Berkshires artzine promoting and supporting the visual and performing arts since 1994
THE ARTFUL MIND December 2020
Carolina Ellenbogen and Michael D Ellenbogen Photography by Tasja Keetman
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Fall Enclosed, oil on canvas 2017 24 x 30â&#x20AC;? This painting can be viewed in my Art Studio in Williamstown. Please let me know if you would like to see it.
Ghetta Hirsch website: www.ghetta-hirsch.squarespace.com instagram: @ghettahirschpaintings Text or call : 413. 281. 0626
Carolyn Newberger Portraiture Drawings, paintings and commissions
email@example.com www.carolynnewberger.com 617-877-5672 Study in Red, watercolor, 20 x 14 inches
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MATT CHINIAN “Paintings of village life in Upstate New York”
Come visit! See open studio schedule at
mattchinian.com #1716 Backlots Hudson Falls, NY 10-26-20 16 x 20”
#1666 Palmer Pt. 4th Lake. 08-6-20 9 x 12”
By appointment, firstname.lastname@example.org
#1718 Last Stand of My Saw 10-29-20 9 x 12”
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THE ARTFUL MIND Don’t keep talking about it BUY the ART! Happy holidays!
DECEMBER 2020 VIRTUAL GALLERY / ARTIST DISPLAY OCTOBER / NOVEMBER ...8 CAROLINA ELLENBOGEN / ARTIST PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN INTERVIEW BY H CANDEE...26
MICHAEL D ELLENBOGEN ARTIST / FILMMAKER / GALLERIST PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
UPDATE 2020: CHRISTOPHER R. MALCOMSON PORTRAIT OF ARTIST BY TASJA KEETMAN INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE ...40
UPDATE 2020: VIRGINIA BRADLEY PORTRAIT OF ARTIST BY TASJA KEETMAN INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE ...44
UPDATE 2020: POPS PETERSON INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE ...50 ARTIST SHARON GUY INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE ...58
RICHARD BRITELL / FICTION JASON AND HIS GRANDMOTHER CHAPTER 13 MISS TORPEDOES...60 Publisher Harryet Candee Copy Editor
Third Eye: Jeff Bynack Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Candee Contributing Writers Richard Britell
Photographers Edward Acker, Tasja Keetman
ADVERTISING RATES for VIRTUAL GALLERY and Display please call 413 - 645 - 4114 email@example.com issuu.com / instagram FB Open Group: ARTFUL GALLERY for artful minds Psilocybin Picnic. Acrylic on Canvas. 48" x 48". 2019
100 North St Pittsfield #322 Painting - Collage - Construction 914. 260. 7413 firstname.lastname@example.org 4 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
The Artful Mind Box 985 Great Barrington, MA 01230 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.
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In Your Face | Julia Grey | At Large Studio | 702 673 0900 |
Photographic Performance Pieces are studio works. The process uses an open shutter (bulb mode) in combination with constant light and flash. All images are single exposures. No Photoshop compositing/layering.
www.xgender.net Julia Grey
Kudu Grace 10 x 8” Oil on Paper
email@example.com (941) 321-1218 https://www.sharonguyart.com 6 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Oil and Watercolor Artist The beauty found in nature is a valuable commodity in a world with so much uncertainty. Fine art, greeting cards and elegant food for a new and changing world. 413-442-2483 https://keithemerlingfineart.com https://studionotes.etsy.com https://thelittlecookbookofphilosophy.com https://mysecretlifeasachef.com https://keithemerling.com
Unstoppable, 2020, 36 x 36”
Acrylic & Oil on Canvas
firstname.lastname@example.org www.katrinwaite.com instagram: @katrinwaite Tel. 518-223-3069
Me and Jackson Pollack
by Alex Kamaroff Alex Kamaroff, POLLACK’S DREAM
ack in 1955 my grandparents rented a small house on Springs Fireplace Road in the Hamptons. I was almost five and they packed my small bicycle still with training wheels and off we went for part of the summer. Now I have to tell you why I was with them. Simply put, my parents couldn’t stand me for a whole summer. It was too long a time. I was too much to handle. But my grandmother loved me. So I played with my pail and shovel at the beach,making mud pies and castles and whatever else kids do at that age. But what I mostly loved to do was play catch with myself and bounce my Pennsy Pinky rubber pink ball against the house which drove my grandfather crazy. “Hey, mashugana, crazy kid, go ride your bike down the road and stop annoying me.” And off I went, can you believe right past Willem de kooning’s house. Hey, what did I know. I found out later that he was some kind of artist. I saw his paintings in a museum in New York years later and hated them. But I couldn’t care less. One grown up looked all the same as any other. Any way I rode quite a distance until I saw this guy in dirty pants and shirt full of paint with a smoking cigarette hanging from his lips with dripping paint brushes and paint cans everywhere looking down at the stupidest thing. It was a big sort of carpet, with paint splashed all over it. I mean it was covered with colored paint everywhere you looked. It was all over. So out of curiosity I stopped and getting off my bike went over to see what he was doing. “What are you doing mister?” He looked up at me, the cigarette now dangling from his lower lip and said quite frankly, “It’s abstract art Do you know what abstract means?” I shrugged. He smiled. “What’s your name?” “Alex,” I told him. “What’s yours, mister?” “Paul, but everyone calls me Jackson.” I looked down at the abstract art. Now, I don’t have to tell you, to a little five year old kid it looked like garbage. “Jackson?” He looked up after throwing a bunch of paint on the carpet. “Can I try?” Now I have to admit it was fun throwing paint on a carpet. I got the hang of it and Jackson helped guide my throw at times pointing to where I should throw some paint. “Having fun?” I shrugged. That’s when he saw the bulge of my rubber ball in my pocket. He thought for a few minutes and then said, ”Let me see what’s in your pants.” So I took it out of my pocket and put it in his dirty hand. I’m telling you, I was not at all happy with that.
“Don’t worry, we’ll wash it off in turpentine and it will be as good as new.” I shrugged. “Now what are you going to do with my ball mister Jackson?” He laughed. “Call me Jackson. I’m Jackson Pollock. Have you ever heard of me?” “Nope.” He laughed at some private joke. “You ever play by the ocean skimming shells along the water and seeing how many times you can make them bounce?” ‘I’m real good at that,” I bragged. “I can make a shell bounce seven times.” “Okay,” he handed back my ball that now had paint on it. I hesitated not wanting to get paint on my hand. “It’s okay, we’ll get you cleaned up before you go home.” “Now what?” He smiled. “I want you to skim that ball along this canvas full of paint and I’ll catch it on the other side. Then I’ll give it to you again and you can do it a few times.” “I can skim real good.” And I did. Four maybe five bounces each time. He looked down at the carpet canvas and smiled. “Now let’s get you and your ball cleaned up.” My ball and I smelled like paint, but I guess I did okay because he patted my back and said “now, you’re an abstract artist.” It was getting late for dinner so I said goodbye to Mr. Jackson, and off I rode down the road back to the house where my grandfather smelled me all over. “What were you up to?”: “I was painting,” I grinned proudly. “I’m an abstract artist.” My grandfather laughed and waved me away. “Mushugana.” Now I told you that story to tell you this one. Years later my grandmother and grandfather took me to the Museum of Modern Art. And would you believe it? There, hanging long and big on a huge wall was my painting I did with Jackson Pollock. “Hey I painted that.” I shouted. Some guy behind me laughed. He said it was worth millions of dollars. “I’m rich,” I shouted “Mushugana,” grandpa said and patted my head. “Crazy kid.” To this day one of Jackson Pollock’s priceless masterpieces is still there for me to visit and beam and say with pride to everyone, “I painted that with Paul Jackson Pollock.”
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Glendale Brook Studio 27 Church St, Lenox, MA 413-623-5081 glendalebrookstudio.com THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 7
VIRTUAL GALLERY FINE ART & PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURED ARTISTS: GHETTA HIRSCH BRUCE PANOCK JULIA GREY CAROLYN M. ABRAMS KATRIN WAITE SHARON GUY CLAUDIA d’ALESSANDRO MARK MELLINGER SAMANTHA KAYE CAROLYN NEWBERGER KEITH EMERLING JANET PUMPHREY KAREN BOGNAR KHAN
Art is a sound investment and a lifetime of enjoyment... For art sales contact artist directly. To show your art on a gallery wall, contact: Harryet Candee at: email@example.com Box 985, Great Barrington, MA 01230 FB: ART GALLERY for Artful Minds 8 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Long Shadows 2019 8x8” Oil on Board framed in natural pine $225 Sunset At The Clark 2020 20x20” Oil on Canvas (unframed) $850
Garden Fence 2019 8x8” Oil on Canvas, framed with natural pine wood $ 325 Fall Leaf Island 2014 16x20” Oil on Board, framed in white washed wood $650
Here are a few paintings of the season, emphasizing the gold, ochres and oranges of the landscape. Three of them are framed; “Sunset At The Clark” is unframed as it is painted on a thick gallery canvas of 1 1/2” and painted white on the sides. Prices do not include shipping. All paintings can be viewed (with distance and masks) in my Art Studio in Williamstown. I can also send more photographs. On site pickup, PayPal and Venmo are all ok.
CONTACT: Ghetta-Hirsch.squarespace.com Instagram@ghettahirschpaintings 413-281-0626
VIRTUAL GALLERY THE ARTFUL MIND
DECEMBER 2020 • 9
Bruce Panock Alone But Not Lonely
Bruce Panock Vines and Wall
For this body of work, everything starts with the search for shapes and patterns in the landscape. When I get back to the computer I then mask out what doesn’t add to the subject. This could take days of effort. When the shapes and patterns have revealed themselves, Then I begin thinking about the background, the colors and the textures. It all evolves….or fails magnificently. —Bruce Panock 10 •DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Each image is part of a limited edition. There are several sizes available. Each piece is priced according to size. Images are unframed and printed on Hahnemuhle archival papers.
CONTACT: www.panockphotography.com firstname.lastname@example.org 917-287-8589
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JULIA GREY Hummingbirds love people, unless given a reason not to. Under the right conditions, they form connections and seek out their humans…
Leatherneck with Bacopa Flower (2012, Ruby Throat) 10 x 15” $150
Dirty Pete with White Poppy (2014, Ruby Throat) 10 x 15” $150
Lorus #8 (2019, Anna’s) 10 x 15” $150
CONTACT: www.xgender.net At Large Studio, Las Vegas 702 673 0900
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Mohawk with Tulip (2013, Ruby Throat 10 x 15” $150 VIRTUAL GALLERY
CAROLYN M. ABRAMS Carolyn’s work is intuitively created and inspired by nature and honors its beauty and Creative Spirit in us all.
Portrait of Her Soul Mixed mediums on paper 9x12”
Soul Angel Pastels on paper matted 8x10” $150
Herself Acrylic/collage framed 5x7” $150
Soulscape III Pastel on paper matted 8x10” $150
Prints are available through the website: Www.carolynabrams.com http://www.healing-power-of-art.org/carolyn-mabrams/ Like my art on Facebook Www.facebook.com/CarolynmAbramsArt
VIRTUAL GALLERY THE ARTFUL MIND OCTOBER /NOVEMBER 2020 • 13
Katrin Waite The Place Was Abandoned For Many Years 2020 12 x 12” Acrylic and Oil on Canvas $350
Katrin Waite Broken Silence 2020 12 x 12” Acrylic and Oil on Canvas $350
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Both Ways 2020 12 x12” Acrylic on Oil on Canvas $350
“In my art I strive to capture the fragile nature of memory and its many facets. It opens doors for interaction but is never complete. We all - the artwork, the artist, the viewer - are subjects of eternal transformation. Art can tell stories to make this process bearable and beautiful at once.“ -Katrin Waite
Persephone 2020 12 x 12” Acrylic and Oil on Canvas $350
CONTACT: email@example.com www.katrinwaite.com instagram: @katrinwaite Tel. 518-223 3069
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Kudu Grace 10 x 8” Oil on Paper $150
Jazz 8 x 8” Oil on Cradled Panel $125
Joy In Pink 8 x 8” Oil on Cradled panel $125
“My purpose as an artist is to connect with the healing power of the natural world and to encourage others to do the same. Nature is alive and infused with spirit. I constantly seek to reconnect with this spirit of nature through creating art.”
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.sharonguyart.com 941-321-1218 16 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Universe 10 x 8” Oil on paper
Easter Island Ice Face
Facing Winter series Nature's images remind me of the awesome beauty that surrounds us, and the mighty power of the natural world which we inhabit. The air, the earth and the water can serve as a canvas. I hope you will enjoy this look at what we are "Facing."
16 x 24” $135 each for the Holidays
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Mark Mellinger Why Did You Have To Go Arshile? 2016 12 x 12” Acrylic and Collage $300
Mark Mellinger Transcendence of the Soul Construction of Oak and Driftwood $4500
I live in two separate worlds. One verbal and one visual. What they have in common is an attitude of pushing into the unknown; of allowing unconscious elements to take form within consciousness. I couldn’t live without both. — Mark Mellinger
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Mark Mellinger Madame Miro 2020 Acrylic and Collage of Miro reproductions on canvas 20 x16" $2200
Subterranean Pyroclasm 2020 Acrylic on Canvas 60 x 48” $3900
CONTACT: 914-260-7413 email@example.com
Miro is my Daddy 2020 Acrylic and collage of Miro reproductions on canvas 20x16" $2200
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Young Cow Photograph $125
A Peak Through the Fall Folliage Photograph $125
Prints can be made on metal, glass and paper.
CONTACT: Instagram: @Samm_kaye Instagram: @Vivid_snaps24.7 FB: Samantha Kaye Reflections Photograph $125 20 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
FANDANGO Watercolor and Collage 18 x 24” $1400.
AFTER THE STORM Pastel and graphite on toned paper
14 x 21”
CONTACT: www.carolynnewberger.com firstname.lastname@example.org 617-877-5672 Commissions Upon Request VIRTUAL GALLERY
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Lisianthus & Snapdragons Oil on linen 30x24” $2300
King Protea 2 Oil on Linen 40x30” $3000
The Fine Art of Flowers, Flower Portraits, Oil and Watercolor” is Keith Emerling's beautifully printed, full color, hardcover, collection of 53 fine art, oil and watercolor flower paintings with title, medium and size along with a smattering of poems, a bio and dedication, 113 pages, 9.8x8 inches landscape orientation. https://www.blurb.com/b/10392375-the-fine-art-of-flowers
CONTACT: 413-442-2483 https://keithemerlingfineart.com https://studionotes.etsy.com https://thelittlecookbookofphilosophy.com https://mysecretlifeasachef.com https://keithemerling.com
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Bird of Paradise and Ginger Flowers Oil on linen 30x24” $2300
Frozen 30X40 Printed on Aluminum $900
Diamonds in Pines
All photographs can be printed on multiple choices of archival paper, aluminum, glass, or acrylic. Price will be determined upon size you choose.
