Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowy Ending of Year

Drifts of snowy breezes blow past the window as a lone bird bird clings to the feeder, it's encampment for the moment from the bluster of winter that surrounds it.
The crackle of the burning wood in the fireplace that warms our own encampment, on this last day of the year, is a calming beckoning call of a future full of hope and possibilities. Warmed by our love and hopes, we smile as the cold swirl of winter kicks up it's heels within our glances but beyond our comforts, posing as a reminder of the storms that we have all survived this year. Just as a breeze blows IN the snow, it blows out the challenges we endure from time to time, to bring greater awareness of ourselves and others. Stronger, as a result, we move on more prepared for the next breeze that blows our way. Let us all be ready for 2009, knowing greater preparedness is the goal and result.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Christmas Spirit Arrives

We seemed to have slowly limped into the Christmas spirit this year. Though this typically happens to me, this one has had an added layer of drag from the low economic expectations for the country, however, I am lifted by the political possibilities the Obama presidency holds.
So, once the decorations finally came out of storage and went up around the house, the mood shifted from one of stilted indifference to one of willing embrace. Of course, it took until Christmas Eve for it to happen, but the inner cheer is still there, though for a lessened period of time.

Jump starting us into the spirit of the season was a wonderful weekend in New York, at the rambling brownstone of the vivacious entrepreneur and beauty, Peggy Dillard, and her esteemed husband, famed artist Lloyd Toone. Their personal spirits raised our own senses of growing possibilities, which were heightened even more at the smashing Christmas party thrown by producer, Brenda Dillon and her raconteur husband, Bill Cavette. Filled with delightful guests, we spanned the world of amusement with them all.

We will have Christmas dinner today with our dear friends, Carol LaBrie and Uli Rose, which are more like family than friends. A dining adventure prepared by these connoisseurs of life makes it a delectable experience each and every day. This is a rare holiday opportunity to spend with them, since we are generally away, in Brazil, at this time of year. The snowy lead up to today had been enchanting, however, that has given way to snow patches and a sun shiny day. I am preparing macaroni and cheese for the occasion, my favorite holiday dish, which I am known for and make only a few times a year.

The Hudson Valley is an enchanting location at any time of the year with Christmas having a special appeal. The buildings are sprinked with decorations and frosted with snowflakes, emphasizing their architectural splendor, while the landscapes are etched in a wintry beauty that holiday cards are made of. With this setting and time of year, we are very happy to give thanks for the things in life we can enjoy, things that are there as a benefit without any effort on our part, as a gift from God. We hope your holiday presents you with joy as a present and happiness as a gift.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crystalline Crisis

The clear bright sky, reflected on every tree limb, like facets on a diamond, does not begin to tell the story of damage and destruction this beautiful phenomenon has wrought on the countryside. Even with the benefit of a generator - acquired without my full compliance at the time - the sudden inconveniences are oft-putting. I can hardly complain of the upset in my life, while many of my neighbors have been tossed into the darkness and the cold, without the benefit of preparations for it. Even those of us who have survived in relative ease have dealt with downed trees, closed businesses and a sense of being cut off from the rest of the world. Neighbors have joined forces to check on one another and provide needed information on how to survive the ice storm.

My first experience of the ice storm happened late Thursday night, returning from the city, when I veered, late at night, onto the very dark now crystallized Taconic Parkway. The harrowing drive began with the unsettling vision of tree limbs grasping low at my car as I drove by. Like a nightmarish fantasy, the formerly leafy canopy now stretched down with crystalline fingers and scraped the top and sides of the car. Unlike the usual concern of deer wandering onto the roadway intermittently, the felled branches and trees were at every turn. At times, I drove under them as they lashed at the car, while at other times I would have to drive onto and around muddy embankments, where occasionally less successful vehicles languished. By the time the fog rolled in, my nerves had been thoroughly shattered, and, with this new obstacle impeding my passage, my prayers ramped up to a constant chant for safe arrival. When I did get home I was astonished to see many of our trees doubled over in what appeared like fetal positions, frozen to the ground like ice sculptures.

