Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Crash of '29

Eerily familiar

Oil on canvas
9 x 12 inches

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the stock market crash of 1929, the one that heralded in THE Great Depression. The other evening I watched a PBS program, again, about the crash that was filmed in the '90's. Way too many similarities with what happened then and what is happening now. Saw the Michael Moore film "Capitalism" recently as well. We're living in scary times and it's all too true, history repeats itself, again and again.

A few weeks ago I was down in the Wall Street area. The streets surrounding the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall were filled with tourists wandering around the canyons of finance snapping photos. The Exchange is draped in a huge American Flag these days and it does grab your attention.

Photo NYSE 2009

As a working artist, I've been living "on the edge" for a long time now. There is no security that comes with the job description of artist. No one is going to fire me. I paint because I love it and can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. When the economy is struggling, artists struggle along with it. It just comes with the territory. My mantra is "one day at a time". Keep on working. Keep on exhibiting. And hopefully, keep on selling.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scheffel Hall

German Renaissance Revival on 17th Street

"Scheffel Hall"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Continuing my explorations in paint of the Gramercy/Flatiron Districts I'd like to share this new painting with you. Scheffel Hall is a wonderfully ornate building, surrounded by nondescript buildings on either side, so it really stands out on 17th Street and 3rd Avenue. Built in the late 1800's, the upper facade has some wonderful terra-cotta cladding. Reading up on the history of the building, it served as a restaurant for many years. I remember passing by when it was Fat Tuesday's, a jazz club. A hologram of Dizzy Gillespie in the front window changed as one passed by, with the musician's cheeks puffing out and in as he played his horn. It now houses Sal Anthony's pilates and yoga hangout and when I peek in the open door the old wooden interior is filled with exercise equipment. The building originally had another entrance around the corner as well, but that was taken down and a small church is tucked in that space. Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I love the older buildings of the city and Scheffel Hall is one beauty that I hope will not disappear anytime soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

TDF and Me

Theater, theater, theater

Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches

One of the greatest things about living in New York is going to the theater! When I was a child, my mother used to drag my brother and I to Broadway to see a Saturday matinee. I grew up to love the theater-going experience, and I try to take advantage of the many ticket offers and discounts that are available which allow me the luxury of attending a show. A cabinet in my studio is packed with Playbills, I don't have the heart to thrown them away. The Theater Development Fund, the folks who run the TKTS booth on 47th Street, do a great service by making possible affordable tickets. As the prices have climbed higher and higher over the years, I'm fearful that many folks, especially younger people, will not have the opportunity to see live theater.

I did this painting several years ago of the TKTS booth which has since been torn down and totally remodeled, as often happens with subjects that I have painted. Might have do do another painting of the snazzy new structure. I share this one with you today because the Fall has been wonderful for this ardent theater-goer. Among the plays that I've seen that I've really enjoyed have been "Memphis" (a great new musical!), "Hamlet", "Superior Donuts", "Finian's Rainbow", "Rock of Ages", "Wishful Drinking", "The Royal Family", "After Miss Julie" and "Ruined". Have also seen several wonderful off-Broadway shows but there is only so much room on this blog.

I don't always agree with the critics. The rumors that the Great White Way is on it's last legs still abound. But, for me, theater and New York are inseparable and I thank my lucky stars that terrific plays are being written and revived and that terrific actors are still treading the boards, to the delight of many.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Majestic Flatiron Building

One of New York's treasured buildings

"Flatiron II - A Bird's Eye View"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Working on a new series of paintings centered around the Flatiron and Gramercy Park areas of Manhattan and recently finished this painting. Had a wonderful vantage point from the building across the street - a view of the building that I'd never experienced before. It gave me an opportunity to look at some of the detailing on the facade more closely, along with the view down 23rd Street, looking west towards Jersey. A bird's eye view, high up in the sky.

Speaking of buildings, this week-end is the annual Open House New York event, an homage to many of the city's architectural treasures, both famous and obscure. I plan to take my camera and go behind the scenes once again in hopes of catching some interesting sites and generating some new ideas for future paintings.