CONTACT: Janet Pumphrey Gallery 17 Housatonic Street Lenox, MA 01240 www.JanetPumphrey.com (413) 637-2777 Red Coat
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Karen Bognar Khan Imminent 26 x 36” Acrylic NFS
Karen Bognar Khan Anti Gravity 24 x 30” Oil $10,000
Karen Bognar Khan Arriving at Orion 28 x 36” Acrylic $15,000
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KAREN BOGNAR KHAN
Night Vigil Two 36 x 36” Acrylic $15,000
REM’s 24 x 48” Pencil on Paper
CONTACT: Incandescent 28 x 40” Pencil and PAper $10,000
http://karenbognarkhanpaintings.com 413 441 9754 email@example.com
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CAROLINA ELLENBOGEN ARTIST INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
Harryet Candee: Carolina, how and in which ways do you perceive and visualize things you see that perhaps you would agree reinforces you as an artist? Nothing is ever completed. Everything keeps evolving, mutating and transforming itself in the visible and non-visible world. The same way, I feel that my need for creating comes from constantly re-interpreting everything that I see; one creation only represents a fraction of something that I perceived or happened upon. I have never stopped figuring out new ways or approaches to admire or produce anything. Carolina Ellenbogen: What you see and interpret into art comes from a combination of life experiences, mentors, exploration and discovery, and what else do you think? I believe that to understand most of everything we turn to the retrospective thought to find the source, the starting point that caused something to happen. Many times, I wonder what was that moment that set me on this path that I've been on and I think that I might have a clue. It is a memory from when I was 4 years old, a school assignment where I had to draw my mom for a Mother’s Day card. I was given a blank piece of paper and was overwhelmed with the responsibility. This moment was the first time that I realized that to be able to create something, I had to think about it; I had to find a 26 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN
way to understand it and visualize it first in my mind. After I visualized it, I threw a few gestures with my hand and there it was, the first meaningful drawing of my life. This drawing didn’t quite look like my mother but at least it looked like a human figure that was recognizable to my schoolteacher, my mom and to me. That day, I realized that I was in control of my hands and that I could use them as tools to communicate with others. It was almost like I had just discovered a big secret of myself. It was the most amazing moment, a total hit of self-awareness. But of course there was the immediate discontent of realizing that the drawing didn’t really look like my mother, and I knew it as soon as I saw it. It looked like a box shaped human with extremities that looked like sticks. I think that this drawing was my first real opportunity to meet the real master: Positive self-criticism. The realization that my new precious drawing wasn’t good enough and that it really didn't look like my mom. From that life experience I was able to learn exactly what I needed to do. I realized that I had to try harder to make it look like my mom or anything else that I wanted it to look like, and that I deserved giving myself as many chances as needed until I could get there. I’ve been giving myself chances for 35 years now. Being an artist, can you elaborate on one way
or two that has stood out as a well-bestowed vehicle for capturing what you have in mind, then onto the canvas or paper in front of you? Since a young age the real urge was more extrospective. I needed to prove to myself that I was able to get a grasp of our shared reality. That by being able to capture it as it was, I would have proof that I was able to understand it objectively. I constantly created drawings that aimed to be very realistic to show how able I was to understand what I saw. A tree looked like a tree and a face looked like a face. And the human became my life long recurrent subject. Nowadays I’m in a more introspective phase. I’ve realized that anything that we see in this visible world, or “invisible” world, is mostly what we choose to look at and what we put our thoughts and attention to. This is why I’ve been trying to develop a new personal language that talks about some ideals that I have: patience, precision, simplicity, frugality, acceptance and resilience stand out among some others. These latest artworks are more abstract in nature. Even though, I’m back to painting faces again in parallel to my abstract works. When do you find yourself really enjoying art making? When there’s no schedules or clocks. There have been times that I painted for 12 hours
Carolina Ellenbogen Coming Acrylic on Canvas 48 x 36”
plus without a break due to the fact that I didn’t have other duties to attend to. But, I must say that having other duties to attend to is actually beneficial, since they are part of the creative process. Most of the insight for what I want to create happens when I’m not painting. When I paint, I’m basically just executing an idea that I had already visualized in my mind or previously sketched.
the quality of light, any outside noises, the temperature etc. We are not creators after all, we are merely interpreters. Being surrounded by the works of all the amazing artists that we have at Ellenbogen Gallery is as much a privilege as it is inspiring. It’s basically being surrounded by the creative energy of all of them.
What art venue drives you crazy and is nothing but a life-long challenge for you? I don’t think that I’ve been to that venue yet. I think that allowing ourselves to see what we don’t like is an opportunity to understand why we don’t like it or why it bothers us. We can learn from it. It also helps us to define what we really like, which is the valuable part.
What are you working on right now? I’ve been preparing for a show that will open in April 2021. The works are all from a series titled “When the Light Breaks Into Pieces” and I’m still using light as a subject. Here, when light breaks, coming through tree branches and leaves, it appears alive and dappled on the ground. When there is a body of water nearby, light coming through the tree canopies shimmers across the surface. It glimmers. I’m aiming to have at least 30 paintings for this show, some quite large in order to give people a truly immersive experience. And, I’m also currently working on a series of female faces, titled “People I’ve Never Met”. The series is about human eye contact.
If you paint where you are surrounded by so many artists artwork in your gallery on full view, is there ever a time where you need to be in a totally separate space to avoid outside influences? I’m usually looking directly at the canvas when painting, and very focused too. We are constantly, consciously or unconsciously, interpreting what’s around us. Everything influences us. Even the one who chooses an empty room to work in it, might end up being influenced by the shape of the room, its dimensions, its colors,
The Ellenbogen Gallery is beyond beautiful. It is a gallerists dream. Sharing this dream with Michael is also a wonderful thing. What were some of your responsibilities solely dedicated to
the raising of this gallery to fruition? Thank you for the nice compliments. I’ve been part of the conceptualization of the idea, the branding, social media marketing, design and buildout of the interior. I am involved in the curating of all exhibitions, directing, selling, and cleaning the gallery… I might be forgetting a bunch of other responsibilities. It’s been just the two of us and we always work together. Even though, I must say that Michael does pretty much everything that you can imagine for Ellenbogen Gallery. Everything. This year we were lucky to be found by Elizabeth Spadea and that she joined our team, bringing new energy to our mix. Elizabeth is a thoughtful writer and she has been curating our Eg. ArtBlog, which is published on our website. She has also curated some shows at Ellenbogen Gallery and has moderated some amazing panel discussions with many of the artists. She is currently creating a social media strategy for the gallery. How did The Ellenbogen Gallery first start? Before coming to the USA my most recurrent subject had been the human face. I’ve been studying it since I can form memories. Moving to a new country and adapting to a different way of life is one of those experiences that can take us in totally new directions. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 27
Carolina Ellenbogen with painted portraits
Once in this country I developed this incessant need to explore new subjects, but ones that are more abstract in nature. I felt that all my new experiences sent me into a more introspective mode and that I needed a new visual language to talk about it. I became really interested in using light as a subject. Light is such an abstract concept. Despite all of the available scientific explanations and facts, there is also poetry to consider: Light reveals the visible world, but we don’t actually see light itself. It allows us to see, but we don’t see it. I started working on my first series titled “When the light folds”, which is about light coming into interior spaces though a window or an opening. Light moves across the room as the day goes by and what remains are mental recreations of that light moving through the room, creating these translucent folding shapes. After finishing my first series of paintings, I did what most artists do; I started to look for a gallery that would want to sell them. I quickly realized that finding an art venue in Manchester could pose a challenge because there is a real tradition that focuses more on painting landscapes, mountains, barns, cows, roosters and other natural and rural elements. That’s how the first need of opening a gallery came about. Michael and I sat in conversations on how we could make this happen. We agreed at some point that it could be better to find local artists that were like-minded and invite them to be part of this. 28 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
We initially opened a gallery called stART Space, where we focused in non-figurative art from emerging and established artists. As we started to operate, we became gladly aware that, after constant requests of artists on how they could show at our gallery, that there were a good amount of abstract and non-figurative artists in the area. We went from 5 artists to 20+ artists on exhibition. This is now something that needs more work than we thought of originally. Eventually we rebranded to Ellenbogen Gallery as we came to the realization that we were every part of this gallery and that we had built something that we were proud of. I happen to really admire you for this reason: When I came to visit your gallery this year, I was given a thorough and enjoyable tour of all the artists’ works. You didn’t skip anyone, and explained so much to me, I really like the fact that you didn’t guide me directly to yours or Michael’s work firstly, but let me absorb everyone’s in a no rush, no hard sale kind of way. What other skills might you have picked up along the way that makes you good at what you do at the gallery that might be learned by others who have galleries? Thank you for letting me know that you had a good impression of the moment when we first met. I must tell you that our conversation was really enjoyable; you had so many insightful observations to make about what you saw. I don’t necessarily consider myself a gallerist,
I consider myself an artist that introduces others to the works of artists. It is easy for me to relate to them and to their work, to all of the ideas and hours behind each of their creations and to the desire that others appreciate them too. That is why I feel that is so important to introduce others to these works and to talk about art. I also think that for some reason it is a lot easier for me to talk about other artists’ works than my own. Tell us the story of how you and Michael met, a little of your journey of where you are as an artist today? We met through music. Both of us were using an online music platform that allows you to listen to music and to select songs and tracks to create playlists. It also had a social media component where you could see who was listening to the same kind of music that you were listening to. You could also leave comments to a particular song or private message people. Michael kept seeing that my avatar was showing up in the same songs that he was listening to, so he sent me a private message saying: “you have great taste in music”. This led to 5 months of video chat and to a trip to meet each other in the real world. Then more trips in between, including my hometown to meet my family and friends. We married there in my hometown 2 years after the first contact. Michael went back to Vermont, where he was at the moment taking a break from NYC. I stayed in my hometown finishing my thesis of
Carolina Ellenbogen Like Dancers Oil on Canvas 2019 96 x 72”
Architecture. I had finished the whole program some years before but I had not finished my thesis yet, which was prohibiting me from getting my license. Michael encouraged me to finish it before coming to the USA. We had to continue our relationship via video chat and almost a full year after our wedding day I finally arrived in Vermont. I loved it as soon as I saw it and didn’t like the idea of being taken to live in New York City. My hometown was a city as well, so I wanted the countryside experience. Vermont is a beautiful place to live in New England. I believe many people are flocking to move into places in your part of Vermont these days since Covid epidemic. What is the feeling of change that you might sense in Vermont, and how would it be a positive change for you and your neighbors? You’re right; they are certainly flocking to Vermont. I don’t really know what the outcome will be as we are still in the middle of this terrible pandemic and everything keeps changing so much. We’ve been trying to socially distance ourselves as much as possible and we only get a sense of town by opening Ellenbogen Gallery to the public. This is where we keep meeting people that tell us that they just bought a home and moved to Vermont. The most positive aspect to it is that most of them are young adults, between the 30’s or 40’s age bracket, and Vermont had been experiencing
an aging population, so this is definitely positive. There is nothing wrong with age, in fact I appreciate that with age one is always more experienced and usually wiser, but the older population is downsizing, the younger people still have several decades left to fill their empty wall spaces and nooks and landscape with art. Carolina, please tell us about your time growing up in Venezuela? My core family was composed of 5 people but I had a very large extended family. We used to go a lot to the beach and I learned how to swim jumping off a boat in the Gulf of Venezuela. I also spent a lot of time in pools. I attended a private all girls’ catholic school up to Middle School and then I went to a different school for High School. I always got the best grades in my class during these years. I spent most of my days sketching people, the rooms or buildings around me, which made many people suggest to me that I should study Architecture, which I ended up doing and I learned a lot from it. It gave me a lot of structure and it taught me how to conceptualize, research and execute plans in efficient ways. Even though, I think that at the end of this story drawing and painting have always been the creative outlet that was meant for me. I started showing my works around 20 years of age. I did it in collective shows, art venues and at the state contemporary art museum, where I ended
up winning an award for second best young artist for that year’s edition. In the latest years in my hometown, I would do yoga for 90 minutes everyday. I spent 29 years of my life in there, which makes it a little hard to pick and choose what to say, but I have so many fond memories and I’m terribly mortified that the current government (Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez) has ruined this country so deeply, affecting the life of my dear ones and so many millions of others. Life today is so much different than any other time in our lives. Do you find you are rebuilding your life in ways? Do you find yourself resilient to change? I’m coping. It’s been a great challenge for so many of us and it’s even hard to tell how much this will change life, as we know it. It’s just one day at a time. Are you building anything now in your life that takes designing skills and physical work? Always. I finish one to start another. I have designed so many things in our home and assisted my dear Michael “the master builder” with the construction part of it. I’m the official one for all of the finishes in every construction project (sanding, priming, painting, spackling, grouting etc.). Except for that, we do our DIY projects together. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 29
Carolina and Michael D Ellenbogen in their gallery
We’ve designed and built walls in our home, kitchen cabinets, the kitchen backsplash, painted our kitchen cabinets by hand, built some cabinets, built shelves, closets, the mudroom bench, designed and helped a contractor build our deck, our flooring and more (the list is getting too long). The flooring deserves special mentioning, though. This one we cut the planks (80+), I sanded and beveled the edges of each of them, stained each of them with a brush and when they dried I gave them a light sanding, applied 3 layers of polyurethane to each plank with a brush (light sanding between each layer). Then we removed the old flooring. Michael installed the 86 planks, each of them have 21-24 square cut hardened flooring nails that need to be pre-drilled before hammering by hand, 21-26 hits per nail (do the math for a crazy 2,000+ nails)! Take in account that I had to mark each of the places where Michael was going to put a nail, since we could not allow any nail to hit a nail in the sub floor, since these nails are wedge-shaped and you can not pull them out once you start hammering them in. Good lord. Worth all 30 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
the pains, they are gorgeous. Same at the gallery, we designed and built all the partition walls and painted what we could. This is no small thing because the gallery is an open span of 7000 square feet. What other interests do you have outside of the artist realm? I’m always researching; whatever I see, hear, taste, think of, design, build, etc. I research. I can’t exist without walking. Walk around town, walk some laps at Ellenbogen Gallery (remember there is a 7,000 sq ft space) or a hike on a trail…anything. But I need it on a daily basis to survive. Music, Movies…OH! Wait! You said outside the art realms. Landscaping, designing and decorating my home, organizing every nook and cranny of my home, cooking a nice meal and observing a nice day go by wherever and whenever I have the opportunity.
What note of wisdom can you share with us? What is a core belief you own? Memento mori. You are here now, with whatever joys or sorrows, but you’re still here. The illusion that we are masters of our future and that we can take care of our present later, is just a futile exercise in nothingness. Look around yourself and remember how ephemeral all of this is, every person and every moment. Honor it. Make use of the only chance that you get to make it worth it. Now. What a good time is to visit The Ellenbogen Gallery? Every day we are open or literally, every day online. Check our website to browse and buy art online or to check for our operating hours; we also schedule appointments, so send us an email or message us on Facebook and even if we’re not opened that day, we’ll open it for you as long as we are in town. Thank you, Carolina!
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
MICHAEL D ELLENBOGEN ARTIST / FILMMAKER / GALLERIST INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE Harryet Candee: It’s a blessing that artists like yourself have the freedom to create at will. Currently, you’re producing a documentary feature, IT HAPPENED OVER LUNCH, about the history of The Four Seasons Restaurant’s 57 years in the iconic Seagram Building. I watched the trailer I loved this four-minute intro because it was full of life and captured the essence of the good life and as we all know, there is nothing better than the activity of dining out in a fine restaurant in the city. How do you manage your schedule, I wonder, since you are also needed to work along side Carolina at your gallery, The Ellenbogen Gallery located in Manchester VT. Do you find that time is of the essence in order to get so much accomplished? How do you organize your time? What is on top of your list to attend to? Michael D Ellenbogen: Time is of the essence for everyone. We are born at the beginning, live in the middle and pass on at the end. Life, the vast middle part, is our playground; it is also filled with lists. There are many circumstances that affect our possibilities and potential and the choices we make and actions we take add up to our accomplish-
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN
ments. The most fortunate people find balance and accomplish what they set their mind to gracefully. While I consider myself fortunate, I do not find that I am graceful. My balancing point is always moving. If I were a surfer, I’d be in the water most of the time, but not drowning. On top of my list you will find the bold bullet points that include building Ellenbogen Gallery, finishing the documentary feature IT HAPPENED OVER LUNCH, completing the next assemblage art piece for my ESSENTIALS series, making selections for and printing my next photography exhibition, producing the multiple film projects I have started over the past 20 years and building a new cinema, in a space that accommodates everything we do and love. It is a big list. I never get bored. There are some people who “manage” their schedules. For better or for worse, my schedule manages me. My list is constantly being reshuffled; items that I would like to put a line through get pushed aside to make room for responsibilities, paying bills, cleaning the house, designing a new marketing piece, writing a press release, printing labels for art, running a day shoot for the film, at-
tending a dinner with family or friends etc., that absolutely have to get done. You ask about organizing time – and the best answer might be - one step, then another, then the next, then sleep... repeat. IT HAPPENED OVER LUNCH, is still very much a priority. This documentary tracing of the history of the iconic Park Avenue restaurant, Four Seasons Restaurant, housed in the Seagram Building from 1957 to 2016, has been challenged from the start as funding came in fits and starts, causing us to shoot a few days, look for funds, shoot another few days, etc... the restaurant reopened a few blocks to the south in 2018 after a dramatic two year rebuilding effort that cost a historic $39 million and closed, this time permanently, less than a year later and finally, just when it looked like a new creative and producing partner was motivated to join the team and help carry it across the finish line, we were hit with a Pandemic. We do what we need to do to keep things fresh, to keep the doors open and continue to strengthen the foundation of our businesses. At the moment, while my documentary production is on hold, I can Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 31
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portunity in Manchester to effectively grow as artists or share our vision with others. Fortunately, our needs and our ambition are manageable, allowing us to invest time and energy in support of this important goal and there are so many artists looking for opportunities like the one we are creating. Carolina has great taste when it comes to appreciating art. She understands why a work of art fits into a particular setting and is able to communicate effectively her reason for liking, or disliking, art. I have similar skills, only different. Together we are able to quickly recognize art that we would like to see in our own gallery and recognize this is the most important reason to bring it under our roof. Our roof is only a mid-way point between the artist and a collector –metaphorically, we are the wire that brings the electricity from the source, to the end user. We have already helped people make their own surroundings beautiful, interesting and inspirational, with art, so we have succeeded; if we can help many people, we will stay in business. The number of artists we work with at the gallery is unimportant. We make great, original art available to many people. The more art, the better; the more artists, the better, as long as it is the right art and the right artists, for us and for the gallery. That’s the challenging, the difficult and the fun part.
