Sunday, August 30, 2015

Artist Appreciation

I was lately made aware and asked to celebrate August's Artist Appreciation Month by Patience Brewster. Massachusetts artist Patience Brewster creates and produces lovely illustrations, ornaments, figures, and stationary through her family owned company. Besides their talent and creativity, you can tell that they are nice people. They got me thinking about my own artistic inspirations.
Vineyard Harvest Fairy by Patience Brewster
The list of artists that inspire me is a long one, but inspiration began at home. I was lucky to be nurtured by creative women. While many artists inspire me on a day to day basis, it was my Mom and Grandma along with other women in my family that started me on this pathway and continue to encourage me to this day.
Four generations:
Front row: great Grandmas Anna and Rhoda (holding me)
Back row: Grandma Ruth and Mom
My parents left us kids with Grandpa and Grandma for a couple of weeks each summer. My grandparents had a dairy farm. We had a blast looking for new kitties, feeding the cows morning buckets of oats, exploring the pasture. My Grandpa let us convert one of the old sheds into a club house which we painted with sage green milk paint. Under the iron framed bed in my Mom's old room were my Grandma's art projects. She made mosaics on plywood with seeds. There was also one that she had made utilizing old costume jewelry. I don't know what ever happened to these folk art creations, but a recent show at the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum had a work by Alfonso Ossorio that brought me back to the moment I discovered Grandma's art under the bed. Grandma! You were ahead of your time.
Blue Dancer (close up) by Alfonso Ossorio
mixed media on panel, 1962
Marla, Gail, Jill and Carol
Mom sewed most of my clothes until I was skilled enough to make my own. In the photo above I am wearing one of my favorite "twirly" dresses. I was probably around 5 years old and dresses that ballooned out while twirling in circles were my favorites. Mom indulged my need for twirly-ness. These little girls had the best times ever.
Mom now expresses herself artistically through her quilting. Above are a few examples of smaller works, her quilted table toppers. I love them! Mom, look how pretty they look. We have other quilt artists in the family. My aunt Sandy and cousin Barbara are both master quilters. We are all inspired by my cousin Roxann. She is retired from the business of art, but still lives an artful life.

My Mom always says that I get my artistic talent from my Dad. He sketched and drew birds and was also an avid nature photographer. Mom, I got it from you too! I am so lucky to have had so many wonderful creative people in my life. I am also fortunate to have a family that encourages artistic expression. Most of all I am grateful to have a husband that shares my love of art. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flights of Fancy

This year's Hampton Designer Showhouse to benefit Southampton Hospital is at a new construction in Bridgehampton. We visited the house in anticipation of seeing some over the top decor and were not disappointed. It's wonderful to see the atmosphere each designer creates and live vicariously through their imaginations. The house is open every day 11:00 - 5:00 until September 7th. Just a few photos:
Pool House Cabana by Crickets Crush
Love this chandelier!
Covered Terrace by Madcap Cottage
The terrace draperies were the perfect touch.
You know I love these deep blues.
Master Bedroom by Dyfari Interiors
Lalique bathroom by Baltimore Design Group
I could picture this room with a glamorous occupant.
Why keep your kayak in the garage?

There is a lot more to see, for a good cause:
presented by Traditional Home
to benefit Southampton Hospital

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chasean Vistas

The Southampton Historical Museum is celebrating Southampton's 375th Anniversary through a series of lectures. Hugh and I attended one of them, last week's talk on William Merritt Chase and the Founding of Art Village.
The lecture was held in the recently restored Sayre barn. Authors Cynthia V.A. Schaffer and Lori Zabar both spoke on the Founding of the Art Village at the Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art. We watched slides! Note the dear camp stool and painter's pallet. The school was directed by William Merritt Chase and operated from 1891 - 1902. Most lessons were taught en plein air. The Art Village was founded to house its students. I investigated this topic previously here: Chasing Chase . We enjoyed the lecture and the gathering afterwards. Prosecco and hors d'oeuvres were served in the pergola on the great lawn of the Roger's Mansion. A summer treat.
The Big Bayberry Bush (The Bayberry Bush), ca. 1895
William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)
Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 33 1/8 inches
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, N.Y., Littlejohn Collection, 1961.5.5 via
Inspired by the museum lecture, we went looking for Chasean vistas, views along the Peconic Bay that appear now as they did a hundred years ago.
We visited Towd Point.
I was surprised at the expansiveness of their bay beach. 
The Shinnecock Summer School had many students that went on to become well known artists. George Bellows was one. The painting below is in Guild Hall's permanent collection. The date of its creation suggests that it could have been painted while attending Chase's classes. I found an extensive  list of the school's students and teachers on the Parrish Art Museum's site in the section called Parrish East End stories under "social networks" here. Many more artists to investigate.
Road with Barn near Sag Harbor, George Bellows 1899
Watercolor, 9-7/8 x 15″
Guild Hall Collection image via
A bayberry bush.
Shinnecock Hills c.1895 by William Merritt Chase
16" x 24" Private Collection via
More information:
  1. Cynthia V. A. Schaffner and Lori Zabar
    Winterthur Portfolio 
    Vol. 44, No. 4 (Winter 2010) , pp. 303-350

    Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc.
    Stable URL:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ben Fenske at Grenning Gallery

Artist Ben Fenske currently has a solo show at Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor.  The subjects of his colorful, light infused paintings are described with expressive brushwork. Fenske's beautiful, lush paintings are better appreciated in person. His not to be missed show is up until Sunday, August 23rd. Here are a few teasers:

Bea, Sunny Room by Ben Fenske
Oil, 39.4" x 31.5"
Gibson Beach by Ben Fenske
Oil, 31.5" x 47.25"
Sunflowers by Ben Fenske
Oil, 23" x 29"
17 Washington Street ( P.O. Box 3049 )
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
Phone: (631) 725-8469

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Plein Air Atlantic Beach

We were inspired to visit Atlantic Beach.
We set up to paint the iconic Beach Hut.
Just as we began, a huge truck arrives and begins unloading crate after crate of supplies. How could could so many supplies even fit into the Beach Hut? We just had to laugh.
I heard a plane over head.
Ha! Yes, we are.
We noted the temperature as we were leaving.
Today's progress, more to do.
by Gail Gallagher
oil on canvas 9" x 12"
by Hugh Gallagher
oil on canvas 9" x 12"
An excellent painting adventure.