Back from Denali/ Tom Gardner

August 24, 2010

The clouds were nonstop and rain and fog were unrelenting for two days……then I got up the morning we were to take a train to Denali, 120 miles north of us and on the way to board, there it was sitting on the horizon, like a ghost.  The clouds had moved on and the sky was perfect,  so perfect the engineer of the train stopped when we were still 65 miles away just to tell us how lucky we all were . Well, I located the side trip excursion guy and told him to get me on one of those planes that fly up to a glacier on the side of  Mount McKinley (Denali),  and he did !   He said as soon as we unload at the national park, a shuttle will pick me up at the hotel and take me straight to the airport.     And sure enough, the pilot told us how perfect the day was and he hadn’t seen it like this all season.   This painting is the final approach to our landing spot, Alice glacier, around the corner from this 6,000 ft cliff to our left.

  When we landed and steped out of the plane, onto the snow, there was a hush, noone could talk it was so magnificent.   the mountain towered over us and yet it was still 15 mile farther up the glacier.  this mountain is taller, by 2000 ft., than Mt Everest.  Although it’s not the tallest point on earth by 9,000 ft. Everest starts out on a plateau that is already 11,000 ft tall. 

  I’ve managed to paint 6 canvases so far, but there are plenty more to do. Sydney Laurence did a beautiful  oil of Mt McKinley, that hangs on the second floor landing of the Rockwell Museum. It’s stuning, you should stop in and see it. 

Of course, down lower , at Glacier Bay, we saw a few griz along the shore munching on a beached whale, gettin fat, and playing in the water.  This trip will keep me busy for quite a while.

AND….. if you haven’t seen G.C.Myers show at Westend Gallery, by all means DO.    He reminds me of what one of the dudes in ZZ TOP said , the last time I saw them,…”hey folks, after 30 years, we are the same three dudes, playing the same three chords…”   Oh but what chords they are !!!!               Well ,Gary dosen’t have to travel to Alaska, or Italy, or any other place …. except  in his mind to paint the same tree and make such fantastic views over and over again. Always taking you somewhere new and worth visiting.   I love the colors he is using and way he is handling the glazes.      Damn Good Stuff.

  Tom Gardner


Chesney’s View

May 7, 2010

On the island of  St. John, in the American Virgin Islands, on the north shore is a place called Peter Bay.  It’s a gated community with fabulous houses over looking the bay.  This is  Lower Peter Bay,where Kenny Chesney has a beautiful house, tucked high over the turquoise waters.  Across the road and up the hill is the new Upper Peter Bay development.  And when I say upper, I mean put on your oxygen masks, cuz the drive is a series of switchbacks that wind you slowly up into nose bleed altitudes.  This is where  I saw and painted this piece . I sat on the deck where the wedding reception was held when Chesney and Rene Zellweger got married.  This is just a small part of the view to be had up here.  The full view looks from St Thomas, on the right  to 180 degrees to your left to Tortolla.  The island in the distance is Yost Van Dyke and the closer islands are a part of St John.  If you stepped off the edge of the deck, you’d plunge down the hill and you wouldn’t  stop (unless a tree  stopped you first) until you’re on the beach.   

  I met Kenny one morning while I was down on the Trunk Bay Overlook where I was celebrating the finish of a small sketch.  The light really threw me for a loop and I was having a hell of a time getting it right.  Well, finally, at 10 am, I got it,  and decided to open a bottle of wine , turn up the radio and dance a little.  Well, sure as heck, a Jeep pulls up with four dudes in it, with baseball hats on, smiling and lookin’ at me.  I told them it’s a hell of a job, painting, but someone has to do it.  They took a photograph of me and took off.  I found out later that it was Chesney and his bunch.    

  When I got back to the studio, I decided to lay the scene out a little differently and try it bigger: thats when this view was born. 

On a makeshift counter, made of a huge squared off log at the end of the deck is carved ” moments turn to minutes, minutes turn to days, days turn into memories” .  Well, these moments turned into this memory of a fantastic time in St John,  a view that very few people have ever seen in St John.

Star Dust

May 6, 2010

—————Posted by Tom Gardner—————-

I guess I should call this one Aurora , but I heard the song Stardust and just felt like it was more poetic.  So here it is, “Stardust”.   Once you see an Aurora Borealis, you will never forget it. I can tell you the years that I have seen  them–1967, 1974, 1987–and if you listen, you can hear them, too !  It’s a swishing and crackling sound.  This is the view of the valley looking from Moss Hill in Horseheads looking over the airport on the right and toward Route 86 right up the middle.   But I had to insert the aurora, cuz I haven’t seen one from this view yet,  but I’m waiting  for it to happen.  That’s the nice thing about being an artist, with just a few brush strokes, you can make all kinds of things happen. I just got tired of waiting, so I made it happen. I’m sure when I do see it for real, it will blow me out of the water and I’ll paint it then. For now, this pleases me, but mother nature has a way of making artists look pretty feeble.  

