Refilling the Tank

Andrejs and I spent a couple of days in Washington DC, It was good to leave the studio and get out of my own head – to recharge my batteries so to speak. The goal of the trip was to see the Diebenkorn retrospective at the Corcoran which will close very soon, but side benefits were a great George Bellows retrospective at the National Gallery, and several hours at the National Portrait Gallery.

Bellows’ work at the National Gallery was extensive, and included his early works, and portraits. I had not known the full range of his work:. New York harbor scenes, and the excavation of Grand Central Station, compositions of massive forms,  a study in scale; NYC crowds  and mischievous street urchins; sedate traditional portraits – from the painter of bloody boxing scenes?

The Diebenkorn collection was impressive.  There were a tremendous number of paintings, drawings and prints, ranging from huge to tiny. They were equally impressive in whatever medium or size. It is one thing to see paintings in books or on the web, another experience entirely in person.

After a couple of hours in the National Portrait gallery and American Museum I begin to understand and appreciate  the tremendous range of choices that artists have today. I browsed room after room of portraits that, with minor variations,  pretty much had the same range of tone and color, and the same three quarters (7/8?) perspective. Then in the late 19th and early 20th C there was an explosion of different styles, choices of color, ways of breaking up the space.

Back at home again, and ready to face  the impasse with the Jillian portrait. Suddenly it is clear what color needs to surround the eyes, how the tone in the dark side of the face needs to deepen. The joy of getting close to the resolution of a painting, Then, the question of what to do next.

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After the Hubbub

Crowded gallery at the opening of the September show, "Turning Points"

People streaming in to see the opening of the show

I am at the gallery this afternoon, until 2:30. It is quiet and peaceful after the crowds and noise last night. What a gratifying turnout. I didn’t have even a minute between conversations as old friends and new came in. I am so grateful for all the work my fellow members of the gallery did to help produce this show.  Some people I want to thank are Diane and Alyssa Newton for the work on the card and poster, and publicity. Sheryl Sincow also helped with publicity. Thank you to The Hanging Crew – Eva Capobianco, Patty Porter, Marian Van Soest, James Spitznagel, Margie Nelson, Jane Dennis, Ilene Kaplan for doing such a great job of making everything look so good. It was quite a busy crowd, and I am afraid I might be leaving someone out. On the night of the reception, the reception committee did a great job of providing the punch and snacks – and I have to confess that aside from Terry Plater and Jane Dennis (who was pinch hitting) during the second shift, and Gurden Brewster at the desk, I am not sure who helped out in the early shift, having run in, late and frazzled, after a somewhat frustrating tick removal detour. Patty Porter and Diane Newton surprised us with the beautiful flower arrangement that graces the desk.  I also want to thank Marian Van Soest for her collaboration and helpful critique of the portraits. I am also grateful for my husband Andrejs who keeps me sane during hectic times, does the photographing of paintings, built this web site and introduced me to blogging, and much more.

Anyway, thanks to every one who made this show possible. Pulling a show together at a great gallery like this requires  so many  people doing important but often unseen tasks besides just the work that the painter does by painting.

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Open to the Public

Where to hang each painting -- so many decisions!

Where to hang each painting — so many decisions!

The show is up and ready to be seen. I spent some time at the gallery last night, watching the experts decide where each painting should go, and learning a little from them about how to make those decisions. That is a skill that is beyond me at this time. The hanging crew, meanwhile, was busy milling around in the background, taking out the hangers and nails left in the wall  from the last show, spackling the holes smooth again, and taping up the string that marks the viewing line, which becomes the mid-point of each painting. Some day I will learn how to be a useful part of that job, but for now, I left before they got underway with the hanging, so I wouldn’t be in the way.  I haven’t personally been there yet to see the results of the hanging crew’s hard labor, but  I hear from Marian that it looks great.


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Getting closer

They’re all turned over to the gallery now; out of my hands.

I am so excited. It is getting closer to show time. Today I packed up the paintings securely in boxes.They are ready to take down to the  gallery where I transfer them to the capable hands of the installation  committee who will hang them tomorrow evening. They make the aesthetic decisions about where to place each one.  I am always amazed at how they accomplish the difficult task of hanging each painting at just the right height, and with just the right spacing.They also adjust the lights to optimize the lighting for each painting.  The show opens to the public the next day, on Wednesday, September 5 at noon.  The opening reception will be part of Gallery Night, on Friday, September 7, 5-8pm. This show has been in the planning and painting phase for two years, it is strange how something that has seemed so far in the future for so long finally suddenly becomes NOW! This is the first time that the paintings, which, until now, have just  been a succession of individuals, become an entire collection, seen all at once.  Excited as I am, I am also wonderfully calm because I am sure that my paintings and Marian’s together will make a wonderful synergy.

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Count Down to Opening of Turning Points – New Paintings at SOAG

Waterfront Trail (Cass Park)

Countdown to show time – a million little tasks to pull together. Last week I updated my mailing list and addressed postcards. The hefty collection of invitations winging their way towards friends, colleagues and family makes the show finally feel very real and very imminent. The frames ordered from Franken Frames arrived last Wednesday and I spent two days framing  the smaller paintings. Today I picked up the large paintings that had been framed by a friend.The paintings now look ready for the gallery – all dressed up and ready for a party. This afternoon I trucked some posters to various locations. The show opens in 9 days.

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