of 250 extraordinary artists from every corner of america. well over 10,000 attendees, many traveling long distances, visit this sprawling show held on saturday, sunday and monday of memorial Day weekend. Yankee Magazine wrote this year that “the northampton visual arts scene explodes at the twice-yearly paradise City arts Festival, an extravaganza of 200-plus top-notch craftspeople and fine artists that’s been dazzling shoppers since 1995.” one of the top destinations in the nation to enjoy the very best in fine craft, painting and sculpture, the northampton event never sits on its laurels. the major transformations effected last year introduced three carpeted, airy new buildings connected by covered walkways, keeping patrons comfortable and protected, rain or shine. the 12,000 square-foot Dining tent commands a grassy lawn surrounded by outdoor sculpture. with lots of brand new artists, sensational food by local chefs, lively music and the special exhibit “Flower power!”, attendees are kept busy and enthralled all weekend long. the survival Center is the newest beneficiary of the very popular silent art auction. paradise City’s artists generously donate hundreds of works to the auction, and beautiful new pieces are auctioned off every day. the northampton survival Center is dedicated to 8 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout hampshire County by providing nutritious food and other resources in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. 100% of the proceeds further the programs of the survival Center. paradise City keeps its visitors’ hands, eyes and brains busy. master potter tim scull of Canton, Ct is renowned for his enormous pots and platters, distinguished by the marks of wood vapor, raku, saggar and pit firing. hear stories of the studio, fascinating insights on clay and watch a bravura demonstration of his ceramic skills on the potter’s wheel. shibumi silks offer a fantastic hands-on experience in silk marbling techniques. make your own patterned scarf using a rainbow of vibrant dyes! alan and rosemary bennett, known for their life-sized, realistic renditions of fish and sea creatures, lead very popular clay sculpture workshops for children (and the young at heart). plus, the changing installations and large-scale sculpture along the sculpture promenade are catnip for kids, instagram heaven and full of fantastic decorating ideas for the attendees’ own gardens. Paradise City Arts Festival, May 26, 27 & 28, at Northampton’s 3 County Fairgrounds, on Old Ferry Road off Rt. 9. From the Mass Pike, take exit 4 to I-91 North, Exit 19. For complete show and travel information, advance online tickets and discount admission coupons, visit www.paradisecityarts.com or call 800-511-9725.
pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. painting classes continue on monday and wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and thursday mornings out in the field. these classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. all levels and materials welcome. private critiques available. Classes at Front street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. perfect if you are seeking fresh insight into watercolors, and other mediums. a teacher for many years, Kate Knapp has a keen sense of each student’s artistic needs to take a step beyond. perfect setting for setting up still lifes; lighting and space are excellent. peek in to see! Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell).
Dance is of all things the most concentrated expression of happiness and everyone needs to find happiness, to search for an ideal escape. -Violette Verdy
spring suite, oil on Canvas, 54x72 inChes overall
how lucky can one painter be? it’s may and the berkshires are waking up from its winter slumber to begin another art-filled summer season and this cross-border artist couldn’t be happier to have work in two distinct and fabulous galleries serving diverse communities. spring suite hangs in a group show at the artful mind gallery. that’s right! owner and operator, as well as the curator and designer of the artful mind magazine, the very magazine you’re reading at this moment, and all around arts advocate for over 25 years, harryet puritzman, has opened a gallery at 22 walker street in lenox featuring a range of berkshire artists. spring suite is comprised of four paintings, pictured here from top left, Clouds are Far behind me, that’s where you’ll Find me, troubles melt like lemon Drops and above the Chimney tops are titles that derive from my beloved, over the rainbow, a song that will forever connect me to the best of my childhood.
blowin’ in the winD, oil on Canvas, 54x72inChes
blowin’ in the wind is part of a group show at Diana Felber gallery in west stockbridge that runs from 5 may through end of june. the title, blowin’ in the wind, came to me after a friend commented that i had captured the wind rustling through the apple trees that hang over the pond i see from my Keswick ridge, new brunswick studio. yes i live in Canada, have done for nearly 30 years, but my
formative life is american—italian/american that is—new jersey, from the mid 50s through the 1970s. garden state parkway, exit 148! as the works here suggests, lyrics as potential titles come to me upon reflection. i grew up listening to a range of musical genres from Caruso played on my sicilian grandparents’ 78s to the 33-1/3 albums of neopolitan balladeers. rock and roll on the 45s my older brother would treat me to, 70s psychedelic rock and that sweet soul music. i was ten when the beatles performed on the ed sullivan show and ushered in the british invasion, while Connie Francis and annette Funicello dazzled their male counterparts. billie holiday, ella Fitzgerald, nat King Cole, jackie wilson and like sony and Cher’s beat, the list goes on. My work is held in Public and Corporate Collections in Canada and in numerous private collections throughout the US, Canada, the UK and Italy. I regularly exhibit in the Berkshires with shows at St. Francis Gallery, Good Purpose Gallery, Diana Felber Gallery and 510 Warren Street Gallery. Designs by Jennifer Owen, Great Barrington also represents my work. To learn more about my paintings, or for inquiries please email me: email@example.com and visit my website & blog: http://jenniferpazienza.com/
VIVA LA FEMME L’ATELIER BERKSHIRES GALLERY
An exhibition celebrating women and the arts. Women have always been creative, yet not as acknowledged throughout Art History as their male counterparts. Female artists now have the opportunity to have their voices and talents recognized, appreciated and honored. Paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography by 26 Contemporary Women Artists will be on exhibition from April 12June 6. L’Atelier Berkshires Gallery, 597 Main Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts; www.atelierberks.com, contact: Natalie Tyler at 510-469-5468, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 9
the art oF
leslee Carsewell Interview by Harryet Puritzman
harryet: You’re an accomplished artist and graphic designer, Leslee. What would be some of your best advise for what to do and what not to do as a commercial and fine art artist in today’s world? Leslee Carsewell: my strongest advice is to learn by looking and observing. this must be a life long project. Curiosity must always be keeping your mind, heart and eye engaged. no slacking off! i constantly look at art, read books, and try to go to museums whenever i have the chance. i ask questions of myself and i look things up all the time... one observance leads to the next. that is the most fun way to learn. and keep pushing yourself... seriously! push to higher goals and push to keep your 10 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
Tapisserie des Reves / Tapestry of Dreams
Photographs supplied by the Artist
work growing. i don’t mean be abusive but do it with the spirit of inquisitiveness. tell your self you are capable of more: more interesting, more boundary pushing, more insight, higher quality. Don’t expect overnight miracles. things must develop slowly. and when they start to develop and change starts to appear, even more regularly, do not sit back and rest on your laurels. Don’t be lazy! being lazy will do in the work. Complacency is a killer of creativity.
And what do you base this advice on, as you reflect upon your life experience? Leslee: i was very fortunate to have attended Carnegie-mellon university. at the time, the
classes were small and we progressed along through the years with the same students around us. somehow the teachers and administration implied to us that we were special and talented. but, even though we were given to believe we had talent, the expectation was that we had to develop it. it was an overwhelming and rigorous education. it always seemed that the only time we really got to have fun and play was the night before a semester’s classes were to begin. once classes started, all noses to the grindstone. every day, as i climbed the stairs in the baker building, where i took most of my classes, i would look up into the sky light on the 3rd floor to a stained glass emblem of the school with the words of andrew
Leslee Carsewell Doorway to a Dream
Carnegie: “my heart is in the worK”. those words have not left me for the entirety of my life. recently, i reconnected with an old classmate and we talked about just this. she said to me: “this could be my epitaph”. i heartily concurred.
But, what’s your most personal and favorite art medium you dabble in but keep to yourself? Leslee: i really don’t have one. but i will say, i don’t want to work in oil because i don’t want to deal with the clean up! Acquaint us with a picture of a Day in The Life of Leslee, right at this present time.
Leslee: i have, over the last 8-9 years worked to loosen the linearity of my way of approaching getting daily accomplishments crossed off my list. linearity is a must in design when you have strict deadlines and clients to satisfy. when making art, i find if i am a little less strident, i can have better creative flow. that said, there are things that must be done. First and foremost, i make a list every night before bed so i can prioritize what i must accomplish the following day. First thing, take care of my wonderful dog and get us both hydrated, exercise and fed. if i then get sucked into the computer/internet, that will get me down the enervating paper trail aspect of things and that usually does in the creativity. i am a morning person, so it is best that i start creative work
as soon as possible and once i hit a point of satisfaction, 3-5 hours later, i can either take poochie for another walk, continue or hit the paper work. paper work is enervating to me. i am very thorough, so it takes lots of time.. no glossing over.... alas.
