Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Grapes No.2

Big Grapes No.2   |   24 x 24   |   oil on canvas

I've been working on Big Grapes No.2 for a couple of weeks now, and it's finally ready to be shipped. This will be sent to Rehs Galleries Inc. in New York, along with Milkshake Mixer on Monday. After I did the grapes painting for Tree's Place Gallery, I had the desire to push the size of this composition up a little, so I re-cropped the image to reveal more detail in the lower lefthand corner and changed the format to a square. Going larger really let me enhance the detail, which is what I love. I wonder sometimes, how big can you go with something like this. I know many of the hyper-realists paint subjects like this as large as 48 x 48, or even bigger. It's got me thinking.

My next order of business is to get work on new paintings for my gallery in San Francisco. C. K. Contemporary has been really patient while I worked on my show for Tree's Place. Thank you Lauren, I really appreciate it. When those are complete I'll be starting on a few commissions I picked up at that same show. Busy . . . which is good!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New York & Cape Cod

the Chrysler Building

Well, Karen and I have just returned from our trip to Cape Cod for my show at Tree's Place Gallery, with M. Collier and it was as close to perfect as I could have hoped. We hadn't visited my brother Doug, who lives in Brooklyn, in years, so we decided to spend a few days in New York before we headed up to the Cape for the show. It was a blast.

9 West 57th Street with Karen & Doug up ahead

We flew up early Wednesday morning and arrived around mid-day. Our first order of business was to meet up with Howard Rehs, the owner Rehs Galleries, Inc my new gallery in New York. Karen and I were warmly greeted by Howard, his wife and father. After we got acquainted, and spent some time viewing the other works in his gallery, Howard took us out for a great lunch, and we all had a nice time talking art. 

After we said our goodbyes, Karen and I knuckled around the 57th street area where Rehs is located and checked out a number of other galleries. This part of town is rich with art galleries, and we each got to visit a couple of our favorites. I specifically wanted to visit the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, and Karen was keen to see Forum Gallery. Fortunately both were open, and the work was terrific. 

We linked up with Doug about six at the Guggenheim Museum of Art where he works, then took the subway out to Brooklyn to see his new apartment. He lives in the Bedford Stuyvesant area in a wonderful building. The view out of his front windows was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. Little girls jumping rope across the street, while boys rode their bicycles up and down the sidewalk, and neighbors communed in the  diminutive courtyards of their brownstones. It was a very peaceful place. We didn't want to leave.

In time we headed back to town, and eventually wound up at Grand Central Terminal. After gawking over it at some length, we went downstairs to have dinner at the Oyster Bar. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I put my vegetarian status on hold for the evening, and had some oysters and scallops. Forgive me. After dinner Doug took the train home, and we walked back to our hotel, which was only a few blocks away. I've got to say the Seton Hotel is a great place to stay if you're looking for a budget hotel in the Murray Hill area. Great location, beautifully remodeled rooms, and very friendly staff. I highly recommend it!

Karen at the Guggenheim

One of the best times we had on our trip was our private viewing of the Guggenheim Museum of Art. The museum is closed on Thursdays, but Doug got us in, and we had the entire place to ourselves. I have to admit it was also a little sad, because there were so many people outside waiting to get in, not knowing that it was closed. Doug said the staff refer to it as, "heartbreak Thurdsay". Once inside we forgot about "the others", and took our time wandering those spiral walkways at our leisure. It was fantastic!

