Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Creating In The Middle Of Things."

The title of this post is from a book that I keep at my bedside. "Coaching the Artist Within," is one of many books written by Eric Maisel, a "Creativity Coach."for Artists of all kind.

Maisel's thoughtful and encouraging proddings help keep me on the straight and narrow path of dealing with all the "stuff" life throws at us daily, yet still maintain some form of creativity. The easiest way to keep in practice is to reach for my always handy sketchbook.

As you know by now, my sketches are done in a variety of locales, some on the fly in line at the post office or market, or a more lengthy wait at the doctor's office, or when I'm settled in at a restaurant or bar, or Barnes &  Noble, or at an airport. The woman above and I had drops in our eyes at the Ophthalmologist..

 Our local School Board was trying to quietly push through a project that would create a depot for High School buses in an already crowded residential area a few blocks from my home. Neighbors were up in arms about the proposal, needless to say. I felt an obligation to document the Board's confrontation with my fellow irate citizens.  

I never know where my pen is going to take me.

But wherever we travel I know I'll encounter a cast of unsuspecting fellow characters, and a wonderful pile of shapes on the page.

I'll soon be creating a little book with drawings done over the past forty-five years at "Hymie's Deli."

And as long as they are performing within 25 or so miles from me, I'll show up to hear
"Dr. Ben's Backbone Blues Band."

I cannot resist putting in comments uttered by bartenders and fellow patrons. The total often makes for a funky composition that just evolves.

This man was more than a bit befuddled by who was paying for what...and yes, I know; TMI!   
Life and all the accumulation of stuff continues, and my sketchbooks get full.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"The Watson House," A Nostalgiac Photo Essay.

Last week I posted this portrait of my wife Louise on Facebook.
Her birthday was on the 10th of July. She would have been seventy years old.

That image is one of many in a little photo essay I did about a wonderful old Inn, "The Watson," at "Twin Lakes," in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. Our vacations there were nostalgic reminders for Louise of vacations spent there with her family, and eventually as a waitress.

The waitresses quarters were in the cramped, hot attic.

Part of the tradition of working as a waitress at the "Watson" was adding your signature to the many scrawled on the rafters over many years.

Here are the Innkeepers, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, with one of their sons.

Generations of families sat in rocking chairs, enjoying the view of the lake from the shaded porch,
while waiting for the call to good old "Family-Style" dinners. Louise is in her favorite spot, and our first son,
Will, is waiting for his dad to play horseshoes.

The chef taking a much needed break before shoving dozens of buns into the ovens for dinner.

I think the following images speak for themselves.

 One year we took my mother Helen with us. It was her kind of vacation spot, for sure.

 Each bedroom at the Watson House had at least one of these decorative Victorian wrought iron beds, covered with many coats of paint. After the Watsons finally closed the Inn in the early 1980s, Louise and I drove up to Twin Lakes one final time, to purchase one of the beds, which I still have.

The vacations spent at "The Watson" as a young family were at the very beginning of what would be our rich
forty-three year marriage. As with most relationships we had our share of bumpy roads. Sometimes we were not even on the same road, but in hind-sight we realized we were destined to be there, for each other, when needed. I think this picture sums it up.

Near the end of her life Louise would often
ask me, "What are you going to do,
Bill; what are you going to do?"
Good question.
Whatever it is, I seem to be doing it.


Thanks to my dear friend Peter Sasgen
for making such beautiful prints over 45 years ago.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Painting At The 300th Birthday Party Of The Barns-Brinton House In Chadds Ford.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a Saturday painting with two of my fellow "Plein Air"
friends, Bruno Baran and Jacalyn Beam, on the grounds of the Barns-Brinton House in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

There was a gentle rain when I arrived, and I found Jacalyn in the shelter of a tree, already half-way through one of her exquisite small oils.

Here is a sketch of Bruno as he worked on one of his paintings, also in oil.

By ten a.m. Reenacters were in place and mingling with the public as everyone celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Barns-Brinton House, a wonderfully preserved former colonial tavern built in 1714.

Because I enjoy talking to people about the process of doing a painting, especially when working in watercolor, I ended up finishing only one painting on this day.  

Here is my painting, which I believe captures the historical ambiance of the day. Happily the Director of the Chadds Ford Historical Society felt the same way, because she bought it.

In spite of the hot weather, and for some, heavy clothing, the Reenacters stayed in character throughout the day, dancing and sharing their knowledge of what life was like for Colonial Americans 300 years ago.

At times I felt like I was on the back-lot of a Hollywood historical film set, with all these folks "in-character."

Mmmmm...perhaps next year I will join them.

I hope you had a wonderful July Fourth weekend!


Monday, June 30, 2014

My Fathers Day Date At The Delaware Art Museum.

Every once in awhile I feel the need for a day spent just with me; an "Artistic Date With Myself."

This recent Fathers Day was one of those days. I headed off into a sunny morning to first of all have breakfast at "Hanks Place," in Chadds Ford, the heart of Wyeth country. One of my cherished memories is having had a conversation with Andy himself, and an introduction to his muse, Helga, at Hanks.

