Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Tribute to the Butterfly Lady

Marsha Stanley first came across my artwork at an exhibition being held at View Arts, Old Forge, NY in the summer of 2013. She purchased a large triptych that was the signature piece of the show before the show opened, before I met her. This is the way Marsha is. She is a woman of Action. She acts on her instincts and I am grateful to have encountered her as she has taught me much. Please read more about our encounter in a great article written by Marsha herself in the Adirondack Almanack entitled "Invite an Artist to Take Up Residence."


After spending some time with Marsha I discovered how appropriate it was for her to be a founding member of AdkAction.Org a non-profit organization that promotes and supports both the Adirondack Wilderness and the Arts. Two causes near and dear to my heart. This year another successful pop-up gallery was organized and I was honored to contribute 20% of the proceeds to this dynamic organization.

One of Marsha's favorite projects is educating the public about the monarch butterfly and its recent decline in population. Amongst other things Marsha was instrumental in raising the funds necessary to bring the movie Flight of the Butterfly to the panoramic Flammer Theater in the Wild Center. This educational and visually stunning film ran for a full season and educated many of its viewers about the phenomenal annual monarch migration. Marsha also arranged for Dr. Lincoln Brower, a world renowned monarch expert, to come and speak at the Wild Center. You can listen to his fascinating talk HERE. Ms Stanley's tireless commitment and devotion to the monarchs has earned her the affectionate term of "The Butterfly Lady" within her extensive circle of friends and family.

Recently Marsha was to undergo a serious medical procedure. I was staying at her camp on Upper Saranac Lake and preparing to give an artist talk about the use of social media (another project organized by Marsha) when she called me from her hospital bed. She was busy writing yet another article and wanted me to go and check her milkweed for caterpillars and her flower garden for migrating monarchs. Not a single monarch was spotted in the area last year, a reason for serious concern.  I went out to the milkweed patch that Marsha had planted herself and saw nothing. I then went and stood in her prolific garden of flowers and prayed for a monarch to appear. Nothing.

I was feeling very sad when lo and behold a bright orange patch fluttered into my vision and I could feel my heart explode with joy! I couldn't believe it! I ran for my camera! I started to film this beautiful creature and soon another one appeared and then another and another! It was such a delight to see these beauties fluttering throughout Marsha's radiant flower garden. Eventually I saw one with a Monarch Watch tag and was able to get a close enough photo of the number on the tag. I have been reporting any monarch sightings regularly to Journey North a website used by "citizen scientists" to track the monarch migration every Spring and Fall.


I sent these photos and the video to Marsha who immediately send out an email to many friends and family with the images attached. People came to her camp all day long to see and/or photograph the monarchs!


The Wild Center checked to see if the number TGM 482 was one of their tagged butterflies and when they discovered it was not they contacted the Paul Smith VIC Butterfly House and discovered that the butterfly had been released from there on Sept 1. The butterfly had not flown far but was preparing for his long flight south by feeding on Marsha's coneflowers.

The appearance of those monarchs buoyed all our spirits as we took these butterflies to be symbols of hope and rebirth both for our planet and for our dear friend and devoted "Butterfly Lady" Ms Marsha Stanley. 

Small miracles are all around us if we just open our eyes and look.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Adirondack Love Affair

I have spent most of the summer breathing in the beauty of the Adirondacks and falling more in love with the place every day. I have, painted and hiked and paddled and painted.


I continue to meet interesting and generous people everywhere I go. This year's painting culminated in a grand pop up gallery held in magnificent private home on Upper Saranac Lake. It is so rewarding to have a large body of work (40 paintings) installed in such a gorgeous home environment. This whole story began last July when I had a solo exhbition at View in Old Forge, a wonderful Arts Center with several well designed gallery spaces for exhibitons. I became an accidental artist-in-residence when a certain woman purchased the signature piece from my show. Marsha Stanley has written a delightful article about this experience from her perspective that was recently published in the Adirondack Almanac.
 

