Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Ornaments: The Whitman Collection

Most of my days I'm mighty happy painting whatever strikes my fancy.  However, come autumn, the urge to tinker and construct takes hold of me.  There is something special about this season that sets it apart from its three siblings.  I reckon I'm not the only dapper dabbler that answers the craftin call.  'Suppose it has something to do with the holidays, but for me it's seems because nature is changing and just begging to be touched.  It's mighty peculiar, as the outdoors shift due to resplendent decay and become more tactile, folks can't help themselves but put their hands to work!  And that's a grand thing.  Whether it's baking batches, welding wires or stitching stockings, cooking, cutting or crimping ... it's a fine day to touch & toil!

Each year to heed this call, I like to create a small batch of holiday ornaments.  This years batch Iv' e named "The Whitman Collection".  For the past few months Iv' e taken comfort in the 19th century poet's 1855 edition "Leaves of Grass".  That fellow sure could write!  It's astonishing when you meet someone that offers a voice to what you are feeling yourself, but are unable to construct in sentences.  (I had to rewrite that sentence four times). And so to honor Walt (I feel wer' e on a first name basis) and the gift of his beautiful insight, I offer my own constructions in his name.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shindig: Another Fine Craftsman (& woman!) at One Of A Kind Show

Make no mistake.  There's little that feeds the soul like pushin paint & crafts.  Doing what you love, free of the binds that come with meeting the bottom line for some other prospector...well there just aren't words for that kind of joy.  You just gotta experience it for your self, I reckon.  'Suppose that's why I not only get fired up about things going on here at The Urban Art Farm, but why it gives me such a darn good feeling to see what other good men and women are doing too!  

 Yesterday I shared with you the outstanding work of Houston based artist Stephanie Rubiano. 

Today, I'd like to introduce you to two other fine art farmers and fellow craft folk.  Meet Matt & Cynthia Shapoff.  The talented team from Long Island, NY of  Hand Made on Peconic Way combine eco-friendly methods with elements plucked right out of the woods and vintage images to create a whole bushel of lovely items.  Cards, prints, name it.  Pretties for your person and pretties for your pad.  Their "supermarket" is chock full of natural beauties!  So, please...head on over and start shoppin! 

And be sure to check back in later today!  (Drum roll, please!)  You guessed it...or maybe not.  This years hand crafted holiday ornament designs from yours truly will be revealed!  Bye-Golly!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shindig: One of a Kind Show & Sale

It was another spectacular weekend drenched in color here on the Metro Homestead.   NYC was soaked in blazing autumn color.  But that did not keep me away from the annual One Of A Kind Show & Sale.  This event, which occurs each Dec. for only two weekends, showcases some of the finest, hardest working artisans around.  Not limited to these parts, these talented folks bring their high crafts from homesteads near and far.

Me and and my fellow craft crawler saw a heap of amazing work!  But of particular note was a fine gal I met who came all the way from Houston, TX.  Stephanie Rubiano  lovingly and painstakingly creates little wall boxes that, to my eye, appear as storied time capsules.  Constructed of vintage photographs, notes, nic-knacks and real, exotic insect wings, her work is thought provoking, well crafted and beautiful to look at.  And if you hang your hat in her parts and want to know just how she does such fine work, she teaches workshops!  So shimmy over to Stephanie's site....ya'll. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Weeks Shindigs

It's true.  There is no shortage of jaw dropping color and inspiration outside these days.  This just might be my favorite time of year here on the Metro Homestead.  I confess.  I recon I'm just as guilty as the next Huck Finn.  Some days the call of Ma Nature is just too strong and before you know it, I'm playin hooky from my own paintin studio.  Some days I have to put down the brush, grab my picture-taker and go huntin.
While there's plenty to see outside, there's plenty to find indoors too.  This past week I had the pleasure of  popping into a few openings to check out what some of my fellow art farmers have been up to. 

On Fri., the 12th, I stopped by 2/20 Gallery to take in the work of Charlie Clingman.  I'm not sure how this SoCal kid found his way to these parts, but I'm glad he did.  Charlie's current exhibit, "Paintings from California" show two very different approaches to his interpretation of the landscape.  On the western wall of the gallery hung more literal, story-book pieces while the eastern wall sported much larger (roughly 4' x 4') swirly, wild n wooly wonders. The monochromatic, layers were captivating and had me scratching my whiskers.  The show runs through Nov. 27th.

On Sat., the 13th, I followed the flock to Central Park.  You never saw such color!  It's mighty peculiar.  I found myself both incredibly calmed and excited and spirited all at the same time.  I gobbled up all of this inspiration and took it back to the studio!

On Wed., the 17th, I headed to The Puck Building in Soho to see the latest work of my friend Pepe Villegas.  Pepe's current solo exhibition is titled "fol klo ri can" and showcases his passion for bright & bold, curvaceous compositions.  The paintings have a rich Latin flavor and the largest horizontal piece made me think of Picasso's Guernica but without the heavy-handed, war torn weight.  Also shown is a series of  portraits painted with a thick, creamy impasto.  The show runs through Jan. 31st, 2011.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Love Note #2

Down the tempestuous boulevard, anticipation carries me.  My stride, deliberate and swift.  The cool nocturnal ether, my deliverance.

