Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Walk Around Southampton

It's a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 50s.
 Perfect weather for a walk around Southampton.

Rogers Library
 The vacant shop spaces are starting to fill again. 

Oops, a paparazzi shot... sorry.

Some were enjoying Cooper's Beach today.
Happy Easter!
flowers from Dutch Petals

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flying Point and Jane Freilicher

I went out to Flying Point beach to see what the latest storms hath wrought. After reading the Southampton Press article last week describing the cars from the 1960s revealed as beach bulkhead material, I wanted to see for myself what was going on there.  Most of the auto bits and pieces had been removed. One tire and axel remained. The wind was whipping and the surf was beautiful.
Beach area in front of the beach club
In this week's Southampton Press, columnist Kim Covell Motz included a photo contributed by Matt Ivans from his family scrapbook. The photo is from when the cars were originally placed in front of the Water Mill Beach Club in the 1960s to protect the beach. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Photo courtesy Matt Ivans here
When family comes to visit we proudly take them to Flying Point Beach. The ocean is beautiful and long beach walks along the beautiful surf line make each visit special. When my nephews were here last the excitement of finding a recently dead shark in front of the Beach Club was a highlight of their trip. Before this winter's storms, you could walk from the Flying Point parking lot East past the Water Mill Beach Club and the Mecox cut to Sagg Main Beach. Now the walk East is blocked at the Beach Club by water lapping at the exposed bulkhead. The Mecox cut is wide and much deeper. A sign is up warning of dangerous water. 
Watermill Beach Club after Hurricane Sandy
The Water Mill Beach Club is immediately west of the Mecox cut. As you can see from the photo above, it was completely wrecked by hurricane Sandy.  The original Beach Club building was first constructed in 1922 and rebuilt after the hurricane of 1938.  First building = 16 years. Second building = 74 years. I'm hoping that building number three lasts at least as long as number two.
Watermill Beach Club being rebuilt (upper left)
Near the Mecox cut or more accurately the "seapoose"
View from the end of Flying Point Road towards Mecox Bay 
There is a lovely home between the Water Mill Beach Club and the Flying Point parking lot. A home that I have walked past and envied countless summers.  Set back in the dunes, I pictured children in damp bathing suits having lunch on the front veranda exhausted and giggly as sea breezes cooled their sun burnt cheeks. Now the wide barrier of dune is gone and the house stands still beautiful but very vulnerable. 
Flying Point Beach
map showing the former configuration of the beach 
Along Flying Point Road, the view across Mecox Bay is spectacular.

Artist Jane Freilicher has a home and studio near Mecox Bay. 
Jane Freilicher, photo © 2011 Jonathan Becker 
In the early 1960s, Freilicher and her husband, Joe Hazan built a home and studio overlooking Mecox Bay in Water Mill. She has maintained NYC and Water Mill residences ever since and has painted the views and surroundings in both locations. A 2011 show featured these scenes. A review of that show, "The View from Jane Freilicher's Window" here. Freilicher has been an important member of the East End art scene for many years. 

At Flying Point Beach - Water Mill 1961
Jane WilsonJane FreilicherJoe HazanCharles Yardley Turner
photo by John Jonas Gruen from Parrish Museum archive
Bright Day (1973) Jane Freilicher
oil on canvas 32" x 40"
Tibor De Nagy gallery here
Jane Freilicher at her exhibition, 2011. Photo: Deanna Sirlin
photo and lovely review from here
Do get a copy of this beautiful book that celebrates Freilicher's work.  She has led such an interesting life as both an artist, and as a muse and friend to poets and her artist peers. She is a lauded member of and witness to the art scene of these past years. Various reviewers have commented on her modesty and unassuming nature so I can hope, but not expect, that she would write a memoir. I wish she would write one. I would love to read it. Thank you Jane Freilicher for your beautiful work and inspiration!
Book by Klaus Kertess published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc
available here and your museum store

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life Imitating Art

This winter of multiple severe storms have made their mark on the East End shoreline. Cars buried in the 1960s in an attempt to prevent erosion are now exposed. Foundations are bared.
The look of the metal jumbled in the sand, reminding me of...
... the sculpture by John Chamberlain (2010) at the Parrish Art Museum.

