Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Butler Institute of American Art

75th National Midyear Exhibition 2011

"Scheffel Hall"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

My painting of Scheffel Hall, a wonderful building on 17th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan is currently on view in this annual exhibition in Youngstown, OH. Curated by artist Gary T. Erbe, the show runs from June 26 - August 28. A museum dedicated to American art, it is always an honor to be accepted into the annual exhibit.

This building has been a favorite of architecture buffs (and me) for quite awhile and I finally did a painting. A google search will lead you to the history of this site. It was designated a NYC landmark, thankfully, and stands out from all the rest.

If you're strolling in the neighborhood one day, look up and and enjoy the view.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Up on the Roof on Fifth

"Fifth Avenue Rooftop"
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 inches

I always love the opportunity to find some great rooftop views whenever the chance arises. During an Open House New York week-end a few years ago, I found myself up on the roof of an architect's office on Fifth Avenue somewhere in the '20's. The city looks so different high up off the street and so many things can be seen that are otherwise invisible. This new painting is the result of an afternoon spent exploring on high.

Here is a view contrasting the old with the new - an ongoing theme in my work. The ornate dome in the foreground and the classical frieze on a near-by building stand against the backdrop of new, glassy and somewhat bland office and condo towers. Throw in a few water towers, a factory and some brickwork and there you have it, my kind of New York scene.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Original West Village

Book-signing event

"Exploring the Original West Village"
by Alfred Pommer and
Eleanor Winters
Published by The History Press, Charleston, SC
Cover image, "Abingdon Square" oil painting by Leendert van der Pool

Last fall, during the "Triple Play" exhibit of which I was a part, New York City Licensed Tour Guide Alfred Pommer,, spent several hours on a Saturday afternoon conducting a "walking tour" of sorts in the gallery, using the paintings and prints to highlight his talk. He has been exploring the city and leading walking tours focusing on history and architecture for over 20 years. Now Alfred is a published author as well. Collaborating with the artist Eleanor Winters,, a delightful new book has just arrived hot off the presses, focusing on the West Village. I have begun reading my copy and it's been a wonderful journey through a neighborhood I'd passed through many times, but am now learning so much about. Lots of interesting facts about the buildings and the people who have lived there can be found within the pages, along with photographs and maps. For those of you interested in NYC history and architecture, this will be a terrific addition to your reading list.

The book will be available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble and several upcoming events are being planned around town.

The first of these events takes place this Thursday, June 23rd from 6-9 pm, where there will be a book-signing by the authors at the Franklin 54 Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, #403, in Chelsea.

"The White Restaurant"
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 inches

Artwork by several artists will adorn the walls of the gallery for the event, including my painting of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame restaurant on Hudson Street. For more info, contact the gallery at 917-821-0753.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The passing of two of my favorite artists

Paying my respects

I received a phone call this morning informing me that my friend and fellow artist, Louis Kunsch, had passed away. Lou was the first artist that I met when I found my studio in Long Island City in May of 1980. I had come by to check out the space on a Saturday morning and Lou had the first of five studios making up the space and was the only one working on the week-end. He showed me around and we chatted awhile. I met the other artists later that week and was given the ok to rent the studio I had seen (and I believe that Lou gave me a thumbs up which led to the other's approval).

As I had to pass through Lou's space to get to my own I was always intrigued to see what he was working on. Here was an eclectic artist, always exploring many different forms and media. I loved his very classical still life paintings of fruits and vegetables (I own two paintings) along with his large oils of fantastic imagery. Lou often used found objects creating sculptures, did some printmaking and in his later years explored ink and watercolor collage abstract pieces.

IW 1035
Ink and Watercolor on paper
©Louis Kunsch

Eventually, Lou moved to another, much larger studio space in LIC, and we continued to keep in touch over the years. As a long-time employee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lou worked in a number of departments over the years. On Mondays, when the museum is closed, employees can invite guests in to see the exhibits and I was very happy to be invited by Lou to see some of the big blockbuster shows when there weren't hundreds of people standing between me and the artwork. A rare treat indeed. He was also one of the early artists with a studio space, in a bathroom, in P.S. 1 in the 1970's. He lived a long and varied life as an artist and worked as long as he was able. Although he did have several exhibitions over the years, Lou did not receive the attention he richly deserved for his work and now that he is gone, it is uncertain what will happen to the studio full of artwork that remains.

Another artist passed away on June 4th, one who was widely acclaimed in his lifetime. The New York Times ran an article on Sunday that the artist Claudio Bravo had died. An AMAZING artist whose hyperrealism left me in awe. I made it a point to see his exhibitions at the Marlborough Gallery whenever his work was on view in New York. If you are not familiar with his work, definitely check it out. A masterful and powerful painter.

Two artists, passing away in their '70's, one renowned, one obscure. Claudio Bravo's work will live on as it should, for future generations to admire and enjoy. What will happen to Lou's art is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Afternoon at the Gramercy Diner

"Afternoon at the Gramercy Diner"
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 inches

An ongoing project that I am working on with several other artists is capturing interiors and exteriors of diners and restaurants that we've eaten in over the years. Eventually, we will gather our work together and find a place to have an exhibit. So, in the spirit of the project, I have painted an interior as a change of pace from my usual exterior views. The Gramercy Diner, located on 17th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan is your usual place, with a huge menu featuring everything and then some. I found myself here with two friends one mid-afternoon last winter. It had just snowed heavily and we decided to meet up and explore the neighborhood with our cameras. But first, of course, we had to be those "ladies who lunch." It was mid-afternoon and the place wasn't too busy, with a lone customer sitting at the counter. The ceiling of this diner is painted to evoke the sky and there are all kinds of lights and reflections bouncing off the various surfaces.

Since one cannot walk a block in many neighborhoods of Manhattan without encountering one eatery or another this theme will lend itself to countless ideas for paintings to come. And hopefully a few good meals too.