Above an image of “Barn and Mist,” which I submitted to this year’s LandMark competition at Arts of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City. Gimlet-eyed readers will recognize a detail of the same as the main image of this blog. It took first prize.
Many thanks to Darlene Tighe and Keli Hindenach, the gallery manager and excutive director who put on the event during the approach of the tropical storm and sometime-hurricane Hilene. Likwise to Munroe Bell who beat the storm in time to judge the work.
I have painted this region for almost a decade and have loved it even longer. It was a delight to be in a room full of people who love it.
The picture is for sale at Arts of the Albemarle. Call them at 252-338-6455. Armed with this and a few books by Bland Simpson, you’d be all set. Or as they say in Northeastern North Carolina, you’d be right, I reckon.
These are rows of grapes at the Addison Farms vineyard, whose owner, Jeff Frisbee has been kind enough to host Wild Art 2016: the Art Show to Benefit Appalachian Wildlife Refuge on August 6 from 12noon to 5pm. It all happens at 4005 New Leicester Highway, 15 minutes and a whole world northwest of Asheville, NC
For some annual crops, at least, we shall see the row system, maybe even tillage itself, vanish in our lifetimes. And good riddance, too.
Perennial crops, though, are another matter. Since the earliest gardens in the Near East, rows and compass points have predominated. There is something intrinsically reverent and hopeful about the conjunction of geometry, next year and fruit.
Where these things intersect, you can have a culture, because culture demands that someone see life on the side of order and not chaos.
Agriculture, culture, cult: these three perdure.
I am now offering walnut ink for sale. It has a rich warmth unmatched by other kinds of ink.
I’m working on a full-service web outlet, which will be up and running by December 1st.
If you can’t wait, visit the Ink page on this site to reserve some. I’ll ship it or you can pick it up.
On Thursday, December 4, I’ll show 30-some works in oil and ink at the Chowan Arts Council at 504 S. Broad St. in Edenton. The show is titled Wide Open and features the overlooked landscapes of North Carolina’s Northeast. This is a land of forgotten explorers, a four-and-half-century history of visual art, small Indian tribes, and big skies. Between now and then, I’ll offer previews of some of the works and reflections on the places that inspired them.
The little sketch below grew into a study, a 2 x 3′ rendered drawing, and a painting almost as big.
That’s the eponymous title of the benefit art show for Riverlink, the non-profit that has cleaned up and made accessible the French Broad River near Asheville. The French Broad is the third oldest river in the world, it flows north, and its beauty has been neatly reduced to little rectangles and hung on walls.
A ticketed event opens the show on October 23rd at Sol’s Retreat, overlooking said river above the New Belgium site. Free public viewing, albeit without live music and bottomless gluttony are available the following two days, 11am-6pm.
You can sample works by some of the exhibitors here. Many are my teachers, and I’m pleased to show my work next to theirs.
Thus the allusive title of a late October group show for the benefit of Riverlink, the Asheville non-profit that does so much for the health of the French Broad River. It will be hosted by Alchemy Fine Art at Walnut and Rankin Streets in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.
The French Broad is narrow, winding and unnavigable for most of its length, and therein lies its charm. Unlike its better-known and larger brethren such as the Delaware, James and Mississippi, it unites geography but divides people. You can follow the James along US 60 in Virginia from Hampton Roads to Scottsville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the people all along your route speak with the same Tidewater accent. Centuries of reliable transport has united them.
Try the same thing from the mouth of the French Broad at Knoxville, Tennessee to its source near Rosman, North Carolina, and you’ll have a widely different experience. You’ll be in the car all day. You’ll drive on Federal, State and County roads, many of them dirt and gravel. The sweetness of East Tennessee speech gives way to the sour note of Western North Carolina. The churches go from Baptist to Pentecostal to Baptist again. And seeing the river will involve walking.
For two hundred and more years, anyone travelling any distance was concerned to get across the French Broad rather than up and down it. It was hard. That goes double for those with baggage, horses or automobiles–or, in my case, an easel, paints and lunch.
