Monday, October 6, 2008

Painting Workshop at the Wayside Inn

Saturday, January 10th .......... 9:30am to 4:00pm

Sunday, January 11th ............ 9:30am to 4:00pm

Experience creating a winter scene and wood graining on a 10 x 18" raised pine panel in the Christopher Gurshin distinctive style of Old New England painting in the memorable atmosphere of Longfellow's Wayside Inn. Begin with morning coffee or tea and fresh baked muffins served in the Inn's Ford room while you prepare for the day.In the historical setting of the old kitchen, a delicious candlight five course luncheon is served at noon. At the end of the day you will finished your painting of the raised pine panel.

The cost is $195.00 and call the Wayside Inn
at 978-443-1776 for your reservation.


Longfellows Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn Road Off of Rte.20, the Boston Post Road

Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776

Rocky Hill Ferry

It just worked out on a recent weekend, that Janice and I would take time going over to Rocky Hill from South Glastonbury on the ferry. We had worked around the yard on Saturday and thought of just relaxing. It would be nice to see the other side of the river and a place we had learned about to have something to eat.

We parked the van and walked onto the oldest continuing running ferry in the country since 1650. There of course have been all kinds of ferry boats but now it is a little tug boat to guide the ferry back and forth.

The tugboat, Rocky Hill, turns around ready to go to the other side and it will only take about four minutes to get there.

We were hungry for our long awaited breakfast on this beautiful weekend Sunday morning at a place we read about called Mitchell's on the River. It's a small place just with seating on the out side deck. Even though it was mid morning we wondered why we had our choice of seats on the porch. We ordered and were surprised when we were told there was a gas leak problem that was just discovered. It seems that the gas was used up earlier and that there wasn't any to cook with when we ordered. How disappointed we were! Well, at least they offered us coffee at no charge!

Afterwards we went for a little walk to an interesting gift shop nearby called Tapestry Rose, located in what was the old train station. Later we went back to wait for the ferry and just enjoyed what seemed like a far away experience. Maybe it's because we were walking around in a different area, but we could have been miles away instead of just three.

Janice and I still had a nice time feeling like we were on a vacation, just peacefully looking up and down the river.

It's a lot easier to get across the river than the earlier days, but the experience is still the same today as it must have been years ago.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Horse & Carriage ride on Main Street

I was finishing a painting of the Web-Deane-Stevens museum in Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, settled in 1634, where George Washington met with Count de Rochambeau in preparation for the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.
The final element in the painting happened to be a horse and carriage traveling by the museum and so it was very exciting and timely to see it in real life as we were on our way to the shop, Antiques on Main. My wife Janice and I wanted to see if there were any more small bottles for her collection and also to drop off a few Country Registers. The horse and carriage ride, offered by The Allegra Farm of East Haddam, Connecticut, was right across the street from the museum. There was no waiting line for the carriage ride so after dropping off the Country Registers at the antique shop, we decided to go for a ride.
At the start of our ride, the coachman in colonial attire greeted us and the door was opened for us into another world. Our particular coach was called a "Brougham" named after Lord Brougham, (1778-1868) , an English statesman, and the restored interior was authentic with a beige velvet material, tufted and pleated as it had been originally. We were excited and happy to come upon this unexpected pleasure to get a traveling experience of looking out as others might have done two centuries ago at the beautiful old homes still standing today.
The Allegra Farm of East Haddam, an authentic "livery stable" for over two decades, provides carriage rides, sleighing party rides and even the experience of a western chuck wagon dinner ride. They travel all over New England and the Tr-State area for weddings, city and town events festivals, parades parties and film parts. Private carriage rides and hay rides may be enjoyed from the farm any season or at your favorite location.

The elegant team of horses were happy and relaxed plodding along at a slow pace, a far cry from their previous life as racing horses. The ride lasted about fifteen minutes but brought to one's mind and imagination another slower pace in time. The ride was pleasant and cozy hearing the carriage creaking and the clip clopping of our two former old race horses going down Main Street.

So if you are visiting Old Wethersfield and you have a few extra minutes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon this summer, take some leisurely time for yourself and take an enjoyable horse drawn carriage ride for just $5.00 per adult. I wonder how many of our vehicles of today will give rides to those wanting the experience of the year 2008 in 250 years?
Christopher Gurshin

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Antiques, Bottles & Flowers

Welcome to Antiques on Main of Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, voted the best antique shop now for the third year in the Hartford magazine's Best of Hartford 2008 May issue. It is located next to the firehouse on Main Street. I have a variety of my work available there from paintings, tinware, art signs of the town and my wonderful collectibile houses. Historic Old Wethersfield, founded in 1634, is a special place to experience a communtiy of authentic New England heritage, museums, old architecture, places of interest nestled along tree lined streets. Of noted interest also is the Webb House where Washington and Rochambeau planned the Campaign of Ending the Revolutionary War at Yorktown in 1781. The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum is a must to visit and just a few steps from Antiques on Main. Across the street from the museum is the J MICHAELS TAVERN, located in the historic Standish House, where I also exhibit my work.

