Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Taking Advice from Richard Diebenkorn and David Ohlerking

Current State of Commission after changes, 12/22/10
I'm currently working til the bitter deadline to finish a Christmas commission. Painting commissions first of all are challenging just in the fact that you are trying to please someone else. This one is also trying because it's all from photo reference and I'm trying to pull a lot of different ideas together into one piece.

My mission: to commemorate a client's culinary food tour in Italy, from photos supplied, and some key points mentioned by the client, and to work within the scale / dimensions agreed upon.

Page from my sketchbook featuring the selected sketch (top)

Ok, so the aspects gleaned from my conversation with the client were the factors of Mt. Vesuvius always being in view throughout their trip, the amazing pizza, and all the fresh produce and fish. So I went to work on the composition my client selected, but as I've been working in actual scale with paint and color, I'm not happy about how the lower portion is working out. The scale just wasn't working for me; all the produce appearing much smaller than the pizza itself just didn't seem right to me.

In Progress Painting, 12/21/10
So, after feeling a few moments of frustration, I looked at some of the work by TraillWorks' exhibiting artist, David Ohlerking, then went and read the notes on starting a painting by Richard Diebenkorn reminding me about the importance of moving past pretty, destroying things, and starting again. This brought me back to the point of the process of painting, making the painting work. I returned to my easel, scraped away most of the bottom portion and started again, changing scale, painting directly over the streaked remaining paint. Already I'm happier with the direction.The first image in the post is the current state, as of this evening. This must be done by Friday, my plan is to finish tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

David Ohlerking Exhibit - Newton's 2nd Saturday

Detail of Cheddar Alley, 24" x 48", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

The long-anticipated exhibit, David Ohlerking Paints Newton, opens this Saturday evening at TraillWorks with a reception from 5 - 8pm.  Meet David and share some holiday treats, including my grandmother's sand tarts (a simple sugar cookie with egg, flour and sugar) which Joel helped my mom and me make for the first time, and wine and coffee.

I'm so excited to share David's work formally at the gallery. Not only is David an incredibly talented painter, but he's also very prolific, leaving me with many choices as far as hanging the show. He made a trip up to Newton yesterday to finish a few painting backings so that I would be able to hang more of his work.

I first met David early this summer when he was painting free portraits in front of Cheddar Alley. Dennis Becker, husband of Cheddar Alley's owner, Kristi, brought David up to paint. I introduced myself to him and was immediately taken by his fresh approach and his pure motivation! David's work has been in the gallery since that day; I invited him to stop by and he walked over with me right then and there with a wet painting in tow and asked if I would sell them. Sensing his talent and confidence, I said sure.

Quatrefoil (JC's Grillhouse), 24" x 24", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

The works included in the show span only a year in the making, but indicate several clear shifts in his approach to painting. When I first met David he was painting directly on primed Masonite panels, and now he is painting on untouched dry-erase boards, from which he wipes out the paint using stacks of business cards. His recent pieces are immensely luminous because of the subtractive nature of his painting. Not only are there paintings of Newton, but also many other neighboring NJ and PA towns such as Stroudsburg, Easton, Washington, and Chester to name a few. His works started as streetscapes and now have branched out into landscape, and there is a fantastic painting of two sheep!

Two Sheep, 24" x 24", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

Read more about the exhibit and download the complete press release here. Check out some of the paintings of David's on the TraillWorks' Facebook Page.

On top of David's opening Saturday, Newton is going to be hopping with holiday festivities. It's our 2nd Saturday and every December we hold a holiday stroll. During the afternoon, Santa will be strolling Spring Street and then stopping from 4 - 5pm for pictures at Mother Moon Baby Boutique. Then the street will be lit by luminaries during the evening as carolers from the Newton schools get shoppers in the holiday spirit. Cheddar Alley, Trimmings, Truffles, and Toast of the Town are having open houses from 5 -8pm with tastings, pairings, and too many other things to list.

If you haven't made a trip to Newton, NJ yet, now's a great time. A new customer to the gallery today told me she was planning on driving to PA to shop and when she drove through Newton, after seeing all it has to offer, decided she would shop here instead. It's a charming little town, with lots of shopping, eating, and art possibilities on a little street.