 At the very end, I decided I needed a sliver of a moon, so there it is. I’m not sure why I needed it there, it just felt right, along with a few stars floating around to try to give some dimension to the sky.

 Night time painting offers a whole new set of problems. If you try it from memory, well, good luck !  Photos don’t catch it either. I’ve stood out on freezing nights, overlooking the valley, with a flashlight in one hand and a brush in the other, stabbing at frozen paint on the pallete. 

 But then, I did see a night time painting of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at an exhibit down there,  so I rifled off a quick sketch from memory. When I finally was able to get back to the exhibit to see that painting again,  I liked my version , I just haven’t translated it to a bigger one yet.

Off To Nepal

April 19, 2010

——-Posted by GC Myers——-

The Dark Blue Above-- GC Myers

Well, I’m not going to Nepal.

This painting  is, however.

Titled The Dark Blue Above, it was chosen by the  newly appointed US Ambassador to Nepal, Scott DeLisi, to adorn the his offices at the US Embassy in Kathmandu.  The gallery that represents my work in Virginia was approached by Ambassador DeLisi’s office concerning this piece and, as a result, it will hang in Nepal for the next three years as part of the US State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, which arranges American art for its diplomatic locations worldwide.

I feel honored to have a piece of mine chosen to be a representative piece of American art in another country and I’m particularly pleased that this painting was the choice to go to Nepal.  If you had asked me to choose a painting of mine to send there, this would have jumped to mind.  I can’t say this with any knowledge but I get the sense this piece will translate very well there.  Perhaps it’s the rich, bright blue in that sky or the the feeling of atmosphere.

I don’t know.  Just a feeling.

I wonder if I can visit it?

Scenes From Italy

April 16, 2010

——-Posted by Brian Keeler———–

Near Monte Marano

Hi, All-

These are some images of last  year’s trips to Italy.  There were two groups that went last year.  The first in Late May and early June was a painting trip with most of the time spent in Todi near Umbria.  It was a great set up at my friend Massimilliano’s Agrotourismo place in the country.  Lots of trips to nearby towns to paint and look at art. This time stumbling upon the work of Pintoricchio ( collaborator with Perugino and Raphael who did a panel in the Sistine as well) in a little

View of Barga

church in the hilltown of Spello.  In the September a group of 14 went for a cultural tour.  These were former students at the art school I attended in York, PA, the York Academy of Arts. This trip was a tour for them as they had never been, so we hit many places to see art. It is great to paint in these places where so many other artist have preceded.  For example the view of me painting at sunset is in the hilltown overlooking Florence called Fiesole. It is much older than Florence, has a Roman Amphitheatre and it is the birthplace of the Renaissance painter known to us as Fra Anglelico.  One of the others is in the front of the architecturally famous hospital designed by Brunelleschi, Ospedale dei Innocenti in Florence.

Ciao- Brian

Brian in Assisi with students

Alessia, our hostess in Todi

Mansfield Students Paint Corning – posted by Martha Campbell

March 9, 2010

A Study of Marty's Painting

“The sunwishes, oh to be the breath on water and a song through trees”      inspired by “Warm Light” oil by Martin Poole

Warm Light by Martin Poole

Spring was breaking even if there was still a foot of snow and the wind chill made picture taking on the bridges seem like 20 above zero. But the sun sparkled on the river and I had an enthusiastic bunch with me who were pretty much willing to join me in any shenanigans I could muster up. I brought my painting class from Mansfield University to Corning on Thursday, March 4th. We didn’t have much time yet we managed to pack in a weeks worth of art! For their next art project they are to emulate the Hudson River School of Painters by becoming the Chemung River School of Painters. The idea was to take photos of the bridges in Corning, and then create a thin, horizontal canvas to paint. They will use the styles based on Hudson River paintings by setting the mood with warm, earth tones. Afterwards we headed to the best little gallery this side of the Mason Dixon, West End Gallery. Unfortunately I had forgotten to call Marty or David, but we managed to have some fun anyway. Lin and Hedy were charming as usual and graciously allowed the group to sketch 3 of their favorite “Little Gems” and then write Haiku about each one. They will take these sketches back to our studio and render them in color. I was delighted when Lin asked me to post a blog and so dear readers; here are a few sketches and poems of some favorite gems. I also am enclosing a photo of these fabulous future painters.

