As a disenfranchised artist (in Paris anyway, we’ll fast forward from the lawsuit about the taxes we paid but were pocketed by the shipping companies), I have ended up with the same problems as Tiffany and Co. And my dear old Rolls-Royces, “strangers in a strange land”– passé, as the “old order” has passed on, and the current one is all about “throw away” and “two for one.”
I cried over spilt milk, but there comes a time to go on. So I reasoned that smaller paintings might be easier to sell in today’s marketplace. That was not an answer…sort of like “smart cars.”
So I started thinking and praying, deeply–to remain a solvent artist. What came to me were several aspects in terms of what is commercially called “product.” I didn’t see outsourcing my work to China. But I did see doing something that was enjoyable and definitely “hands-on,” with brushes and palette knife, scumbling and scraping, subtle yet stunning. Something that could be propped on a shelf, a desk, or hung in a kitchen… or maybe even on top of a wedding cake! I will add some photos ( some serious, and some just for fun) to suggest how these new board paintings can be enjoyed singly, grouped together, or appear in unexpected places. Traditional framing also works, on a neutral background like burlap.
I have always been in love with old wood and metal objects that tell “stories.” That’s why I love my barn studio in Gouldsboro with bits of hay still stuck between the weathered Maine boards. Those poles made of spindly trees at one end where hides were dried and tanned(?)…the square headed nails, etc . surround me with “stories.” And of course driftwood even sounds romantic. You can hold a piece of driftwood, and feel the smoothness of surf sanding, of sun bleaching to white and gray.
There, that’s it! Forget canvas, and imported water color paper. Let’s work with wood! More easily said than done. If you were to observe what I do before I paint by new shim and board paintings, you would witness a theatrical makeover of boards contractors might use for unseen support. A hand saw, power sander, varnish and paint is the magic of transformation. The story may be artificial, but the material rings true.
The other caveat was that these shims and boards had to be portable and fit into large purses, tote bags, and such. Portable art. And no glass to break, no canvas to tear, no paper to fade in sunlight. And, Oh Yes, art to hold in your hand and feel the grain you sea (I mean, see…sorry). As a kid, I loved making (as Leonardo did in his notebooks) correlations of the patterns and movement of clouds, water, wind, and their effects on beaches, rocks, and landscapes. Infinite variations and never boring. Can you even think of any two sunsets exactly alike? That’s why I like being on the edge of the land at the tidal world of my Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Maine at Schoodic/Acadia. I immerse myself in both. For decades the Gulf of Mexico has seen me bobbing around while watching the clouds (I float like a cork for some reason), and ending up in the Jacuzzi-like motion of the gentle surf in 80 to 90 degree salt water. I don’t even wash off the salt until the next morning. That’s being in love with that crystalline sun tinted green water… I can’t get enough. In Maine it’s different, in that I become a rock (my name is petros in Greek, after all); I don’t go in the water like I used to, diving off the rocks in Ogunquit on the Marginal way to show off to the tourists. That was a long, long time ago, before I left the northeast for southern California. The rocks in Maine are like those in Hawaii…from the molten depths of the earth; the ribs of what rises from the sea. But Maine rocks are like large gems somehow, with colors and infinite patterns. As soon as I touch the brush to the wood, the seascapes come to life rapidly, as if each moment I spent in each place was seconds ago. Only in this way can I access the many years of loving the sea and sky…endless and forever inspiring.
Well, that’s what goes into the art on board, for buyers on a budget (or not, I’m not an elitest) to hold like a seashell to listen/hear/see…and it is the ripple of love reaching out from the artist to share with a world in need of spiritual nourishment and comfort. There’s no way that’s boring!
They will be available online on our site (gallery) under fine art seascapes, and at the barn studio in the summer and fall, 1007 West Bay Road, Gouldsboro Maine 04607 ( please call 813.720.6868 or 813,220.5666 for hours).