Read more about John Chamberlain here.
Beach photos by Dana Shaw from the Southampton Press, story here.
photos by Dana Shaw
What did your weekend reveal?

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I love the idea of keeping a sketchbook.
Gail Gallagher sketchbook
Unfortunately, I am not diligent in this matter. My husband Hugh and I took a Travel Sketchbook class in 2000 and that was the last time I made the attempt. The class was taught by Pauline Bewick at the Burren School of Art in County Clare in Ireland.
Burren School of Art
We began the class by personalizing the covers of our hand made journals. Pauline then proceeded to coach us on composition."Choose something near and something far." She also had suggestions for painting on the move. "Use an old plastic film case for your water." I think pretty much the entire class painted a portrait of their paint box, water glass and a fellow student for their first journal pages. 

Hugh Gallagher sketchbook
It was a "soft day" so we painted in the studio for a bit. When the weather fined up we went outside to paint and explore.
Gail Gallagher sketchbook
Hugh Gallagher sketchbook
Gail Gallagher
Pauline encouraged us to paint everywhere and anywhere. 
The hotel, the airport... everywhere.
Hugh Gallagher
Looking at the pages of this journal recreates a vivid memory of the day that I spent painting there. For me, taking photos of beautiful sights on vacation is a wonderful way to keep a reminder of a trip, but painting or drawing in a travel journal requires me to really see the shape, color, texture of a place or thing. This is something that I need to do again. 
County Clare ~ Gail Gallagher
Pauline Bewick photo from here
So many artists have collections of sketchbooks in their body of work. They are one of my favorite things to browse in museum shows when the curators include them. Sketchbooks show another side of the artist's process. The works may be preparatory in nature or something the artist purely enjoys.
Paul Bewick Seven Ages book cover 2005
available here
Pauline Bewick is an inspiring teacher and prolific painter. Besides her many Irish exhibitions she has a traveling collection of paintings. This collection, called Seven Ages, is a collection of her art which features paintings, tapestry and ceramics done from ages 2 1/2 to 70. In this video, Pauline gives us a preview of these pieces:
Hugh and I first discovered Pauline after seeing her book Ireland An Artist's Year while staying at Glendelough House near Caragh Lake in County Kerry. It just so happened that Pauline's home was a short drive around the lake. Pauline was packing for her year long trip to the South Seas but she took the time to show us around her studio.  The Artist's Year book includes many pages from Pauline's sketchbook diary.
Pauline Bewick
March 17th entry from her book Ireland An Artist's Year
We are so fortunate to have taken a painting workshop with this amazing artist.
Pauline Bewick
Pauline, thank you so much for your inspiration.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

So Sorry Lady Bug

Still Life with Fruit by Jacob van Walscapelle (1644-1727)
The Huntington Library
While we were eating dinner, I noticed something crawling on the table near my husband's hand. Pointing it out, he was quick to act. The bug soon met its end. It was a lady bug. The fourth that I have seen indoors. Where do they come from? Do lady bugs hibernate? There was no time for a catch and release and I felt sorry for its demise.
A closer view of the lady bug on the melon and the spider in the shadow
One summer a huge beetle was crawling across the back porch. After my initial squeamishness, I ran inside for a empty jam jar. This beetle was going to be captured. I had never seen one like it. Hugh looked at me a little strangely and asked what I was going to do with it. Images of Dutch Still Life paintings flashed through my mind as I muttered, "painting prop" while sealing the lid of the jar. Something like the Ruysch painting with stag horn beetle below.
Rachel Ruysch (1664 - 1750)
The beetle's dried shell currently stands guard on a shelf among bottles, shells, driftwood and other items that are waiting to be used in still life arrangements.

I love all of the detail in this still life by Balthasar van der Ast. I've done a few paintings which have included shells but nothing as complex and detailed as this. Something along these lines would be a good challenge and a chance to use the big beetle.
Still Life with Flowers, Shells and Insects by Balthasar van der Ast
(1593/4-1657) oil on panel 24 x 43.5 cm
Are you ready for spring and reconnecting with the insect world?