As I said, we are surviving it all with relative ease, though without having a working stove, this has taught me to stockpile more than cold cereal and peanut butter in the future. I have also learned that the temperature gauge on the main floor needs to be included in the generator's operational list. Right now, the house is sandwiched in warmth from the top floor and the basement, with a chilly 59 degrees on the first floor. Of course, I am not complaining, however, because of our circumstance, it is the best of options, in that we can stay in our home with the kitties. On a positive side, adversity on any level, provides opportunity for insights and new functionality that would not be there otherwise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A similarity in opposites

The dulled palette of rust and browns that frame the steel blue waters of the Hudson River, on this sunny wintry morning in December, stands as a stark contrast from the brilliant shades of greens, accented with reds and yellows, that border the turquoise waters of Salvador’s Espirito dos Santos Bay. An even more striking contrast is in the layers of black clothing I am now wrapped in, to withstand the cooler climate of the Hudson Valley, versus the bright turquoise or blue-violet that floated lightly around my suntanned body in the summer’s heat of Brazil. Though these visual and physical contrasts are evident in everyway, my sense of being at peace in either is consistently the same. Snatched from one or the other, my equilibrium remains balanced, because of an abiding appreciation that, what is, IS.

To rail against one is to not fully appreciate the other. In many ways this contrast in the lifestyles, whether laying on the beaches of the Salvador Bay or chugging along the train route on the Hudson River, represents a view of a singular life. Life here allows for the luxury of detachment there, just as, my exposure there provides a more encompassing perspective here. Simple things like, an inarticulation of portuguese there, forges a stronger grasp of my native tongue here. A natural sense of community there, causes me to reach out to friends and family here. Relaxing there makes me want to work here.

Living on the outskirts of our small hamlet of Claverack, we are blessed with a slower pace than the city - one that reflects the rhythms of the seasons and the movements of nature’s creatures - in a way that many can only imagine. Yet, our excursion to Imbassai, a coastal community, under two hours north of Salvador, showed us a pace of life that I could have only imagined.

To begin with, there are no public conveyances, except for an “autobus” that delivers you, to and from the city. There are no paved roads, only the lushness of rich red dirt that squeezes between your toes - if, of course, you decide not to wear the ubiquitous “sandales”. People walk everywhere, to the market, the restaurants, schools and pharmacy, the beach and to visit one another. “Motos”, which are small motorbikes commandeered by young males, act as the other option for transport, when one does not own a car or drives a truck of some sort. These guys will transport you about for the rough equivalent of a dollar, with an added benefit of their charms.

While there we dined at a beach oasis, of cobbled together shacks, called “barracas” (bah’ hock’ kas) - they provided a respite amid the enormous, expansive and empty beaches - where we settled under bamboo umbrellas and wood hewn tables. We watched local fishermen, from our beach chairs, catch our meal of red snapper, called “vermelho”. Fried to perfection, and served with rice and beans along with a scrumptious tomato salad, the “sabores” or flavors still ricochet across my tongue.

Our friend Carson introduced us to this world that time forgot - by way of his own getaway there – where neighbors or “vizinhos” all know one another. “Hail fellow, well met” was the response to all, whether walking, working or riding a horse. Here is where locked doors would be considered an affront and where time is multiplied.

Yes, the potential of such a world exist for us in the Hudson Valley, however, we would need slow down the pace a bit here, too. This afternoon we will attend Winter Walk, the annual kick-off to the celebration of the holiday season in Hudson. Hot chocolate, chili and roasted chestnuts will warm the air and allow us to walk the main street, without traffic, to meet one another in the spirit of the season.

