Monday, September 24, 2012

Mother Daughter day in Newburyport

 It had been a while since my daughter and I had spent any time together.  So we decided to take some time, possibly knit, chat, eat on Sunday afternoon.  We chose to head to Newburyport, a charming, re-developed port town on the Merrimac River.  I think we would have had a good time anyway, but we certainly picked one of the most beautiful days of the summer OR Fall so far.

Our first stop was the Walsingham Art Gallery.  I have only been there three times in three months, but each time I see something new, by an artist new to me... and pretty much without exception, I like EVERY artist they represent.  Robert Bolster paints big paintings of  humble boats.  Most of the canvases are 46 x 46.  Reading his bio, it turns out that he masks each canvas so that only a fractional squre is visible.  He paints that square.  Then the next.  Then the next, enlarging parts of his reference sketch or photograph as he goes along.  Consequently, the paintings are cohesive (because of the underlying plan), but also subtlely disjointed (because of the sub-square sections).  They are beautifully varnished and shiny, just like real water.

"Stormy" by Jim Karlovich
I gather Karlovich is primarily self-taught, but that while a carrier pilot in the US Navy, he spent a lot of time in Italy, immersed in the rich aestheticclimate of grand art.  Can't you smell the salt water?
There were two large encaustic pieces, into which maps had been embedded, and which seemed to have oceanic influences.  I couldn't read any details that told me where this "map monster" came from, but no matter.  The design, texture, colors and composition seems to work just fine.

Next we walked over to the neighboring "A Shore Thing" which is sort of a decor/gift shop for people who have or love beach cottages. We oohed and aahed at many hand made objects as well as things that were clearly more commercial, but still anything but run of the mill.                   I noticed that they have lots of BIRDS.  Of many different types, materials and attitudes.  (You may remember the felted chicks that I featured a few months back). This time, I was enchanted by papier mache birds made out of news paper.  Can't wait to see if they are doable at home.  They were very moderately priced, so I might just go back and BUY one or two!

They had things made from driftwood.  My daughter especially liked this tree of twigs.  I liked the wire-wrapped sea-glass ornaments.
We laughed out loud at at this BED & BREAKFAST sign.  I'm sure lots of people with beach houses and not-so-welcome house guests would like to have one.

Even the wild colored gate seemed like an entrance to a vacation.

I was fascinated by the patterns of light and shadow on the wood siding.  Another bunch of patterns to paint.

Another laugh-out-loud sign

My feet hurt too much to figure out the best angle for the diminishing line of guard stanchions and the loopy chain and chain shadows.  Ah, the blessings of a clear sky and strong sunlight!
We re-parked and located A Loom With A View.  The owner, Betsy Martin welcomed us and found us pattern after pattern before she settled down with a "cricket" loom and some wild yarn called "Fairy Dust" by Knit Collage.It seemed like we were old friends.  I was thrilled when she remembered to mention that she was chartering a bus (and selling tickets) for a Yarn Adventure to the RHINEBECK FIBER FESTIVAL.
I think my daughter and I are going to hold back some cash and go... EVEN if it means being in Newburyport at 5 am!  WiFi on the bus.  Door Prizes.  Lots of cargo room to stow woollie goodies.

I also snapped photos of some books I hadn't seen before.  They'll go on my wish list.

We circumnavigated THAT block, stopping in to the independent book store,  The Book Rack. 
The Book Rack is one of three book stores owned by   Bob and John Hugo.  They also own the independents in Marblehead and Andover.
Independents have GREAT cards and calenders!

But so do stationery and paper stores.  I often get excited about Christmas cards (and more recently, calenders) in October.  Even though it is still September, I am excited AND nervous.  For the past 2 years I have made/published a calender using art created that year for the illustrations.  THIS year I was in transit and hardly produced any art at all.  So... either I get busy and do some digital art, or melt a bunch of wax, or sling paint and be grateful that if you are going to photograph a painting, it doesn't have to be DRY!!

We spent happy time in The Paper Patch.
Hilarioius Halloween napkins and invitations and stickers, Christmas cards, Advent Calenders, 2013 (!) Calenders and just about anything on paper.  My sensibility must be very close to that of the buyer... More so than your averate Paper Store or Hall Mark... (Not to mention the Grocery Store card aisles!!)  Here are some of my favorites.

I used to paint (in Dallas) with a very nice man who spent summers in Canada.  HE introduced me to the Group of Seven.  Whether an engagement calender or reference collection of paintings, this would be a wonderful book to have.
My daughter was kind enough to point across the store at Beach Bliss and say:  Those look like your paintings.  They do, just a little.  I will have to investigate Lisa Courtney's work more deeply! Apparently she is a member of the Marblehead Art Association and an alum of the Boston School of Fine Art.
Last but not least (for my friend, Peg) there was a card of Dog and Snow-Dog.
I keep forgetting that we will actually be living in SNOW country soon.  Perhaps I can get a photograph of our CAT and a Snow-Cat.

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