Janice and I wandered around the shop and she was happy to find some small bottles. One was a medicine appearing bottle, a decorated little vase and an old ink bottle. Then when we got home Janice picked some flowers from the carpet of Myrtle along the edge of the stone walls, which were perfect for the new collection of bottles.

This is a half Federal house with an ell addition I made and with a painted scene all around. I couldn't resist making the image of a flowering tree by placing the Myrtle flowers in the back.

Looking forward to seeing you here at the studio in Glastonbury just over the river from Old Wethersfield, where there are plenty more houses of different sizes and shapes that I've made to bring an accent to your home.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Marblehead Art Walk

April 11th and the 12th was the first time for the Marblehead Art Walk, a partnership of the Art Association and the Chamber of Commerce where various artists were featured in participating small businesses throughout town highlighted with hanging ballons. Friday night was the preview opening and then all day Saturday. I was featured at the Marblehead Arts Association and set up in the front parlor where I demonstrated pencil drawings and gave them away to a fortunate few. Saturday was also the antique appraisal day up in the ballroom with Paul Royka from the Antiques Road Show where many brought in their "treasures".
For this showI did several new paintings, three are shown below, and at the end of the day I placed them in my gallery on the second floor where I hope you can visit someday. This was another successful event in the wonderful town of Marblehead and promises to be again next year in the Spring.

This is an 11x14 painting of Old Tucker's Wharf based on an old post card from my father's Marblehead collecton of many harbor scenes. This shows the wharf from the rocks of Crocker Park which is still there today except all the buildings have changed or are no longer there.

This is an 11x14 painting of Old Appleton's Wharf and is where the Boston Yacht Club is today.

This 11x14 painting is an image of the Fort Sewall lobster shacks where at one time many were there. In the background is Gerry Island and Peach's Point.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Country Class

On the last Saturday in March, I gave a small private class here at Early New England Homes built by Country Carpenters, the company that also built my barn a few years ago. This model home is open to the public for viewing and when it first opened I spoke to the invited guests about what a wonderful contribution to New England's harmony it was. Eric Sloane, a well known writer and artist of New England would have been so happy to have seen this as well I'm sure.
I did a painting of this complex used on the cover of their brochure. New England Homes is located in the Connecticut countryside of Bolton, a short distance from my Art Studio & Gallery in Glastonbury.
I did a similar class recently in January at the Wayside Inn in Massachusetts. Fred from Country Carpenters asked me about the possibilities of holding a class in Connecticut and then the day finally came. We started at 9:30 on a crisp beautiful morning and it wasn't too long before everyone was pounding away, finishing by 4:30. How fast the day went, but now on this Saturday March, 29th, time was forever frozen with the creation of the "little pine footstool"

Everyone is busy sanding after the roughed up and distressing steps were done previously. It gets noisy with all the pounding and filing! The idea though is to keep in mind not to over do it but give the piece a character of 200 years of use. In the barn there is a display of old tools helping to bring the feeling into the piece as well.

Everyone is concentrating with the final details before the last step of varnishing.

The class all with their finished projects and seven hadn't ever painted before. When the stools were lined up drying I picked one up thinking it was my own, but was surprised that it was Mike's (on the left ). Everyone went home with a smile and all had good reason to be happy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Collecting Houses from the Barn

I look forward to your visit here in Connecticut to my Studio & Gallery where the flowers soon will be blooming and the birds singing. Please call first to be sure I'm in at 860-633-7707. I will be happy to show you the many houses and barns I have made from large timbers to very small pieces of pine.

When Country Carpenters built the Studio & Gallery post and beam barn, there were some leftover timbers. This is a 4x8 that I used to make this "row" house with scenes and buntings and flags on both sides. I even used old copper from the chimney flashing to make cut out designs and nailed them on the houses. A story is told in the design of the celebration of America by the little band marching by on what I envisioned was a voting day.

This is a set of of three cut from one piece of 3/4" pine wood. There are a wide variety of different houses and barns here in the gallery, that can capture an Old New England accent in any season wherever you want to display them. Each and every one has a finishing patina of history.