What would it be, that you just know you cannot do well, but wished you can? Why? Leslee: i try to avoid things i don’t do well. i am grateful that i am fairly competent at most things i attempt. i think this stems from my training and design practice. i never really got chemistry in high school, so i am delighted i don’t have to balance any equations! Continued on next page...
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 11
Leslee Carsewell From Another Time No. 21
Leslee Carsewell Diplomate/Trifle
How does the Berkshires fit into your lifestyle? Leslee: aaaaaaaaah, the berkshires! living here has really exceeded my expectations. this summer marks 16 years living here. it was a conscious move on my part to relocate to this area. as is usual for me, i wrote out a program of the things i wanted in choosing a new place to live. and after my first visit here after a more than 30 year hiatus, i fell in love all over again. i love that it is comfortable. i can have all the culture i can possibly take in, people are not pretentious, but rather quietly sophisticated, well read and well travelled. i have many interests i share with friends here. plus... i can eat the way i want to, i.e. organic and local. this was one of the draws to the area. 12 •MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
often i will be driving along and say out loud: “I live here???” i am still blown away at the natural beauty and feel very blessed to have landed here. i am grateful every day to be here. How Do yon think your art is a reflection of your personality? Leslee: after my last show this winter at the Knox gallery in monterey, i thought to myself that my work really does reflect my personal-
ity. i, like my work am calm, quiet, introspective and thoughtful. i enjoy quiet subtlety and things to reveal themselves in a slow fashion. as with most art, the initial look is not all that there is to take in. my work literally has layers and a variety of nuanced color changes that, on greater inspection, inform the whole work. i don’t make obvious hit your self over -the -head work. like a new friend, the work must reveal itself slowly and the interaction will then grow more
Leslee Carsewell Winter Idyll: Triple Supérieure
deeply over time. How would you describe the road you have travelled so far? Leslee: i have and am grateful for many incredible highs and experiences. and like most, i have had my share of lows and heartbreaks. we are all human after all, experiencing the human condition.
What outside help and support have you come across along the way that you hold dear? Leslee: During a very low period, a therapist introduced me to buddhism and i read a lot about the philosophy at the time. it stuck with me. many books have had profound effects on me but one that really created an ah-ha! moment was: QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by susan Cain
Leslee Carsewell From Another Time No. 10
What life-long lesson do you follow? Leslee: i work to treat everyone with equanimity. i have abandoned ego and involving myself with narcissistic people, and i really try to pay attention and be present.
these are lifelong goals to be conscious of and through my buddhist readings, i have really become more aware. practice, practice, practice!
What makes you a strong woman? Leslee: i am very lucky that from a young age, i have been an old soul. i have great internal powers of selfreflection and a willingness to open myself up to growth and change. Leslie, you are wise! How would you interpret, if commissioned, a piece of artwork that reflects life today? Leslee: oh boy....... very dark, very messy and muddy, with the tiniest bits of bright light trying their damndest to shine through. ... anselm Keifer comes to mind. also, lucien Freud They say, the whole is greater, than the sum of the parts it’s made from; how does this affect your artistic and worldly life? Leslee: i think we all bring our Continued on next page...
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018• 13
Leslee Carsewell Meditation Flottante/Floating Meditation
personal history in to the work we do. i am no exception. i have travelled extensively, enjoyed many cultural experiences and enjoyed many wonderful and frankly sad things. all this makes me who i am. my curiosity began as a young artistic child and being encouraged, i kept on that path. it’s all one me, in my opinion. i am formed by my history, and therefore now making art as a result of that.
Tell us about your photography work. What is the story behind your best body of work? Leslee: i started doing black and white photography in high school. a friend’s father built her a dark room and we used to spend hours and hours in there, mostly developing pictures we shot with tri-x film... remember that??! then of course, photography courses in school, working as an art director in various ad agencies where i had to set up all manner of shots of products. then when i had my own design firm, i had to shoot a lot of subjects on 14 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
location, including Ceos, animals, you name it. working with really great photographers, i learned a lot about composition and lighting. i don’t consider one body of work better than another. they just grow. i did have the serendipitous opportunity to find myself inside an abandoned French manor house and that is when i began shooting again. it started as an exercise, and when i saw what i had taken and really started to think about it, i started to have an inner dialogue with myself about lighting and composition. that was my reboot.
That is inspiring to hear, Leslee. Tell us about your graphic design work, and your favorite fonts— oh, what are some fonts you would never, ever use. (fonts are like people, no!?) Leslee: i started in graphic design before we had computers to put things together. everything was made by hand. it was real craft; i mean real craft, to cut and paste and make a piece sing. it was also a time when there were
lots of paper and print possibilities available. having a background in printmaking i used some of that fine art knowledge to bring added dimension to my work. i was fortunate in that i kept building my firm’s reputation by winning all the major design awards and keeping on track with a constant p.r. campaign. the clients would love it when their pieces would win big awards and have articles written about them. and as the saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success”. the size and scope and budgets of the projects grew. this was a wonderful challenge to me to push my design work to newer bigger realms. i absolutely loved the problem solving. it was very, very fulfilling. Harryet: Perhaps, you learned how to live better by the knowledge you gained from problem solving skills in graphic design work which continually challenged you, and, by going through the whole learning process of starting out with our beloved and traditional paste-up and mechanicals to the totally new generation
Leslee Carsewell Rondo e Rondo e Rondo No: 3
of doing graphic design, font designing, etc., on the computor. To go through this, as I did, you happen to have been very fortunate because it was a huge leap in advertising and with everything. leslee: my favorite fonts reflect the context they are used in. some of my most favorite and elegant loves include: Centaur, serlio, Copperplate 30bC, garamond and palatino. i am irked when i see typefaces used in a poor context. young designers need to understand contextual relationships. it’s not just a pretty picture. it must convey the personality and meaning of the words. i hate clunky, chunky and ugly fonts... too numerous to mention. Do you find that you have combined your photography, graphic design, and anything
else with other forms of art? Leslee: yes, per above, my love for printmaking. also, i adore classical music so listening to it while i work really informs the nuances. i love schubert, ravel, beethoven and Debussy piano works. something new emerges with each listen. Fabulous!
Do you find clarity in your work when teaching others? Leslee: yes and no... mostly i find it in my upfront prep for a class i am teaching. this forces me to write down and clarify the ideas i want to share with the students. it depends on the students in the class. when i have really curious ones, it all goes better and it is more of a dialogue than a monologue. as an introvert, but not shy, i want to clarify, i do find teaching a bit like a performance, so it is both
exhilarating and exhausting. i like the challenge. i like challenges.. remember—my heart is in my work.
What is your connection with France? Leslee: i went to France for the first time when i was 15. i was astounded. this was in the 60s. it still had a post war old fashioned feeling. i had a history teacher in high school as well as a French teacher who encouraged my curiosity. i read and continue to read about France constantly. it’s changed greatly, but deep in the French countryside, the people still love and cling to their “patrimoine”, their history and customs, so it is there i feel the most nourished when i have the opportunity to be there. Where are you taking art making now in Continued on next page...
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 15
Leslee Carsewell Frenchy Fog
terms of greater development and understanding to communicate what is most essential at this time in your life? Leslee: if i stop to think about it too much and set too many visual goals, i will kill it. so... i just do it and it evolves and i don’t look back. i want the work to speak to each viewer on its own and let each viewer read meaning and emotion into what they see. mine is a process. their looking is their process. ...that said, i see the work becoming looser as i have gained confidence; there are more subtle layers, like the process of aging and having epiphanies.
Leslee Carsewell Low Tide 16 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
Problem solving skills are key to successful adventures in life. What key factors go into problem solving that work for you? Leslee: if i may say so myself, happily, i am a strong problem solver. slow and patient, i write things down, organize lists, bite off doable bits so as not to overwhelm, and plod on. i
work on my art slowly. more often than not, i will work on a piece for a bit, and i put it aside. sometimes i don’t like it at first. then, even months later, i will pull it out and see something new i had not noticed before. and if i am distracted or tired, i give myself permission to stop. i learned this lesson from a fellow artist friend who said to me once: “some days, you just spin your wheels, so it is better to stop.” and, best to leave ego at the door...do not get all wrapped up in yourself! What takes up your spare time when you have any? Leslee: ah, so much! play with my puppy, take long walks, listen to music both live and at home (i am a classical concert junkie, all year long), read, share meaningful conversations and great meals with friends, look at art, travel to France and walk until i can’t move, then sit on the terrace and have a cold rose, overlooking the valley... thanking my lucky stars!
