Art Essex Gallery Grand Opening in Connecticut

George Billis Gallery in New York will be holding their second solo show of my paintings this Dec. 11 - Jan. 19, 2013. In the meantime, Billis Gallery has been working to establish a new venue in the historic town of Essex in Connecticut and has invited me to show a number of works in their inaugural show. The grand opening reception for the Art Essex Gallery is this Saturday, August 4 from 5-8 p.m. I will be attending so if you're in the area please come by and say hello.

Here are some of the my paintings that will be in the Art Essex Gallery. Above is Road to the Shore, oil on canvas, 42 x 28". Painted near a small country lake, the source originally caught my eye because it reminded me so much of the quarter mile long drive way I used to walk everyday going to stand at the bus stop for the school bus to pick me up. It had a marvelous canopy of branches overhead. Walking along it you usually found yourself looking up. It's a favorite memory.

This is my oil The Morning, a large canvas (42 x 84") that is one of my best tributes to the special beauty of the tidal shorelines of the Northeast. It is based on an oil I painted on location in South Wellfleet on Cape Cod, looking south into one of the countless inlets and marshes. I had stumbled across the source while driving around looking for painting ideas and, seeing the road sign that said "King Phillip Road", figured I'd better turn down it and see what it offered. I wasn't disappointed.

First Light II, oil on canvas, 30 x 40"

This is a harbor viewed just before sunrise in Annapolis, Maryland. The copper color of the water is actually very faithful to what I was seeing as I worked with my portable easel set up on a bridge.

Of course every painting is more than just what it depicts. My father passed on to me many things despite his being one of the most quiet people I've ever met- one was his love of the ocean and sailboats. He taught me how to sail when I was eight and spent countless hours afloat with me before his life was cut short when I was 13. To this day sailboats serve as a living reminder of the parental love I felt from this man. I actually taught myself to be an artist by making elaborate drawings of hulls and rigging in the margins of my junior high school notebooks. My friends at the time were struggling to draw race cars in their notebooks, but somehow that was never an imagery that spoke in a personal way to me. 

Three Tree Trunks, oil on panel, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2"

I grew up in a home on the wooded shoreline of Lake Ontario outside of Rochester, NY. You get to know the trees around your house almost like family members- they all have their unique personalities. These three trees are across the street from my studio. They're mature survivors surrounded by younger saplings.  Looking at them I get the feeling they've seen a lot in their years.

The Reach, oil on panel, 10 x 15"

My father used to love to go sailing at night and would always ask me to come along. I'd go though I found it a bit intimidating. Years later as an adult I began to be invited to go and stay in Edward Hopper's old painting studio in S. Truro, MA that overlooks Cape Cod Bay. We always go in the off season when there's almost nobody up there and the surrounding houses are all dark. Sometimes when we're there there is a full moon and it's doubly impressive against all that darkness. I imagined what it might be like to sail off of Hopper's beach past the long row of undulating sand dunes.

Sailing Yachts, oil on panel, 14 x 21"

Another of my reveries to my boyhood sailing days, a harbor view of four boats moored in the quiet of early morning. The first rays of sunlight are just beginning to hit the tops of the boats' masts. As I don't work from photographs but do everything on site with a portable easel, I have to get up really early for paintings like this one. I don't mind as it's perhaps the most magical time to be down by the water.

Deep Forest Pool, oil on panel, 16 x 20"

I used to paint in the Litchfield Hills of northwest Connecticut every summer in Norfolk, where Yale holds its art and music summer school. It's a very heavily forested area now that farming and logging have receded, so I used to seek out beaver ponds to paint. They're one of the few places in the woods that are open enough to give you any kind of view. This oil was done entirely from memory, heavily relying on the bright white bark of birch trees in high contrast against the deep black water of the pond.

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