I made this collection of small houses for my wife Janice and although very tiny, as the dime shows, they bring a nice accent when arranged on the kitchen counter.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Firescreens at the Tavern

I recently painted two fireplace screens at JMICHAELS TAVERN with a red onion tile effect to simulate a fireplace that was once there. There actually were two removed many years ago to make a stairway that leads up from the kitchen to four dining rooms on the second floor. When visiting during renovations several months ago, I saw that they were painted just solid black and I suggested this to compliment the wonderul panel wood work. The red onion is a symbol of the town's heritage that was so famous years ago.

J MICHAELS TAVERN at 222 Main Street and the First Church of Christ built in 1761 and 1764.
There are wagon rides similar to what is shown at special times throughout the year.

The Webb, Deane, Stevens museum houses across the street from the J MICHAELS TAVERN in the center of the oldest town in Connecticut, Old Wethersfield established in 1639.

I also exhibit other folk art paintings at the tavern that are available for purchase. It's a special experience to sit near the screens and let your imagination wonder through the times while having a wonderful dining experience. Visit the museum across the street where George Washington had stayed in the Webb house in 1781 planning the battle of Yorktown.

Just a little further up the street visit Antiques on Main where I have various other original works of Old Wethersfield or call me to visit the studio just across the river in Glastonbury.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Making one of my Puzzles

On cozy winter evenings at the end of a working day, my wife Janice likes at times to relax putting a puzzle together. I first wondered how that could be "relaxing" and thought it would be frustrating instead and impossible to fit a thousand pieces together. Well, after sitting down with her a couple of times I began to look forward to joining in and getting a little brian "excercise". It was fun to be together working on sorting the colors and shapes to fit and feeling the satisfaction of accomplishing something. It's a nice way not only to exercise the mind, but it was relaxing working on it a little at a time.

I hated to take apart the few puzzles that we did and instead just laid them down upstairs in my studio. However with this puzzle, "Marblehead Fish Company," I noticed that my signature was missing. So I have made this one very special by signing the box and the completed puzzle on the bottom right , noting that Janice and I finished it in February '08. This will be offered for sale on ebay someday but until then you're invited to come by my studio to see it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Better Connecticut"

On Monday, February 4th I was at the J MICHAELS TAVERN in Old Wethersfield where I soon will be installing two large firescreen panels with paintings of the tavern and the Webb, Deane Stevens museum across the street. Scot Haney of WSFB channel 3 in Hartford, was filming a story of the recently opened restaurant for the program "Better Connecticut" and he met me therefor the first time. It was from this meeting that he came to my studio & gallery where there was also plenty to see for a story. The segment aired two times on Friday the 8th and once on Saturday morning the 9th. This brought in interested vistors to the gallery and a special story of one of my earlier paintings that surprised me. Everyone called ahead of time to let me know of their arrival and I invite also to visit when the time is right.

Flying Painting

I have done many paintings for over 42 years and I sometiimes wonder where they go after being puchased. On Sunday afternoon I was told a story about one of my paintings that I never heard before.

Early Saturday morning was the third airing of the segment "Better Connecticut" with my interview with the host Scot Haney that was seen by Jack A. from Westbrook. It seems Jack was trying to find more about me for three years and when he heard my name it caught his attention right away. I got a call later Saturday regarding a very interesting story of how he aquired one of my early 18x24 framed canvas paintings. He first asked me if I were the same person describing a painting he had and sure enough , I was.

He told me about driving down Rte.1 a few years ago driving in back of a car that just pulled out of a flea market. All of a sudden a painting flew off of the cars roof and flew up in the air landing in the highway and he swirved immediately to avoid it. The car behind him though ran over it! As Jack came to a stop he was able to retrieve it. It seems that the painting must have been forgotten on the top of the car from New York as it drove down the road.

The only damage was tire tracks on the back side, and the beautiful gold frame had a distressed edge which was hardly noticible. The painting "Snow Shoes" is in excellent condition and was done I believe in 1985 as I didn't date work many times in the early years. It's interesting for me to see this era of primitive work having less details in my paintings of today. When he mentioned this find to a friend , he wondered if this painting could be his "retirement" and he hung it proudly in his house. That sounded good to me as I look around my gallery at all of my paintings. Jack was quite pleased to finally know more about his flying painting along Rte. 1 in Connecticut. I'd say that is quite a unique way to start a collection!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

300 year old milestones to Boston

Along an old stone wall in Newbury, is the first one of four milestone markers indicating it is 37 miles to Boston. On the sides there are references to Portsmouth and also Ipswich. These are beautifully carved designs made exactly three hundred years ago that we can still witness today almost as clear as then. Do you ever stop and think about how it was to travel the roads of many years ago? When I travel at times I'm thinking how easy and fast it is to get from one place to the next even if caught in a traffic jam. In some of my paintings I have used these milestone markers which were the "highway signs"of their day and a far cry from the "global positioning systems" known as GPS . These stone markers are passed by daily for all to see and I often wonder if they are ever really noticed now. I wonder too, how these were positioned, who carved them, the activity of the time putting it all together, what the travel conditions were like, how often a trip was made, the different characters, what taverns and Inns were along the road and wonder how long it took?