I'll leave you with one final hook and reminder of my newsletter contest, if you sign up for my email newsletter by Friday, there are some private offers inside that will be sure to please you. And, you'll be entered to win a 2011 TraillWorks calendar.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Contest Time at TraillWorks!

2011 Calendar Covers
It's contest time at TraillWorks! Subscribe to the TraillWorks' Newsletter for a chance to win a Free 2011 TraillWorks Calendar. We've been putting together a very informative monthly newsletter that fills a lot of the gaps of my web site. It includes many private offers, event notifications, previews to shows, and updates on works in progress. If you haven't seen it, here's the most recent complete newsletter. I've heard from subscribers that they like to open it numerous times to really read it. I'm always worried that it's too long, but everyone I talk to says, no!

May 2011, sample page layout from 2011 Calendar

tax & shipping additional

Calendars have arrived to TraillWorks and a limited number are available. Purchase your edition today. 

CALENDAR FEATURES:28 glossy pages featuring original works painted this year by TraillWorks' owner, Jennie Traill Schaeffer. Calendars are shrink-wrapped with a cardboard insert for easier gift giving and shipping. They're always a hit as small gifts to hair dressers, teachers, and other service professionals, as well as a great stocking stuffer.

All you need to do to enter the contest is subscribe to the newsletter using the TraillWorks' newsletter form, powered by AWeber, at the right between now and December 10th. Only one winner will be selected. Winner will be notified via email. Applicable to new subscribers only. Contest runs now through December 10th at midnight. After subscribing to the newsletter, you will receive an email from asking you to verify your subscription. You must open this email and verify it or you will not be subscribed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recap: Apron Sharing Event

Martha and me wearing our matching vintage aprons.

On Saturday, November 20th, I hosted an Apron Sharing event at the gallery, along with guest artist, Martha C. Hall. We decided to host this as a way to end our exhibit, Two Sides to Every Story. It was a tremendous success! We invited the public to attend, bringing the aprons of their lives.

The idea came about after I gave a lecture on the history of aprons that sparked a flurry of conversation and story-telling. Martha and I realized that people really wanted to talk about their aprons and the people who wore them.

Martha sported both her artist's apron and her woman's work apron, and gave the honor of wearing her dad's dead duck, turkey carving apron to her son, Alex, who attended. I had my husband, Lee's, grandma Fran's aprons on hand, which have been featured in my paintings, plus a stunning pink and grey taffeta vintage apron encrusted with rhinestones given to me by Martha. The aprons spanned the decades, from the Depression and contemporary aprons from Haiti.  

Artist, Martha C. Hall, sharing her dad's turkey carving apron
Martha wrote a blog post last week recalling some of the details of the attendees' aprons. Here are some of her thoughts:

This apron belonged to my dad and was the one he wore at Thanksgiving and  Christmas to carve the turkey. My siblings and I all have such vivid and fond memories of Dad in the "dead duck" apron, so when it arrived in my mailbox via my brother, well, I was extraordinarily excited! I'm happy to have pictures of it on my son and happy to know it's still in the family.

Martha and her son, Alex, a really good sport
There were aprons that belonged to grandmothers, aprons made by a grandfather who was a tailor and did all the family sewing, small aprons meant for children and made by children. Now that I'm fascinated by aprons it's amazing to see how many styles and purposes there are out there. Most aprons are obviously made for work, but there are many more that are so fancy one would never do the cooking in them. They are for dress-up, like serving cocktails to company. It's amazing how the stories about our aprons connect us to our family - and collective - memories. I don't think my fascination is going to end anytime soon. Read the rest of her blog here.

Visitor, Claudia, sharing her apron.

Sara Megletti's mother talking about some not-so-fond memories of her Depression-era apron.

Sara Megletti, owner of PB&J, talks about her Depression-era apron with Karen Balzano and me.
I look forward to more explorations of the apron artistically, thinking about its meaning and various ways to depict it and doing more with aprons at the gallery in the future. If anyone out there is designing and making aprons I would love to consider selling them at TraillWorks. You can get in touch with me via email.