Michael D Ellenbogen Rocks of Glastenbury c 1984
focus on the gallery and provide Carolina with the opportunity to focus on her next solo show featuring paintings from her series called “When the Light Breaks into Pieces” which is now scheduled for April 2021. Hopefully, there will be a vaccine by then. When things start to happen with the documentary, I will do what needs to be done and Carolina will fill in the holes in the schedule that I must leave open. We are a team. The Ellenbogen Gallery is your baby, shared with your partner, and love, Carolina, also a fine artist. Carolina and you work at your own artmaking, and also work together to keep the gallery at its most fit state. What vision had you originally had in mind when beginning to open a business catered to selling your art and also representing over 15 artists at one time under one roof? You hit the nail on the head Harryet and probably answered the question for us! We opened a 32 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
business to sell our art and sell art by other artists to other people who love art. In short, that was, and is, the vision. Thank you! The rest is all hearsay and dreams, pomp and circumstance, moments of success and moments of failure. Carolina and I both love art. We appreciate all culture, but we prioritize art-culture. Our vision emerged from our activities that include listening to music, reading books, watching movies, looking at art, walking through architectural spaces and garden landscapes, seeing new places, making art and talking to people who share interesting ideas. Our experiences are vastly different, but our vision is in alignment. Opening a gallery was the result of circumstances, experience, timing and possibilities. While we will both do what is necessary and available to survive when we have to, we jumped at the opportunity to open a gallery to sell art and work with other creative people. It helped that both of us create art and had not discovered the right op-
Coming from a life in the big city, do you not find living and working in Vermont a little too sleepy for you? How have times changed you think, that living outside of the city limits is just as fruitful and fun, and busy as being a city dweller. The city is not the only place where life thrives, but in the 60s-70s, I think the general mindset was that the city was only place to live and grow and be educated. I like sleep! At least I like sleep now. I’m having a laugh at your question (not at you, but the idea) because “life in the big city” seems like a cliché to me now. It requires experience and time to be able to look back and see every lifestyle for what it is – an opportunity to learn, find opportunity, accomplish things, meet people and enjoy life (the middle part, remember?). That said, I’ll clarify that I was born in Manhattan in the late 60’s. Being taken on walks through the East Village and Washington Square Park as a toddler must have made a very strong impression, because, despite being a 70’s and 80’s Suburbanite, growing up in Delmar, NY, outside of Albany, I always felt that I was a “New Yorker”. After graduating from University of Vermont (UVM) in 1989 with an English Literature, Art, Art History, Film Production and Film History degree, I spent almost a year traveling through the USA, Australia and New Zealand and returned with a plan to open a pizza restaurant, café, art gallery and cinema under one roof in Albany; a visit to see a friend in New York City changed all that and led to a storied 18 years in the city, except for three eventful years back in Albany. Living in the East Village I used to tell friends who invited me to do something uptown, as in, above 14th Street, that I’d have to call my travel agent before committing. Same thing for Brooklyn or anything on the other side of a river. I could go weeks without leaving the same few blocks. It helped that I was working for Larry Fessenden, a filmmaker who lived on 4th Street, less than two
blocks away. By the time I left the city for the first time in 1993, for almost four years, I had been a production assistant, an assistant to the producers, produced and directed a short film, adopted a gorgeous puppy, a female bluetick hound I named Lord Bogen (after Lord Byron), launched a showcase of short films under the name of “Full House” each week at a café called Limbo, distributed Larry’s feature film called NO TELLING and co-wrote a book with the same filmmaker called LOW IMPACT FILMMAKING with a focus on producing movies with a consideration for the environment. I had also played the role of “Beast Man” in an Off-off-Broadway play called THE ISLE OF DR. MOREAU as a favor to a friend, but in the end I am a “behind the camera, behind the lights” kind of person – the farther behind the better. By 1993 I had completed the first draft of what was supposed to be my first feature film – written by, directed by and produced by, me. I’m still working on it. To “focus” on that screenplay, I moved back to Albany. While writing I continued to showcase short films in various venues. I took the films, the projection equipment and Lord Bogen on the road every month and made stops across New York and Vermont (Bennington College, Manchester and UVM). Showing films became my focus and the monthly showcase grew into the Albany International Short Film Festival. It was held first at the Palace Theater and then at The Egg at the Empire Center from 19941996. In late 1996 it was again Larry Fessenden that brought me back to “the big city” to distribute his second feature, HABIT, a soulful vampire film. The next decade in the city was packed with people, opportunities and accomplishments. Distributing another feature film independently led to a six-year professional relationship with Jack Foley, President of Distribution for October Films, USA Films and Focus Features (all under one roof between 1998-2005), producing a feature film, moving on to become EVP of Production and Development for a new film company. When that last move fizzled, my focus turned to the event and art world. A magazine called Whitewall launched in 2006 and for a few years I sold advertising for them and connected them with growth opportunities as Director of Business Development. In 2007 my friend Tam St. Armand and I formed Michael & St. Armand to connect people with ideas, art, each other and opportunity. We produced an event in Miami during Art Basel that was both memorable and challenging. It was so challenging in fact, that I decided to leave NYC and go back to filmmaking. I subleased my apartment and, to the great pleasure of my parents, moved in with them to their summer home in Manchester, Vermont, to finish a screenplay. Soon after this, a unique opportunity introduced me to Carolina, and everything changed again – this time for the better! Now I get more sleep and we live in Vermont, in our own home and run an art gallery. We have the opportunity these days to see art
done.” However, art history is fascinating. I am impressed when someone can identify art and know who created it and when, but to become fascinating, art needs context. Cultural history. Aesthetic history. Social history. Psychological history. Scientific history. What was going on when Picasso created Guernica? Why did Walter Gropius transform the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar into what we all know of today as the Bauhaus? Who was Andy Warhol hanging out with at the Factory and what were they doing? What was happening in the United States when Jackson Pollock started throwing paint? The answers to those questions have, for better or worse, made these artists and their artworks not only valuable, but a permanent part of culture that will influence artists for years to come. Carolina and I can appreciate a work of art at first glance and not be influenced by the training of an artist. We prefer to look at art without any knowledge of the artist unless we know them. I used to program film festivals like this, watching the films without looking at any production information or credits. The “who’s who?” and the “who made it” are too influential and, in my opinion, can lead to poor decisions. Responding to art, particularly when discovering new talent, is incredibly satisfying. When we find a work of art we love, we learn more about the artist and if they are prolific and consistent, we bite. When it comes to training, consider Henri Rousseau, Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger and Grandma Moses, Basquiat, Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring and Jasper Johns (you know, the American Flag) – none of them completed formal arts training, yet they are pillars of art history, modern and contemporary art. Picasso had formal training but what I appreciate most about Picasso is his ability to communicate and make his ideas and persona as relevant as his art. Ellenbogen Gallery works with self-taught and formally trained artists. All of them bring something to the table that is unique. It is often fascinating to follow these artists into the “rabbit hole” of their creativity. Everything they create is a part of a bigger idea and when an idea connects with the collective conscious wonderful things can happen.
Michael D Ellenbogen Logitech Cordless, Access Duo Optical, M/N:Y-RH35 by Michael D Ellenbogen c 2017
that has been generated from self-taught artists as well as highly trained in classic settings, and a mix of the in-between. What is your opinion on how art is valued by one’s formal, or one’s independent study of art? Do you think art history is an essential to absorb in order to be a well-rounded artist? No, I do not think art history is essential to be a well-rounded artist. It can’t hurt, but art emerges from an artist’s spirit, not their intellect. As the great arts writer Robert Henri, THE ART SPIRIT, said, “we are not here to do what has already been
Are you self-taught in any venue in art? Studio Art and Art History were part of my curriculum at UVM. Studio Art classes were a means to continue doing what I enjoy and had been doing at home and in High School from a young age. My father enjoyed photography as a hobby. He had a Nikkormat camera and a darkroom with a Bogen enlarger, a sink and a row of chemical baths for developer, stop bath and fixer. I was probably around 10 years old when I developed my first roll of B&W film. I was 13 when my Godparents gave me a Nikon EM of my own. It was fun to experiment with multiple exposures, creating unexpected mash-ups [Rocks of Glastenbury], but later I developed an interest in photographing people on the street, out in the world. Capturing them in the moment, in secret, was exciting [Stoop Sitting in Chinatown]. I preferred to capture my subjects, rather than to work Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL DECEMBER 2020 • 33
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Michael D Ellenbogen Back to Back c 2008 Limited Edition
with them, often taking the photo while walking and without looking through the viewfinder. Reflex photography. UVM’s Film Production program no longer existed in 1985, but from the start I developed an interest in the motion picture. The department had a closet full of equipment, so I revived the program under the tutelage of professor Ted Lyman and secured funding for supplies and services. In the end, the idea of “self-taught” is a myth. No one learns in a vacuum and we all learn from someone, but our skills are developed by practice only. It matters very little to me where someone learned how to do something. Practice is the only thing that makes it possible for anyone to develop great skill or talent. Practice is not something a teacher or mentor can do for an artist – it is the artists themselves that are responsible for making the best of their circumstances. Out of all your art endeavors, what are you most proud of accomplishing? This gives me no pleasure! Pride is a dangerous word and is an emotion that has led to despicable acts and behaviors. That being said, there have been many artistic endeavors I recall with great pleasure, and sometimes pain. My thesis project in college was a sculptural assemblage involving an old pedestal sink, steel rebar, computer components, camera components, glass and a plaster cast of my own head and shoulders. I remember every detail. It was so heavy that I left it behind, in the art school, only 34 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
to return a week later in a panic to retrieve it, but it was gone. In 1992 I created a short film called CHRONICLE OF WAR IN F-SHARP. It is an experimental film, a poem about the creation, destruction and the hope for the continuance of life, in three acts. It is all set to a refrain from Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”, shot mostly on a beach in Brooklyn on a set designed after the Bomorzo Gardens in Viterbo, Italy. It is on YouTube and I still love watching it to this day. In January 2001, we premiered a feature film at the Sundance Film Festival that I produced with Susan Leber. MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR was written and directed by Ilya Chaiken. The film was critically acclaimed and did sell to the Sundance Channel eventually, following the Toronto International Film Festival despite 9/11, but we had to theatrically distribute the film ourselves. Fortunately, I had done this before and was, at the time, working for a distributor, so I had experience and connections. The color field photography exhibition I am working on for 2021 is a very exciting project. It provides me with an opportunity to revisit 1000s of images I have taken over the past decade and to finally make the opportunity to introduce a comprehensive collection to the public. As a child, what were you like and what were your early interests that you can remember? Gosh that was a long time ago. I was an organizer of social activities in my neighborhood – must
have taken after my mother. There was the Dynamite Club, born out of Dynamite magazine that launched in 1974. There were five members (Carol, David, Craig, Nancy and I) and ID cards with our titles. For a time, I was the President, but I can’t recall whether we had an election or whether I just started the group and claimed the Presidency. We lived in a suburban neighborhood surrounded by fields and forest and bordered by an electric utility line on one side and a “water line” service road on another. My friends and I used every square inch of that landscape for biking, playing sports, war games, mischief, getting dirty, creating secret hideaways and eventually to venture beyond our borders. When I wasn’t playing, I was watching Daniel Boone, why, well, of course, he was a man! I was probably eight years old when a day camp counselor provided the financing for me to start a macramé business after seeing what I could do in art period. I began selling plant hangers and belts. Around that time, I was also interested in geology and had my rock collecting and polishing kit. My father would take me to different places to search for interesting rocks, hit them with a chisel, then I would polish them in the basement. One day I started making jewelry. I sold a few. A real artrepreneur from the start. Photography followed soon after that, but it was not all arts. From a young age, I was raised at a country club and was encouraged to play tennis and golf, a lot. Eventually I did play on the Varsity
Michael D Ellenbogen Stoop Sitting in Chinatown c 1991
teams, but skiing was my real passion in those days. Skiing took me to UVM. Art then took me to NYC. Life took me back to Vermont. The basis for your photography work is based on abstract and color theory use. What are your most favorite influences? Photography started for me, not counting the early years which was a time to learn how to use a camera, develop a roll of film and print a photograph, continued in high school with Lou Spelich. This is when I started creating images. It was a period devoted to household and personal objects, landscapes and cityscapes. In the darkroom I would create montage images, marrying city with nature in dramatic ways [Rocks of Glastenbury], or look for ways to take the everyday out of context. In high school and the first couple years of college, I became more familiar with Andre Kertesz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. Kertesz’s photographs connected with me in a several important ways. They offered me a window to objects as poetry, to surrealism and to the people of New York City. It is possible that Kertesz rekindled the “New Yorker” in me and it is true that I spent many hours and days walking around New York with a camera, seeing beautiful people and poetry all around. I studied these photographers further in a class at UVM with Paul Ickovic who, prior to teaching and becoming a great photographer in his own time, was an assistant to Henri Cartier-Bresson. Bresson simply put a spell on me, to quote Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. People doing things, people in interior and exterior spaces and people in iconic situations was the signature imprint of Bresson. Robert Frank’s “The Americans”, published in
1959 (sidenote: actual coincidence that Frank’s book was actually published in the same year that The Four Seasons Restaurant opened in the Seagram Building), offered up, in the words of Joel Meyerowitz, “the lunatic sublime of America”. Frank would capture his images quickly, point and shoot, then move on, rarely engaging with a subject and this style had a great influence on me. When digital cameras arrived on the scene, I viewed them as one would view a Martian walking over the Manhattan Bridge. It was not until 2005 that I purchased a Nikon Coolpix. By that time, I was the Executive Director of Production and Development for a new film company in New York and I was going to use the camera only for documenting meetings and production activities. I hated the look and the “feel” of digital photography, but it was a transition from shooting black & white film to color. One day, when snapping pictures at a restaurant in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival, I accidentally fired off a shot in someone’s face, briefly blinding them with the flash. When I saw the image on the little screen, I fell in love. It was an eye, for sure, but it was also not an eye. It was a field of color that suggested an eye. Browns, blues, white, grays, black and lots of white... it was luminous, it glowed. I started taking “eyeshots” of everyone, everywhere. It became an event; people would line up for their “eyeshot”. I had hundreds of “eyeshots” and started editing to prepare a portfolio when disaster struck. My hard drive crashed; it was a Humpty Dumpty story and all the efforts to retrieve the files failed. To this day I am still guilty of not backing-up EVERYTHING. In 2008, soon after purchasing my first DSLR,
