First the Good News

Beacon Hill Art Walk - 2011
Beacon Hill Art Walk was a wonderful success, beautiful weather and a secod place award

Beacon Hill was a total success! Not only was it a beautiful day but I was fortunate enough to receive a second place award. So, I’m hoping my first show of the season portends good things for the rest of the shows to come this year.  That said, my next show will be in Amherst, N.H. at their July 4th Art Show on the village green. It runs from 9:00 to about 1:00, or until folks head home to cook-outs and such.

The bad news is that I’m almost in the dark right now. A grand storm has knocked out power which leaves me using the battery powered laptop and sitting next to the window for whatever daylight is left under the massive clouds. I am undeterred however, my Friday blog will go out on schedule. Besides, I am trying to keep myself from running out to the studio to get my cell phone, which I forgot out there. And yes, I know that would be incredibly stupid in weather like this, but feeling totally isolated isn’t so fun either, so I sit and I write. While it won’t go out until tomorrow, I still feel like we’re having a conversation right now.

Although I wouldn’t really call it bad news, I didn’t get a painting completed this week – but I have an excuse. For that we can return to the Michaelangelo quote “I am still learning”.  Now my focus is on the human form. As I have added people into my landscapes I have become more and more interested in working on figure drawing. Starting with a workshop earlier in the year, attending open studios weekly to share the cost of a model and now taking an ad hoc workshop with a group of fellow artists and a great instructor I have been busy drawing. While portraiture is not something I see myself doing with any regularity I am learning the process. That’s why it was such fun to come across this picture when I was going through some old photographs.

Hella Bailin, Me and Mom
Having my portrait done by Hella Bailin while sitting on my Mom's lap.

This picture, (dare I say the date on it?) was taken of me sitting on my Mom’s lap while Hella Bailin drew me. The other picture is the final portrait. The setting was Maplewood Memorial Park, Maplewood, New Jersey (Exit 143 – I couldn’t resist). That’s where I grew up. Each year for a while they had their own “Art in the Park” and Hella Bailin would do portraits. This one, as well as the ones she did of my three older brothers hung in our home. Recently, I was in contact with Hella’s daughter through Facebook after I Googled Hella Bailin’s name. I emailed her a picture of the portrait and she immediately recognized her Mom’s work. The funny thing is another recollection I had of her Mom was incorrect.

Barbara Benning (1962) - that is before she was Barbara BusenbarkThere was an art supply store, rather off the beaten path in Maplewood that my Mom would bring me to for my art supplies when I was quite a bit older. I remember she had pointed out Hella Bailin to me at the shop one day and said “that’s the lady who did your portraits”. Maybe she just happened to be there that day, while I thought it was her shop, regardless I felt like I was seeing a rock star. So, one of my earliest inspirations was Hella Bailin. There was something magical about having pictures you looked at every day and then seeing the person who created them more than a decade later. Also through the magic of the Internet being able to “meet” her daughter, was an added treat. Hopefully one day I will post a painting here that I was able to create, and just maybe one day it will be treasured the way Hella Bailin’s are.

As I sat here doing my final edits, the power came back on and the storm seems to have passed, how about that?