A friend informed me of a published article about emerging artists in the holiday issue of Uptown Magazine which includes my artwork. The editor-in-chief, Keija Minor, a longtime friend, told me of the feature while visiting an opening of my work at the Cousen Rose Gallery, on Martha’s Vineyard this summer. The magazine caters to many people, just like you, so pick it up, if it is not already sitting on your coffee table.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Life Already In Session

In Brazilian Portuguese, they have an expression "a onda", which roughly means, "jumping on a wave." This is how we felt on our first day returning to Salvador, Bahia. After being away for almost a year, busy with our lives in the U.S., the warm local breezes greeted us, as we were swept up into a life that was "already in session" for us. Traveling with our friend from Los Angeles, Carl Reece, who manages a legal search firm, we arrived late, the night before - however, guests arrived early at our apartment the next day.

Joe and my, first guest was our apartment manager, Alain Zamrini, who rapidly reviewed our current situation in regards to needs and necessities for the space. His fun yet "business only" attitude is always welcomed, in a partnership of such lengthy dependency. We were next regaled with insights of property acquisitions from our neighbor and real estate extrapolator, Burt, who provided a clear plan for successfully negotiating the Brazilian legal maze, that would lead to his retiring off of multiple property purchases in Salvador. A dream easily fulfilled with wit, resources and a stomach for shifting currency valuations.

The highlight of the day was the appearance of the elegant, wise and humorous, Carson Philips, our dear friend, whom we were fortunate enough to celebrate his birthday with, that day. His elegance in word and motion enfolded us in the luxury of living life in this temperate climate's sensational goodies. His infectious personality has many here gravitating to him, including the brilliant young doctoral student from Columbia University, Paulo Sergio, who is working on his dissertation about the changes in the racial progress in Brazil. Of course, the conversation was made most lively when the intersections of progress in Brazil and in the U.S. were compared. Joe, as you may know, is always quick with perceptions and insights from his extensive experience on the subjects. As usual, humor was the best means to delve into the depths of so serious a discourse, so laughter was a constant refrain.

Of course, no luncheon would be complete without a stroll to the beach, where we were met with sights galore. One may think that the beach is a place for solitude and rest, but not at Porto da Barra. It is a virtual cacophony of voices, bells, whistles, music, yells and whispers that could assault one's senses, were it not for the ravishing visuals that accompany them. A parade of some of the most stunning people you can imagine pass in front of the luscious landscape, in a harmony of beauty that can literally take your breath away. Served capirinhas, while seated under umbrellas, provided for us, we surveyed the visuals with repeated praise and discernment. It was the type of distraction that melts away the concerns of Wall Street and the auto industry in a flicker.

We later resolved to have a birthday dinner at one of Salvador's finest restaurants, Lafayette, pronounced [la'phi'yet'chee]by the Brazilians, perched over the water on the edge of "Cidade Abaixo" (Lower City). Joined by Harold Jones, recent owner of a stunning penthouse here, we feasted on seafood that was flavored in a way that only the Bahians can do. Carson was in rare form as the guest of honor and made it an enjoyable evening for all.

We look forward to the unfolding "a onda" that flows in our direction this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tears of Joy

Tears are a little gift that God has given us, which I am oftentimes too embarrassed to use, publicly or even privately. They stream from the same place but for different reasons, yet, with the same purpose, which, in my opinion, is to cleanse the soul. My tear ducts welled up and overflowed with unbelievable joy the night Obama won the presidency. The world doubled over in tears of ecstasy, all at the same moment, which made me happy to add mine to the mix, without any embarrassment at all - however, in the privacy of my own home.

There are those tears that joyfully accompany such glorious events as weddings and prideful moments, that seem to punctuate our feelings, like icing on a cake. Or the tears of sentimentality that allows us to connect to the memories of that which preceded us and begs us to join in the bliss of it.

We all know the tears that trickle down our cheeks because of the loss of someone or something that was dear to us. They wet our sleeves and our pillows in those most private of moments, oftentimes, when we are sure others cannot see the hurt that consumes us. They purposefully seem to wash the pain that is so deep that it knows no end or resolution and act like a God given salve, to bridge the emotional gap that is cleaved from our inability to accept a loss we do not want.