This is along a curve on the Boston Road with 36 miles to Boston. I almost wonder if there was a mistake carving out 30 at first and then made into a six. Notice also the different carved designs at the bottom.

The stones are all different shapes and designs carved out. This reads 35 miles to Boston.

This might be the same view on the way to Boston traveling along the marshes often flooded in the spring.

The last stone shows on the left it is 3 miles to Newburyport and on the right it is 33 miles to Boston, carved in 1708. This stone is in front of the Governor Dummer Academy in Newbury where there is a tradition of students walking around it after graduating.

There have been other articles written in magazines and books, but this set of four milestones are unique to find and perhaps you can see them as well someday....... or maybe find them in a painting I have done.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pennsylvania Visit

Tom and JoAnn from Pennsylvania, visit the gallery on their way back from a weekend at the Wayside Inn. JoAnn has attended many classes over the years but this was the first time it was convienent to stop by.

JoAnn just didn't believe that the brick and "metal door" imitation, was painted on the chimney extention when the barn was built. This is on the second floor of the studio where I also paint during the spring and summer.

Before heading back to Pennsylvania, JoAnn and Tom take their Springer Spaniels, Raven and Cache down through the woods to the "Million Dollar View" of the rolling hills to the Connecticut River. I like to sit when I have a chance and just relax for a moment or two.

Saturday's class at the Inn

I often have a class in painting at the Wayside Inn every January and this past Saturday the 12th was a wonderful memory for all. What a perfect day with the weather and health of all which is something I always wonder about. There is a lot of anticipation and excitement in the day that goes by so fast.

Janice and I settled at the Inn about 8:30 and went to dinner in the very room I would have the class. We had a nice seat right close to the fireplace to enjoy. After that we went up to one of the ten rooms of the Inn where we made out the class certificates that students would be receiving. The students are from everywhere including Jo Ann from Pennslyvania, Gary from New Hampshire, Grace from Connecticut and others from all different parts of the state.

Have you ever heard of the Secret Drawer Society at the Inn? These are letters found in different drawers and places hidden in the rooms written by the many visitors. The letters describe personal insights, of joy, happiness, hopes and loves of those that are fortunate to experience the Wayside Inn. There are no televisions in the rooms but reading the letters, then writing your own, creates a special place to be part of history.

We set up the class early so when the students arrive they can enjoy the coffee and muffins before class.

The luncheon was relaxing in the old kichen with the crackling fireplace making for a classic time. We all then got down to business painting the scene on the little bench. There were at least three students that never painted before and did quite well. It's nice to see and now they too have created something frozen in time, everthing else is a memory.

If interested in classes just email me and I'll let you know of other up and coming classes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wayside Inn to the North Shore

January thaw came at a nice time Tuesday the 8th when I went to the North Shore after first going to the Wayside Inn. No matter how many times I walk the pathway to the Inn, it is so wonderful to experience. I wanted to check on the last minute details of the class I'll be giving Saturday.

After that I went through Swampscott about an hour away and took a moment just to reflect the beautiful day again. My daughter Vanessa took Janice and I to Anthony's Pier Four Cafe that overlooks Lynn Shore beach for dinner one evening after my special 40th Anniversary exhibit I had in Marblehead two years ago.

I then continued to Marblehead to the King Hooper Mansion where my gallery is on the second floor and brought in some new paintings. The historic mansion is the home of the Marblehead Arts Association where there are many events and activities throughout the year. There are many views of the old town from the windows toward the harbor each day and I use it as the wallpaper screen on my computer. When you visit the mansion , be sure to tour all the the different galleries in the three floors and the wine cellar which was the old kitchen. I not only have paintings there but also original art signs, decorated old tin pieces, drawings, prints, post cards and unique painted pieces such as the very collectible pine wood houses and barns in all sizes that is "Old New England". I met a couple there Tuesday that didn't know the gallery was my work and asked if everything he saw was the "founders" gallery because he had seen the work in the summer and it had that old look. I hadn't heard that before but that is the feeling of what my work can bring ........... as if it did exist back in time.