Leslee Carsewell Circulation/Traffic
Where can we see your art? Leslee: things are a bit in flux right now, so if you curious, just contact me directly at email@example.com we can go from there.... Do you have any expectations for the Summer of 2018? Leslee: i plan to work on my art, get outside as much as possible, walk with my pup, swim and bike and of course, attend as much as possible, the various cultural venues we have in abundance here.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to make art, wants to give their life to creating art for the first time in their life? Leslee: just try it! Don’t think about it too much. just pick up the pencil, brush or camera and get out there. Don’t judge your self. look at as much art as you can, soak it in and have no preconceived notions. and, you could sign up for my class in abstract drawing at is 183! Leslee Carsewell
Thank you Leslee!!!
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collins | editions
opening in 2005, as berkshire Digital, we did fine art printing mainly for artists represented by the iris gallery of Fine art in great barrington before opening our doors to the public. we do color calibrated printing on archival papers. these archival prints, also known to many people as giclée prints, can be made in different sizes from 5x7 to 42” x 80”. photographers & artists also use us to create limited editions of their images. in addition to the printing services, collins | editions also offers accurate digital photoreproduction of paintings and illustrations for use in books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. see a complete overview of services offered, along with pricing at www.collinseditions.com the owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in boston and stamford. he offers over 25 years of experience with photoshop™ enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement to prints and digital files. The studio is located in Mt Washington but drop-off and PU is available through Frames On Wheels, located at 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-0997. collins | editions studio - (413) 644-9663 www.Collinseditions.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE ARTFUL MIND
ROBERT WILK sCulpture
FolD, reD/blue with silver petal
having moved a few years ago from his 20 year retirement in venice, italy, to sarasota, Florida, robert wilk decided to re-invent himself, as he's done several times in his life. having painted, designed and sculpted since his early youth, robert found it a good time to focus on sculpture professionally. robert considers his main medium to truly be Color. no matter the material - wood, aluminum or steel - the art emerges from the Color. wilk finds power in his minimalist approach and often provides a lively tension as well, through a feeling of movement or precariousness in the forms themselves. robert also enjoys repurposing objects, like chairs, children's colorful socks, stove pipes, for example, or logs in the forest, transformed in various shades of mauve. Robert Wilk's work can currently be seen at The Artful Mind Gallery, at 22 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. The opening reception to view 23 Berkshire artists and many of Robert Wilk’s sculpture will be Saturday, June 23, from 4 - 7pm. All are welcome. Robert Wilk email@example.com
ROBERT FORTE last stop, oil on Canvas, 32 x 40”
robert Forte's paintings continue to explore themes and ideas drawn from experiences in his life and in the world around him. the canvas used as a vehicle of expression as opposed to representation provides Forte with the excitement that makes painting an ongoing adventure and a source of limitless possibilities. antecedent artists that inspire are the great expressionists soutine and schiele, beckmann, Kirchner and Kokoschka. Forte also enjoys the minimalism of contemporary artists such as alex Katz and the unique imagery of bacon, guston and Kitaj. the politically catastrophic events now in progress in this country, and the social upheavals worldwide have reinforced Forte's need to give vigorous expression to ideas and emotions that resonate both personally and universally. the anticipated assault on human rights and dignity make it all the more imperative to use the canvas forcefully, both as a reaffirmation of oneself and a reaching out to others. there are many ways and media with which to achieve this, but Forte has concentrated his work on oils, adding acrylics for their adaptability to rapid brushstrokes. Forte recently concluded his first solo show in New York City, titled "Paint, Passion, Perception". Currently, his work can be seen at The Artful Mind Gallery, located at 22 Walker street in Lenox, MA. The reception for 23 Berkshire artists will be held Saturday, June 23, from 4 - 7pm. He also has begun a new body of work in preparation for solo shows at two New York City galleries in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Forte is now an Affiliate of the Circle Foundation for the Arts. Robert Forte - www.robertforte.com
THE ARTFUL MIND GALLERY
the artful mind gallery, located at 22 walker street in lenox, ma that opens may 1, 2018 will showcase an enthusiastic and finely tuned professional and passionate group of seventeen artists. about her decision to bring these artists together in this particular location, Curator harryet puritzman explains that, “if the space weren’t as beautiful and complimentary for artists’ work to be seen and swooned over, then i would never have considered taking on this very special project,” a summer gallery space in the heart of lenox. the community and its visitors will be treated to the work of, tyler blodgett, marguerite bride, roselle Chartock, linda Clayton, robert Forte, Kris galli, susan geller, ghetta hirsch, Karen s. jacobs, ernie Kirk, sean mcCusker, Carolyn newberger, bruce panock, jennifer pazienza, edward pelkey, janet pumphrey, wendy rabinowitz, mary Carol rudin, sean mcCusker, janine strong, scott taylor, robert u. taylor and robert wilk. For 26 years harryet, an artist in her own right, has promoted berkshire arts and artists in the artful mind magazine, her print and online publication. this summer, the creation of the artful mind gallery is her way to give a gift back to artists whose work she’s admired and has been inspired by over the years and to satisfy her belief that, “seeing art face to face and not only in print, or on the internet surely brings an overwhelming amount of joy. that is why i am devoting my summer to representing art and artists to those who want to experience art directly, gallery visitors who feel art is a joyful gift that lasts a lifetime.” During the summer the historic town of lenox attracts a great number of appreciative and fun-loving people from all over the world. in the front window, throughout the interior space and in its back garden, the artful mind gallery will exhibit works in oils, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media, photography, and sculpture. in addition to the collective stories these artists and their artworks tell, each has their own. stories that shed light on and invite us into states of mind and being, an appreciation and concern for nature, or a location we all know and love, reflections on life, deep passionate and emotional thoughts, or captured random moments. spiritual, physical, political and poetic worlds will shine from these walls and in the garden, a bountiful array of art meant to engage, challenge and educate all ages. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 23, 4-7pm. For more information, please email the gallery at: firstname.lastname@example.org / phone: 413.854.4400. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, 12-5pm and Mondays by appointment. Come in for a Nespresso and enjoy the art!
Advertise in the SUMMER issues! Get the WORD OUT 413. 854 4400 artfulmind@Yahoo.com
Metamorphic Eruption 40” x 46” acrylic on canvas 2018
Studio Visits by appointment
www.jgoodwinstudio.com THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 19
Renata Scotto as Tosca, record album with authentic jewelry used
Interview by Harryet Puritzman
Harryet: Charles, you attended Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art! Those four years in a specialized art school must have made an impact on your career at some point, yes? Charles Caine: this school is one of the treasures of new york City, and i am pleased to say, is still going strong. i attended as an art major, and both my daughters attended in the music department. one of my fondest memories, as i was especially interested in design for the theatre, was to inquire, and have the school set up and start classes teaching the basic elements of scenery, lighting and costume design. Going back even further in your childhood, what was your life like growing up and how did art come into your life? Charles: i was born and raised in manhattan, schooled there and was most fortunate to have the many incredible museums
Photography by Tasja Keetman
available as well as all the live performances on and off broadway. During my high school years i recall attending performances almost every saturday. i also had the influences of an uncle who was an artist and sculptor. he would frequently sit with me and ask me to draw for him. i started this at the age of eight or nine years old. he would critique and stress for me to use my imagination as well as my photographic nature to create what i chose to draw on paper. at school my mentors would urge me to use my eyes more and be true to my thoughts. During high school, my experimenting with other materials led to an interest and obsession with clay and creating pottery and how the use of clay could be translated into sculptural replicas of the human form. these were all helpful influences in the development and refining of my talents. another influence was my grandfather, whom i never knew as he had passed away years before. he was a well-
Photo on left: CHARLES IN THE COLONIAL THEATRE, PITTSFIELD, MA photo: Tasja Keetman
known new york City jeweler, whose shop just happened to be down the same block from the old met opera house. ironic isnâ€™t it, as my first met job started there.