Then there are the tears that erupts suddenly from something that is so uproariously funny that laughter is not enough to contain one's reaction to it. These are the rare moments that are impossible to predict or create because spontaneity is a required precondition for it to occur. One's inner soul is racked to the core by the silly implausibility of a circumstance or situation so that it's cleansing is so complete as to leave nothing there for the moments that follow.

Tears can also flow as a mixture of joy and sadness simultaneously, as they did yesterday for me at the memorial of our dear friend, Philip Reed. Someone who had touched my life so deeply, in such a funny and loving way, could also be felt as he reverberated throughout the hall, in the tears of others. The joy of his existence in our lives as a friend, brother, leader, giver, instigator, fighter, activist and lover, were happily expressed by these emotionally encompassing tears that soothed our souls and carried his touch.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hope Springs Eternal

Like many of you, I am watching this critical election unfold, with hope and anxiety wrestling for control of my emotions. With so many things in an unbelievable state of chaos or flux, I find that the hopes of an Obama administration, somehow being one of the only salves that I can depend on. I am unsure as to what I will feel once this battle has been won, but, surely it will be a mixture of many other feelings, which will include anticipation and expectation.

Like many of you, I have been watching every twist and turn of the election and have been barraged with information on every person and issue involved. I now know more about the lives of these candidates than I do about some friends and relatives. I now know more about healthcare, taxes and shrinking economies than my bursting head can handle. And, now more about musicians, rappers, cartoons, web videos and activists actors than I have ever thought possible rallying around these candidacies. I have called potential voters both in my area and in other parts of the country like their lives depended on it, which it does.

Like many of you, throughout my life I have hoped for many things (jobs, careers, relationships, recognition, homes, stability, etc.), yet, my hopes today extend so far beyond my personal scope and now seem to encompass the very health of our nation. Our connection to the success and failure of others has never seemed so real to me as now. The images of the incredibly long lines for people waiting to cast their votes in this election shows that we have all wakened up and realized that it is not just our civic duty to vote, but, a physical effort to resurrect a slumping nation. We are going to have our say this time around, because letting others make that choice for us, has allowed for decisions that do not correspond to our needs.

Like many of you, hope is a very ephemeral essence to hold onto, yet, it is a most satisfying anchor in today's headwinds. The hope of change is something that we all can hold onto, not just in the embodiment of a great leader but in our own ability to change things within our personal spheres. Our first step toward CHANGE is the casting of our vote and from there rebuild our world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Harvest in Full Bloom

The "peak fall foliage" season has arrived in full bloom, up here in the lush Hudson Valley, bringing an array of richness in color that rivals any tapestry designed to capture it. The autumn leaves turn into their vibrant hues as they are essentially being pushed from the limbs of the branches that they were born onto, just months earlier. The trees being in preparation for the time when snow will cover their limbs and the leaves would be an inordinate burden to bear. For many of us, the arc from spring into fall carries with it a symbolism of one's youth into one's middle age.

My body seems to have its' own arcing system of preparation for the seasons ahead that operates quite independently from how I think or feel. Upon waking each morning, after a brief adjustment into a fluidity of movement, I perceive myself as the youthful man I am content to be, if only in mind and not in body. This perception serves me well, until I pass a mirror or climb some stairs or ruminate about the exercise program I have once again abandoned today. The efforts to maintain the youthful appearances of old has yielded to the contentment of remembering the "old days."

Suddenly, the pleasure of listening to music from my youth has taken on new appeal because it still has the capacity to fire the engines that ran hotly through my body, in those days. Sylvester, Madonna and Donna Summers, to name a few, are constants on my iPod playlist. Or, pouring through old photos of myself and friends, that were once discarded as not "good shots", have just as quickly become stand ins for what "once was" and reinforcements of the underlying perception that things have not changed. But they have. The awareness creeps in, in many subtle ways, from reduced energy levels to the sudden perception of how young everyone else is, especially in film and television.