Winter Tree by Anne Bialke

Painting by: Anne L. Bialke
poem by: Rachel Gustin-Westerfer

all alone dusk has come
never smiles in the cold
sailing in dreams


———-Posted By Martha Campbell

Field Trip

March 4, 2010

By David Higgins, March 1, 2010

Every semester, I take my drawing class to West End Gallery. It’s a bit of a treat for the students to get out of the classroom; more importantly, it’s a chance for students to see good art in the flesh.

Alas, it snowed quite a bit that morning, so only half the class made it; really, school should have been canceled. Market Street was totally deserted– yet Linda was gracious enough to brave the snow and be on hand to open the gallery.

My modus operandi is to let the students wander around a bit and decide which piece they would take home with them if they had unlimited cash. Then, each student has to explain in turn what appealed to them about each piece; it helps them learn how to articulate about art, which is a huge part of the game. Students will open up much more readily on a field trip than they will in the confines of the classroom. And their observations are always insightful and interesting! I thought I’d share them with you.

Olivia P. went first; she chose a series of five small portrait studies by Marty Poole, done in a sketchy style with dash and verve. Olivia picked up on the background textures right away, and remarked on how their color and texture contributed a lot to the mood of each piece. Perhaps because she’s also an actress, she noted the poses and how we as viewers pick up on and read those gestures. Every semester, Marty teaches one or two of our students on an independent-study basis, and the students love both his work and his teaching method.

Whitney P. went immediately to a group of tiny fantasy landscapes by Mark Reep. Mark’s work is truly jaw-dropping in its creativity and detail, and students are typically astounded, commonly asking, “are they actual drawings?” This time, Mark had a small sign describing his materials and working methods; it’s hard to believe it, folks, but Mark weaves his magic with simple, ordinary pencils and charcoal (and cotton balls for shading). Whitney wondered if he was inspired by real places like Watkins Glen in addition to fantasy landscapes like those in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The class seemed to like the fact (as I told them) that Mark is just a regular, humble guy from Lawrenceville who likes Metallica and Led Zeppelin.

Katya P., who grew up in Tomsk, Siberia and came to the USA as a teenager, chose some exquisite and exuberant jewelry by Leah Corey of Bath. In explaining her attraction to them, Katya used a metaphor about a European bird called a magpie, which collects sparkly things for no obvious purpose other than the sheer enjoyment of their gleam. Leah is new to West End, and Linda was on hand to explain that the brooch and pin, though large and complex, are meant to be worn. These pieces have a very dynamic and organic style—good stuff.

Stacy W. selected a small gestural still life done by Sheila Ortiz. Stacy picked up on its “Japanese style,” perhaps because she’s a manga fan; she liked its playfulness. Though the ink drawing, presumably done with a bamboo brush, was only about five inches square, Sheila created a tiny dynamo, giving it the motion and vitality of a much bigger piece. She really is a master of calligraphic gesture; I had her visit my class once to guest-teach gesture drawing, and the students got some great portfolio pieces from the experience.

Bryon B. chose a colorful cityscape by Bob Ivers, a one-point perspective scene of tall buildings as a backdrop for people, busses, and cars, all done in Bob’s glorious primary colors. Bryon described the buildings as cliffs and the road as “a river going through a gorge.”

Kevin C. chose a longitudinal red tree painting by Gary Myers. Kevin described it as having a “stained-glass” quality, which speaks to Gary’s skill with light and color. I’ve taken about 30 different classes to West End over the years, and Gary is probably at the top of the student hit parade; his work has an irresistible combination of accessibility and personal vision. I love telling students the (true) story of how Gary took a drawing class at CCC as an 18-year-old freshman, and his teacher (not me!) essentially told him that he had no talent and should give up his artistic ambitions… and how Gary persevered after many years and achieved well-deserved success. One of the most powerful messages that students receive at the gallery is that the owner and the artists are “regular” people with no special training or pretensions—and that indeed, many are former CCC students, like Gary.

Bradan J. went last. He asked if it was OK to choose a piece that had no nametag. I was puzzled until he explained that his choice was the sculpture of a lion that sits in the back window. Aha! We all know that lion, but how many of us actually pay attention to it? That’s the great privilege of being a teacher; I’m constantly amazed at the insights and interests of our students. I’ll never overlook that lion again!

Due to the snow, the other venues on our field trip—the ARTS and 171 Cedar—were closed, so I dismissed the students from there. I was very gratified when they continued to hang around and talk and look at art; you know your students are motivated when they don’t make a beeline for the door at the end of class. And that also speaks about their comfort level in non-artsy-fartsy West End and the beautiful work on display, and Linda’s generous spirit in accommodating a two-hour tour on a day that would see no commerce. Thanks again, Lin!