a Nikon D80, another accident led to a premature firing of the shutter. The camera hadn’t had time to focus and the photo was over-exposed, but there it was again, colors! Just colors in a composition. No subject, no object. Without trying to arrive at this point, I recognized familiar traits that attracted me to the color field artists, and this leads me to the strongest influences in my current state of photography: Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Ellsworth Kelly and a French artist, Yves Klein – there are others but you get the point. Please explain, with an example, your creative process using the camera as a tool. I use my camera as if it were a paintbrush. To use it as a painter would use a paintbrush, I need to break it, to shatter its cutting-edge digital technology. I “dip” the camera in the paint (aim it at the colors), make sure I have all the color I want, compose the canvas in the viewfinder, then deconstruct the subject using focal plane and exposure controls; when I am left only with color and composition, I take the photograph. I develop in Lightroom don’t cropping or manipulate the image in postproduction to change the nature of the original photograph. When Carolina saw ORANGE STICK IN A BLUE FIELD, she immediately did a Google search and showed me images of Jean Miro’s TRIPTYCH BLUE [https://kranidiotis.gr/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/Miro_4.jpg]. I was astonished by the close relationship between the two artworks. One, a painting by Miro and the Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 35
MICHAEL D ELLENBOGEN
Michael D Ellenbogen Orange Stick in a Blue Field
other, a photograph by me, and they could have been created together, at the same time or by the same person, following a specific theme. Coincidence? Jean Miro’s Triptych Bleu I, II and III at the Tate Museum: https://kranidiotis.gr/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/Miro_4.jpg Does your assemblage work connect with your photography. What are your most favorite influences? Everything connects. Hoarding outdated pieces of technology takes up space, collects dust, creates chaos and anxiety. Most people discard their old tools and technology because the Technology Life Cycle (TLC) has ended; this feels wrong. The Essential series started as a way for me to separate myself from a tool and extend its life beyond the TLC. Outside the cycle, tools are a beautiful mystery that begs to be solved. Turning it into art is my solution to solving the mystery. Since assemblage emerged as an art form with works from Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Cornell, Ray and others, juxtaposition has been a common language employed to create meaning. In the Essential series, I eschew juxtaposition, allowing the “research and development” period of the TLC to take center stage once again. In the words of Sigfried Giedion, a Bohemian-born Swiss historian and critic of architecture, “It was 36 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
only since the turn of the century that one returned to the immense role that abstraction plays in the human mind by its power of concentration upon absolute essentials.” Deconstruction of the tool allows me to reveal the essential elements that define its form and function. Assemblage of the minutiae is a language, similar to cave drawings and cartography; it reveals secrets that a functional tool cannot. Into this arrangement, I can introduce colors that continue to add new dimensions, depth and contrast – I adorn the vessel. These assemblages do share a connection with my color field photography despite the medium and the process being light years apart. Philosophically, they are both deconstructive. Photography is an opportunity to break down light into shapes of color with varying luminosity that fit together like a puzzle. Assemblages reassemble minutiae with the purpose of revealing that which is not seen, yet no longer functional. Please explain, with an example, your creative process when creating one your Essentials series artworks. Logitech Cordless, Access Duo Optical, M/N:YRH35 (2017) From the Essentials Series by Michael D Ellenbogen, 22” x 77” x 5”, Mixed-Media on Wood; Deconstruction & Assemblage For the “Logitech Cordless, Access Duo Optical, M/N:Y-RH35”, I followed the original design
to guide the composition. The result is a story created from deconstructed elements that brings the viewer inside one of the common tools we use on a day to day basis... a keyboard, a wireless mouse and a charging station. Dismantling each component into its minutiae was the first step, keeping all of the pieces organized and preparing the layout on the floor. Once I had the rough draft, I built the substrate, mapped out the plan and painted each of the areas with a different shade of ochre. The most challenging step was the laying out and casting in plaster all of the keys and buttons from the keyboard. Not only was it important to get the layout precise, but I learned a hard lesson. Do not mix plaster with latex paint if you need something to dry quickly. It creates an impermeable skin on the surface that will not allow moisture to escape. In the end, it took nine months for the plaster to set and during that time it had to lay flat to keep the keys vertical. The pain was worth it in the end, of course, because now it truly looks organic, like skin. Is there a favorite painter you have admired for their art making? It seems unfair to ask a gallerist and an artist if there is one favorite painter (let’s say artist), so I’ll pick two: Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp. I love these artists because they created art that had no formal, recognized, precedent and they
Michael and Carolina Ellenbogen at Equinox Pond
were able to create art consistently over many, many years. The work that they left behind will never be forgotten and will continue to influence artists for centuries. A combination of talent, timing, context, intellectual connection and the artist’s spirit are required in the perfect balance to become iconic, successful and influential. Google “Mark Rothko” and select the “image” section and expand the browser window. Then visit my profile on EllenbogenGallery.art and you will start to see the influence. I stumbled upon color field photography by accident and cannot say that I was trying to take photographs that look like Rothko paintings, but, on a trip to the Museum of Modern Art to view an exhibition of Rothko paintings, it hit me. Color as a subject is powerful. Color has a temperature and it has a visual sound, it has volume and depth. If you allow it to be all of that and look, really look, with your mind and your heart open, color can take you places – the journey is subconscious. Marcel Duchamp is brilliant. Seeing “Bicycle Wheel” and “Fountain” changed everything about art for me and many others. Look what happened in Art Basel in 2019 when Maurizio Cattelan duct taped a banana to a white wall. An artist can do ANYTHING and it will be successful, but to reach that point, an artist needs to have been absorbed by the collective unconscious and be recognized by both the industry and the intellectuals. Absorption is the goal. What do you find is your current focus above all to work on during the Covid virus?
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
These are exciting times at Ellenbogen Gallery despite Covid-19 and the pandemic complications. We ARE facing serious challenges, much like most people we know who work or run small businesses. These challenges have made it imperative to consider our business, ask difficult questions and redefine our operations to keep us on a path to success. We are adding important services to the gallery that will satisfy needs of artists and collectors. We are outfitting a professional studio for photographing and scanning original artworks. With so much business being done online now, artists and galleries are in need of the best, high resolution, images they can get of their artworks. Colors need to be calibrated properly so that the image people see online, or in a magazine, is as close as possible to the colors of the original art. For collectors we will offer art installation services, whether or not we sell them the art, as well as art handling and shipping services. No one has any idea of the challenges to packing an artwork properly for shipping or storage until they try to do it. Going virtual. During the pandemic months we have been actively building a platform for selling artwork online. It has gone live in its infancy, but new developments will be released from time to time, improving constantly. To support this initiative, we have been finalizing a new marketing plan and are in the process of rebranding across various media channels. Anyone who would like to follow along is encouraged to visit our website, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on various social media
platforms. We promise everyone an interesting experience and continued exposure to new art and artists. And how are you renewing, rejuvenating and bouncing back? Bouncing back from the abyss is a Sisyphean endeavor. I have bounced back more times than I can count on my fingers and toes combined. We all bounce differently so I think it’s best to say that when it is necessary, I rethink, review, then plan and then take the next, first step. Rejuvenating is another story. Sleeping (something that is easier done in Vermont than in the “big city”) is a good option and it doesn’t cost anything. Taking care of our home and improving it when we get the chance is an important activity that motivates both of us and provides a peace of mind. We also rejuvenate by doing the things we love to do: listening to music, reading books, watching movies, visiting museums, walking through our community or taking short hikes in the mountains, taking daytrips to see new places, making art and having conversations with people who share interesting ideas, as I’ve said before. To bounce back, we need to be here. We are looking forward to hosting events, with lots of people and being able to see their faces! The best chance we have is to wear a mask, keep our distance and wash our hands – we choose to stay safe. We also don’t mind just sitting down with a whiskey and watching the sun set. Thank you, Michael! THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 37
SOUL ANGEL PASTELS MATTED ON PAPER 8 X 10”
MARK MELLINGER WHAT THE HELL 60 X 48”
KING PROTEA 2 OIL ON LINEN 40 X 30”
I live in two separate worlds. One verbal and one visual. What they have in common is an attitude of pushing into the unknown; of allowing unconscious elements to take form within consciousness. I couldn’t live without both. Art came first, but after a while I began to feel self-indulgent and isolated. I wanted to address problems of mans’ impact on the environment. I went through careers in art, photography, carpentry, ecology and microbiology before landing in psychology at 30. 10 years ago, when we found a loft in Pittsfield, I returned to my first love, art. It’s not like riding a bicycle. I had to start from scratch. I feel I’m just now catching up to where I left off 50 years ago. I’m not satisfied with a piece for a long time. I’ll put it away and work on something else. I’ll look at it upside down and in a mirror, trying to get a handle on what’s wrong. It’s a very solitary meditation. I might gesso over everything except some small bits that are working; then start over from those. The viewer completes the process. It’s a collaboration. It’s a thrill when someone “gets” a piece, but I’m OK when they don’t. The connection with the viewer should be as rare and special as marriage. www.markmellingerart.com firstname.lastname@example.org
“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson The beauty found in nature is a valuable commodity in a world with so much uncertainty. Flowers are dazzling beacons that illuminate nature’s zeal. They are a sign of a new beginning and in a time with so much turmoil, are an upwelling of hope and joyfully liberate the soul. Keith Emerling’s art can also be found in two online shows this holiday season. One is with the Guild of Berkshire Artists and can be found on berkshireartists.org and the second is with the Housatonic Valley Art League (HVAL) at hvart.org. The perfect gift for the holidays, beautifully printed fine art greeting cards, featuring paintings by Keith Emerling Fine Art, can be found in the Etsy shop “studionotes” at studionotes.etsy.com and are available in 48 different designs and in nine different card sets. Oil and watercolor artist — fine art and fine art greeting cards for a new and changing world. Keithemerlingfineart.com - studionotes.etsy.com, email@example.com, 413-442-2483. Keith’s new book, The FIne Art of FLowers” can be seen at: https://www.blurb.com/b/10392375-the-fine-artof-flowers
Prepared food menu to take out: www.elixirgb.com
38 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
WINTER BLOOK MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS 12 X 12”
CAROLYN M. ABRAMS My work has been an exploration of the wisdom of art that is continually being presented to me through the art process. Many layers reveal to me a story or message…some piece of wisdom. The inspirations afforded me in daily life make their way to reveal themselves through the art process. I invite you to sit with my work for a bit and see what is revealed to you as well. What inspiration comes to you? You never know! Come visit my studio in Brunswick. Carolyn M. Abrams - www.carolynabrams.com; Facebook www.facebook.com/CarolynMAbramsArt
BRANDON, KATE KNAPP
FRONT ST. GALLERY ALONE BUT NOT LONELY
BRUCE PANOCK PHOTOGRAPHY I have been a student of photography for more than 20 years, though most intently for the last five years. I am primarily a landscape photographer. Recently my photographic voice has migrated to the creation of work with reference to other art forms, notably encaustic painting and ancient Chinese and Japanese brush painting and woodblock art. My intention is to create with viewer a moment of pause and reflection; a moment to digest the image and find their own story in the art. Each image is part of a limited edition. There are several sizes available. Each piece is priced according to size. Images are unframed and printed on Hahnemuhle archival papers. Bruce Panock firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell) www.kateknappartist.com
The Circus Pig and the Kaiser A Novel Based on a Strange but True Event
MATT CHINIAN Like a reporter I record the time and place of my wanderings around Upstate New York and New England. I find places and scenes of fascination: quiet woodlands or gas stations, farmlands or industrial sites, places I see in passing, sometimes from the corner of my eye often easily overlooked by others. This is where I find beauty. This is where I find the sublime.
“If the artist has outer and inner eyes for nature, nature rewards him by giving him inspiration.” – Wassily Kandinsky
Karen Bognar Khan
By Berkshires Author, Carolyn Kay Brancato A Russian traveling circus performer trains his prized pig to mimic the war‐mongering Kaiser
Perfect for the Holidays and New Year! Book Clubs Love This Book!!
Night Vigil 36 x 36”” Acrylic
The Berkshire Eagle says…a fast‐paced drama of wit and humor amid politically charged circumstances…a wonderfully entertaining, but seriously messaged historical fiction about a band of circus characters defending the ideals of freedom of expression………
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookseller
http://karenbognarkhanpaintings.com 413 441 9754 email@example.com THE ARTFUL MIND OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020 • 39
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
CHRISTOPHER R. MALCOMSON INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
The mezmerizing paintings of Christopher R. Malcomson brought attention to me, and I questioned how his clear vision and thought process could, and if, change over the year for him through the days of Corona. I was compelled to reach out to Chris and his artist wife, Virginia, to see what they were up to. I was pleasantly suprised. Multi-talented and smart, I knew he would be game for an update interview. Would you, could you, share with us one of your poems. Christopher R. Malcomson: Harryet, you do ask such interesting questions so here goes. This poem I am sharing needs some introduction. In 2004 I was invited to an Artists Residency in Spain. I had been a batchelor for fourteen years. The adjacent studio was empty but three days later an attractive neighbour appeared. Bravely, I parted her bead curtain and asked if she would like to go for a swim in the sea. In answer to the question the poem poses Virginia and I married six months later on Christmas Eve under the family Christmas tree. We could make up our minds quickly as we had both had worthwhile ap40 â&#x20AC;˘ DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
prenticeships! After adventures we are now painters enjoying living in Great Barrington. More about red later! Red Dress What happened to the Girl in the red dress. The man with the White hair sitting So completely on the beach. Their movements, caresses, suggested They were new lovers. Their happy contentment, Containment, suggested they Had lived many lifetimes Together. What happened to the Girl in the red dress. The man with the White hair. Andalucia 18.7.2004
How does poetry and painting work together as a whole to fulfill your artistic thirst? To enjoy a full life I need to be creative. Writing poetry came before painting due to an encouraging Master at School, there I was hopeless at Art. At first, I wrote when stimulated by crises which helped to express the feelings. After my first marriage split up, I often had periods when I lived and travelled by myself. I started to watercolour as suddenly I had time to myself. My only luggage for three weeks would be a small backpack in which the largest item was watercolour pad. Also, taking a book of poems which gives you a lot of content for little weight. Greece was a favourite place. For instance, I spent many hours sitting by myself in what is allegedly Odysseusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house on Ithaca writing and watercolouring. I had started to make illustrated diaries. These holiday trips and painting at home eventually led me to take up painting full time in 1993. I still make these diaries and paint. I know, Chris, you have an affinity for collecting antique Icons. What reasons do you have for being attracted to this form of art?