But, the experiences that I have been fortunate enough to live through adds a zest for life that makes wanting to experience more unquestionable. From the inception of the Motown era to the March on Washington, from hippies to disco, from feminism to gay rights, from John F Kennedy to Barack Obama, I have witnessed first hand the changing of the guard, and know with certainty that more lays ahead. So, as I move into the autumn season of my life, shedding the leaves of my youth to more lightly take on the new experiences ahead, I do so with a new contentment, based on reality and not just perception.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shorter Days Longer Nights

Maybe it's the shorter days that has created the illusion that this past week seemed to have just disappeared so quickly. Or maybe it is the amount of things going on that has seemed to have collapsed so much into a short amount of time. From my own presidential debate party, making calls for Obama, teaching classes, attending charitable events and traveling to the East End, I seem to have been very busy this week.

In any regard, I find myself at the beginning of another week feeling like there is as much to do, if not more, than last week. Like many of my friends, I will have to start working through the nights, which proceed as if time has stopped. Unlike the daylight hours that have decidedly different arcs of time - morning, noon, afternoon, early eve - the evening hours have no such distinctive markers. Without the advent of ones favorite shows to mark time, the night hours march on undistinguished. If I could summon creativity without the use of sunlight, I might produce more than ever in those dark nights.

I have been so blessed with great friends that have always been supportive of me and my pursuits. And some of these same friends have taken their energies and are giving back to the world in many altruistic ways. Just this past week, I was able to participate in some of their efforts on behalf of others.

My longtime buddy, Hector Rojas, had his fifth annual fundraiser for the Wayuu Taya Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of indigenous children living on the border between Venezuela and Colombia. He has taken on this effort solely out of his desire to advance the life situations of children from his part of the world. He had a tremendous turnout of people lending their support in every way.

In attendance was our friend and his mentor, Leo Preziosi, who is the founder and executive director of LIVE OUT LOUD, New York's premier nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting LGBT youth to leaders in the LGBT community through events and programs at area schools and universities. Leo had this wonderful idea several years ago, to address this need, and has tirelessly worked on it since. His current Homecoming Project encourages Gay and Lesbian professionals to go back to their high schools as role models to the LGBT teens there. If any of you would be interested in bringing your stories back to your alma maters, please contact him directly.

We spent the weekend at our dear friends' home in Easthampton, where we were feted to a Sunday brunch that set new standards for us all. It is not unusual to be floored by their attention to their guests and their comforts but this even surpassed that. We were all out there for the spectacular celebration that our friend, the publicist and marketing director, Genita Ingram, produced in conjunction with the fundraising efforts of John Rivers, at their vacation house, with his partner, Gavin Morrow, on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, the muscular legislative arm of the LGBT community. Their donation prowess was cause for the organization to invite top donors to their beautiful home in Easthampton, to recognize them for their efforts. Needless to say, their party, as usual, was filled with interesting people and delicious food and a fun time for all.

With all that my many friends and my partner Joe Steele has going on, I am again motivated to fulfill on my own purpose. Though that may seem to have many tentacles, from time to time, they are all worth the efforts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Peace in the midst of turmoil

Contrary to popular belief, peace is not an elusive experience but an abiding sense of being that exists within us all. With all the turmoil that the country has gone through in the past week looking for a peaceful space IS sometimes hard to do. Oftentimes the real culprit is our own fears of losing something in the future, rather than appreciating what we have in the present. I have had to take a deep breath a number of times to bring me into the moment and to refocus my attention as to what is important, and what are the actual blessings that I am benefiting from, right now. It has been my experience that the fears I conjure up generally don't materialize. Not to sound unrealistic about the potential outcomes of events, it is just better for me to focus on what I can do right now. That focused attention allows the fears to melt away by it essentially not giving them energy to exist.

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to turn off the media frenzy and to just go take a walk. Joe Steele and I took a bike ride in our community which instantly took us back to the impermeable consistency of life through nature. Life goes on within and without the concerns of man. The sight and sounds of birds, sheep, horses, deer and cows were enough to bring us back to a sense of peaceful acceptance of ongoing life. As they say, "This will pass too".