A beautiful preview cocktail party was held for the AdkAction.org board members as well as the board of the local Wild Center. Both of these places are dear to my heart and 20% of all sales were donated to AdkAction.org for the many wonderful projects they do in the area. I will be giving a talk at the Wild Center on Sept 8, 2014. The talk is entitled "The Wilderness Within" and will give a glimpse into the process of my own artwork as well as discuss the advantages of using social media as an isolated rural artist.



The pop up continued for another two days and many, many people dropped by. I sold eighteen paintings! The gallery curator from the prestigious resort next door called "The Point" came by and selected four paintings for their gallery as well. It was a tremendously successful experience for me on many levels.

It is a lot of work to do a pop up gallery but well worth the effort. The direct contact with the people who come to see and/or purchase my artwork creates new connections and friends that I value dearly. I will be returning this week-end to participate in the Plein Air Arts Festival organized by Artworks of Saranac Lake. I am looking forward to this event as there are so many incredible spots to paint in this sparkling part of the Adirondacks.

 Rock Portal / SOLD

Earth Bones / SOLD
















Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Explorations in the Wilderness

Surprised by It's Own Unfolding / 30" x 60" / acrylic on canvas     

 I have been exploring the Adirondacks more this summer. Hiking, paddling and listening to this gorgeous, generous landscape. The air sparkles with clarity, the sky sizzles with blue and my heart soars with gratitude for being alive in this wild world.

I have had the privilege of sharing this time with Walt who is on a unique journey of his own which he has written about most articulately HERE. I encourage you to read this insightful piece of writing and follow along with us as we climb and paddle our way through the rest of the summer and into the Autumn.

These are two newly completed paintings that will be exhibited in my upcoming Adirondack Pop-Up exhibition being held at a private "Great Camp". Please contact me if you would like to attend (August 15 & 16).



Friday, July 25, 2014

Holy Fire

"When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you." 
~Martin Buber

A Communion of Subjects / 48" x 36" / acrylic on canvas

Sekon Rock / 48" x 36" / acrylic on canvas

Monday, July 14, 2014

Soul Floating in Cosmic Star Sky

This painting was inspired by two recent experiences, both were gifts from dear friends. The first one was described in the previous blog post about a moonlit arrival by boat on an island. The second was another experience of night and the sensation of my soul rushing out and up into the star filled sky.

Soul Floating in Cosmic Star Sky / 24" x 30" / acrylic on canvas
We decided around midnight to take a boat out into the middle of Upper Saranac Lake and float. It was the loons that lured us there with their shimmering calls across the dark water. No moon. No light at all when we turned off the boat lights. Darkness. Then we looked up and fell into a sky of stars. A swath of spilled milk filled with galaxies spread over the heavens from north to south. The Milky Way, dazzling in it's beauty, punctuated with the streak of a falling star every so often. We floated, the loons sang and I became the sky. The night is when we are most in touch with our intuition, when logic and reason step down and our instincts come alive.

What will we do when we have obliterated all the darkness from the planet? When we no longer can look up and see the stars? Will we forget them? Will we forget how tiny and insignificant our small and short existence is on this planet? Will we forget to be awed and humbled by gratitude. I pray that we remember to preserve the darkness and the stars for our grandchildren.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
~Albert Einstein



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Green Balm

We arrived by boat, at night, under a waxing moon. The boat sliced through the ink blank silence and deposited us on an island. The darkness was complete and enveloping. The brightest light was the moon above. I was home.

I could feel tension leaving my muscles as my limbs softened in recognition of the tree limbs. The wilderness reached its arms up to meet my soul which in turn seemed to leap up in recognition.


 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Upcoming Open Studio

 
Open Studio - Thursday, June 5th from 3pm to 8pm
Come and share a glass of wine and check out the artwork.
Click on the Eventbrite link in the right hand column and register for a chance to win one of my paintings in a draw which you can enter simply by dropping by!

(All the info and directions are also included in the Eventbrite Invitation) 

Looking forward to seeing you all!