Doug and I at the entrance to Central Park

The entrance to Central Park is just across the street so, Karen, Doug and I headed in. The weather was really perfect, albeit a little warm, so it was a good day to walk in the park. Our first stop was the South Gate House on the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, where Der Weisse Engle met his end in Marathon Man.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

From there we meandered throughout the park, stopping at Cleopatras Needle, the Belvedere Castle, and the Bethesda Fountain. By the time we reached the Boat Pond we were feeling rather parched, and stopped for a drink, and a rest in one of the shaded benches facing the pond. 

the Boat Pond

This was a beautiful spot, and we lingered there quite a while before we continued our walk down the Mall, and out the exit at 59th street. Doug had to return to work, and Karen and I returned to Fresh&Co., the restaurant we had eaten at with Howard Rehs the day before. The food there is really good. Before we split up, we made plans to meet up with Doug again that evening around 7:00, to take the Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. 

the Manhattan Bridge

We all met up again at the pier around 6:30, and boarded the boat for the twilight tour of Manhattan on the Circle Line. The weather was great, and the breeze off the Hudson was welcome relief from the heat in the city. The tour starts at dusk, runs down the Hudson river, around lower Manhattan, then up the East river to Roosevelt Island, then returns after sundown. 

the Brooklyn Bridge

The boat goes under a number of bridges, and I couldn't resist putting up two bridge photos taken on the way out. You gotta have at least one shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. The cruise was a wonderful way to use up the last of the daylight. We just relaxed and soaked in all the sites as the sun went down.

Manhattan skyline at night

A good portion of the cruise is experienced after dark, and the Manhattan skyline at night is pretty spectacular. If you find your self in New York, and want to spend a great two hours on the water touring the city, I advise you to take a Circle Line Cruise. 

42nd Street heading towards Times Square

After we disembarked, we walked over to 42nd street and headed towards Times Square. We wanted to experience a little of that crazy night life, so we just walked. It was really great in a strange way. About 10:00 we were getting pretty hungry, so we found a little Chinese place and had dinner. Once we were done it was time to head, "home". Doug picked up the subway at the Port Authority, and we splurged on a cab back to the hotel.

Our last day began with breakfast at Mon Petit Café, a couple of blocks from the Society of Illustrators. One of the definite planned stops on our trip. We really lucked out here, because they were closed for the day, because of a special student event, but they allowed us in as long as we stayed on the 2nd and 3rd floors. I don't know what we missed on the other floors, but what we saw was amazing. We will definitely go back of we ever return to New York.

Gold Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol c.1962

The main stop on this trip, for me, was to be the Museum of Modern Art. We missed it on our last trip to New York, and I definitely wanted to get in this time. Fantastic! Wonderful! Terrific! Finally got to see some of my favorite art pieces in the flesh. Can't wait to go back. 

After that we took the subway down to Soho to check out more art galleries and see another side of the city. We stopped in to see my old New York gallery Stricoff Fine Art. We were welcomed by Michel the director, and it was fun to see Jeff Cohen's work there. The best in the gallery we thought. We also went over to Gallery Henoch, and then on to Karen's favorite Arcadia Fine Arts. When we finished up there we were pretty bushed, so we allowed ourselves a cab ride back to the hotel.

We met up with Doug one more time that evening for dinner at El Rio Grande. Really good mexican food. Sat outside, took our time, and savored our last few hours with Doug and New York. After dinner we said our goodbyes, so we could get back, pack and hit the sack early since we had an early train to Boston the next morning.

We pulled out of Penn Station at 7:00 am, and had a relaxing ride, arriving in Boston around 11:00. We took a cab to Logan to pick up a rental car, then drove out to the Cape. We got to the gallery around 3:00 and it looked great. Donna, the owner, Julie the director, and Kelsey the assistant director had done a wonderful job of hanging the show. After we visited for a little while Karen and I ran out to the beach. We only had enough time to spend about thirty minutes there, but it was good to see the ocean again. After that we got some food, checked into the motel, got cleaned up and drove back to the gallery for the opening reception.

Checking out Big Grapes

The show went great. Art patrons strolled in and out for the duration of the show, and in the end I sold five paintings. Not too bad. I was very happy. When the doors were closed, and everyone had gone home, Julie and Kelsey took Karen and I out for a wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Abba. We finished up around 11:00, said our farewells, and drove back to the motel. 

It was great seeing everyone at Tree's Place again, but I have to say it was kind of a drag having to come back so soon. I think we should have added just one more day to hang out on Cape Cod. Next time, we'll add that extra day for sure.