I recently returned from Boston where the crew and I were attending the TransCultural Exchange Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts. The conference was great. We learned many things. The highlight of which was a workshop presented by German artist Ulli Boehmelmann on the logistics of mounting an international exhibition. (She was speaking about her experience in particular of presenting work in Russia). I found these artist-led workshops to be the strongest of the conference. Artist talks can be so impactful and encouraging and motivating in terms of narrowing in on what kind of art career I'm seeking. I've talked about this before, but it's so easy to become lost in the proverbial 'trees' - deadlines and paperwork and blog posts - and neglect the career 'forest' plan. My point is: it was a good week for thinking and planning and getting inspired.
Plus we trekked around Boston. A city I haven't visited since I was 10. It's wonderful. We are already planning a return trip, one with no conferences. Just walking.
The highlights. Make Way for Ducklings. Sloane Merrill Gallery and a wonderful show by Timothy Powers Wilson. And the Museum of Fine Art where we spent a good deal of time in front of a little Rembrandt (what a collection).
Here is the Jones Gallery crew in the Common.
In between workshops and gallery visits, I took a few photos and made some sketches. I'm now working on a few Boston paintings.
On another note. Regarding War and Peace.
I listen to audiobooks at the studio, which I have gone on about before. And because I spend some mighty long hours at the studio, I look for meaty, lengthy listens. And I love Tolstoy and Anna Karenina, so this month: War and Peace. 60+ hours. Yarr.
I am almost finished. Narrowing in on hour fifty. While I knew the broad strokes of this book before beginning, I didn't know the minute details of the storylines. But now that I am immersed, Tolstoy's charms are wearing thin. I'm planning to read Anna Karenina again soon to clear my head of War and Peace.
To mark my near conclusion of this epic audiobook experience, I've compiled a list of War and Peace characters, who, in my humble opinion, I would love to see trampled by a hoard of stampeding Russian peasants before the end of the book. Some of these characters have already met their demise at this point in the novel (I cheered), and as for the others, I patiently await their smushing by peasant herd.
Those Who Should Be Trampled:
Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky
Princess Marya Bolkonskaya
Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya
Among others. Especially Pierre. Please tell me he doesn't endure until the end.
I am still using Caleb's audible account. Only he has caught on to my rabid book downloading and I had to pay for this year's subscription. A SMALL SACRIFICE for endless hours of bookish joy. Here are my favourites from the past year.
1. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. I like titles with the word 'middle' in them.
2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz.
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. I read this one already years ago, but didn't recall much other than liking it. Plus I like long-ish listens. Even more so when Simon Prebble is doing the reading. This one, like Kavalier and Clay, I wished would keep going on and on.
4. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell. Which I've gone on about before.
5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt. Me and novels about art history are destined to go together.
My ongoing "do better" list.
1. Drawing. I typically take a utilitarian approach to my sketchbook - making notes on composition or angles or location, sorting out the preliminaries for a planned painting. Unplanned, unfettered drawing tends to fall by the wayside in favour of deadlines. Experimentation though, mark-making for the sake of mark-making, leads one to the good stuff. Drawing, must do more, I say to myself. Often. So this winter, I am trying to draw with regularity. Sketchbook and pastels every day, for a few minutes at least.
2. Organization. Look at all those little boxes! These are the first issues of the Jones Gallery Quarterly leaving the studio last week. Organized. A little spreadsheet and everything. Go me, an-organized-and-effective-me.
My minions helped, to be honest. They're the organized ones. They disparage my helter-skelter ways.
3. Not delivering wet paintings to galleries. I have an exhibition with Argyle Fine Art coming up in April. The last time I had a show with them, a few of the paintings I delivered were a tad wettish. Stupid oil paint and its extended drying time. So I am working on Halifax paintings diligently. It's February! So much drying time until April.
4. Catalogues. I've been meaning to do a portfolio catalogue for years. YEARS. It only took the depths of February and a conference deadline and upcoming portfolio review to finally buckle down and create one.