I had decided most of this day was going to be spent wandering the galleries of the Delaware Art Museum, in Wilmington. I had an hour to kill before they opened at noon, so I stood in the shade and drew this bronze guy, the "Crying Giant". If he could stand he would be about 30 feet tall. Imposing, but he is a gentle giant.As I drew I truly felt empathy with him, and even more so when I read the sculptor, Tom Otterness, had created him in response to the 911 events.

I constantly remind my students painting and drawing is, first of all, about "shapes." And of course that is even more so when creating sculpture. The "positive" shapes are usually the subject itself, but equally important are the "negative" shapes, the spaces surrounding the subject...or in the case of three-dimensional sculpture, the spaces that weave in and around the art. The beauty of sculpture is those positive and negative shapes/spaces change as we move around the piece. This wonderful pile of  geometric shapes is welded Cor-Ten steel with a beautiful weathered patina, about 25 feet tall.

Once inside the museum I almost immediately encountered, and fell in love with, this elegant female named "Ruth."Ruth is a life-size pearly white sculpture carved from marble by her creator, Randolf Rogers. The actual title of this piece is "Ruth Gleaning," referring to Ruth from the Old Testament.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit this gem of a museum is because of the incredible collection of  works of American Illustrators. There are many wonderful images by Howard Pyle, considered to be the "Father" of American Illustration. N.C. Wyeth, patriarch of the Wyeth clan of artists,was one of Pyle's most famous students.  

In total contrast was this wondrous and captivating piece by Tony Oursler, "Sybil and Me."
Projected onto an eighteen inch ball is a very detailed video, a closeup of an eye, wrinkles, eyeball and eyelashes subtly moving, as the artist continually watches the 1976 film, "Sybil." Although I did not capture it in this sketch, if one focuses on the eye, you can see vague images of the film. Erie, surreal,
and I thought wonderfully creative.  I am constantly dazzled by my fellow artists.

When the museum closed I headed for one of my favorite places to draw, eat, sip a Manhattan, and end this date with me. "Buckley's Tavern", in Centerville. has long been a favorite hangout for Wilmington locals.

I could not resist one final stop; one more indulgence, before heading back to Bala Cynwyd.
Just as they are at "Hanks," lines are always long at this ice cream stand on Rt. 202.

When I finally got home I was greeted by our next President, Ms. Hillary. My son had given her to me the night before as his gift.. All in all a most enjoyable way to spend, and end, this Father's day.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Some Kids Just Don't Get Enough Lovin' From Their Pappys.

In the old days of the Wild West a man's sons often went astray.

Frank and Jessie James had a lust for robbing trains and stagecoaches.

Before Wyatt Earp and his brother Virgil got street cred as Deputy U.S, Marshals
at the gunfight at the OK Coral, they and their brothers were constantly being run out of towns and territories
for causing commotion amongst the local populace.

The Youngers took rowdiness to a new extreme, spitting in public places, causing commotion day and night, and were rumored to be cavorting  with wimmin of questionable moral fiber at every opportunity.

The Dalton boys were just a downright nasty bunch who actually killed people. Eventually citizens formed Vigilante groups, taking the law into their own hands. Here are the Daltons, laid out for public display after a gunfight that concluded with their demise.  One would hope; "Lesson Learned."

For some reason Historians of the old west have overlooked the once infamous "Ternay Boys," varmints
in their own right. Rumor has it the sons, Mason, Will, and Pierce, were encouraged by the family Patriarch, "Wild Bill," (center above) to live life to the fullest and savor every moment, whether sad or yoyous, to celebrate the unique qualities of their fellow humans, and to not take crap from anybody.
Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Art Of Living A Very Full Life.

When he was just a mere lad, my father, "Buddy" Ternay, was told by his 7th grade teacher that he
would not be going into the 8th grade unless he completed a report about the country of China.

 Having been raised by a tough and very independent Irish mother who didn't take crap from anybody, my father told the teacher, " I am going to be a farmer and I can't see how knowing anything about China will make me a better farmer." Pop walked out of the Olivet School on that day and never looked back. It was the end of his formal education.

My father was a very dapper young man.
He got his nickname because his good
looks reminded many of the then popular
movie star, Charles "Buddy" Rogers.


My dad met my  mom, Helen Mason,
at a "Speakeasy" in Vineland, New Jersey. They soon eloped to Elkton, Maryland, to get married. It seems running off to Elkton in the heat of passion was what young couples did, kinda' like another fad of the times, marathon dancing.

Their passion soon spawned three sons; William T. Jr., (with the gun) Frank, and Robert.

Bud and Helen were married for sixty-four years.

In addition to being farmers, they put in long hours in their country store.For over 31 years it was the social hub of the local farming community. The store also got raided every month or so because of the poker games played in the back room, late into the night.

My dad was famous for his "Subs," and at Thanksgiving, for his delicious Pumpkin pies.

When he finally retired, he had the dilapidated store moved to the field behind his house, nestled
into the hedgerow.  It was his visual "touchstone" to an enjoyable part of his past.

At 2: 34 p.m. on the 16th of May 2014, our father died, very peacefully, in his house and on the land he had
farmed and loved for over sixty years. A week before he passed he said "If you own farmland, you've got to grow something on it."  This is the last drawing I did of my father.

Although he was very much an Agnostic, I like to think that Pop's spirit will forever be linked to the fields he cultivated, plowed, nourished, and harvested, on his little piece of South Jersey.
He will be missed by many.