Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Penny Candy Shop

A small weathered building sits along Montauk Highway on the main drag in Water Mill. Its red door faded, paint peeling, a "For Sale" sign in the window. In faded black letters above the door the curling letters read "Penny Candy Shop". Sweet toothed shoppers no longer cross the threshold. The laughter of children and their parents a distant memory.
I stopped to take a closer look.
Inside, the shop is frozen in time.
An eerie quiet prevails.
Dust motes float in scant rays of sun slanting through the window.
Toys fading on the shelves.
Candy jars empty.
In the marvelous memoir, The Kingdom of the Kid: Growing up in the the Long-Lost Hamptons, Geoff Gehman devotes a chapter to the Penny Candy Shop and its founders June and Harvey Morris.
Excerpt from The Kingdom of the Kid by Geoff Gehman
June and Harvey became shopkeepers by accidental design. -- At the suggestion of his mother, they decided to open a store for crayons, coloring books and other basics for kids like Harvey Morris III, then seven years old. They decided to sell sweets because June had fond childhood memories of visiting a penny-candy store in Patchogue.

Harvey and June Morris, the shop's owners, had the gift of making kids feel like adults and adults like kids. They were gently funny, easily amused and eternally patient, traits that somehow slowed the wicked sugar rush of too may Hersey kisses or chunks of vanilla fudge. They were natural psychologists, sneaky sociologists, not-so-sneaky etiquette teachers, emergency chauffeurs, surrogate parents, capital-C citizens, dream weavers. Their store was the East End's most consistently miraculous place, where every day was Christmas, Easter, Halloween and your birthday. 

The Morrises opened for business on September 11, 1961 -- For 30 years it was open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week for most of the year. They sold newspapers to potato farmers who needed to know the prices of their stock before 9 a.m. They sold candy bars to emergency workers during hurricanes. They could afford to stay open when most storekeepers stayed home because for 30 years they lived behind the shop.

The Penny Candy Shop in Water Mill was the spot for sweets and acts of sweet citizenship. - Geoff Gehman
The shop and home is for sale by owner here.
A time capsule of the long-lost Hamptons could be yours.
Geoff Gehman's book is available for immediate gratification here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkins for Jimmy

Just google "jimmy fallon truck pumpkin" and you will find numerous web posts and images of Hampton's resident and host of the Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon's search for a truck that he can "haul pumpkins in".  A contest on the show, Fingers on a 4X4, was the fun and hilarious contest that Fallon held to choose his truck. I looked for the truck, blue on top khaki on the bottom, at Hank's Pumpkintown.
This is THE place for pumpkins.
The +Jimmy Fallon Twitter feed is lit up.
Fans want to see the pumpkins.
 Did you visit Hanks this weekend?
Hank's was mobbed. 
A famous television host COULD have been incognito there.
Pumpkins, apple picking, corn maze, hay rides... 
Children were having a blast.
Hank's Pumpkintown website here
Go here for the Tonight Show

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Women Painting Women

Before seeing Mr Turner we stopped in to the conveniently located Richard J. Demato Gallery to see Women Painting Women.
An amazing print by Andrea Kowch drew me into the gallery. Graceful women in gauzy gowns, jarred fireflies all aglow before a lighthouse and moonlit sea. I am reminded of the three graces: beauty, charm and joy. Kowch paints the world of dreams. Light Keepers, indeed.
Light Keepers by Andrea Kowch
60" x 72" Acrylic on Canvas image from Andrea's Facebook page here 
Light Keepers 39" x 47.5" limited edition of 10 print available at the Demato Gallery
Women Painting Women features the work of 28 artists.
All stunning.
What a great idea.
La Pesanteur et La Grace by Odile Richer
oil on canvas 48" x 36"
gallery image here
Video portrait of artist Odile Richer
Adrienne Stein is another incredible artist featured. 
Her portrait Olivia is lush with detail.
Wouldn't you love to have her paint your portrait?
Olivia by Adrienne Stein
Acrylic on Canvas 36" x 30"
image via
Margot Selski's work is full of meticulous detail.
Memory of a Lullaby by Margot Selski
oil and beeswax on canvas 30" x 40"
image via
Interview with Margot Selski
I wasn't familiar of any of the artists in this show.
Where have I been?!
St Laurent Girl by Sherry Wolf
acrylic on canvas 62" x 62"
image via
My photo closeup of Daydream by Candice Bohannon
oil on panel 35" x 24" 
original image here
Daydream by Candice Bohannon
image via
So many fascinating and beautiful paintings.
I've only shown you a few of them. 
Please go to the RJD Gallery or their link here to see them all.
The Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery is on Main Street in Sag Harbor.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Mr. Turner" at the HIFF

We attended Hamptons International Film Festival showing of the new film Mr Turner, written and directed by Mike Leigh.  The film is a biopic of the renown and beloved English painter Joseph Mallord William Turner.  Timothy Spall won the Best Actor award at the 2014 Cannes Film festival for his portrayal of Turner in all of his creative, eccentric, abrasive, glory. Spall studied art for two years in preparation for the role.

