Saturday, June 25, 2011


With the coming of summer and its accompanying heat, my painting sabbatical will officially end next weekend. I have taken a few months off, first to work heavily in my flower gardens and yard, but also to pause and consider where I am as a visual artist. Most importantly, I've been thinking about what I want to do next as a painter.

For this week's post I've reached way back in my painting archive to my college years. This canvas, "Buick Century," was created as part of an assignment in my senior painting class at the University of Maryland. The task assigned was to complete a work based on a reflection of some type. While several classmates completed self-portraits posed in mirrors, I chose to focus on the reflective chrome surface of a 1950s American automobile.

The image was based on a photograph from an old car book I owned. I created a pencil grid on the gessoed canvas and used that to help me establish the striking visual perspective of the car. I constructed the canvas frame myself and, remarkably, this painting remains the largest single canvas I have ever completed. I did not fully finish the work in class, and for many years it sat incomplete in my studio storage area. In the 1990s I was again motivated to work on it, and finally completed the piece. I've found over the years that its subject matter and photo-realistic style are real crowd-pleasers.

"Buick Century." Oil on stretched canvas, 38 x 52 inches. Begun March 1985-completed August 1995.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reynolda House Visit

This past weekend I took another sojourn to what has become my favorite day-trip destination, Reynolda House, located in Winston-Salem, NC. On this trip I viewed their current exhibit "Trains that Passed in the Night: The Photographs of O. Winston Link." While I was familiar with Link's railroad-themed photographic work, I had only seen an image or two in past exhibits at other museums. This show pulled together a huge collection from his 1950s project that captured images of steam-powered locomotives of the Norfolk & Western Railroad. It was absolutely captivating and surprisingly relevant to my own work and visual art interests. Unfortunately, the exhibit closes this coming weekend, but I am already looking forward to Reynolda House's next exhibition, "Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," which opens in October.

Upon returning from Reynolda House, I finally did something I should have done years ago: I became a member of the museum. It truly is a North Carolina treasure, and each visit seems more rewarding than the last. I always add lunch at the Village Tavern as part of the experience, and the only sad news was the discovery that the ice cream parlor in the Reynolda Barn had closed. If you love American art, or historic homes, Reynolda House should be at the top of your list to explore and enjoy.