While preparing for a first hand career, and having a considerably normal social life, what ranked first in importance for you? Charles: i never had much of a social life, however, i enjoyed all my friends. i recall sharing and enjoying the times we shared attending performances and visiting many art exhibits, and, i was a popular guy. Serious work time came, and you had become a Costume Designer. Looking back, how actually did this take shape? Charles: after graduating from Carnegiemellon university with a bFa in design for the theatre, i was drafted into the armed Forces for two years. i was assigned to the Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 â€˘ 21
Charles painting Rigoletto sketches
Photo: Tasja Keetman
southeastern signal school, where we taught the troops to make training documentaries. our group included many draftees, whose backgrounds included, actors, directors, writers, and technicians all of whom also started a theatre group in our spare time. i not only designed sets and costumes, but also directed and played piano for several productions. one of my buddies there was a production technician from atlanta, and who for many of his teenage years helped backstage with the met, when they performed touring in atlanta. after the army, he was offered a production job at the met, and moved to new york City. we stayed in touch, and in a few months, he contacted me to ask if i might be interested in joining the met as resident Costume Designer, dealing with the many european designers and directors plus supervising the costume shop. yes, i had good connections, and i think fate, as well. that is how i started my 16 seasons at the metropolitan opera. one of my first jobs, which were during the last season at the ‘old met’, was to supervise and make sure 22 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
that the famous soprano returning to sing two tosca performances looked well and was content. that was maria Callas. she sang tosca, with tito gobbi as the scarpia and two Cavaradossi’s, the first Franco Corelli, and the second, richard tucker. she was so impressive, always prepared for rehearsals and fittings, and very focused. During rehearsals she seemed very intense and behaving in a slow motion manner, but during performances, she came to life and acted, as if she was reacting for the first time…. extraordinary to witness! When did you get the chance to develop your drawing skills for the costumes? Charles: During my met years, i was given
the opportunity to design costumes for Don pasquale, my met design debut. i labored over this first design project and was proud of how i made my drawing skills come to life. my second design project was for a production of verdi’s luisa miller, starring placido Domingo, renata scotto and sherill milnes. the bonus for this project was that it was televised as the fourth “live From lincoln Center” production, recently released on DvD.
You had to know sewing, materials, fabrics, what else did you need to be educated in? Charles: yes, i would agree about psychology, but for me not so much with math and
Charles working in studio on Leontyne Price Antony & Cleopatra bodice, Opening of Lincoln Center Met Opera
science. there is a fine line in dealing with strong personalities, each carrying their own baggage. sometimes, being put in a position where white lying would be the solution. i would often try to get to the bottom of what might be creating a problem with the happiness and wearing of a costume. several times, i would have an artist re-try on their costumes, after mentioning that i had already had some subtle alterations made and needed to know how they felt wearing it. the answer was so often a gracious, â€œthank you...your changes made such a difference. i am so much happier now.â€? i never had any painful differences, only thanks and praise!
Did you want to be on the stage as apposed to working all back stage? Charles: i always enjoyed being behind the curtain and never on the stage. i could get my high from enjoying what was happening on the stage, and knowing that i helped make that happen.
Photo: Tasja Keetman
Marc Chagall, costume collage, Magic Flute, Met Opera, drawing and photo of Pamina Photo: Tasja Keetman
Were most of the opera singers and musicians you worked for easy going? Charles: yes, they knew i was there to make them look their best, and be appropriate for the role they were portraying, and they trusted me. i was especially proud of the manon lescaut costumes i designed for leontyne price and the Fanciulla del west western costumes i did for renata tebaldi,
and a smaller version for her pet dog, as a special gift. i treasure the thank you notes from each of these artists.
Tell us all about your fortunate experiences working with the master artist, Chagall. Charles: working with so many incredible Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 â€˘ 23
Marc Chagall, costume collage, Magic Flute, Met Opera, Pammina costume segment
artists was a challenge and such a learning experience. with Franco Zeffirelli, otto shenk, Desmond heeley, sir tyrone gutherie and leonard bernstein, what could be more of a high? well, spending three months in a studio, painting costumes alone with the artist marc Chagall topped it all. Chagall designed the sets and costumes for the magic Flute production at the new lincoln Center met. the costumes, like his sets were a blaze of color. each costume was made of a collage of many, many fabrics: zigzagged and stitched down. after this process was completed and the gowns and tunics fitted and 24 â€˘ MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
altered, we then, Chagall and myself, spent time in a small studio hand-painting each garment with acrylic paints. i still treasure the small pencil sketches he gave me to explain the way he wanted the geometric shapes to appear.
What was it that you really, and truly learned from your work that has sculpted to some degree, your whole life, inside and out? Charles: i think it would be to believe in yourself, trust your talents and often go with your first instinct, staying focused.
photo: Tasja Keetman
If you can do it again, what would that be? Charles: perhaps, if i were to do it all again, i would make sure that i was accompanied with my own photographer at hand, to document many of my professional activities. i would recall and would love to see the details of the times. i designed and fitted beverly sills in her violetta dresses for her first met traviata. she looked so very fantastic and was so grateful. i would have loved to see documentation of my working and painting all those Chagall costumes, for the magic Flute production, in a small studio, alone, with Chagall for three
Hands with assorted Chagall drawings of costume details & explanations
months. there would also be some interesting photos showing Franco Zeffirelli working in the costume shop, creating large costume-props for his opulent othello production. this would have shown us gluing and painting of ropes and metallic chunks and creating large 3-D stage banners for his larger-than-life scenery. we would have also seen us in the fur trade since we used real fur pelts to adorn many of the female and male chorus costumes. i have good memories, but photos would have been bonus. What is your present life like? I know you’re still happily working. Charles: i am still working, happy and active. aside from my opera design projects, i have been designing two operas each summer with martina arroyo’s young artist training program in new york City at hunter College. this summer we will present Falstaff and Don pasquale at the end of
photo: Tasja Keetman
the six-week session along with orchestra costumes and chorus. we showcase the young talent who are part of this great program. i am also involved in presentations and lectures telling all about the magic times i was a part of during the met period.
staff, antony & Cleopatra, othello and Cav & pag, i was so inspired and always learning from this amazing true genius master.
If you had a choice of an artist you would collaborate with now, who would that be, and why? Charles: if he were still active, my choice would be for Franco Zeffirelli. in the years i worked with him, at the met, with Fal-
What would you consider to be the most challenging costume to create? Charles: i would say, a great challenge might be to create a costume based on a famous painting or historic period that has Continued on next page...
Tell us about you Berkshires’ upcoming costume designing you will be taking on! Charles: i am a part of the berkshire opera Festival. this is our third season, having presented madama butterfly and ariadne auf naxos. we perform at the Colonial theatre in pittsfield, and will be presenting the verdi classic, rigoletto with a new production this august 25, 28 and 31st.
What is the difference for you living and working in the Berkshires as compared with your working and living times in the city? Charles: living here in the berkshires, compared to being in new york City works so well right now. years ago, was a different time. now i am able to focus my talents and attention to the project at hand without the distractions the big city has. it is also more difficult and costly to survive there now.
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Cenerentola, Opera Orlando, ragged costume to Ballgown, with jewelry photo: Tasja Keetman
been well documented. the closest i ever came to this was when designing and creating the act ii tosca costume i designed for renata scotto’s first tosca she performed on the stage in philadelphia. the basis was famous paintings depicting napoleon’s coronation. i am most proud of the outcome, especially with the upper sleeves and jewelry details.
When you have a chance to listen to music, what kind of music are you personally directed towards? Who are your favorite musicians? Charles: i would often need a break or change from the intense music of puccini, verdi and wagner to ground me and clear my head. the music i chose to accomplish this was often from the musicals of the 26 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.i was raised on some of these classics, and was often needed to be reminded why they were so great, and so different from opera. i so enjoyed the contract along with vocals from ella, sarah vaghan, early sinatra and jazz. Tell me, Charles, how has the costumemaking world changed over the years? Charles: i only know of the opera costume world presentations. it seems to me the changes have been guided by the economics of building, as it is so much harder to raise funds for this art form. a simpler, non-historic solution is so often the case…such a shame. What trends have you liked that may
have come on gone in your artistic field? Charles: i am an advocate for opulence and details of past historic time frames.
