Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday afternoon Robert took us to his friend Mark's house, which is a museum of theatre props. Mark and his wife are both artists and currently he is a prop-builder and teacher. The home definitely jumps out at you on the block where a 20-foot giraffe stands guard next to the front door. As you walk to the backyard, a life-size seal and 20-foot woman are also living outside. Mark took us on a walk around the neighborhood, telling us about his life's travels and then gave us the full tour of his home...full of decades of artwork and paper-mache theatre props.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
So we left Detroit and it was super rad/scary. I've never seen a city like it before. Granted I haven't traveled a great deal, but still.
The next stop was Chesterton, IN to visit some family that I rarely get to see. We had a great time visiting and had some fun with Dave Hunt, my only cousin within my age range. Flannery's was our destination, which i recently learned holds some family history, and it was there that we met a couple other travelers on a similar journey.
Now we have arrived in Minneapolis. I didn't know what to expect from this city but we've been greeted with open arms. We are lucky enough to be staying in a beautiful condo over looking the mississippi river on the 16th floor. Very posh. Work has taken place on the river and in a studio. Progress has been made and we've still been fortunate enough to have a live modeling session, witness a belly dancing rehearsal and meet with various other artists. The city reminds me very much of my hometown, Portland, OR. Very green, bikes, mustaches, clean, coffee.
One of the artists we met with was Caitlin Karolczak. She showed us some great figurative painting and was a delight to talk to.
Painting will become more rigorous in the following days as we look towards an open studio on Saturday.
Last friday night we visited our new friend, Chris and his urban farm nearby in the neighborhood. Only a few houses are standing on his block, where basically dozens of homes were demolished over the past few decades. The house he is currently living in was boarded-up and scheduled to be demolished as well, but he made an offer to the city and snagged it for a cool $1,000. Outside he turned what used-to-be the neighbor's house into an urban farm, growing arugula, onions, and probably a dozen other veggie delights. We were very impressed with the gaul he has to both farm and rebuild a house all with his own hands, in a not-so-bustling part of town.
We also met his trusted companion, Odin, a two-year-old pit bull who was very excited to meet a few new people. I think my cast looked like a chew-toy or glove, so I kept it raised whilst trying to pet him. After we got the tour of the house, he had to stay upstairs in the bedroom. A moment later his head poked out at us down below like a child who couldn't play outside with the big kids because it was past his bedtime. Goodnight!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
As we were loading up our van on sunday, two young gentlemen, Hazim and The'er, were curious to see our paintings and also show us some of their own drawings. After going back to their house they came back with a few paintings....not their own creation but pieces from the house. I encouraged them to keep drawing and took a few photos....who knows, maybe there is an "Auto-Paint 2026" in their future??
Saturday night was truly eventful with an art opening, the first annual Arab festival of Hamtramck, and our first experience of a mid-west dive bar. Angela and Jason took us out on the town, stopping first at 2739 Edwin Gallery. A two-person photography and sculpture show and a reading of prose was set up in the beautiful space. Afterwards we caught the last act in Veteran's park of Hamtramck, witnessing the energetic act of "Prince of Dabka" and a lot of dancing by the the young Arab community. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming - even in the crusty dive bar down on Joseph Campau.
Friday, July 22, 2011
We've received the royal treatment here in Detroit. Our gracious hosts, Angela and Jason have let us into their home all week and given us an excellent place to work on their front porch during the night-time hours. Tuesday was our first day in Motown and we were given a thorough tour of Detroit and the surrounding neighborhoods. From the classics, like the old train station and the Packard plant, to the city-within-a-city of Hamtramck, we've found a few great set-ups for plein-air painting. Tuesday evening also entailed a sailboat ride out on St. Clair lake, which had a fantastic view of Detroit on one side and Canada on the other.
If you find yourself in D-town anytime soon be sure to have a drink and catch a show at "The Majestic" in the downtown area near Mack and Woodward (cross-streets) They have a great line-up of bands coming into town over the next couple months and we're sorry to have missed them. There is also an amazingly-designed Bowling alley and cafe downstairs as part of the venue.
Our A.M. sessions have been spent inside the Packard car factory....3.5 million square feet of decaying rubble. We were able to grab a few shots from the rooftop of one of the buildings. One more day to go and then off to Indiana!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wow. It's a lot tougher to get wifi then it seems. So there haven't been as many updates lately but now it's time to catch up. Afterwards we left the coffee shop and went to scope out a great location in Lancaster to do some plein-air painting. We ended up on an empty lot surrounded by train tracks. We were on the grounds of what used to be the Armstrong factory. Eric began painting the scenery and I worked on my own project. That became our afternoon painting spot for three days straight.
The next morning we went for a drive through Amish country looking for a good place to work. The farm land was beautiful. Everything was incredibly manicured and created a very picturesque environment. We took some pictures but ended up working at Eric's old teacher, Fred Roger's house which was the perfect place to work. We spent the afternoon painting in his yard, had a break for some hotdogs off the grill then ended the day with a critique.
The rest of the trip was spent painting in Eric's dad's back yard and at the Armstrong factory. We saw old friends and family (new to me) ate good food and got work done. You couldn't really ask for any more.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So after a week long delay of our departure due to Kickstarter confusion we finally made it out of town. Eric picked me up in our 1989 Ford Econoline a little before 11 on wednesday morning and we headed straight to the studio to finish packing up. Once the van was loaded we were on our way to Lancaster, PA, Eric's hometown.
During our drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike we started noticing some vibrations in the car. Those vibrations got increasingly worse until the point where the car was rocking back and forth like a boat. We realized immediately that the car could not be driven any further but luckily we were just a few miles away from our destination. We got off the road and headed to a mechanic who referred us to a Midas station down the road. Unfortunately the Midas was closed, but they had a key drop off so we grabbed our important belongings and left the van there over night.
Eric's brother Steve picked us up and we went back to his place to drop off our gear and make some BLT's. After that we played a little basketball, shot some pool and went on a brief walking tour of Columbia, a town just outside of Lancaster. We walked a bridge and saw the fire flies.
This morning we found out that the car problem was that one of the belts in the front right tire broke and we were driving on what the mechanic described as a pretzle. Luckily it was nothing mechanical and despite the $700 setback for new tires we're fine.
Today we are checking out Eric's Gallery, Red Raven and after lunch it's painting time. I'm very excited use the new brushes and paints (courtesy of Gamblin) on our custom stretchers and panels. With all of the preparation that went in to this project it will be great to finally focus on the work. We're here until Monday morning, then off to Detroit. We'll keep you posted.
We snagged one! Pat Ricca of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn hooked us up with a 1989 Ford Conversion Van for a very good price. Granted it has a lot of miles on it, but it runs great and just got an inspection (no AC, though, so we are doing this 20th century-style). The past week has been a scramble and I had to go the DMV 3 times over the past few days so we could get the heck out of dodge. New plates, title change, car insurance, and (finally) a change in my license from PA to NY. This means temporary paperwork for all these items....might be a little awkward if we get stopped by the authorities.
The DMV at the Atlantic center in downtown Brooklyn is right next to where the new Nets basketball stadium is being building so we grabbed a few photos. Enjoy!
The night before leaving we went on the roof of my studio one last time to sand down all our surfaces. Didn't take too long but boy was my one good arm tired afterwards.