The bridge in the oil painting below is a triumph all the more impressive when one recalls that people actually died crossing this river in private ferries as late at the 1940’s. Underneath it settles the graffiti-covered tobacco warehouse in the ink drawing, itself a little monument to works and days now gone, as vice gives way to vice between watery death and sunny achievement.
Many of the better views of the river are lost to public memory or overlooked. And that’s a shame. Degas famously said, “Art isn’t what one sees; it’s what one makes others see.” Art can make you remember, too; or question a hole in your memory. The next few posts will feature some of these overlooked places, which are no less beautiful for that.
Visit Riverlink’s website here. They haven’t forgotten the river.
Through August, patrons may view and purchase my art at the Asheville Regional Airport. Now is your chance to take home a piece of North Carolina.
Patrons may purchase art by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Airport’s art page:
On December 5th at 5:30, I’ll have a one-man show of about 30 works at the Chowan Arts Center in lovely Edenton, NC. That’s in the northeastern part of the state. In the show, I’ll focus on a world that has gone unnoticed since the expeditions of Walter Raleigh and that was already legendary at the time of the first permanent English settlement in 1607.
The CAC sits at the end of Broad Street on Edenton Bay where nature meets a small eighteenth-century town. Few places in the South so handsomely reward a visit.
In case you can’t make the trek, I’ll post the contents of the show on the site after it opens. In addition, I’ll post some studies for larger works as I make progress with them as well as details of finished pieces as they come.
For now, the sketch above, done with a reed pen and a brush. I drew it because I liked the rectangles struggling to keep their shape despite the passage of time. It spawned a medium-sized drawing done with three pens and walnut ink that played up the texture of the sheet-metal building and the lacy disposition of the oak leaves behind. Next will come a 2′ x 3′ ink drawing dwelling on the building’s trim and the paved surfaces below.
Last, I’ll do a large oil painting that ties together the elements just mentioned. I’ll also relate the the greens in the building’s painted trim and moldy siding to the greens in the trees. What began as a musing on shapes has turned into a sustained color study, and a meditation on nature and culture.
Here is one of the charms of a painted scene; things appearing winsome or repellent in isolation find new homes, new relationships, and new meanings when someone pays them enough attention.
The owners of the newly restored Windsor Boutique Hotel in Asheville are showing my art in the hotel’s public spaces. You can see some of North Carolina’s oft-overlooked beauty on its walls.
The hotel sits in the heart of downtown and is a quick walk from restaurants, bars, shopping, festivals, etc. The building itself wears its old fabric gracefully and positively gleams with old wood. http://www.windsorasheville.com/
Hanging alongside my work is that of Alisa Lumbreras, about the hardest-working artist I know. She paints and sculpts with joy. You can see some of that joy here: http://www.cottonmillstudiosnc.com/young-artists-classes.html
I’m grateful to the owners and staff for choosing me and my fellow Ashevilleans. There is a difference between airlifiting a load of imported culture onto a city and letting the city produce its own culture, and the folks at the Windsor have chosen the better course.
That’s Edenton, of course. Edenton, North Carolina, the county seat of Chowan County, which figures into many of my landscapes. And it is beautiful, too: what with its pre-Revolutionary architecture and its decided lack of world-class golf, five-star this and over-bloated that.
Edenton was founded in the early 18th century, was the seat of the colony’s government, and was overlooked by history in favor of larger ports, railroads and the Dismal Swamp Canal. It sits on the Albemarle Sound, near the mouth of the Chowan River.
People usually ask, “Where is that?” It’s about an hour south of Virginia and an hour west of the Atlantic. Here’s what it looks like:
I’m going to paint the town at an event to benefit the foundation that cares for the 1758 Cupola House on April 25th and 26th. It’s called Easels in the Gardens, and a click here will tell you all about it: http://cupolahouse.org. The town will be at its best. The weather will, too. You can even dance in the middle of Broad Street during the two-day festival.
I’ll be in St. Paul’s churchyard both days from 1pm until 5pm.
Yes, it has a waterfront and historic buildings, Edenton is very much a living community. Drop by and live a little. Directions for cars, planes and boats: http://www.visitedenton.com/directions.