Have you followed the fashion trends? Like international Vogue? French couture? Charles: i try not to follow fashion trends, however, they influence us all. these trends often show up in fashion magazines and newspapers. they can certainly display new drawing technics and suggest new looks. my work often suggests past times so i find it most interesting to still be able to suggest what is wanted historically along with a mix of current trends and technics, such as the ways of detailing a collar, sleeve, or jeweled segment. new ways can often be successful.
Charles Caine in studio with drawings and ideas photo: Tasja Keetman
What are some of the very important techniques and styles that make a fashion design illustration work well? How is drawing a fashioned figure with costume different then drawing realism with a nude model? Charles: the most important element to be aware of is the scale of your performance venue. you must design, in one way for the met, for instance, where the closest an audience is to a person on stage is almost 100 feet, and the audience numbers 4,000. Compare this to a presentation in a half round theatre, which seats 100-150 and audiences could really reach out and touch the performers. in drawing a nude model, one is often trying to be photographic in one’s drawing. a costume is much more complex, dealing with historic inspirations and details.
What anatomical part is the most challenging for you to draw? Charles: the human face. some say that the face is the mirror to our souls; showing and suggesting what lies behind the eyes, and what our brains are thinking about. how does one’s imagination influence us all, can be blueprinted on a face, and we see as we examine it.
Of all the operas you have designed and constructed, might you have a favorite? Charles: yes, perhaps Carlyle Floyd’s “of mice and men”, based on the great steinbeck novel. the opera presents an in-depth window into the heart and souls of the ranch hands at Curley’s place. as the drama unfolds we see deeper and deeper into all the characters in this drama with a clarity and intensity. the opera is fascinating in
the way each player is presented. it is a rarely done masterpiece, worthy of presenting. it is often not presented, as there are very few characters in it and only one female lead. although the clothes are basically blue jeans and work clothes, i chose to design and have them made using upscale and larger than life textured fabrics, dyed and distressed to look real, but with a jarring reality and visual focus. What makes your life fabulous? Charles: being able to still participate in this art form, and relate to people about this stimulating experience, and especially to share family times with my daughter and granddaughter. Thank you Charles!!! THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 27
Our Remains of the Day: Waiting photographs by Carl berg written by juDy berg
we are all waiting for something. i’m waiting for the snow to melt. there are tiny crocuses, and more assertive daffodils just waiting to spring up and assume their rightful place in the april landscape. i celebrate the assertiveness of spring, the way it means business in pushing winter aside. april nudges march to move on: “you’ve had your chance, your time on the stage with all of your snowing and blowing, your blasted nor’easters. such drama, give it a rest. it’s my turn now.” and, how about the assertiveness popping up in the human landscape. listen to all of the women on npr, saying “it’s my turn now,” to shape and relate the news of the day. and, how about “black panther,” the groundbreaking movie with a mostly black cast, set in a highly evolved african kingdom, wakanda, that learns to share its superior resources and capabilities with the rest of the world. an african-american mother posted on Facebook that after seeing the movie, her son overheard a white child say to his mother that he didn’t really like it because it was almost all black people. someone should kindly, lovingly take that child aside and tell him the facts of our racialized lives, and that black people have been going to the movies for years seeing only, or almost only, white people. enough waiting.
april, was deemed the “cruelest” month by poet t. s. eliot. he is said to have meant that unstoppable, burgeoning april, with its sights, sounds, and smells of new life, throws our depression and pain into high relief. if i’m feeling dead inside, don’t taunt me with the fact of life. if i’m hopeless, don’t point out that daffodil that broke through the snow. and, what if our leaders are dead inside, depressed, hungrily grabbing at any sensation or acclamation that will suffice to make them feel alive, if only for a moment. how about a lovely war, any kind of war, trade war, cyber war, the ordinary kind with tanks and soldiers, or, the coup de grace, a nuclear war? now that would really get the juices flowing. how is it that some people are so hollowed out that daffodils, early morning birdsong, and the smell of fe-
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cund april earth can’t cut through the deadness. spring will come. i know it will. by the time you read this, we will all be awash in daffodils and the magical nightly chorus of peepers in our ponds. we’ll be swapping our snow shovels for the kind that wrest firmly rooted ramps from their beds in the woods. and, we’ll be scanning the asparagus patch for that little pink purplish notch, that given enough sun, will shoot up with the rest of its kind within the week, declaring its readiness to be married with the ramps in some waiting saute pan. the line of adirondack chairs on the front deck, just waiting to be filled, will creak with satisfaction when our bodies nestle in for a bit of late afternoon sun. but today, i look out on the patches of snow and wait.
i’m waiting for the world to make sense, yet wondering if it ever did. perhaps all who are no longer young think the same thing. but, the evidence gives me hope. when i see pictures on a screen of young people all over the world proclaiming that their right to live takes priority over a gun buyer’s right to purchase unlimited numbers and types of weapons, i feel a common solidarity of perspective and purpose that knows no generational lines. we want the same thing. a world that values a person’s life over the right to choose from a plethora of deadly weapons, is a world that makes sense. yes, i know, a gun can’t pull its own trigger. but, i also know the human urge to pull that trigger, push that button, and feel that powerful charge for the moment. Didn’t our sitting president ask about nuclear weapons: “if we have them, why can’t we use them?’ March 23 Chicken soup makes sense tonight. winter maintains a firm grip, and spring defers to its insatiable insistence on gobbling up all of march. so, tonight we’ll gobble up liquid warmth flavored with as many garlic cloves as we can get our hands on, the bird, parsnips, carrots, leeks, and parsley. so simple, and the added advantage that it
makes so much sense. i just can’t tear myself away from the topic of things that make, or fail to make, sense, without a few words about the stormytrump tryst. what bedevils me is why she did it. i read that her inner response to his quest was a telling “ugh.” if that is true, why did she consent? as a woman and a mother, i could contemplate consent based on funding your daughter’s education, or your retirement from the bumps and grinds of making a living. but, where is the quid pro quo here, and thereby the sense of it all? beats me.
Coming back from Chicago after celebrating our granddaughter’s third birthday, we were delayed three hours at o’hare because of guess what? yes, yet another nor’easter on the 2nd of april. scanning the surround for some sign of elusive sense, i spied a heavily tattooed young man sitting at a breakfast counter, sporting a black t-shirt with “hillary Clinton killed my friends” in bright yellow letters across the back. Clearly this young man was sure enough of the provocative message he wore on his back, that he intended for all to see. later, when we asked a pilot leaving the plane that had just come in from blizzarding new york if la guardia was a mess, he shot back, “the whole world’s a mess.” the young man who accused hillary Clinton of murder had confidence in his truth. the pilot seemed sure only of a messy, perplexing world. and, if i read him correctly, relieved to have landed his plane safely after taking off in an april snowstorm. i’m with the pilot. his response made sense to me. as for hillary’s accuser, he reminds me of delusional patients i worked with on an in-patient unit. the most delusional were the most fervently convinced of the truth of their delusions.
April 7 how about some meat and potatoes on a wintry april eve? that is, skirt steak crowned with chimichurri sauce, that piquant melange of chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. i pull out my motherin-law’s recipe for potato pancakes, and we’ve got dinner. our nod to the realities of aging bodies is the salad of lightly sauteed kale and roasted butternut squash. since we’re lucky enough to enjoy what’s known as “the good life,” the least i can do is show a little gratitude through balance. now, about this business of “making sense.” when i was young, i hated the idea. Common sense seemed so, well, common. remember the talking heads album, “stop making sense?” i relished it in a world where it seemed like the traditional conservatives were at least grownups. sure, they lost their heads sometimes with reaction to our demonstrations for peace and civil rights. but, at least they didn’t blatantly wave their indifference to peace and justice in our faces without consequence. there was some adherence to a common idea of fairness. in this still beautiful world, so threatened by indifference on all
fronts, i’m hoping that there still is a common idea of fairness, and sense, at work. together, we wait. -Judy and Carl Berg
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018• 29
RENEE & THE ENABLERS interview with renee harvitt Interview by Harryet Puritzman
Renee! I have listened to your CD numerous times. You have a beautiful voice and a great back up band! Please tell me, how and when did you discover your love and talent for voice? Did listening to your favorite music awaken you? Renee Harvitt: Thank you so much, Harryet! I’m so glad you like the CD, Alright Already by Renee and the Enablers! I hope other people will too! I agree with you about the great band - The Enablers (!) and I am glad that you like my voice! I consider myself to be more of a songwriter than a vocalist. I figure melodies out by singing the lyrics in different ways. After I play a song for a while, I end up singing it in a consistent way then sometimes recording it. By the time we are done in the studio, I will really like how it all sounds, but it’s often quite a journey to get there! I grew up singing and playing songs I liked on the guitar, but usually not when other people were 30 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
Photographs by Stephanie Skaarup
around. I never had so much of a love for voice until I found the recording studio where my voice very literally gets some help from my friends. :)
Renee, are you proficient in playing any instruments? Renee: I’m playing guitar on most of these songs, but the other guitar players are much more proficient than I am. On songs where they are featured, my playing is often camouflaged within the mix. There are a few songs on which my guitar is a little more noticeable such as at the beginning and ending of Sabotaging Glory. You can also hear it on Sally Was Here and on I Want You. In the past I have taken some lessons to learn a bit about playing drums and some on bass guitar, but I’m definitely not proficient at all on either of those - although I was the drummer in a band called Chatham Airplane in 2001.