Christopher R. Malcomson Triptyck 38 x 90” Oil on Paper
My older sister told me that as a three-year-old I would not sleep without a picture of the Madonna by my bed. It must have been at that early age as I left home at three and a half thanks to Hitler. Later when an Engineering student we had Christianity weeks and a rather pompous Bishop trivialised a question I asked as he said it was coming from inherited religion, whatever that may mean, but it was something I obviously did not need to be involved with! Be that as it may I love Icons for two main reasons. The sheer beauty which connects me with the years of others prayer and request and the idea that there are other forces that protect us from the dreadful things that are happening to our Society. What connection is there between your paintings and these archangel icons? If my paintings have any reason to be other than the sheer pleasure that they give me to create it is to try to offer some tranquility and serenity. Hopefully this is my contribution to the tradition offered by the Icons whose presence gives a reminder that there are other things apart from our daily struggles and successes. Over the past year, this notorious year of the Corona, what have you conjured up that was surprising and good in terms of creating paintings and poetry? Have you had to push thinking positive more than usual? We are so fortunate that we live in the bubble offered by the Berkshires which gives us an underlying confidence in the way the virus is being handled locally. We have had the opportunity to reach down into ourselves and find what we stand for. I am getting older, and realising that I could be subject to selective treatment in hospital, it made me think about how long I might have. I got bored with writing rather unhappy poems and, preferring to be to be positive, have started a list of things I would miss if I died. This has
been such fun as there are so many things that I enjoy. Almost top of the list the rustle of leaves in the Fall. Can you give us an example of your most recent painting, and what meaning does it have for you? Over the last year I have been working on a series, which now numbers twenty-two, of nonsymbols. I have spent many weeks on the Greek island of Skyros. Its main street is about twelve feet wide. Of course, no traffic. One morning I wandered down the street asking friends and strangers to draw me a symbol from three straight lines. The men, rather boringly, stuck to the rules but the women didn’t, and they produced exciting symbols that including circles. I used some of these as a basis for paintings. I remembered this and about a year ago started to think about symbols that had no previous connections, such as crosses. This series is intended to offer tranquility and to contribute to the ambience of a room. Someone even suggested they could be used for meditation. Many of these paintings are based on red. I have found that the red/orange range is a pleasure to work with particularly when using oil paint. It offers many transparent tones. So the paintings are done with several coats that build up a richness by the depth of colour. Their transparence lets the lower tones come through. Do you find you are working at a faster than usual since our lockdown? Or, do you find yourself taking more time, and your energy has a pace you can control? Sometimes, our energy has a hold, a grip on us, and takes us spinning through creativity. Working on the above series has been slow as the paintings needed care and attention. They are oil on paper and, if they speak, then it is through the careful blending which is the greatest pleasure of
using oils. When the series was completed I was not sure what to do and had a reaction to the effects of the virus and its handling. I decided to take a large brush, a large piece of paper and a lot of house paint and depict for myself my horror at the fires in California and how we are rushing into a Void. I enjoyed working very quickly, painting over what I had done so I could start again whenever I wanted to. This painting is not for publication, but I liked the energy. Interestingly it was more difficult to use house paint as it is so far from the subtlety of lovely oils. How has this year impacted your life as a Berkshirite and as an artist? A year ago I would not be replying as openly to your questions as I am doing. As I said it has been a time of reflection. Since moving here we have met many people who are on the same or parallel journeys. It has been wonderful to share so much of one’s experience with them. The appreciation of my work has been marvelous and has given me the confidence to take greater risks. Virginia has written about our recent adventures and how we organized a fundraiser for Wanda Houston. Because of this we met the owners of 250 Long Pond Road, http://www.longpond250.com/, who have the most marvelous house with huge windows. They let the house for weekends and events including weddings. The views from these are stunning, looking way over to Monument Mountain. The property includes an exhibition space and they invited me to have a show. In the event, I hung thirty-four paintings and you are welcome to make an appointment to see the exhibition. How does your natural surroundings and beauty of the Berkshires affect your creative process? Can you site an example of how it has shown up in ways that directly influence you? Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 41
CHRISTOPHER R. MALCOMSON
Christopher R. Malcomson Signs 14 24 x 21” Oil on Paper
Can you say that the inhabitants of the Berkshires are part of the natural surroundings? Since we moved here just over three years ago we have met so many interesting people with whom we have shared in an intimate way. AND not only that they like our paintings which has been so encouraging. It is wonderful that we feel as if we have come home. The area is so beautiful. The roads are not wide or straight and are reminiscent of England which for me, as an Englishman, is an added benefit. The silence enhanced by the huge rocks and the waterfalls….. where shall I stop. I love being here and am contained and encouraged. What part of your lifetime that you can look back is still an influence on you as an artist? 42 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Can you tell us about this? Fortunately, my first boarding school was in the English Lake District. England, although small, has many different landscapes and the Lakes has some of the best. The school was at the top of Lake Windermere near Wray Castle where Beatrix Potter spent her summers as a child. The illustrations to her books give some idea of what a special place it is. We were seeped in the beauty. The browns of dying bracken, a colour I often refer to. The many shades of green, particularly when cloud shadows cross the hills and crags. The reflections and tumbles in the Lake and streams. All these still feed my work. Holidays in Wales showed the difference that water makes. There is much dull slate which comes to life
when it rains. The mist on the hills set me off on many watercolours that try to catch it. Many Artists have fed and influenced me. Probably the earliest was Michael Ayrton and his work on the Theseus/ Minotaur/Daedalus myth. I enjoyed both his drawings and his sculpture but particularly those around the idea of man in his self-created maze. When I went to Chelsea I was introduced to a full world of Artists. At the time I had a trip to Paris and at the Pompidou Centre saw a Barnet Newman and an Ad Reinhart side by side. I broke into tears. I think they influenced me!! After leaving Chelsea I got a studio in a block which housed about one hundred and twenty artists of various persuasions. They were supportive and
Christopher R. Malcomson Signs 8 24 x 21” Oil on Paper
Chris’s current show at 250 Long Pond Road in Great Barrington
some offered, when asked, clear unbiased criticism which is difficult to get. This was a great help. When the Corona has gone, and we are all back to normal, what are a few things on your list needing to get done? Hopefully we will never go back to the normal we have known. We live in the richest country in the world with a very high standard of living yet there are thousands homeless or/and living in poverty. There are global problems such as cli-
mate change to deal with. What we hope to leave for our children is a question nobody has asked in the run up to the recent election. I hope to keep aware of these things and to offer somethings of beauty. To end here is a quotation I found in Wikipedia which is what I aim for: “He/ she is not a citizen who is not disposed to respect the laws and to obey the civil magistrate; and he/she is certainly not a good citizen who does not wish to promote, by every means in his/her power, the welfare of the whole society of his/her fellow-citizens. [Adam Smith, "Theory of Moral Sen-
timents"]. (This is from the 18th Century so I updated genders) It is always a pleasure to welcome visitors to the Studio. Do contact me to arrange a visit either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text at 302-530-7160. I am not too good at answering the phone! You can see more of my work on www.chrismalcomson.com Thank you, Chris!
THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 43
Photograph by Tasja Keetman
VIRGINIA BRADLEY INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
Dear Harryet and Readers, Thank you very much for taking the time to catch up with what has been happening in the studio in 2020. Hard to believe it has been a year since last December’s Artful Mind cover issue and article, https://issuu.com/theartfulmindartzine/docs/tam_d ecj_2020. I’ve tried to describe what has transpired in my practice recently when responding to your questions. For more in-depth information please refer to the December 2019 issue of the Artful Mind. Please feel free to contact me to set up a studio visit. All the best and please stay safe. -Virginia Harryet Candee: During the 2020 pandemic, 44 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
artists from all over the world have experienced a surge in their creativity. The art selling market is going through major transition now in order to adjust to our new lifestyle. Galleries have to find alternative ways of operating. There is a sense of renewal and a whirlwind of change to our lives and those who we love. Do you agree? Virginia Bradley: It is amazing to see the ingenuity of the art world during the COVID-19 Pandemic. All aspects of the creation and the business of art have had to be re-invented. There are incredible on-line exhibitions, artist studio visits, podcasts, interviews and countless other events. One of my favorites is Hyperallergic's ongoing photography series of artists’ makeshift studios during the pandemic, hyperallergic.com/577171/a-view-
from-the-easel-during-times-of-quarantine-16/. Inspiring to see how artists have transformed the interior and exterior of their homes into studio space. Being inventive defines being an artist. Another challenge has been how to support fellow artists of all genres in the Berkshires. Susan Segall, Chris Malcomson and I hosted a benefit concert for the Wanda Houston Band on the lawn in front of our studio in September. It was a glorious Sunday afternoon of wonderful jazz shared with friends. Everyone wore masks and were very mindful of COVID regulations. We raised about $2500 for the band and the added bonus was people visited the studio in small groups to view new work. I was very sad to miss, Painting After All, Gerhard Richter’s exhibition at The Met Breuer. The
Virginia Bradley 6 x St. Croix Oil on Canvas 20 x 20” 2020
exhibition surveyed six decades of Richter’s work. But there have been other avenues to absorb the exhibition. Happily, the exhibition catalogue found its way to my studio and is opened often. The MET produced a great online interview with Cecily Brown about the exhibition and the influence of Richter in her work. So once again we find museums being inventive to quench our thirst. www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/modern/cecily-brown-on-gerhard-richter. Luckily, we have the Clark and Mass MoCA on our doorstep to make safe in-person exhibition visits. One recent Sunday morning we spent several precious hours at The Clark with about six other people in the main building. What a viewing treat! Then we made our way to Lunder Center to view German artist Lin May Saeed’s exhibition “Arrival of the Animals”. Saeed’s practice playfully delves into the multi-layered relationship between humans and animals. Chris and I spent almost an hour alone with Saeed’s animal imagery. I identify with Saeed’s practice as I have a longstanding interest in animal imagery. My use of animal imagery culminated with my residency at The London Zoological Society and exhibition at the Acme Studio Project Space, London in 2013 ( www.virginiabradley.com/jeopardy-series/). This was just prior to my leap into abstraction. Do you find yourself working with your familiar techniques and tools, as you have been, at a brisker pace or a slower pace these COVID days? The theme of alchemy and transformation of material continues to be the foundation of my painting practice. But the process unfolds at a much slower
pace during this transitional COVID period. Each finished painting seems to encompass many more layered lives during its transformation than ever before … maybe this needs some explanation. This crazy COVID era started for Chris and me during a 5-week residency at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in St. Croix. The Caribbean Museum generously invited us to the residency as we were unable to go to our Winter studio in Puerto Rico due to earthquakes. Upon arrival in St. Croix, I was immediately inspired by the lush landscape and its interplay with the ever-changing Caribbean Sea. During the residency we also taught an Abstract Painting Workshop "Swimming Toward Abstraction” and met many talented “Cruzan” artists. This deepened my understanding and connection to the island even more. Simultaneously I watched huge cruise ships dock in the harbor as the COVID pandemic emerged. The ships were like a foreboding and unknown entity landing in this idyllic paradise. The St. Croix Series http://www.virginiabradley.com/st-croix-series/ commenced during the residency and consists of 8 paintings 20”x20” inspired by the St. Croix landscape and the emerging pandemic. The paintings began in airy blue and green colors and textures mirroring the sea and landscape. By the beginning of March, we realized COVID was becoming serious and decided to head to Playa Santa to check on the house. Our hope was to stay in Puerto Rico until April 1. Upon arrival I unpacked the paintings and continued to work with them which added yet another layer of complexity to the series’ progress. After Trump started to issue travel restrictions, we realized it was time to return to Great Barrington.
Once again, the paintings were packed and boarded the plane to the Northeast. On March 14th we arrived in the snow-covered landscape of the Berkshires, with the Covid-19 pandemic in its full, deadly swing and all the strict, isolating safety precautions in effect. What a change of environment and pace of life. I felt as though I had taken a boat from the sea to a river and then found a dark and dense but peaceful tributary where I anchored. For the next 10-weeks I continued to work on all eight of the paintings as a group – switching in between them as they developed and changed. Works would almost be finished and then I would make a drastic turn and the character of the work would shift toward a new direction. They went from spontaneous to brooding, crystal blue seas to dark waters and simple beauty to complex biological viral forms. Eventually as Spring merged into Summer the last two works lightened their palette and were resolved. What a relief. Hence the paintings have gone through many transformations. Through it all – whether quiet times or disruptive – what underlying themes, motivations, and ideas are within your creative art-making at this time? The beauty of the Berkshires lifted my spirits as summer began. Every day was a gift – living in our wonderful Berkshire bubble. We were able to meet friends outside, swim in Lake Mansfield every day, enjoy the sunshine and garden. All of this brought new inspiring energy into the studio. How often have we all said how lucky we are to Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 45
Virginia Bradley Yellowstone 16 Oil on Canvas 58 x 50” 2020
live in the Berkshires during this pandemic? I have always been a water baby and am the most content when near a body of water. The fluidity of water also feeds into my studio practice and is an underlying element in all of my painting. At times the painting surface becomes a veil for an elusive, unnamable image that is underwater and just beyond reach. This ephemeral state is a result of adding and subtracting within many poured layers of thinned oil paint. Simultaneously, I introduce chemicals onto and into the painting surface to disrupt the poured painting surface. This process refers back to my use of “chance and order”, a Surrealist technique. After the St. Croix series was finished in June, I returned to the Yellowstone Series (http://www.virginiabradley.com/yellowstoneseries/) to work on three large final paintings (Yellowstone, 15, 16, 17). After being trapped inside with the small St. Croix paintings for months, it was a huge relief to work outside on large paintings while using the sunshine as an alchemical agent. My palette became lighter and more transparent as summer progressed but the slow COVID pace persisted in the resolution of paintings. To provide a diversion from my studio struggles, I started to redevelop structures from an older painting from the Fragile Grace Series, (http://www.virginiabradley.com/fragile-grace-series). The 8’x12” painting was composed of 8 modular birch panels, 4’x3’x2’5”. I set up a work area under a tree and spent about two months moving between 46 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
working on the Yellowstone paintings and stripping the panels. Those eight panels are now the painting structures for the emerging Catena Series. Can you tell us about influences and mentors in your life that have guided you to the way you live as an artist today? German Expressionist painter Helen RomeikeWisniewski was a wonderful friend and mentor. I met Helen in Tampa during graduate school in 1983. Helen was a great Jungian disciple and taught me about¬ the daily existence of being an artist. She was a role model with integrity, an incredible work ethic, and she stressed the integration of one’s life and art. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 87 in 2014. My artist heroes (in no particular order) include Agnes Martin, Vija Celmins, Lenora Carrington, Sigma Polke, Max Ernst, Pierre Bonnard, Roni Horn, Gerhard Richter, Helen Frankenthaler, Anish Kapoor, Louise Bourgeois and many others. I long to travel and see contemporary and historical work in person once again. And so I wait for the day of a safe and effective vaccine. So, what is influencing your life and painting practice today? Well, I am answering these questions on the Sunday before our November 3rd Presidential election and as the Covid Pandemic is surging again. Last night we turned the clocks back and today seems darker than ever. Last week was the most psycho-
logically difficult for me since arriving back to the Berkshires in March. I had been in denial that Fall was ending, and a cold isolating winter was descending. Coupled with the uncertainty and anxiety of the election, this was overwhelming. But as always, getting back in the studio brought me back to life. The emerging Catena Series is an outgrowth of COVID and our current political situation in this country. I wish we really could Give Peace a Chance. Catena (plural catene) - interconnecting moments, a chain, bond I am searching for reconciliation, contentment and solace in this series. Catena 1 is a mystic fog that slowly envelopes one in a “moment of solace”. Catena 3 has many layers of turmoil bonded together beneath a field of transparent silver ice reaching for a “moment of beauty”. Catena 2 is a landscape of upheaval through which one negotiates to find a path between the “moments of solace and beauty” of Catena 1 and 3. For me, Catena 2 relates to the anxiety and turmoil in a Hieronynous Bosch painting. I don’t know the outcome of the coming election. Similarly where this series will lead. Is your art studio open to visitors now? How can we make arrangements at this time? Yes, the studio is open and we welcome visitors! The 1800 sq. ft. studio is spacious and airy. We practice social distancing and ask that visitors wear masks. Please email me at virginiabradley-
Virginia Bradley Yellowstone 17 Oil on Canvas 58 x 50” 2020
Virginia Bradley Catena 3 Oil on Canvas 48 x 36 x 2.5” 2020
email@example.com or phone 305-540-3565 to arrange your studio visit. We are located at 234 Long Pond Rd, Great Barrington, just five minutes north of downtown Great Barrington. Have these times of Corona helped make your relationship with Chris stronger? Have you realized new things together? We are extremely fortunate to be practicing artists with individual studio spaces during this time of isolation. We each have privacy but also someone to discuss studio work with when desired. And we are great companions – we like each other. On some level our lives are busier than ever and the weeks fly by. For me, time has sped up rather than slowing down during this period. Maybe because there aren’t as many events outside our daily lives that are “markers” to measure time. One day seems to blend into another – put on painting clothes, paint, walk, read, cook, house maintenance and more. I do recognize the coming Winter months are going to be challenging on many levels. I am very fortunate to be retired from academia and focusing on my life in the studio. It is all-consuming for friends who are trying to teach during this COVID nightmare. Through your observations being an artist, what would you say you need to still learn, and what would you say is your latest in challenges whether in artistic skill, or thinking, or of the
sheer art of making your work alive? I’m still learning about painting every day in the studio. My process isn’t linear. I keep excavating new territory as I find my way through the painting process. Exploring unknown possibilities is what kindles my work. Simultaneously, the process is always presenting new frontiers. If making a painting was easy, I would be bored and move on to other endeavors. Learning to paint and what a painting can do is a lifelong process for me. How would you compare your art making ideas from ten years ago, to now in the present time? Ten years ago, I was making large scale mixedmedia collage paintings based on appropriated animal imagery exploring natural history. In 2015 I made a decision to move to abstraction and have never looked back. Making abstract paintings is the most demanding challenge I have attempted in my painting career. One has to maintain a certain physical and mental freedom to work in equilibrium with a painting while creating an unspoken dialogue. A difficult process to say the least, but wonderful when the dialogue is alive and moving.
ognizing the Yellowstone Series. This award has brought recognition and publicized my practice. My working studio often doubles as a gallery space and for the most part I am selling directly from the studio and acting as my own agent. I am very lucky to have Tasja Keetman as my Studio Manager. Tasja is promoting my work and forging connections with new clients, interior designers, art consultants and curators. Sales in 2020 started strong - then COVID hit. I’m thankful to say sales have picked up again this Fall. When corona is finally done and over with…. What would three things you would really want and need to do? Travel – to see family and friends, to view all forms of art and culture and to find inspiration through new experiences. For more information please view: http://www.virginiabradley.com/
Thank you, Virginia!
