Monday, June 17, 2019

Plein Air Sag Harbor

The sweetest season begins.
The Downeaster Alexa is in port.
 Farm stands supply visions of sugar plums.
En plein air painters seem to appear on every corner.
Marc Dalessio painting in Sag Harbor! I've followed Marc's work online and at Sag Harbor's Grenning Gallery. It was exciting to see him at work. I would love to take one of his classes, there are great instructional videos on his site. I'm always curious to know artists tools as well as methods. Marc was using his own a hand crafted plein air painting kit. Artists also have secret ingredients. Standing in the street, I could smell the lavender essence that Marc combines with his painting medium. Definitely more pleasant than turpentine! The final version of this work on Marc's Instagram feed:
Since Marc was painting in the village, I supposed that his wife, artist Tina Tina Orsolic Dalessio might also be working somewhere in town. We looked, but failed to find her. Later, we discovered that she was painting the parking lot view of the Sag Harbor Cinema. Marc and Tina inspire me by honoring atypical views of Sag Harbor. Marc faces away from the oft photographed windmill towards Main Street. Tina observes the parking lot view of the Cinema instead of the iconic neon sign out front. 
Sag Harbor Cinema Under Construction by Tina Orsolic Dalessio
Another aspect of the Dalessios' painting practice that inspires me is the number of times that they've painted each other's portraits. Marc's beautiful portrait of Tina under a tree, painting a water color is currently in the window at Grenning Gallery. 
The Watercolor by Marc Dalessio
Tina Painting, Hillside by Marc Dalessio
Marc Painting by Tina Orsolic Dalessio
Kelly Carmody painting on Main Street at Sag Pizza.
I didn't interrupt Kelly, she seemed very intent on capturing her view. I was glad to find a photo of the completed painting, where else, but at Grenning Gallery. Laura Grenning is an artist herself and is incredible at encouraging artists in their craft and careers as well as fostering community. 
Sag Pizza by Kelly Carmody
There were a group of painters on Long Wharf. It was Wednesday. Funny me, I asked if they were the Wednesday Group. They were! The artist group meets on Wednesdays to encourage, inspire and support each other. A friend, Pam Thomson, paints with them. It was fun to run into her and the group and see what they were working on. They currently have a show up at the Water Mill Museum
Inspired by the abundance of local plein air activity we packed up our gear and headed over to a favorite spot. 
Hugh set up at the entrance to the beach in the shade.
Secret Beach Boats by Hugh Gallagher
My painting set up. Soltek easel, umbrella, etc.
First painting en plein air this year.
The next day we found plenty of beautiful scenes to paint, but it was fiercely windy. Hugh predicted that the canvases would perform like sails and our easels would blow over. 
Better weather for kite surfing.
It was less windy in our own backyard. I was given the opportunity to begin my own tradition of artist spouse portraiture. The book was good. He did not move... much. This was fun. 
Hugh Reading by Gail Gallagher

#sagharbor #pleinair #pleinairpainting #hamptons 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Village Weekend

The SIGN returned to Sag Harbor Village Main Street.
We relit the Cinema sign on Main Street over Memorial Day weekend! Sag Harbor Cinema Board President April Gornik began with the impossible task of thanking everyone who got us from a burned out lot on Main Street to having our Sag Harbor Cinema sign hanging on a brand new exactly reproduced fa├žade. Thanks to the volunteer firefighters who came from every town to fight the fire that windy frigid December day. Village officials who allowed Chris Denon from Twin Forks Moving and Storage to load the mangled landmarked sign into his truck and store it freely for safe keeping. Artisans John Battle and Franklin Paucar of Battle Iron and Bronze and neon sculptor Clayton Orehek who took it upon themselves to do the complicated work of restoring the beloved sign to its original glory. A multitude of donors large and small came together to rebuild. Our local Assemblyman, Fred Theile, had us all in tears as his own voice cracked describing driving down Main Street past the sign giving him the feeling that he was truly home. The crowd, estimated to be about 2000 strong, roared their approval as the neon lights were switched on. 
In the Press
The sign is relit but construction continues! 
Please consider DONATING HERE