Tell us the building blocks that led to this particular CD? Where were you most challenging points to master? Renee: I think it all started around the year 2005… I was at a silent auction and saw that you could bid on “Record a Song with Mark Kelso.” Mark was the music teacher at my son’s school. I’d never been in a recording studio before and didn’t know Mark well, but it reminded me that I had written a song once - and I thought it might be interesting to record it. We had some friends who were about to get married and I figured that maybe I would give it to them. I got to the studio and had brought my guitar but when I got there I could barely sing or play the guitar because I was so nervous, but somehow by the end of the day, after about 9 takes and with Mark playing piano and after I had cried and Mark had talked me into trying one more time after I cried, we had recorded Not For Granted. During the day, I
Mark Kelso, Darren Todd, Renee Harvitt and Josh Connors went from thinking I was never going to do that again to playing the recording over and over again in my car because when it was finished, I loved the outcome. This became a recurring pattern that I have experienced over the years because the process is often painful, but the end result makes it worth it. The next song I wrote was a peace song called Imagine the Anthem. There is a story behind this one that is too long to go into here. However, the lyrics seemed to “arrive” in my mind as if I was hearing them. Although the whole thing kind of spooked me, I felt like I had a responsibility to record them. When I was done with that I thought that I would just make some CDs, call it Peace and Love and that that was going to be the end of it. But after that song there were other songs that I recorded now and then. I’d show up in the studio and Mark would say, “it’s nice to have you back” and we’d get to work. In 2012, my husband passed away unexpectedly, and the recording studio and the process and the music and the collaborating suddenly became a lifeline for me. There was something important in the work we did there that became part of the healing process. I started bringing in more musicians; also, we had Terry a la Berry and Josh and Anders.
Some songs are easier or harder than others to record, but for me recording feels like something that encompasses elements that I’d find in therapy or skydiving or world travel. Now the biggest challenges are finally finishing the CD, and in the vulnerable state of having it “out there.”
It is a mixed bag of folk, blues, gospel, and modern female lamenting at her best. What is most important about your songs? Renee: I think each song is like a different child in a family. I think they mostly want to interact and connect and talk about love. In fact, if I had one wish for these songs, it would be that they do what my favorite musicians do: Fill the Room with Love. Other than that, each song comes along with it’s own more specific experience or purpose - sometimes it’s to tell a story, sometimes to see if it can get you to smile, sometimes to say thank you or I’m sorry or whatever. What is it you want the listeners to understand about “Renee”, the artist and storyteller; the one we do not see but feel and want to jump onto her wavelength? Renee: I value honesty. There’s some of everything in here - different perspectives of my life
photo: Stephanie Skaarup during these many years (encompassing the time of becoming a mother, becoming a widow, figuring out how to get back on my feet after that, etc.) I want to be able to be real with all the different kinds of “weather” that I experience. I think that it’s ok to be feeling the full range of feelings that we have access to. And I want that for everyone else, too. Another thing about me is that I have a conflict between wanting to be seen and wanting to be invisible. Having the songs going out into the world is a new thing and will take some getting used to.
Was there one song that has meant more to you then others? Renee: The most recent song usually feels like the one that has meant the most and right now Find Your Way feels especially meaningful. I had never planned on raising children without their Dad and over time I feel David’s absence in so many different ways, and it’s ongoing. We have so many really wonderful people in our lives and life is good and there is so much to be grateful for and all that - but his not being here with us is still difficult in so Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 31
Anders Johansson and Renee at Muddy Angel Studio, Richmond, MA many ways. It felt great when the song was getting there because recording it helped me a lot. I hadn’t been singing for about half a year when I recorded the vocals and then they needed quite a bit of the audio version of being Photoshop’ed. After the session where Darren added all the other parts, I went home and picked up my guitar and started singing. The next day I thought of some lyrics - also something that had not been happening for a long time…
Did you have to sacrifice any songs to fit on this CD? Was that a challenge to do a toss up selection? Renee: Over all these years we worked on more songs than we ended up with on the CD. Maybe they’ll get used later. A song called Stand Up for Apathy ended up on YouTube but didn’t make it onto the CD. A song called Perseverance that had two verses that I wrote a few hours before David passed away didn’t make the cut. There wasn’t a good place within the song list where that one would have fit in well and at some point I let it go. Since the songs are like children, I don’t want anyone to feel left out, but... Who have been your main mentor and supporter on your music venture?
Renee: It’s really taken the entire village to support and mentor and at times help me decide to keep going or to come back to it. David, my husband, was always encouraging of any creative endeavor and Mark and Anders and all of the Enablers, my mom, my children, Craig and Linda, the rest of my family (and I mean the whole extended family) and friends (please forgive me for not starting a list here but of course I mean you - yes, You!) and family and musicians who inspired me (especially Dan Bern and The Grand Slambovians and U2
Renee with Maggie, 1994
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and Van Morrison and Natalie Merchant and...) - Anyway, if you insisted that I had to choose one main person, it would still be a toss up between at least two people - David and Mark.
Music as therapy, does that have any personal significance for you when turning poetry to song? Renee: Yes to music as therapy!