Art galleries are just getting a hold of ways to reopen. I find there is so much art now to be seen, and any way of showing one’s art is better than none at all. How are you marketing your work now, and is it working for you? I was fortunate to receive a 2020 Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Painting Fellowship recTHE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 47
JANET PUMPHREY GALLERY 17 HOUSATONIC STREET, LENOX, MA 01240 WWW.JANETPUMPHREY.COM (413) 637-2777
FRONT ST. GALLERY
Sperry Oil on Canvas 20 x 24”
Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in Housatonic and Thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field. Also available for private critiques. Open to all. Please come paint with us! Gallery hours: Open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home) www.kateknappartist.com
Front Street, Housatonic, MA 48 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
SHARON PAINTING LANDSCAPE IN FLORIDA
FINE REPRODUCTION PRINTS NOW AVAILABLE
EASTERN SHORE 10 X 8”
It took me forever to decide to make reproductions of my paintings. I’m happy to tell you it was worth the wait. Sorella1 is the inaugural image. This certified archival reproduction commemorates the painting Sorella 1 that appeared in the Juried, 2019 Marion McCain Exhibition of Contemporary Atlantic Canadian Art. See The Artful Mind https://issuu.com/theartfulmindartzine/docs/the_art ful_mind_november_2019_issuu She’s in her forever home, but now you too can enjoy her in your home or place of business. Made from the finest materials, each Sorella 1 is individually produced by hand and crafted in the tradition of Giclée fine art prints on certified Hahnemüle German deckle edged natural white, 350gsm/100% Cotton paper with Canon certified archival 8 inkjet pigments. Each in the edition of 20 comes with a
CONNECTING WITH NATURE My purpose as an artist is to connect with the healing power of the natural world and to encourage others to do the same. Nature is alive and infused with spirit. I constantly seek to reconnect with this spirit of nature through creating art. While I quietly observe and study land, water, and skies, the ordinary world around me is transformed by light and shadow into the sublime. I enjoy painting the dramatic seascapes and clouds of the Gulf Coast and New England scenes. My work is in private collections in the United States and Canada. Sharon Guy - firstname.lastname@example.org , 941321-1218, http://www.sharonguyart.com
Hanemüle hologram coded and numbered certificate of authenticity. Sorella 1 is packaged and ready to travel with no additional cost to you! Simple go to the Art Shop page of my website https://www.jenniferpazienza.com/art-shop Friends, family and collectors encouraged me to recreate an open run of my Root Vegetable paintings in archival prints too. They were right! They’re gorgeous. Printed on certified archival Hahnemüle etching paper with certified archival inks, it’s as if I painted directly on the paper! 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 have, since 2014 and until the onset of Covid restrictions, exhibited my work in the Berkshires and have been a constant contributor to The Artful Mind. To learn more about my paintings, or for inquiries please email me: email@example.com, visit my Website, http://jenniferpazienza.com/ and Instagram @jenniferpazienza While you’re there, why not sign up for my art studio newsletter and receive studio news, special art offers and invitations before I post to social media. Be sure to check out my artist video too at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb9WOTpLfI4
“The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” – Jerzy Kosinski
THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 49
Pride and Joy (After the Prom) Pops Peterson
POPS PETERSON INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
Harryet Candee: Tell us, Pops, what’s new in your art world these days? Pops Peterson: What’s new in my art world is joy and happiness. That’s what I’m focusing on, how I’m saving my sanity. This is a risk, because I’ve made a name for myself by depicting scenes of inequity and injustice. The protest works I’ve done will always be relevant, I’m sure, but we’ve got to move forward as a society. We’ve got to have that hope and inspiration. Making these happy scenes is keeping me alive, and my wish is that they will help to uplift our morale both as individuals and collectively. How you have worked through the Covid year of 2020? Was it stressful for you personally and as an artist? Covid nearly killed my art career. It did kill several of my friends and close family members. Within the first month of being under "house arrest,” I lost six relatives to Covid, cancer and sickle cell. I had friends seriously ill from New York to England. I myself got sick for a week, and, although there was no testing at the time, had 50 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
nightmares of it turning into a severe case and being taken to the Javits Center to suffer alone. I’ve never known such pervasive fear, paranoia, grief and depression as I did this past spring, shut inside, not knowing how I’d survive physically or financially, wondering if my business would implode, taking my art career with it. There was a long while that I surrendered to the disease, letting it murder my aspirations, and with good cause. I had been scheduled for a retrospective at the Colonial Theatre—a retrospective is any artist’s dream—and I was also to have a solo exhibition of my newer works at Sohn Fine Art in the fall, as well as some exciting public appearances. Then the theaters had to close and there went my retrospective, my appearances and, the way things were looking, I couldn’t even be sure there would be a gallery to have a solo show in when the fall rolled around. So I threw in the towel. I was fine with the idea of never doing another picture. I didn’t have it in me to write a dozen emails, to pick up the telephone again and convince important people how great I am, how
much they needed me and my art. I was out of gas for self-promotion forever. I was planning to return to quietly polishing up the memoir I’ve worked on for decades. And I actually started writing a podcast project via Zoom with my old crew, Jon Rupp and Bob Pomann, with whom I’d long ago created the world’s first (and only) telephone soap opera, “Dial-A-Soap!” I’d be back at square one in the podcast landscape, but I’d be leaving the visual arts on my own terms. Nobody’d be able to say I couldn’t make a masterpiece. Nobody could say I’d never accomplished anything. After all, my work has been seen by millions in museums, in publications and on TV and received rave notices in major press. I’d go out a winner. But the universe had a different idea. Not long after I surrendered and cast my fate to the wind, I found out my most famous picture, “Freedom from What?” had been selected from a thousand entrants to be the featured image of the “Reimagining Freedom” exhibition at the Denver Art Museum! This was immensely more prominent exposure that what I’d lost!
Freedom of Faith (Freedom of Religion) Pops Peterson
It got seriously spooky, the week after the Denver Art Museum selected my picture when George Floyd was murdered, handcuffed, by the police, uttering the last words, “I Can’t Breathe.” I featured those same words I in “Freedom from What?” when I made it six years ago, based on the last words of Eric Garner, also murdered, handcuffed, by the police. The sad synchronicity of the events stunned everyone involved in the Denver show, no one less than me. To be chosen from among 1,000 fellow artists for such a major feature was like being struck by lightning. Then for the quote in my picture to resurface in the news in such a historically painful manner was as like being struck by lightning yet again—in the space of one week! I figured the universe wasn’t done with my art career after all. “Freedom from What?” turned out to be the star attraction of the Denver exhibition. Just then curator, Stephanie Plunkett, invited me to have my own featured exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum. From the time I took my first art lesson at fourteen, I’ve imagined I might have a show in a museum, and my lifelong dream was suddenly coming true. Against all odds I was suddenly back in the game with a vengeance! Have new avenues opened up to you now as
we move forward into a new way of living, a new way of showing our art, and of new ways to communicate art to the world? The newest adventure has been Zoom. I’ve continued to give speeches thanks to Zoom, and that has been very exciting. Doing my multimedia speech, “The Making of a Protest Artist," for the Multicultural Bridge, on a bill with activist legend, Angela Davis, was so exciting it took my breath away. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has delivered a sucker punch to the success of my live shows as well as the exhibitions. Only a fraction of the people are able to see my shows at the Rockwell and Sohn Fine Art due the social distance restrictions the museum and galleries must now adhere to. But I count my lucky stars nonetheless. I can’t cry “woe is me” too loudly when my medium does at least have an outlet and even a smaller number of people do get to see it. I feel the pain of all the performing artists whose livelihoods have been completely demolished. Broadway, dark. The Opera, dark. Even the cabarets and clubs. Horrifying! How have our Berkshire communities been helpful to you and supported your work? My show at the Rockwell is the living proof of how wonderful this community has been to me.
My very first Rockwell update was shot at on a friend’s property, Karen Allen, on her backyard hammock, featuring her son Nicholas Browne. Every model in the show is someone from this community who offered their time and effort to make my visions come to life. Locations, props, even my studio, Mon Vert Studio, have come to me via the good graces of my wonderful friends, who all believe in my vision and want to help me succeed. I am so blessed with good wishes and helping hands that I can never adequately express my gratitude. During lockdown time, did you find yourself most productive? How so? During the lockdown I couldn’t produce a damn thing. I was too busy dealing with survival. Every kind of survival, physical, financial and spiritual. I didn’t have it in me to do any of the tasks I’d set for myself. I didn’t’ finish any paintings, I didn’t rewrite my memoir. I didn’t even clean my filthy-as-hell car. But I did find a new escape: Baking! I’d never baked anything of note, especially not from scratch. Suddenly I found it ther apeutic to dive into YouTube for lessons on the baking arts. I learned to make English muffins, pita breads, pretzels, sourdough bread, pizza, Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 51
When I Am On An International Space Station (When I am An Astronaut) Pops Peterson
pasta, crackers, popovers and more! I loved that I had the time to learn something completely new, something that would make people happy immediately, with no pressure or demands from anyone. Now I must say that baking has become my favorite pastime. Baking and karaoke. Making art, which used to make me feel so free and weightless, has become another business. What clear message on the over all of your art making do you find most important for people to be aware of when viewing your art? Ironically, the Rockwell reinventions expressing my outrage and sorrow over society’s inequalities gained unexpected acclaim. They have become focal points for civil rights activism while bestowing self-esteem and dignity to young and old alike. Yet I am grateful to NRM for also showcasing my joyful works. For beyond my calling as a protest artist, who decries injustice and pain, I’m foremost a man who seeks to discover the beauty and worth in every human heart. What outcome is feasible for you to see happening now with work that you have produced and worked hard to get out and share? The greatest joy I’ve ever known is to stand on stage in a high school or college auditorium and give a hall full of students a clear vision of their own heritage, a heritage that simply is not taught in most school systems. I take them on a journey through the centuries and decades to discover the 52 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
brave artists who have fought for civil rights, who have given them the freedoms they mostly take for granted. Even adults in my audiences may never heard of the great star and war hero Josephine Baker, or the movie star, singer and international activist, Paul Robeson, or the protest photographer Gordon Parks. I give my audiences this knowledge, knowledge they are craving, even if they may not realize it. There’s never any noise in my audience. Nobody passes a note or brings out their phone. And they all seem to leave the auditorium a few inches taller. I know that I have given them something utterly priceless, the gift of self-worth and pride. There is no amount of money or publicity so gratifying as this. Pops, you are a very positive thinking person, and I wonder can you tell me, in what ways have you adjusted your life to making it better and fruitful during this past year? More than anything, the lockdown has strengthened my ability to surrender and focus on the needs of the moment. When it looked like my career as an artist had suffered a mortal blow, I just let it go. I let go and let God. Somehow I’ve always had the faith that God had a plan for me and that I could trust Him to deliver me from evil. So I didn’t go frantically sending out emails and making cold calls. I baked. And everything worked out so much better than I ever dreamed! I hope I’ll always be able to remain calm like that. To cast my fate to the winds. If I had a ton of fate,
I’d cast it all into the wind like a truck full of duck feathers and see where I’d land. What new ideas do you have planned on the horizon? As I mentioned, I want to make happy images for a while. One I already have in the can is a celebration of gay families, as well as the gay clergy. It features my pastor, Reverend Brent Damron, his husband Jon and their son, Jake, getting ready to go to work, at church on a Sunday morning. This brings me special joy, as I have just become a member of The Stockbridge Congregational Church. Another work in progress is a celebration of my scars, of all things. I used to be ashamed of the massive burn scars I’ve had on my legs since I was in a fire when at ten years old. But I’ve realized that surviving those burns and living with the scars have only made me fearless, given me wings. They will be painted in bright primary and pastel colors. Joyful as the holidays!
Thank you, Pops!
LIMITLESS FORMS S OF EXPRESSION
19 Cary Lane Salem, NY 12865 www.salemartworks.org | 518.854.7674
DISCOVER. EXPLORE. CREATE. Sculpture park open dawn to dusk.
60 min. from Troy, NY | 60 min. from Williamstown, MA | 90 min. from Lenox, MA | 120 min. from Northampton, MA
THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 â&#x20AC;¢ 53
COLOR BLOOMING MARY FRAN FLOYD
THE FIRE WITHIN MICHAEL L. WILLIAMS FLOYD
ELLENBOGEN GALLERY PICASSO FACE 16 X 24”
CLAUDIA d’ALESSANDRO Facing endings, like “Facing Winter” is often a challenge; anticipating the dark, cold months can be an issue for many of us. While the lights of the holidays promise hope, and the evergreen growing on our hills and adorning our doors and mantlepieces reminds us that life endures, sometimes we feel trapped, nonetheless, by the cold. Still, the wonders of the cold New England winter are many and we are never truly alone in this universe full of life. Faces appear everywhere in Nature: in the shapes of branches and vines, eddies in streams, cloud formations in sky, and even in the icicles that drip from our eaves. While “Facing Winter” may be particularly difficult, especially when we feel isolated, I like to think that Nature, with all of its enduring spirit, is keeping an eye on us. Nature’s images remind me of the awesome beauty that surrounds us, and the mighty power of the natural world which we inhabit. The air, the earth and the water can serve as a canvas. I hope you will enjoy this look at what we are “Facing.” “Claudia’s photography touches our souls with deep joy!” ~ CHR “She sees with her eyes and feels with her heart.” ~ DKAH For more information on purchasing these, or other prints, or to - order 2021 calendars, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, - visit me at https://www.dalessandrophotography.com, or - follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cdalessandrophotography/ and on Instagram as: dalessandronatura. Don’t forget to mention The Artful Mind for Preferred Customer pricing! Cheers to all for a safe, healthy and inspiring fall!
Ellenbogen Gallery expands its group show “Cornucopia of Color” with the addition of Mary Fran Lloyd and Michael L. Williams. Lloyd is exploring mixed-media, collage and pen-drawn line and Williams is prolific in the area of computer constructs. Many other artists will participate including Richard D. Weis, Alfred Perry, Dona Mara, Dublin Durller-Wilson, James Vogler. Cornucopias are associated with “autumn” and “plenty” and one thing is sure, Vermont has plenty of Autumn color! We will honor it with an exhibition of artworks drenched in its dominant colors. “Cornucopia of Color” opens Wednesday, November 5, 2020. Coming to the gallery on Nov 12 (and soon after our website) is a gorgeous slideshow that will run alongside Reg Darling’s “Impressions from the Faroe Islands”. These photographs taken by Darling provide viewers with a visual introduction to the archipelago comprised of 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Here, in this Kingdom of Denmark, Darling encountered forms and spaces in nature that resonated with his approach to thinking and painting along nonrepresentational lines. Many of these breathtaking vistas have been captured by the artist, applying his unique visual language to all paintings. The exhibition will be part of the ABSTRACT ART UNDER $999 that opens Dec 16 and has been extended through Jan 9. Ellenbogen Gallery is a 7000 square foot open plan gallery featuring the contemporary artworks of 20+ artists with a focus on non-figurative and conceptual art, providing an opportunity for anyone to start building or expanding a collection of original artworks. The gallery also provides services to artists and collectors that include photographing and scanning of original artworks for reproduction, marketing and archival purposes, art handling and shipping. Call Michael for more information and to schedule an appointment or any services. Ellenbogen Gallery - 263 Depot St., Manchester, Vermont. Hours: Thu-Sat, 11-5, or, by appointment; e-commerce 24/7/365; www.ellenbogengallery.art; Facebook/Instagram @ e l l e n b o g e n g a l l e r y ; email@example.com, or, 802-768-8498.