Our home town sign made the perfect backdrop for the Memorial Day Parade.
The Sag Harbor Community band was set up across the street from the Cinema. They warmed up the crowd, performing patriotic marches before the parade reached central Main Street. Our community band has been performing free outdoor summer concerts since 1957.
As I remember those we lost, I honor those who march. I spot familiar faces from church, the local shops. My neighbors. Those who served our country. Quiet heroes.
Pierson High School Band
Love my town. So grateful.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Stories that Shape Us

This weekend the Sag Harbor Cultural District sponsored a three day series of arts and history-related events. The event's theme was, Sag Harbor: The Stories that Shape Us; highlighting the communities extensive literary history. I was able to enjoy a few of the events.
The John Jermain Memorial Library offered a self-guided audio tour to "Explore the library through the stories of local authors, musicians, and artists." Twenty-four artists and authors were featured. Check out an iPod at the front desk and take an audio tour. I need to return as I didn't listen to all twenty-four.
One local author, Emma Walton Hamilton, described how Sag Harbor was inspiration for Dumpy the Dump truck's village of Apple Harbor. In the book series that she co-wrote with Mum, Julie Andrews Edwards, illustrated by Dad, Tony Walton, Pharaoh's General store is modeled after the Umbrella House, reputed to be the oldest building in Sag Harbor. In Dumpy and the Firefighters, a fire threatens the town. Unfortunately, fires have been a too true part of Sag Harbor history. Luckily Pharaoh's General store is saved. Those who look closely may recognize other familiar landmarks or even a neighbor. 
Umbrella House now Cavaniola's Wine Cellar
I wonder if this little guy has read any of the Dumpy series?
The Sag Harbor Historical Society hosted a reading of letters between the daughters and sister of local whaleboat builder William Cooper written from 1830-1880. The presentation entitled,  "Voices of the Past: The Isolation of the Western Expansion," captured the worries and joys of women pioneers separated by great distance. William Cooper's daughers (Aunts to Annie Cooper Boyd) moved from Sag Harbor to other waterfront villages, the furthest away being Pomeroy, Ohio. The cosy front room of the Annie Cooper Boyd house was filled with a rapt audience entranced by the rhythm of each letter telling a story of lives lived over 150 years ago. 
Inspecting Haven's Beach treasures at Annie Cooper Boyd House.
Robin Brown reading poetry by Olivia Ward Bush-Banks

by Olivia Ward Bush-Banks
(1869 - 1944)

And now the sun in tinted splendor sank,
The west was all aglow with crimson light;
The bay seemed like a sheet of burnished gold,
Its waters glistened with such radiance bright.

At anchor lay the yachts with snow-white sails,
Outlined against glowing, rose-hued sky.
No ripple stirred the waters' calm repose
Save when a tiny craft sped lightly by.

Our boat was drifting slowly, gently round,
To rest secure till evening shadows fell;
No sound disturbed the stillness of the air,
Save the soft chiming of the vesper bell.

Yes, drifting, drifting' and I thought that life,
When nearing death, is like the sunset sky.
And death is but the slow, sure drifting in
To rest far more securely, by and by.

Then let me drift along the Bay of Time,
Till my last sun shall set in glowing light;
Let me cast anchor where no shadows fall,
Forever moored within Heaven's harbor bright.
American writer Olivia Ward Bush-Banks was a poet and playwright best known for celebrating both her African-American and Montauk heritages in her works. She founded the Bush-Banks School of Expression in Chicago to foster emerging African-American talents.  via
Listening to Bush-Banks' poems, I was struck by her lush descriptions of nature and knowing depictions of the heart. Truly an artist of timeless imagery. 
Afternoon Remembered by Michael A. Butler
Another storyteller, in paint, Michael A. Butler's work was still up on the Eastville Community Historical Society walls. Afternoon Remembered” is a painting that I fell in love with. When I spoke with the artist, Michael described the inspiration for this painting as though in a dream, “My mother, brother and I were walking to the beach along a wall of phragmites when a flock of goldfinches flew up. My mother did not have her camera with her, but I painted this scene with her holding a camera. She brought her camera to the beach every day after that, but we never did see another flock of goldfinches. “ (my paraphrase) 

What a wonderful day spent listening to the voices of my community, I am so grateful to live here.

New Audio Tour at John Jermain Library Highlights How Writers Work
Sag Harbor Retold in Images and Letters
The Stories that Shape Us in Sag Harbor