Now, for voice, what training ado you need to acquire the sound you want? Is it like sculpting and isn’t it hard on your throat? Renee: I took some voice lessons and ideally I would take them again and make a commitment to changing the way I sing. The thing is, it would take practicing doing it differently until it became my new habitual way to do it. Right now it’s more important for me to enjoy singing! It would be better for my throat if I sang with better technique though. Renee, tell us about your band members! Renee: OMG. My band members are so literally my Enablers. It’s overwhelming to me the amazingness of the fact that I’ve gotten to work and play with these wonderful and inspiring musicians. I love them all and I am in awe of them all. The recordings were all done
Josh Connors at Mark’s studio and with many of them, I would lay down the basic song structure with my guitar and my voice and later these fantastic players would come in and add their magic... on other songs, they’d come in and we’d start with establishing the rhythm tracks and go from there. There will be bios on the Renee and the Enablers website and Facebook page when we get them up, but for now, I’ll tell you just a bit about who’s been involved. The collaborative that is Renee and the Enablers has included: Mark Kelso, Josh Connors, Anders Johansson, Darren Todd, Terry a la Berry, Curtis Kelley, Bobby Sweet and Tom Major. And me! Go figure! Mark Kelso - We started recording in Mark’s studio and he is a master at making the hard work of music production fun, in keeping with the more fun, more often theme. On Alright, Already, he plays piano and keyboards on all the best songs. He also has been the guiding light behind the engineering and production. Mark is an incredible and accomplished musician, recording artist and musical midwife who has over 20 albums of his own, and he has played on many stages including Madison Square Garden, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and venues from Tuscany to British Columbia, to Jamaica to Rome. In addition to
performing, producing, and teaching piano, been involved in music and theatre since 1977 he’s currently also working on Luci, the mu- when he picked up his first guitar. He was a sical. It has been inspiring and an honor to member of the Latin rock band The Basics in have Mark is the Enabler most consistently at the early 90’s and subsequently co-founded the wheel, and I will be forever grateful to the Celtic folk-rock group SixMileBridge. him! Locally, Mark can be heard playing at After years of relentless touring he settled in Gateways Inn and Restaurant in Lenox and at Great Barrington and now spends his time the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge. To find out mixing music for film and video as well as more about him, his studio, upcoming events building custom guitar pedals with his company, which he randomly named Serpentine and music, go to www.muddyangel.com. Anders Johansson has been an honor to Avenue. One of this recent projects in addiwork with too. He has been there during the Continued on next page... creation of some of my favorite memories during this process. His guitar and bass playing are great and he helped at different points with the engineering and mastering. It is weirdly fun to be in the room as the third of The Three Tauruses when they are working on the technical stuff and speaking in that language. Some of the times I’ll remember most fondly are from the sessions when we were working on Sabotaging Glory. I told him Renee with David Ripley, husband, that it was a song that should be 1998, Canaan, NY all about the guitar solo. Then I got out of his way…Anders has THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 33
Renee and Mark Kelso tion to my CD, involved writing the music and mixing the audio for the “Life is Calling” campaign, which promotes the Berkshires. Josh Connors - is the easiest going and softspoken of the Enablers and his playing is all over this project. He plays the lead guitar on the songs More Fun, More Often, (another song that has a great guitar solo!) Weirdo, Heaven Knows and Thank You Notes. He also plays Bass guitar on Silver Linings andThank You Notes and he plays Drums on Sabotaging Glory. Previous projects of Josh’s include: Suede Pudding, Pocket Spiders, and Mountain City Duo/Trio w Bob Green - You can hear the Mountain City Music guys at the Blue Plate in Chatham, NY where they play Jazz Standards, Bluegrass swing and other acoustic instrumental music with Bob playing violin and mandolin. Josh also teaches guitar and does recording production at his studio in Chatham, Mountain City Music. Josh can be reached through messenger on Facebook. Darren Todd was on tour with Arlo Guthrie during the time that we were recording a lot 34 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
of the songs, but we were thrilled to have him work on Find Your Way where he played guitar, drums, and bass as well as lending his production ears. His playing is so beautiful, and he brought out a life and depth of the song that we were delighted to hear. That song in particular was holding us up on finishing the CD and I wanted to be happy with it. Darren played all the instruments and added vocals and it all came together. Darren works with bands and singer/songwriters and can be reached through messenger on Facebook. Terry a la Berry is great. He’s another Enabler who is very low key, and easy to work with. On the songs where he was adding to reference tracks, he’d play along a few times, play some extra fills so we’d have them if we wanted to add them later and it would be done. On other songs, he would quickly help establish the rhythm tracks even when he was working around some idiosyncratic figure. Terry was the drummer for Shenandoah and he has toured consistently with Arlo Guthrie for about 40 years as well as producing his
own award winning CDs. His website is www.terryalaberry.com. Curtis Kelley was an intern at Muddy Angel studios for a while before he left for Berklee College of Music. I lucked out when he just happened to be in the studio the day we were mixing a song called Sally Was Here. He listened to it once or twice, and then played along and a few minutes later, the song was exponentially better. He had a band called the Interlopers too and he was the songwriter and singer in that band as well as the drummer. He’s gone on to open his own studio in the LA area and to teach drumming as well. His upcoming class and more about him can be found at: https://cottageclass.com/listings/curtis-kelleys-exploration-of-drums-and-sound. Tom Major - I met Tom at a high school event because our kids go to the same school. When we were introduced, I learned that he was a drummer and when we started talking, he told me that he had a group called Entrain. Although I hadn’t heard him play yet I asked if he could help me with some recording and
More Fun, More Often stickers in the hands of Josh, Renee and Mark he agreed. I just knew he’d be great. Tom came in to play on More Fun, More Often and he also replaced some drum machine tracks on songs recorded earlier. Each time, his contributions added such a great feel to the song and he brought such a wonderful spirit to the room. Tom has had a successful career touring, making TV appearances and recording with many artists including South Side Johnny and the Jukes, Blood Sweat and Tears, Carly Simon and Chuck Berry. He was Bo Diddley’s drummer for 6 years and recorded his “40th Year in the business” star studded album “A Man Amongst Men.” Tom plays with several groups including Entrain, which has CDs and tours regularly. Locally, he plays with Gruppo Mondo at the Rainbow Restaurant in Pittsfield on Wednesdays and with The Rejuvenators. To find out more, check out www.entrain.com. Bobby Sweet - I like Bobby’s voice and I thought it would sound good on Fill the Room with Love so we emailed him the track and he recorded it and sent it back to us - these guys know how to do that. I’m thankful to have his
voice on the track. Bobby is another one of the great musicians who has played with Arlo Guthrie and others as well as being a singer/songwriter and producer in his own right. His website is: http://bobbysweet.com.
What is your master plan for promoting your music once the CD is out and available? Renee: I will go to the Coop and get a cup of coffee. I have a new strategy that has 2 steps: Panic now, calm down later. So… after this article comes out, I will hide under the bed. Then we’ll figure something out. I’m curious to see who the people will be and where the path will lead.
Tell me, what is the significance of the cover CD image you have chosen. I know it’s a wonderful one, with you and your dog back oh, I dunno – 12 years or so ago? Renee: Look at how cute my dog was! That was 1995ish around when I wrote the first song. I used that picture for all the advertising
for my acupuncture practice. The cover might end up being changed but her ears would support the words Alright Already at the perfect angle.
Do you fancy dreaming? Do you have visual images appearing in your mind while you find notes to make a tune? Does anything inspire or motivate you to create? Renee: I usually start with words. I notice words or phrases. Sometimes they turn into songs. Sometimes I’ll have some words that I have to write down that come to me when I’m just waking up or falling asleep so I think there is a connection with dreams for some of the songs. The images develop like a Polaroid picture. Or an emotional experience can lead to a song - that happened with Heaven Knows right after a bad-parenting moment. I wrote Silver Linings right after I saw the movie Silver Linings Playbook before I drove home. I was struck by the chemistry and the relationship there. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018• 35
Renee, Mark, Todd and Darren What fond memories can you illustrate to us that also are heard in a song you have wrote? Renee: More Fun More Often illustrates some fond memories. When I wrote it, I was writing it as a prayer but thinking of that fun stage before things get more complicated, lol.
What do you do on your free time that you enjoy the most? Renee: Staring at the computer and my phone is fun if I can just do something productive first. I love spending time with friends and family and going for walks with them or just talking. I also read, go to the gym or do yoga, paint, go to museums or go to hear live music or a movie and I play guitar and sing. Being with people and hearing live music that I like is what I enjoy the most. But I also need a lot of quiet time and solitude.
The songs I hear of yours bring me happiness! A gentle soft breeze filling the air with thoughtfulness, memories and moving along stress free smiling kinda’ joy. I look forward to singing to the song about weirdos! How did you come up with this humorous but potentially potent song? Renee: Thank you so much, Harryet! The phrase from the chorus of Weirdo came up in a conversation and I said, “Do you mind if I write that down? That would be great in a 36 •MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
song!” A year later I was doing something else and there was an announcement: “We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you a song! Please stand by!” It was probably the easiest song to record.
What troubles you the most these days that you may have to work through in life and parallel with your music? Renee: I almost want to say, “Don’t get me started” here. I’m so troubled by the tensions and polarization happening between people on a large scale. My parents grew up in Europe and were hidden as children during the war. I’ve always been afraid of a time like that evolving and it especially scares me as a mother. But I find strength in looking at the very many wonderful people all around us and I’m working on separating out worrying from love. I think we find strength when we can focus on acting out of love instead of fear.
Many of the people I know have come full circle, or nearing a full circle in life after passing though a ridiculously dark, difficult and challenging time. Not just in Berkshire County! It’s amazing to see how many of us have stories to tell of their struggles to get to where they are today or to still get to a clearing. Your thoughts, please? Any song that you have relates to this personally or universally?