“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte 54 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
KATRIN WAITE Looking into the sky is viewing the past. What is a visual artist without light? It is the priceless and magic resource that can shape our day with its mood. The source of the visible light is so far away that the human brain struggles with the imagination of a distance of such dimensions. The idea that this light travelled for millions of years to find the path to lighten an artwork is beyond reasonable thinking. I was always fascinated by astrophysical phenomena and research. Fascination does not mean skills, but an immense urge of wanting to know. The light of the sun needs 8 minutes to travel to our planet earth. When I cover a new canvas with the first strokes of paint, the light that helps me doing that is young light. It is almost a direct conversation with the sun. Looking into the night sky, the light signals of the stars, planets, nebula and far away galaxies are witnesses of a long past. Our neighboring galaxy Andromeda sends light that traveled 2,5 million years before our eyes can see it! Light is as old as the universe itself – it is impossible to look beyond the 13,8 billions of years of light and radiation. But this unique and ancient light is an eternal source of inspiration. What a painting material! Water, used for acrylic art, is another ancient art supply, transported billions of years ago by comets to our planet. Light is an elementary force, shaped of magnetic and electric waves. It comes to us to warm and enlighten us. Our human tools, our eyes allow us to see only a limited spectrum of these messages from the cosmic past. I often wonder how my paintings really look like, with all the short and long waves bundled. Is there only one real color field of a painting or would it appear in many versions? It leads to the basic question how much we can do as human artists using our natural skills and tools to create an artwork compared to how much can nature do? The entire power of our universe with all its appearances and billions years of history…we can be grateful for the large field of colors and shapes that nature offers us and for our capability to see some of them. What remains is the phantasy and imagination of the artist to attempt the unlimited and still being humbled by the knowledge about what we cannot see. After all, the artist creates for human eyes and senses, not for the universe! However, it is the human eternal fate to dream about reaching the stars and touching the unlimited. Art can give an idea of it. firstname.lastname@example.org
“ SUNSET AT THE CLARK” 2020 20”X20” OIL ON CANVAS
GHETTA HIRSCH LINDA TOOTE IN CONCERT
CAROLYN NEWBERGER Watercolor painting, mixed media and collage, and a practice of drawing from life form the body of my work. I draw in real time, in the natural world and as well in darkened performance halls. There the challenge is to keep a receptive ear and a loose hand in order to capture both performer and sound, with their rhythm, flow, and intensity. These works illustrate essays and music and dance reviews in The Berkshire Edge, a publication of news, arts and ideas in Western Massachusetts. This drawing of Linda Toote in concert with the West Stockbridge Chamber Players is currently part of the Guild of Berkshire Artists Holiday Art Show, online at www.berkshireartists.org/shows. My artwork has received numerous awards, including Watercolor Artist Magazine, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Cambridge Art Association, and the New England Watercolor Society. I have widely exhibited in solo and group shows in New England and beyond. A signature member of the New England Watercolor Society, my work is represented by Galatea Fine Art in Boston, MA and the Artful Mind Gallery in Lenox. To see more of my work as well as professional and personal publications please visit my website. Carolyn Newberger - www.carolynnewberger.com
Without trying to be political, here is a wall that I value. It is the beautiful wall at the entrance of our Williamstown Clark Museum. Inaugurated in 2014, this wall designed by architect Tadao Ando is made of granite that shimmers with purple, pink and all tones of greys. I love its variation of colors that changes with the weather. During this time of forced distancing, The Clark Museum never closed its grounds despite a stone panel that seem to wall us out. I was very grateful to be able to walk on the trails, promenade around the buildings and go past the rich stones of that wall to enter the pool area. I heard the noisy Spring frogs, welcomed the birds when they arrived, smiled when the grass grew, and appreciated buds and leaves on the trees. Summer welcomed visitors back at The Clark with an enhanced outdoors and new sculptures on the grounds. I painted this at the end of the Summer and now this tree has lost its Fall foliage and warm colors. It is bare, but the wall of subdued grey and pink veins is standing as a welcome for more indoors and outdoors visits. I am grateful for that. This painting can be viewed in my Art Studio in Williamstown. Please let me know if you would like to see it. Gretta Hirsch Ghetta-Hirsch.squarespace.com; 413-281-0626; Instagram@ghettahirschpaintings.
HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE W/C
MARGUERITE BRIDE ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS Looking for a fun way to shop for the holidays? Visit the Hancock Shaker Village gift shop. They are filled with lovely hand-crafted items by local artists. I recently delivered new holiday cards depicting the HSV adorable critters, bookmarks, paintings, and prints. It is truly a happy and community-minded place to shop. Is your favorite pet NOT a pooch, but a cat? I have recently expanded my repertoire to include cats…actually just about any animal ….same deal as with “Naked Puppies”….see website for details. It is still possible to commission a painting for the holidays…but just. Perhaps a gift certificate would be better? Be in touch…..a painting makes a thoughtful and personal gift. And as always, all of my paintings, cards, prints etc. can be ordered directly by going to my website. Marguerite Bride – 413-841-1659 or 413-4427718; margebride-paintings.com; email@example.com; Facebook: Marguerite Bride Watercolors.
Take time to promote your art ... artful mind can help! firstname.lastname@example.org THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 55
BERKSHIRE DIGITAL KIMMELMAN THE MILLPOND SERIES
LINDEN, VOLCANO IN UMBRIA
HILLMAN, ORCHIDS, OAHU HAWAII
HVAL MEMBERS ART SHOW The Housatonic Valley Art League, one of the area’s oldest and largest non-profit art organizations, is having its Members End-of-Year Art Show online from November 15 through January 3, 2021. Just in Time for the Holidays! HVAL held its Juried Art show online back in July, and since the health concerns have not changed, the Members show can only be seen on HVAL’s website. The artist members of the Housatonic Valley Art League mostly reside in the Berkshires, nearby New York State, and Connecticut, but because of the popularity of their shows, the membership has spread across America and even as far away as France. 73 recent original artworks, by 26 artists, are in the show including oils, acrylics, watercolors, photography, and mixed media. The show is timed to capitalize on the holiday season as all the artwork is for sale and original art makes a great gift. The Show Chairman, Harvey Kimmelman, invites the general public visit the website and look at the show. Even if not in the market for art, you will l be amazed by the beauty and quality of the work by these very talented HVAL members. Housatonic Valley Art League - www.hvart.org 56 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
Since opening in 2005, Berkshire Digital has done fine art printing for artists and photographers. Giclée prints can be made in many different sizes from 5”x7” to 42”x 80” on a variety of archival paper choices. Berkshire Digital was featured in last Summer’s issue of PDN magazine in an article about fine art printing. See the entire article on the BerkshireDigital.com website. Berkshire Digital does accurate hi-res photoreproductions of paintings and illustrations that can be used for Giclée prints, books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. “Fred Collins couldn’t have been more professional or more enjoyable to work with. He came to my studio, set everything up, and did a beautiful job in photographing a ton of paintings carefully, efficiently, and so accurately. It’s such a great feeling to know I have these beautiful, useful files on hand anytime I need them. I wish I’d called Fred years ago.” ---- Ann Getsinger We also offer restoration and repair of damaged or faded photographs. A complete overview of services offered, along with pricing, can be seen on the web at BerkshireDigital.com Another service offered is portraits of artists in their studios, or wherever they would like, for use in magazines, as the author’s picture in a book, websites or cards. See samples of artist portraits on our website. The owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston, Stamford, and the Berkshires. 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 pick-up is available through Frames On Wheels, 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-0997 and Gilded Moon Framing, 17 John Street in Millerton, NY (518) 789-3428. Berkshire Digital - 413 644-9663, or go online to www.BerkshireDigital.com
“The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.” – Paul Klee
DIRTY PETE WITH WHITE POPPY 2014
JULIA GREY Hummingbirds love people, unless given a reason not to. Under the right conditions, they form connections and seek out their humans. Hummingbirds are naturally courageous and curious. Over the last 15 years, I have spent more than 5000 hours training and observing them. It started as a photographic endeavor, which continues to this day, where I teach the hummingbirds where and how to pose for their photos. But in the process, I formed connections. So did the birds. Even with a full feeder outside, they would come to the window and get my attention when they wanted me to come out and play our game. The game? Find the food in the flower. Leatherneck with Bacopa Flower (2012, Ruby Throat) - A “wild” hummingbird who proved difficult to train, he taught me a lot about hummingbird body language. (I may have been his first human interaction.) In spite of the training difficulties, he became the star of many photos, second only to Dirty Pete in 2014. Mohawk with Tulip (2013, Ruby Throat) - Mohawk was once dubbed a dumb bully. Indeed he was a bully, though I soon learned he was not dumb. He was a fierce defender of his territory. He also had a different way of learning. To wit: instead of trying to figure out where the food was, he would let another hummingbird do it, chase him off, then come back and take advantage of the interloper’s discovery. Ironically, Mohawk the “dumb” bully holds the record for solving the most difficult puzzle. Dirty Pete with White Poppy (2014, Ruby Throat) - When Dirty Pete arrived on Florida Mountain in early May, our connection was immediate and strong. Even after the shooting season was over and the feeder was close by, he would seek me out to feed him. And though I discouraged it, he would follow me around the house if I wasn’t careful about closing the screen door. To date, Dirty Pete is the most prolific hummingbird I have worked with. Lorus #8 (2019, Anna’s) - Lorus was my introduction to one of southern Nevada’s most friendly hummingbird species. Like the ruby throats, he learned fast and helped create photos worthy of an MJ Heade painting, even in an abbreviated season. Like Dirty Pete, Lorus would ask me to come outside and play. www.xgender.net At Large Studio, Las Vegas 702-673-0900
BARBARA PATTON SAGGAR FIRED VESSEL
GUILD OF BERKSHIRE ARTISTS
ROBERT L. KASPRZYCKI THE ORANGE TREE, ACRYLIC
HOLIDAY ART SHOW: TREASURES FOR THE SEASON Twenty-Eight artists from among The Guild’s 160 Berkshire area members are exhibiting 50 works of art in this year’s Holiday Art Show. In the show, there are 4 photographers, 3 ceramists and 21 artists working in oil, watercolor, acrylics and other two-dimensional media. The virtual show runs through Friday, January 22 and can be viewed on-line at www.berkshireartists.org. Art includes shimmering winter scenes, solid and elegant ceramics, lush oil/watercolor/acrylic interpretations of Berkshires landscapes and some enchanting and whimsical pieces to boot. Individual artists will be zooming on-line to talk about their work, lending a degree of personalization to the exhibit. For information on artists’ receptions see the Guild’s website noted above. All artists pledge a minimum of 25% of their sales price to the charity of their choice, most giving to the United Way’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County. The Guild of Berkshire Artists has grown from 30 members in 2014 to 160 Berkshire area members today, working in the areas of oil and watercolor painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, woodworking, textiles, stained glass, mixed-media, multimedia and other art forms. Ordinarily the Guild has in-person shows in West Stockbridge at the 1854 Historic Town Hall on Main Street and has exhibited in other spaces such The Lenox Library’s Welles Gallery, The Berkshire Humane Society, TKG in Pittsfield, the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee and in various commercial spaces in Pittsfield, Lenox, Stockbridge, Lee, West Stockbridge and Great Barrington, Massachusetts. During the pandemic, the Guild has had virtual shows and one major in-person outdoor show enti-
DANA GOEDEWAAGEN GEESE IN SNOW
MARGIE SKAGGS HAND BUILD TEA BOWL
tled Six Feet Apart, Zero Degrees of Separation. This show ran from October 10-24th and was held in cooperation with the innovative TurnPark Art Space in West Stockbridge. Guild of Berkshire Artists - For further information please contact BerkshireArtists@gmail.com and www.berkshireartists.org
CAROLYN KAY BRANCATO THE CIRCUS PIG AND THE KAISER The Circus Pig and the Kaiser: A Novel Based on a Strange but True Event is written by Berkshires author Carolyn Kay Brancato. Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the novel is a rollicking historical novel and satire that deals with freedom of expression under an authoritarian regime – a subject of great relevance today! The plot concerns a faltering Russian circus that travels to Germany in 1907. Its pig trainer Vladimir Durov devises a dangerous scheme to impress the woman he loves. He decides to dress his prized pig as Kaiser Wilhem, who is preparing for war, by creating elaborate military uniforms to rally the troops and the public. But the Kaiser’s faithful dragoon warns Durov he’ll be tossed into prison if he goes ahead with his outlandish satirical taunt. In its review of the novel, The Berkshire Eagle says: “it is a fast-paced drama of wit and humor amid politically charged circumstances.” The review goes on: “This circus is an unlikely tour de force that heroically upsets the status quo. In this case, it is set in 1907 in a German border town where reverence for the hawkish and dictatorial Kaiser Wilhelm is high. This is a wonderfully entertaining, but seriously messaged historical fiction about a band of circus characters defending the ideals of freedom of expression.” Explaining the derivation of the novel, the Eagle review reports: “The author was inspired by Russian-American Nobel laureate Wassily Leontief, a heroic campaigner for academic autonomy and freedom of speech, who personally gave Brancato the idea to look into the life of the Russian Circus performer Vladimir Durov. The story that Brancato creates is an authentic, charming and heart-felt portrayal of a band of circus performers who are more like family with all a family’s problems, passions, joys and of course love, which is also portrayed in all its complexities.” The novel is perfect for Holiday and New Year’s reading and is especially suitable for book clubs. Carolyn Kay Brancato www.carolynbrancato.com
“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” – Helen Frankenthaler
THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 55
ALONG THE PATH OIL
SHARON GUY INTERVIEW BY HARRYET CANDEE
Harryet Candee: Sharon, you seem to have a love for life and all its beautiful inhabitants, great and small. What gives you the immediate thought in your mind for a subject to render? Sharon Guy: I’m drawn to the natural world that I see around me. I’ve always lived in scenic places with inspiring vistas. Most of my art is related to the outdoors and the creatures that reside there, both wild and domestic. I have done a lot of sketching of animals and birds from life, and when I need to use a reference photo it’s almost like I already know the anatomy. For the more rare animals, I will go to a zoo or sanctuary to take photos and sketch.
how did you end up moving to Florida? I moved to Florida in 2003, when I started working in Florida as a lawyer. I still visit the Berkshires and other areas of New England when I am able to, and I hope to move back when I’m retired. Since Covid, I haven’t travelled very much! I have many old photographs that I took when I lived in the Berkshires, and I enjoy painting the farm scenes and farm animals. Once it’s safe to travel, I hope to come back for a summer or fall vacation to do some plein air painting in the Berkshires. Working from photos is okay when that is the only choice, but I find it much more inspiring to draw and paint from life whenever possible.
I love your landscapes. You must love the life on the beach that you see. What is it about the ocean landscape that thrives from you? The beaches in southwest Florida are big, sandy, and beautiful. The Gulf waters have tropical colors – greens and warm blues - that are amazing to paint. The water changes colors as the sun moves across the sky, and we have brilliant sunsets. I prefer early morning and late afternoon light. Florida has harsh light during the middle of the day, and too much green. The more I paint the beach from life, the more I notice, such as how the water ripples, flows and sparkles. Painting waves and sea foam is really hard, but I’m getting better at it. I see a lot of different types of seabirds, including Pelicans, terns, seagulls, sandpipers, plovers, and osprey. I like to sketch and photograph the birds early in the morning, when there are more of them.
