Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Folk Art Houses

October is a time I enjoy creating paintings and houses to capture Halloween. Here are a few of my latest collection which I'll be showing soon at the Country Folk Art Festival of New England which is in Marlborough, Massachusetts at the Royal Trade Plaza. The show opens Friday night October 28th then Saturday and Sunday. This is a painted copper cut out with a muslin Halloween flag and also a small branch for a "tree". .............. # 154/11 ..... 4l x 3h

This is a pine house with a painted copper scene mounted in back with a painted muslin flag. .........#155/11 ......... 3w x 4h x 1.25w When I had the studio/gallery post and beam barn built a few years ago,there were some timbers left of which I made this saltbox house painted with Halloween scenes on both front and back. It also has copper cut outs, muslin banners, laundry "drying", ghosts, a flag, old apple branches for cord wood and a an old "tree". ............#133/11 ...... 3.5w x 6.5h x 8 This house has Halloween showing but on the other side it is an Americana design. Notice the ghost coming out from the bird house. There are also copper cut outs, painted muslin banners and flags. ...... #167/11 ..... 2.5w x 6.5h x 8

These are but a small sampling of the work I'll have at the show but if you can't make the show you can always email or call for additional information.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Glastonbury Town Clock

Glastonbury is a wonderful town east of Hartford on the Connecticut River that I moved to in 2002. One of my first paintings of the area was to capture some of the points of interest that I thought made up the town. The composition shows the South Glastonbury tobacco fields along the river in the distance and where the Glastonbury/Rocky Hill Ferry is, the oldest continually working ferry in the country. The town is also well known for their apple orchards, the Apple Festival in October that attracts 30,000 people each year and the Old Cider Mill. My studio/gallery is next door to it. What I didn't show is the town clock in front of the Welles/Shipman house (yellow) on the corner because it didn't exist at the time. Prints, postcards and decorated boxes with this scene are available at Emmy Lou's, LTD.

Well, here is the Howard Post clock that our town is raising funds for that will complete the center of town at the corner where everyone will be aware of the time. It's town spirit will be for all to see and to be a part of history, and an opportunity for everyone that loves Glastonbury to be a part of it.

Simulated photo above by Peter Billard Photographer 860-633-6300

Donations are welcome by writing a check to the Town of Glastonbury, c/o Information Center, P.O. Box 6523, Glastonbury, CT 06033

Under check memo write: TOWN CLOCK

Or if convenient when down town contributions are being collected at Emmy Lou's, LTD, 17 Hebron Ave.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Marblehead, Crocker Park and a visit

I made a trip June 30th to Marblehead bringing some work for the gift shops at the Art Association and also the Historical Commission. This is always a pleasant trip to see my home town again and friends...... after leaving there 46 years ago, it still seems like yesterday despite the many changes.

I sat at the wharf having my lunch where the lobster boats still come in to unload their catch. The traps though are all metal now and not the wooden ones a lobsterman might have made in the winter months. In 1981 I wrote a small illustrated book call A Lobster Tale, which is still available, and in it my friend Arthur, made his lobster traps in the winter. That was my one day of ever lobstering and I made drawings of it for a calendar back then.

A short distance from the wharf is Crocker Park and looking inland you'll see the famous landmark in town, Abbot Hall, where the Historical Commission gift shop is. Most well know too is the original painting of the Spirit of "76, which is very inspiring to see. I think it measures about five by eight feet.

The stage was getting set up for the entertainment coming with thousands of people to watch the harbor illumination and fireworks. The harbor views are always spectacular but even more special on the Fourth. Some things never change, the rocks, views, and days of summer with swimmers on the float to the lower right.

I did this painting depicting Crocker Park when I heard the 1812 Overture being played before the fireworks began. Here is the Boston Pops, on a Victrola, conducted by Arthur Fiedler, firing of the cannon, and the pig, Pops, wagging his tail to ring the bell. I had a surprise call on the Fourth of July from an old classmate, MHS'63. He came by after leaving Marblehead returning to his home in New York. It was Charlie and his wife Machiko and I found out they won the bid for the buoy I did for the Art Association's silent auction. Never thought I'd see the lobster buoy again.