Yesterday actually began with a meeting of locals at the post office to do the weekly Claver-Walk. Led by Vicki Rosenwald, and joined by John Issacs, co-editor/publisher and designer of Our Town, Enid Futterman, author and editor-in-chief of Our Town, the monthly magazine of record on life in Claverack, Adele Slocum and others, the group of us went off, on an hour walking tour of our lovely hamlet. Along the way we encountered many residents enjoying their piece of the hamlet. Notable among them was the well-known artist, Ken Polinskie, who invited us in to see his new paintings and renovations. This time together provided an opportunity to get to know one another and to share our feelings about the political and economic landscapes and what we can do about it, as well as, the bucolic landscape we find ourselves in. Above is a photo of our home here, where bails of hay dots the landscapes this time of year.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Storms Roll In but a Brighter Day is Ahead

It seems that a lot on storms has descended upon the shores of the US in recent days. The destruction they bring with them are yet to be assessed but can be fathomed by the obsessive attention directed at them by the media. None seem to be more unfathomable than the storm of political distraction called Sarah Palin. The media has decided that focusing on "who she is" is more important than focusing on the issues that confront our country and the basic differences in how to contend with them from the two national candidates. One has the message of hope for the power of government to enhance the lives of the many, in the world, and the other is looking for another "feather in his cap".

Many of you have already made up your minds regarding who you plan to vote for in November, so subjecting yourself to the media onslaught is an unnecessary and profoundly debilitating experience. We have to keep in mind that our true power is in our belief in a political change and our faith that it will come to pass. Allowing these distractions to undermine our sense of the positive inevitable outcome could potentially produce unwanted results. As a advocate for the hope and change that is the hallmark of the Obama campaign, I will not let self inflicted fear deter me from the focus of renewal in this country. The days of setting on the sidelines and letting others carry the water for change are a luxury of bygone times. Each of us must pickup the pail of commitment in some form or another. Whether it is hosting events, making phone calls or travel to voters in swing states, calling apathetic relatives, talking in conservative or liberal chat rooms, voter registration or joining local political groups, we can lend a hand for change.

Though I have sent these photos to many of you already, it is worth reviewing and passing on. They spell out our charge and what we are working for. It is not the intent of this blog to make political statements but I felt moved to reach out to the many of you who are focused, assertive, successful people in your own realms of influence.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Dawn of a New Season

Just as the long rainy night washed away the summer heat, our transition back to the Hudson Valley washes away the high level of social activity that characterized our time on the Vineyard. A peaceful revelry now infuses our re-orientation to life in the country, which is an easy thing to do, with vistas of rolling hills, fresh air and the lull of bird calls serving as an inducement. The environment calls me to the end of season cleanups and preparations for the long months ahead. Bails of hay, haystacks, field cutting and cleared cornfields are iconic signs of a season in change.

Stepping into the classroom at Parsons again this week reminded me of why I have devoted more than 15 years to teaching. The young and inquisitive faces that stare back at me - as they assume the roles of personal responsibility and educational advancement - are expectant of finding new skills through discovery of their talents. They bring an infinite amount of experiences, as young people having lived all over the world, to provide vast perspectives for their design concepts. Living fashion is the credo at the design schools, however, I am personally challenged by the ever-changing names and faces in the industry and the "real-time" awareness that all of these young people have with it. In an effort to keep up I must read WWD, Vogue, DNR, each day, which is a totally different focus from my fine art career.

The full measure of a man or woman is not really known until you hear from the people whose lives they have touched. Such was the awareness that met Joe and myself when we went to see a tribute to our friend Philip Reed, the former New York City Councilman. Shown here with his colleague Candy Vasquez and a supporter. We learned that many of the parks, open spaces and monuments that grace the upper half of Manhattan had been brought to their current revitalizations because of Philip. Add to that, the work he has done for seniors in the city, his health care initiatives, including HIV, rescuing The Museum of the City of New York and other local institutions, the beginning and sponsorship of many political careers, and you see a man of many dimensions. I left wanting to provide such a legacy to the world based on all the love that was showered on him by major and minor politicians, constituents, beneficiaries and friends.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fall Forward

Our two car caravan of dreams wound it's way back from the shores of Martha's Vineyard to the pastoral hills of the Hudson Valley, carrying back the happiest of memories and bouyed by the feeling of success. Joining the well known annual pilgramage to schools to drop off loved ones, we stopped by The College of Holy Cross to deliver our "godson" Ricon Wrenn for his senior year there. His first visit to the Vineyard in August was met with the swirl of events that highlights that time of year.