In terms of your style, do they vary? Or are they consistent with all that you paint? My style is fairly recognizable, but it varies a little because I use a variety of media, including oils, acrylics, and gouache. My plein air landscapes tend to be fairly traditional, because I become totally focused on painting what I see in front of me as best as I can. My studio paintings have a more contemporary style, because feel more free to get creative and to combine abstraction and realism.
Your barnscapes from the Berkshires are beautiful! The Berkshires, when you are here, gives you inspiration and gives life to your canvas in so many ways. Tell us, when will you be planning to return to your former home, and 58 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
If it’s an animal or bird, I want the eyes, nose and face to be very realistic and as perfect as possible. The rest can be loose and even partly abstracted. If I’m painting a landscape, I want to capture the light and shadows as closely as possible. I can play with some of the colors to express myself, as long as there is a strong feeling of sunlight falling on the surfaces. I also want my art to express a mood, but that is not something I can force, it just has to happen through my own excitement about the subject that I am painting. I use a combination of planned sketches or thumbnails with intuitive, reactive painting. Sometimes I just need to get out of my own way and let it happen freely. I can always wipe it out or throw it away and start all over again! That’s one of the benefits of having done a lot of drawing and painting – the artworks become much less precious, and there is less fear of making a mistake. Another goal is to experiment once in a while, so the work doesn’t become too predictable. Using a different media, or a different type of brush, or a palette knife instead of a brush is fun and refreshing.
I remember when you were living in the Berkshires, years back it was, you were so interested in drawing horses. Is that still the case? I don’t draw horses very often because there aren’t many horses near where I live. Florida has horse farms and ranches, but most of them are farther away from the coast. I can remember always having horses close by when I lived in the Berkshires.
The animals you paint are alive and happy. Almost, you are painting with a sense of humor these beautiful creatures. What is it you enjoy when capturing the essence of these sensitive and often shy creatures? I notice that the animals and birds have individual personalities, and their eyes are very expressive. I’ve almost always had pets, so I am used to being around animals. I think the whimsical quality happens when I paint the cute farm animals, such as cows and pigs! Some of the wild creatures look more serious, such as my lions and wolves.
What is some of the goals you seek out prior to the brush hitting the first stroke of paint on the canvas? My first goal is to represent the subject accurately.
Are you self taught or have you studied art at an institution? I have a BFA in studio art from Bard College in New York. When I was sixteen, I attended Si-
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU!
mons Rock College for two years, and then I transferred to Bard. I have fond memories of spending hours and hours doing figure drawing at both colleges. Printmaking was also a favorite subject, as well as art history. Much later in life, since living in Florida, I have had some wonderful opportunities to take plein air painting workshops, with artists Jean Blackburn, Mary Erickson, Donald Demers, and Joseph McGurl. Without realizing it consciously, I gravitated towards teachers who love painting New England, and have tonalist or luminist styles. Our local plein air group, called the Lightchasers, has a series of free educational demos by nationally known artists who live in the area. I also attended some inspiring workshops at Wildacres in the beautiful, Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which were part of the Ringling College adult education program. There I took one plein air painting workshop, and a nature journaling class. Were you always interested in making art? I have vivid memories of making abstract line drawings and coloring them in as a very young child. I started drawing horses when I was only about ten years old. I copied the horse drawings of the illustrator, Wesley Dennis. My parents brought me to the Clark Museum in Williamstown often, and I think seeing such high quality art also motivated me. I really enjoyed art classes during high school in Lenox, and I decided to make it my major in college. How does your paintings reflect your personality? I think they show my sensitivity to aesthetics and design. Even though many of the places that I paint are wild and ungroomed, I tend to leave out the messy areas! I want a nice composition, even if I have to make a few creative changes. Many people have told me that my art gives them a serene and peaceful feeling, so I guess that is a reflection of my personality. I am also a quiet, introverted person, which is not unusual for a visual artist – you have to be able to work alone. How have you seen yourself develop and change as an artist? With your own art, and how you view the art of others? My skill with the materials has improved, especially with color. I can remember as a young artist how I struggled to make the work look the way I wanted, and I just couldn’t get it right. I was much better at drawing than painting, and my oils came out muddy instead of colorful. Now, I can enjoy the process more, and I have shorter periods of struggle and frustration. I think my work is more realistic than what I did as a young artist, but I have started to play with abstraction a little. Looking at the work of other artists at museums, galleries, and online, inspires me. There are so many different types of art coexisting now. There is always something I notice that other artists do well, and I like to try to figure out how they did it! I enjoy following other artists on Instagram and Facebook, as they post their recent work. When you are not painting, what sort of business are you busy with? Tell us about it please. I am an attorney, focusing on estate planning and probate. I worked as a paralegal when I lived in
the Berkshires, and attended law school when I was thirty-eight years old. I have my own solo practice, and many clients. Sometimes it is hard to find time to paint!
for part of the year. I’m thinking about visiting the low country area of southern Georgia later this fall, to paint the beautiful, coastal marshes. I also want to visit Charleston, South Carolina.
How has this year in particular with corona changed or altered the way you see and think? If it hasn’t, and often people are not effected by it all, what would you say has stood out in your memory from your observations about this strange and different time we live in? The biggest change for me has been to stay in the local area more, since I’m not travelling on vacations or long weekend trips. Fortunately, I live in a beautiful, scenic area! People come from all over the world to visit, so I am lucky to be able to enjoy my surroundings. It is safe to do outdoor activities here, since people are spread out enough. My social life is much less active, since we aren’t eating out or having indoor potluck dinners. I do miss going to art show openings! Doing group online shows just isn’t the same. I’ve been using that time to catch up on reading. Florida is usually very busy, so I haven’t minded slowing down and living a more quiet lifestyle outside of my work hours.
Can you tell us one of your secret techniques you like to use when painting? We all do something to get a certain effect, is that true for you as well? One technique I’ve been using a lot is to paint a loose, abstract background first, and then paint the animal or bird on top, letting the colors and shapes show through in some places. It is a contemporary style of technique. A similar technique is to use an old, unfinished painting and paint a landscape on top, and let some of the old colors peak through to make it more interesting.
Are there any special activities you engage in other then art? Have you took on the challenge of something different, like music? Photography? I remember you were involved in Toastmasters in the Berkshires! Working as a lawyer with a thriving practice doesn’t allow much time for hobbies. Sometimes I enjoy reading, but I don’t read as much as I used to. Running, hiking and swimming are important to me, and we have a huge running community here in Sarasota, Florida. Before Covid, there were lots of local races to enjoy on the weekends. I ran two marathons when I was in my upper 40s, did a couple of triathlons, and many half marathons. Now, I am walking more than running! Car camping is another activity I get to enjoy once in a while. Florida has a huge number of state and local parks. Hiking in a totally flat place isn’t that exciting, but at least I can experience nature. Swimming in the Gulf is great during the warm months. As far as long distance travelling, have you done much of that? What were you experiences that you brought home with you that you can share? I usually travel out of Florida a couple of times a year. One of my favorite places is the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I have done some nature journaling and plein air painting there, and also in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina - which remind me of the Berkshires - only higher and more blue! Northern Georgia is also a nice place to visit, within the foothills of the Appalachians. It reminds me so much of the Berkshires! I went to the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia twice, and admired the historical architecture and parks, which are called “squares.” I wasn’t able to paint during those short trips, but when I have a chance, I will return with my easel. In July of 2019, I had a wonderful, week-long painting trip at Nanatuck, an artists’ retreat in Port Clyde, Maine, which is organized by Mary Erickson, a nationally known artists who lives in Venice, Florida
I was wondering, you love cows and farm animals, yes? Does that mean by chance you are a vegetarian? I see the beautiful animals on farms, and can never seem to find real happiness afterward eating a hamburger or even bacon. Is that funny? Maybe you are sensing something about the cruelty to the animals, especially by the corporate factory farms where most of it comes from! I’m a vegan, which means that I don’t eat animals or dairy. There are so many great alternatives to meat and dairy, that it’s fairly easy, especially where I live in Sarasota, Florida. We have some very good health food stores and quite a few restaurants with vegan options. There are a lot of us here! Sharing recipes with other vegans is fun, too. I would love to take a painting classes with you as the teacher. I find that you have a lot of artful wisdom and know-how. Would you ever give lessons? That’s a nice complement! I would love to teach after I retire from my lawyer work. I’m especially interested in teaching drawing, nature journaling, and plein air painting. I would like to help beginner artists develop their basic skills, and help more advanced artists develop their voice. What would you like us all to know about yourself, or your art? I’m very interested in nature and the environment, and I’ve been donating part of my sales to organizations that help with conservation of wild places and the protection of animals, wild and domestic. I hope to do more of this, and I’m looking for notfor-profit organizations that I can partner with. I’m currently part of a group of artists who are doing an online auction of wildlife art for the protection of endangered Rhinos. My wolf print has received one bid so far, and that auction will be over by the time this issue is published. Can you tell us where we may see more of your work for purchasing? My art is available on my website at https://sharonguyart.com. Or just google Sharon Guy Art and it comes up!
Thank you Sharon!
THE ARTFUL MIND DECEMBER 2020 • 59
JASON AND HIS GRANDMOTHER CHAPTER 13
Miss Torpedoes You will recall that Jason was in a suit and tie because he spent the first part of the morning in a courtroom. But regardless of his new clothes, he looked like a person struggling to overcome an uncontrollable impulse to run away. Since he could not run away he took his seat behind mine and settled into shifting and adjusting himself every second in his usual way. I felt confident that when school let out I would finally be able to corner Jason and find out about the suit, and his grandmother’s black eye, but as luck would have it, the classroom phone rang at ten to three, and Jason was summoned to the principal’s office. A call to go to the office never happened except in life and death situations, and I began to have an uneasy feeling that the situation was going to involve me in some unexpected way. Just as this paranoid notion was creeping up on me the phone rang again and it was a call requesting that I too be sent to the office. All the way down to the principal’s office I reassured myself that I had done nothing wrong, but I was unable to calm myself simply because so often in the past I had discovered that I had done some terrible thing without ever having any idea of my transgression. This was bound to be a situation like that. I entered the office after Jason had departed. Perhaps you would like to know what happened to him, and what my involvement could possibly have been, but I have to stop here and introduce a person of note, the principal’s secretary. Her name was Miss Miscotti, but in the entire time she worked as the principal’s secretary, no boy in the school had ever called her by her correct name. To all of us she was simply, “Torpedoes,” not “Miss Torpedoes,” but simply “torpedoes.” Any trip to the principal’s office involved the preamble of not being able to take our eyes away from Miss Miscotti’s breasts, parked securely in front of her on her desk. I suppose we could have called her “grapefruits,” or “watermelons,” but I think we understood, even at that tender age, the tremendous power and destructive force those shapes would exercise on us in some vague conception we had of our future existence. Across from her desk were three chairs where those destined for interrogation had to sit and wait to find out what we had done, and what our punishments would be. Usually the punishment consisted of bringing a note from our parents to the 60 • DECEMBER 2020 THE ARTFUL MIND
effect that they had been informed of our crimes. For many of us the requirement to produce a note would involve the implementation of creative and artistic skills. What kind of paper would we use? What pen? How would we word the note to make it convincing? And lastly the signature itself, copied previously hundreds of times from report cards, needed to be crafted to perfection. But I did not know what I could have done, and right then, as I sat waiting for my ordeal to begin, Miss Torpedoes blew me a kiss. At first the only explanation of the kiss was that it could not have really happened and I must have had a hallucination. I was not aware of any previous hallucinations, but what possible explanation could there be? So, I sat there trying my best not to look at her, and then she repeated her previous action. It was then that I understood, she was smoking an imaginary cigarette. The kindhearted Miss Torpedoes was sending me a message in pantomime that I was about to be accused of smoking. She must have been one of those rare women who can still remember what it was like to be awaiting punishment in the principal office. But how could anyone have known about my crime? I had taken the most elaborate precautions to ensure that I would never be caught. I would steal cigarettes from my father’s carton in the middle of the night, and then smoke one, but only in the safety of the bathroom of the Shell station. Only once, when my personal smoking room was occupied, I went several blocks out of my neighborhood, and lit up in some bushes between two houses in the rich neighborhood where the houses had gigantic back yards. The possibility that this transgression was my undoing seemed highly unlikely, but then… I have a favorite coat. It is actually one of my father’s coats, and it had been hanging from a pipe in the cellar for a few years when I got it down and started wearing it in the fall of 1957. That coat was the explanation to everything. There were several coats hanging on that pipe in the space underneath the stairs in the unfinished part of the cellar. These were rejected coats, coats nobody wanted to wear or even consider. For example, there was my Uncle Paul’s Navy P-coat from the Second World War, and also a bomber jacket that had belonged to my Uncle Lou from the Korean War. Then there was the black and white hunting jacket hanging in the cellar because of the terrible argument my father had with his brothers when he refused to go hunting with them. These coats represented some form of rejection, shame or regret. It was the hunting jacket that I was wearing the day the door was locked at the bathroom of the Shell station, so it was the hunting jacket I was wearing when I smoked the cigarette in the bushes up behind the houses on Proctor Boulevard. A hunting jacket is designed so that you can see, even from a tremendous distance, that it is a hunting jacket on a person, and not a moose. Apparently, a week previous to my trip to the principal’s office, some person looking out their bathroom window saw smoke coming from the bushes in their backyard and some person in a black a white checkered coat. If I remember correctly, the checks on the coat were about one foot square, so it was a coat, easy to spot, even from a mile away. That coat was the reason that at that moment I was sitting in one of the three chairs across from the principal’s secretary, and she had given me
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU!
time to prepare my defense. But what possible defense could I mount? I have to point out that that particular coat was a special designer kind of coat because I have never seen one like it, not then or ever again. So when the phone rang on the secretary’s desk and she motioned for me to enter the principal's office, I had decided to confess, and I was already composing in my mind what my mother’s note was going to say, but the mind of a frightened child works in mysterious ways. I entered Mr. Howland’s office, but I did not see him at first because my view of him was blocked by the back of a gigantic, terrifying policeman’s backside. No thirteen- year-old ever, under any circumstance, wants his affairs to involve the police in any capacity. Everything about the police, their cars, their uniforms, the radios, the badges and the hats, and especially the gun, belonged to a world having nothing to do with us because we were children. Children are by some absolute law of nature, protected from any sort of interactions with those persons, and so I was struck dumb, the apt expression. My mind suddenly created the “Miranda Act,” and I instructed myself to say nothing. I said to myself, “Say nothing. Don’t even nod your head, because you do not know what is going on here.” And so for the moment I became a sort of store mannequin. I was directed to sit in a chair against the wall, and then I listened to a strange conversation that transpired between the policeman and the principal. I can’t remember a single word of that conversation, but the significance of what was said was impossible to ever forget. It turned out that Jason and his grandmother lived in a place called Gilmore Village, and it had only been in existence for a few years. It was specially built as a place for criminals and drug addicts to live rent-free in the better section of our town. The construction of this village was the sinister work of the Mafia. The Mafia was an organization made up of Italians, and the Italians were in control of our city government. In an effort to spare my tender ears from the horror of what they said, some of the words were whispered. The words that were whispered were the only two I can still remember from their conversation. The words were “Mafia” and “Italian.” Finally the policeman left and the principal turned his attention to me. He wanted to know everything I know about Jason and Mrs. Sweet. He said he knew that I was Jason’s only friend. I was not completely evasive in my answer and I said something like this: “I live near Jason’s house and so we walk to school together sometimes and so that is why people think we are friends, but I heard his Mom got a black eye somehow.” With these lies I attempted to distance myself from my friendship albatross, and the principal, seeing I was not going to cooperate, told me I could leave. I could see it was going to be the same old dirty trick, he was going to let me get my hand on the outer door and then call me back and ask me about the cigarettes. As I turned the door handle he shouted out to me from his office, “Do you have a black and white jacket?” “No,” I replied, “but my brother does.”
—Richard Britell FROM THE BLOG NO CURE FOR THE MEDIEVAL MIND
EDWARD ACKER PHOTOGRAPHER
Time Flies D Get Pictures EdwardAckerPhotographer.com 413-446-8348