Timothy Spall as Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Petworth House scene from Mr. Turner

Mike Leigh recreates Turner's world with amazing attention to detail. The film beautifully captures a moment depicted in Turner's watercolor, The Artist and his Admirers. The Old Library at Petworth House, the Egremont ancestral home, was used by Turner as a studio. The 3rd Earl of Egremont was a patron and a friend, "Egremont's unconventional household of rival mistresses, swarms of children and visiting artists" became a "grand extended family" (Tate bio here).  

The Artist and His Admirers 1827 by JMW Turner
Watercolour and Bodycolour on paper 
Suport 138 x 128 mm
image via the Tate here

“You can research and read for a million years and a zillion books, but it doesn’t make it happen in front of a camera. Everyone knows Turner went to the Royal Academy in 1832 on varnishing day (a sociable day just before the opening of a show to the public, which was a sort of unofficial private view, when artists gave their work a final lick and a promise, a coat of extra varnish at the very least) and put this red blob on a grey painting next to Constable’s, then turned it into a buoy and Constable said, ‘He has fired a gun’ and walked out. And that is fine, you can read that, but you’ve still got to make it happen and explore it on screen.” And Leigh does explore it as Turner shockingly adds his scarlet daub to the seascape Helvoetsluys as if he were vandalizing his own work – until, with targeted panache, he turns the blob into a recognizable buoy. We see James Fleet’s dismayed Constable fearing his own wings have been permanently clipped. – from an interview with Mike Leigh here in The Guardian.
Helvoetsluys - the City of Utricht, 64, Going to Sea 
by JMW Turner exhibited 1832
oil on canvas, support 914 x 122 mm
image via the Tate here
Turner (Timothy Spall) and Constable (James Fleet)

 We are able to see the world through Turner's eyes via the amazing cinematography of Dick Pope. According to an interview with Pope on Indiewire here: "I studied Turner's color palette quite a lot at the Tate Britain. Which is a fantastic resource for everything Turner - even the paints he used. We took that, and in a way the film is colored very much in the palette of what Turner was using at the time.We used the paints that he was buying in the color shop as our own palette."
Turner's The Fighting Temeraire with inset of how the scene was portrayed in the film (image from here).

Sony Classics release for Mr Turner in the U.S. is December 19th,  trailer link here.
Beautiful film. I will be seeing it again.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Land, Sea, Sky, Rain

We awoke Saturday morning to teaming rain. Perfect weather for indoor activities such as a visit to Ashawagh Hall and this weekend's Plein Air Peconic show. Plein Air Peconic began as a collaboration with the Peconic Land Trust in 2006. The artists donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of their works to the land trust for land protection and stewardship programs. Many of the paintings are done en plein air on Peconic Land Trust properties.
We met artist Aubrey Grainger.
She mentioned falling in love with Ludlow Farm in Bridgehampton.
I adore her portraits of the livestock seen there.
Ludlow Farm Chicken by Aubery Grainger
12" x 12"
Artist Gail Kern
Gail Kern and Aubrey Grainger were the two artists hosting the exhibition while we were there on Saturday afternoon. It was a pleasure speaking with both of them and seeing their work. I had to laugh as one conversation was not about mixing paint or other arty themes, but about dealing with bees, midges and chiggers while painting outdoors. 
Aubrey Granger and Gail Kern are just two of the talented artsts showing work at this show. All of the work is outstanding and beautifully depicts many favorite local scenes. 
photograph by Tom Steele

If you are unable to stop in this weekend I highly recommend following the artists individually through their websites (links above) and through the following galleries:  
Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor, 
Wallace Gallery in East Hampton
South Street Gallery in Greenport. 
The artists also participate in shows at many of the local museums.
Plein Air Peconic IX
Land, Sea, Sky
October 11th - 13th
10 am - 5 pm
Ashawagh Hall
780 Springs Fireplace Road
East Hampton, NY 

Articles on the exhibition:
KDHampton here
Sag Harbor Press here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Out and About in East Hampton

Today I picked up the new Hilary Mantel at Book Hampton.
Leaving there, this view.
Vered was hosting HIFF festivities.
I scored tickets to Mr. Turner for Monday's showing.