This was a Fourth to remember and I hope yours was as well.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Antique Autos visit

Last January I was asked if I would be interested in hosting the first stop of the antique auto tour called the "Autoneers Tour" on June 11th. It was 80 miles of a set course around Glastonbury an area of which my studio was the first stop. As it turned out there was five feet of snow when it was first planned at that time but unfortunately it did rain that morning.
So because of the rain, many didn't show and only those that had top covers did because all the autos were made before 1915. I prepared a welcome notice on the black board by the barn door complete with my early iron toy car displayed on the shelf. My father found two of them in the attic floor boards of a Marblehead house our family lived in on Pleasant Street. I never knew what happened to the larger one but that was about 60 years ago.
The hum sound of the first car came and it was that of the Stanley Steamer. Having to top off the water it then maneuvered closer to get to the hose. Very exciting to see and hear. This auto parked near the Hemlock Trees, looked the same as it would have a century ago. When it was time for the Stanley Steamer to leave, you knew it as the clouds of steam filled the air

One by one they were gone only to leave a memory and these images. I wonder if they will ever be back? Maybe on a nice sunny day?

The Stanley Steamer sure did leave a cloud of steam vapors in the air for others to experience and a big blast of it's horn sounding like a steamship leaving port.

Changes at the Wayside Inn

It was late last winter that I heard there were going to be some changes to the Inn ...... outside dining in the front! There were a lot more changes to see when I visited recently and wanted to share them with you. The long narrow walk on the board planks with hedges on either side are no more. There is now a brick walkway edged with granite, wonderful stonework and new plantings that will mature in the years to come.
In this "old" photo shows the corner door where it will be open for you to step into a different dining experience at the Inn. Roberta, from the gift shop, celebrated her birthday with the Innkeeper and others for a few minutes which was also her first time on this new patio. One can still have a pleasant relaxing time just sitting in front of the Inn. Let your mind wonder about the many visitors that walked up to the front door and know their enjoyment would probably be the same I'm sure.
Maybe there would have been a few more verses to the poem written in Longfellow's Tales of the Wayside Inn?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flowers for the Studio/Gallery guests

After the winter, it's exciting once again to see the blooms of many flowers in the yard and the days ahead of shopping for more annuals. A favorite flower to see is our beautiful yellow rhododendron bush and I enjoy seeing the buds develop in the spring with a tint orange.

The witches broom flowering shrub took a real beating last winter and I wondered if the many yellow flowers would bloom again. I had to tape up many branches and propped them up from the weight of the snow, but they made it again. The cat's eyes against the stone wall bloom every morning and then close up in the heat of the day. The familiar purple rhododendrons seem to grow more each year. There's always the trip to the local nursery to get annuals needed to complete all of the spring accents needed. This particular place we found was called Flower Power and it reminded me of when I did paintings in 1970 and called that brief period of time the same name. I outlined in black bold bright colors of not only flowers but other compositions.

A short time ago we hosted a Chamber event for the Creatives Group where several members explained what type of work each did. It was a goal to get the flowers planted to make the place look it's spring best for all. Everyone enjoyed the talks including some instructions from the Fred Astaire Dance Studios. If planning a visit this summer there will be plenty of flowers still to see along with many works of art in the gallery.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amish Countryside in Pensylvania

I was asked several months ago to teach my style of painting and I agreed to do another class in Pennsylvania at a place called Steph's Folk Art Studio where primarily they teach decorative painting. I taught a few classes back in the 90's and it was nice to return to Amish Country when first coming off the Pennsylvania Turn Pike heading towards Strasburg. I look forward to having a collection of Amish paintings maybe sometime this summer.

Some of the class students hadn't ever stenciled before but did fine work and they are looking forward to more classes. Perhaps some will even travel to the Wayside Inn for a class but that's way off right now.

Janice and I knew for sure we were in a different part of the country when we saw our first Amish sighting along the road. I caught the young Amish boy right before he waved. I wonder what he was thinking?

At the stop sign in the road, clip-clopping at a quick pace I took this classic photo of an Amish horse and wagon taking a left turn. We never got tired of hearing seeing this sight. On the way back, I missed the Garden State Parkway and had to cross the George Washington Bridge. It took one hour to drive a mile before reaching the toll booth! We thought of the spring greens of the Amish countryside and horse drawn wagons we just left as we drove back to Connecticut. Well....there was a little green out the car window but not quite the same.