Renee: I have noticed that too. The number of people struggling, the variety of issues to be struggled with. That question brings me back to Find Your Way again. In the end, we are all in this together and we need to figure out how to find our way. I am grateful for the people, who are in the woods with me, and the way that even in the midst of struggles there are silver linings, things to laugh about and music and love. Where to now, Renee? What is it you want? Renee: Now I have to go home and clean the kitchen. My children are coming home today after being away for two weeks. I want them to get home safely and I can’t wait to hear their stories. I want happy landings all around and more adventures going forward. I think I also want to return to a song that has a line: Maybe all that anybody ever really wanted, was to be listened to and understood and loved for who they are. Stay tuned for the website that we will create for Alright Already by Renee and the Enablers. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity to think about all these things! Thank you Renee! Thank YOU! :-)
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 â€¢ 37
THE VOICE OF JOYCE Joyce Silver COLOR AND PERCEPTION i see the world in color. i don’t see pale tones, only vibrant hues as painted by Chagall, hockney, and a lesser known Danish artist, ulla Darni, whom i met in the late 1980’s. when i think Chagall, i am reminded of his ethereal brides and folks appearing to float in the air, like fairies, not real people. however, when the holocaust descended upon europe, Chagall was temporarily trapped in France, although safe in the south of France, and horrified by the visions of nazis sweeping across europe and leaving a trail of blood. his palette changes to vibrant colors and his subject becomes Christ.
gaze. whether you are drawn to the bather in the rippling blue water pool or the man standing along the pool, hockney is in control of the scene and your gaze as the viewer shifts from the pool to the surrounding mountainside scanning for the focal point. inside the pool, you’re drawn to the swimmer, while outside the pool, your gaze drifts to the man gazing at the mountains. hoCKney Canvass 1
lines, hockney controls how you perceive his work of art. you can always look at a painting as a whole. however, by using color and boundaries, our eyes perceive so much more detail.
in my living room, i have an Ulla Darni. she was a ceramicist, turned glass blower, turned painter artist. she was a woman surely of many talents. i like the oil, a pleasant subject, a deep blue table, with gilded accents surrounding two enormous white orchids. your eyes are drawn to the white orchids and their green leaves. it is only after you leave this focal point that you discover the table and the orchid roots, leading your eyes away from the orchids and off the canvass.
here, color and perception enhance our experience of hockney’s art. Color is used to direct our gaze and forces us to appreciate hockney’s expertise. the yellow Christ Canvass by Chagall
the subject of Chagall’s nightmares finds its way to his canvasses. i found one particularly absorbing: “the yellow Christ”. our eyes are drawn to this figure of Christ, slightly off center in a room bathed in red, with a window flung open to the bucolic outdoors. revealing a tranquil scene, all green trees, green bushes and blue sky are untouched by the horrors depicted within the room. the yellow Christ, wearing a black and white tallis is crucified on the cross, bearing the sins of this world. the photo of Chagall’s painting is shown below. it had a tremendous impact on me, as i was drawn to the image of Christ and nothing else captures my attention. i wonder if you too will experience this phenomenon; the color brings you toward the image of Christ and only when you let yourself scan the canvass, do you see the open window. David Hockney paints pleasant subjects, friends and collectors he personally knew, scenes from the english countryside, and his patio. he uses color to direct the viewer’s 38 • MAY/JUNE 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
hoCKney Canvass 2
ulla Darni Canvass
the other painting i chose by hockney has a swimming pool with rippling blue water. as your eye travels from the pool to the sharply defined darker edge, you take notice of brown slippers left behind, and as you puzzle about the swimmer’s whereabouts, your gaze travels upward and lands on another sharply defined object, a palm tree. this becomes the focal point of the painting. by using a full range of color pallets and soft boundaries and hard
Color does indeed control your perception. whether viewing abstracts, still lifes or scenes, the artist’s color pallet captures your attention. your eyes and mind are either drawn into the painting or away, depending upon the artist’s intended journey for himself or you, the viewer. i must admit that hockney’s use of acrylics lets you envision subtleties not possible in many oils. they seem to possess a greater depth while being more translucent. Decide for yourself. For me, the drama remains with Chagall. Perhaps it is the image. However, his use of color enhances our perception of the art. joyce would love to hear from you.... info@wordpress thevoiceofjoyce.wp.me
tive, which can only be observed, and understood at the shore.
every one has heard of a horizon line and a vanishing point and i am sure that most of us remember doing drawings in high school of some odd looking buildings with the assistance of a perspective lines going to a point in the middle of the paper. so we go through life imagining that above, beyond, or behind everything we see is a horizon line and we could see it if there weren’t so many things blocking our view. but at the beach we can see this horizon line, now let’s consider where it is. i have drawn a standing figure and i put the horizon line level with her knees. why did i put it there?
HORIZON LINE richard britell
this drawing was done at the ocean, and, since we are at the ocean, i want to take the opportunity to discuss some issues of perspec-
to understand the answer to this question you are going to have to go to the beach. once you get there, spread out a blanket and lay down facing the water and the horizon line. laying flat on the sand with your head six inches from the ground, hold up your finger pointing level with the horizon, and observe that the horizon is level with your eyes when you are laying down. now sit on the blanket with your head about thirty inches from the ground, and notice that the horizon line has come up to directly even with your eyes, the horizon line is now thirty inches from the ground also. Finally stand up and observe as
you do, that the horizon line stands up also, persistently following the level of you eyes. now that you are standing, jump up and down a few times, and notice that the horizon line will jump up and down with you. that horizon line watches you like a hawk, and your slightest movement up and down is echoed by a similar movement at the horizon.
now lets return to my drawing, it is a view, seen by a person who is sitting on the beach, eye level with the woman’s knees and looking up at her. if i had taken a photograph of her, the horizon line would be in the same place, but if i stood up with my camera and i was a little taller than her, the horizon line in my photograph would pass over her head slightly. the horizon line is always the eye level line of the viewer.
when you get home from the beach it will be late, and the moon will be out. look at it there up in the sky; notice how it glows with that strange omnipotent silver light. but now just jump up and down a few times there in the driveway and notice that the moon jumps up and down also. why is this? how can it have time to pay so much attention to us, to know our every movement? From: image + text, by riCharD britell
THE ARTFUL MIND MAY/JUNE 2018 • 39
Grandma Becky’s Old World Recipes
Written and shared with a loving spoonful by Laura Pian
Grandma Becky’s Egg Barley Mushroom Farfel
Pasta, pasta, and more pasta, please!? Comfort food, no doubt. in my childhood home, pasta wasn’t ever on the table unless it was in the form of spaghetti with jewish-style meatballs, kasha with varnishkes (bow ties), noodles with cheese (cottage cheese) or on a special occasion, a juicy chunk of flanken (short ribs) atop wide egg noodles. we never referred to it as “pasta”, no, that was a goyishe (non-jewish) food. in my home we ate “noodles” or what grandma becky lovingly referred to as “lokshen” or “farfel”. these noodle dishes would generally appear when one of us wasn’t feeling well. you’d find it in chicken soup in the form of a home made kreplach (dumpling), and you’d especially find it on our table as noodles and cheese. noodles and cheese was always a stuff-your-face-and-feel-better treat. the wholesome, savory bowl of noodles and cheese would be placed on the table and grandma would call to me “kumen esn a bisl” (come, eat a little). there was really no such thing as eating a little. i couldn’t understand how with every spoon full, the level of noodles would not reduce. with my head in the bowl i’d think, how could i not make any progress here? my stomach is full, i’m stuffing my face, and still the noodles are in the bowl. a wonder i’ve always had about those noodles!
but there was one noodle dish that grandma served which always appeared to do the opposite, it would disappear before i felt i’d had enough. i could never get a bellyful of her egg barley (Farfel) with mushrooms. when grandma prepared this dish, it was often along side a huge roasted chicken for dinner. egg barley is an egg based, toasted pasta often used in eastern european recipes. the term barley is used from its resemblance to cooked pearl barley. ahh those magnificent, little pearls of pasta, similar to today’s large couscous. grandma called this dish “mushroom Farfel”, and in my home, i could never get enough of it. it’s such an amazing side dish — hot out of the pot or cold, right out of the refrigerator. ingredients: ~ 1 12 ounce bag toasted egg barley ~ 1 large yellow onion, chopped ~ 1 8 ounce package mushrooms, chopped ~ 2 tbs butter ~ 5 cups broth (I use chicken, but you may use any flavor you like) ~ Salt, pepper to taste
Process: sautee onions in melted butter, stirring frequently until softened. add the mushrooms and sauté on low heat until the mushrooms have evaporated most of their moisture, approximately 20 minutes. once the vegetables are soft, add the egg barley. add the chicken broth and sauté over low heat for approximately 12-15 minutes until liquid has cooked down and the farfel is al dente (or softer if you like). stir, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy and esn gezunt, meyn freynt! (Eat well and healthy, my friends!)
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Laura would love to hear from you, you can reach her at: email@example.com
Charles Caine, noted Costume Designer, Leslee Carsewell and Renee & the Enablers, plus much more! Grandma Becky's Egg Barley Mushroom Farfe...
Published on May 15, 2018
Charles Caine, noted Costume Designer, Leslee Carsewell and Renee & the Enablers, plus much more! Grandma Becky's Egg Barley Mushroom Farfe...