The Meer calls at midnight to soothe and salve and teach me things I have long known and since forgotten.  Nightfall does not diminish what can be seen; my ears, my nose, my neck, my heart, my loins and legs all tremble and tear at possibility.

The autumn chill, tart and moist and crisp, like a plump harvest, baptizes me.  Every shudder announces, "I am life!"  Every pore welcomes it.  And it passes through me like a current through a reef. 

A wooden bench, slatted, offers up a tree stump.  A lamp post, my moon within reach.  Just ahead The Meer spills a pool of black ink.  Across the expanse, neighboring moons cast a glistening constellation of lamplight.  Shimmering droplets.  Here is where I'd like to sit awhile ... and think.

It's profile, a beautiful crooked and craggy contour.  Irregular, wild and right.  Mysterious cattails, marsh and freakish fauna undescern'd.

An ebony prophet from an ancient land, the cradle of humanity, tall and graceful, passes the Farmers Gate.  He descends upon the bank.  Up to the cosmos he gazes, arms outstretched.  He takes in the vast nothingness that is everything ... and gives thanks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spill The Beans: The Grey Dog

Today, I'd like to spill the beans on a great joint that speaks to two of my favorite topics: good coffee and our canine companions.  The Grey Dog  could easily be mistaken for a whistle stop cafe in any remote small town.  Walk through these rugged barn doors and you'll forget your' e in the heart of Greenwhich Village.  Pooch paintings by local artists hang inside the homey hangout and are rotated on a regular basis.  The down home hospitality of the brew masters behind the counter is warm and inviting, the servers are genuinely friendly and the fixins are fresh & tasty.  These folks clearly love what they're doin!  And they're doin it right!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love Note #1

Call me corny.  Seasonal shifts make me poetic.  It seems the more I look around the more grateful I am.  I'm mighty lucky to have two ample windows that face the back courtyard.  At these windows is where I scratch my noggin and do real thinkin.  

On that note I've begun a series of "Love Notes" to the number one gal in my life, 'Ma Nature.  So for those searchin for a sonnet, here's a little piece dedicated to my feathered friends...because they make getting up each morning a real pleasure.

Thank you treasured friends.
Thank you for your song. Your voice.  
Your delicate grace.
Your charm.  Strong and reassuring.  Like angels in the treetops.  Out of indigo heavens.

In a reckless world, your joyful melody stalls and stills these
brittle nerves.  Host to a cacophony of concerns.  They are caressed and quieted.  And for a moment, put to sleep. 
Like droplets falling on a still pond.
Bliss returns.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spill The Beans: Kitchenette

Cafe's and coffee houses don't come more homespun than this. The name says it all.  Kitchenette has a good old fashioned charm that instantly takes the edge off of any harried city slicker. And to make both uptown and downtown folks feel right at home, there are two locations:  Tibeca and Morningside Heights.   When I think of "comfort food" Kitchenette comes to mind.  I've taken a fancy to the the homemade maple syrup!  Tastes like it was just uncorked from a tree.  And a mug of joe from here will get you through the day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Urban Art Farm is Born Again!

It's Autumn! That means it's Harvest Time! The Urban Art Farm is Born Again after a long, hot summer of seedin and weedin. New pieces to share, new ideas to discuss and of course...the coffee's brewin!!

First on the horizon, I'd like to share with you my latest crafty creation: The Bottle Project.

But lets go back, good reader.

It was just last summer, yet it seems so long ago. The space that is the filling between the "then" and the "now" can be mighty perplexing.

It was a scorcher that late summer afternoon. A real sizzler. The sun crawled from the rooftops on the east to the rooftops on the west and the symphonic drone of the cicadas intensified. All was still. Seemed every conceivable critter was just plum tuckered out. Except for those singin cicadas. What a lovely chorus!

I sat on my little art farm ledge to survey the park across the street. The mercury
continued it's unforgiving ascent. The beading on my brow suggested it was time to find Salvation so I bowed to Santo Corona like a good christian farmer. I was so filled with the Spirit, bowed I remained. And there, good reader, a divine idea was born!
It occurred to me it seemed a waste to throw such a fine bottle into the recycle bin. It has such potential! So I decided to paint it and give it new life! And holy hops a handsome vessel was born!

Each brew bottle is sterilized, hand sanded, spray primed several times,
hand painted in custom art farm colors, dried, resanded and sprayed again with a protective matte varnish.
The final result is a super smooth muted finish. Whew! That’s a lotta work! I think it’s time to bow once again! You support the arts. The artist supports Salvation. Everyone supports the economy and it’s a win-win for all!

The Big Guy stands 11” tall by 3” in diameter. The Mighty Ms. measures 9 ½” tall by 2 3/8” in diameter and The Kid comes in at 8” tall by 2” in diameter. The natural palette includes subtle variations of olive greens, ochres, umbers, pale blues and grays. They make a handsome family all together, but if your short on space you can order just one or two of your liking.

NOT DISHWASHER SAFE! To clean, I would suggest simply dusting with a dry cloth. I would not use household cleaning sprays like Pledge. Due to the one-of-a-kind hand crafted nature of the work, pieces will vary slightly from the examples in the photo.