So, my family and I have returned from the hills of Maine.  It was one of the most relaxing times of my life.  I had no internet service up there, towards the end of the stay, so please pardon the dearth of blogging.  In addition, it always takes a day or two to recover from a trip.  Returning to New York with two screaming kids in the car is akin to a satellite reentering earth’s orbit in a flaming ball.  All the while, you wonder whether you are going to survive that final stretch, or be consumed in a flaming blaze of cholicky screams.

I have wonderful news.  My friend Jason, the marble carver, is coming to town.  I’ve written about him before in this blog, in the September 5th entry.  Jason has been able to find a wonderful situation here on Long Island.  Gallery North, in Setauket, is hosting him for three months as their artist in residence.  I’m really amazed by their generosity, in that he is being accomodated with housing, studio, and overall support of all the members of the gallery!  He will be teaching workshops, giving lectures, sculpting marble on site, working on a bronze bust commission.  I’m really looking forward to having a good friend of mine from Florence, who sculpts in a similar vein as I paint, and who will now be living a short drive away.  Such good news!

To explain this photo, hang with me for a moment.  Here is a photo taken by another artist friend of mine, Jennifer Pitt.  The photo is of a cast, which is of the statue of Saint Mark.  Did I lose you yet?  When a marble sculpture is created, a cast is made of it in plaster.  The cast itself can sometimes take on an aesthetic value in and of itself, and become art.  Jason carved and installed the life sized statue of St. Mark in the facade of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in the historic city center of Florence.   He then cast the bust (head and shoulders) of it in plaster, then donated the cast to St. Mark’s Anglican.  Then my friend Jenny stumbled across it, and took this painterly photo.

A part of me is always in Florence, with my friends at the Cecil Studios.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it is for me to have those friends visit here, at my home in New York.  I really do dream of a movement of art happening in this area, a movement in which people return to a type of art that is intimate with the natural world.  Painting and sculpting from natural light, drawing from living people and not photos, painting landscapes that were done in meadows, not in jpegs… marble and dust, oil and linen… I really think this return to beauty in nature is exactly what Long Island needs, and is birthing.

Who knows, maybe this movement on Long Island will result in some of the pestiferous, plastic, PVC, picket fences being torn down, and replaced with soothingly senescent cedar, and rusting, red wrought iron.

Jason Arkles, plaster cast of marble statue of St. Mark.  Photo by Jennifer Pitt.


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