With the formal opening of Suesan Stovall's fabulous new gallery, at her home in Oak Bluffs, we met many friends and collectors for a "dancing in the street" type of event. Her charming mom was in attendance, looking lovelier than ever, greeting all ever so graciously.

Of course, the creative offerings for our last week on the Vineyard did not stop there. The wonderful talents of Myrna Morris were on display at Cousen Rose Gallery, with a new collection of nudes and dancers. We were also delighted to finally see a collection of Dorothy Burnham's evocative collages that transported viewers to southern and African locales, at the Featherstone Gallery.

Of the many uplifting experiences I had in those final days on the Vineyard, none were more delightful than the time I spent sketching the beautiful Adrienne Childs. As we sat, overlooking the lagoon, on the most beautiful of days, we discovered a deep respect and regard for one another. It was in the process of doing this sketch, I now realize, more than ever, that I want to capture the beauty and confidence of the women who visit the island every year. It is this essence that makes the Vineyard so memorable for me.

Upon our return to the Hudson Valley we were met by friends to go to Tanglewood to see the jazz vocalist, Dianne Reeves, who was in the best voice ever. The following day began at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham where we saw every manner of agricultural device and farm animal known in the northeast. Met there by the ever vivacious Carol LaBrie (who was featured in the recent Italian Vogue "Black Issue") and her husband the well-known photographer Uli Rose, we enjoyed our return to the bucolic climes of the Hudson Valley, with our thoughts turned toward the season ahead.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer Recedes

Even in the morning and evening breezes one can begin to feel the cool charge of fall on it's way. The late starting summer will have a shortened season with falls timely arrival.
The week has been filled with many fun gatherings, with visiting friends and wonderful dinners at friends' homes. From the international feast created by Lorraine Wyche and her daughter Shahara, followed by the Italian fare at Valerie Preston and her divine mom, Jackie Orridge, to the annual Illumination Night Bash at Wesley and Judy Mayo Jr's home in the campgrounds. Yesterday morning began with a breath-taking view of the Vineyard Harbor for breakfast at Amy Goldson's home, an early collector of my work. Last night we were at the home of Zita and her husband Michael Brown, to enjoy a delicious multi course feast that she had prepared herself. With Bob Hayden also in attendance, the conversation became quite lively about all manner of things. That set us off for the finale of the evening, a dance-a thon at Lola's, where the "funky" music rocked the house all evening.

After playing some bid-whist on the beach this afternoon we will attend the annual Martini Party given at Blaine and Virlynn's house, just before the fireworks display at Ocean Park. Afterwards, I will be at the Cousen Rose Gallery for the last evening of my solo showing to meet and greet last minute visitors. The inspiration that came from so many visitors responses to my work has encouraged me to complete another work while here on the island, that will also be included in the showing at the gallery. Also, the new prints that people ordered and many liked will also be available. Hopefully, we will see some of you there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Opening Night at Cousen Rose Gallery

Opening night at Cousen Rose Gallery for 2008 was indeed one of the most elevating moments of the year for me. Zita Cousen has hung a powerful showing of the work with her usual panache and flair. The energy of the attendees was at an all time high, filled with love and appreciation all around. As usual, so many people knew one another from all parts of the world and from different parts of their lives, and they all converged in this space and time together. As you can see from the attached photos, everyone enjoyed themselves, especially me and the photographer Joe Steele. We were only able to capture a fraction of the supporters and collectors that arrived but have warm memories of all that were there. The most heart-warming aspect of the evening was how entire families arrived to show their support. As I said before, the stars of the night were the attendees, and you know who you were. Thank you all so much for being there.