Marblehead Lobster Buoy

July 4th has always been a very special time in my old home town of Marblehead. The buoy I did for the Marblehead Arts Association's silent auction is one of many in a collection of other artists that will be unveiled at the gallery at the King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street in town on June 3rd. This very special celebration of America, Town of Marblehead, The Spirit of '76, the harbor illumination of flares surrounding thousands of boats, the skyline of Abbot Hall, Fort Sewall, memories of the USS Constitution visiting 1n 1996, the 1812 Overture and of course the fireworks are all things that I enjoyed capturing in my lobster buoy. Lobster buoys are scattered around the waters of Marblehead with the hopes of capturing lobsters at the end of the line.
I wrote a small book back in 1981, with twelve illustrations of my one and only time lobstering with my friend Arthur. I think of that time when I have decorated the different buoys over the years............... Marblehead Forever!

Signed copies of "A Lobster Tale" are available at $10.00 each postage paid.
CT residents at sales tax.

Good Morning View

This is the "good morning view" each spring day from the kitchen window........ when of course the sun shines. I didn't waste anytime to capture this image as it doesn't last too long. On May 1st, I also noticed that there was a very striking blue bird amongst the sparrows in the feeder so I got my camera right away.

I first thought it was a blue bird only because my neighbor Becky has them nesting in her yard. I took many photos and gave her a few which she knew right away and excitingly told me it was an "indigo bunting". She never had seen one and later would try to capture a view as it came back for three days early morning or late afternoon. But she had no luck.

The indigo bunting is a most beautiful blue with a darker blue on the top of it's head and I hope everyone has the opportunity one day to experience seeing one.

I still look out with hopes for a sighting again but it would be nice just to see a blue sky.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Country Travels in Kensington,NH

I recently stayed overnight with my son and his family in Exeter, New Hampshire. Taking the Amesbury Road(Rte.150) back to Newburyport I thought it wasn't every day to have the opportunity for the ride early in the morning and a chance to take photos for future subjects to paint. The road was clear of traffic and as soon as I started I saw a tree that was particularly interesting. A car was close behind so I couldn't safely stop. Everything has a reason because shortly a little further was the old school house I've seen many times but not in the early morning light. I stopped to "freeze" the moment and soon saw a lot more.
Right beside me at the corner from the school house was a peaceful reflection of spring in this little pond and a lot more. I could have stayed there for a while just absorbing nature realizing the changes from all the snow this scene went through last winter.
There was a sign FRESH EGGS and behind it was an old hand watering pump I'm sure in years past much appreciated.
Across this little intersection was a house I remember when it was for sale a long time ago and dreamed of buying it. There are beautiful barns that also went with the property.
Right across from the egg sign was the Kensington Esquarian Center with horses enjoying their morning eating which I was thinking about too. Well, right down the road was the Country Brooke Cafe and I thought that I would go in. I was warmly greeted and offered with a choice of seating at the counter or the several booths. This is not your usual kind of place but a real "country" place with a pleasant atmosphere "where you come in as strangers and leave as friends" as it says on their business cards. I had noticed the muffin sign and one was interesting ........ Coconut Lime ! Never heard of that but they are home made and my waitress Heather said the cook is always offering different flavors such as peanut butter and jelly, or even a snickers one. I wanted more than a muffin, so I ordered a scrambled egg with home fries and raisin toast. Best raisin toast I ever had! I would be sure though to take home a couple of muffins. I mentioned the place to several friends in Newburyport and they too will be making a visit there some day.

A very short distance from having breakfast is this familiar scene and made famous by Samuel Chamberlain in his New England photo books from years ago. I did yard work for him as he sat watching me pull up weeds when I was twelve living in my home town of Marblehead.
Here is the Coconut-Lime muffin and also a Blueberry muffin where Janice and I are looking forward to eating them. I've done many works using the blueberry muffin theme and have a few prints left which you can see on the "print" page of my site. I can't offer a muffin to you but I'm glad to share the trip along the road of Kensington, New Hampshire.