Win Win and Forgotten Philadelphia!

The Four Humors of Tinicum, 2012, polyptych, oil on wood panels. 60.7X14 cm. 


If you haven not had the chance to see Forgotten Philadelphia you will have one more opportunity! Just to remind you, it is a show with my painting (above) about the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Philadelphia. 

This is the third and final stop of this exhibit sponsored by the non-profit literary magazine Philadelphia Stories. The show is from April 15 to May 17 at the Center for Architecture at 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA. 

There will be an opening for the show this coming Friday, April 19. This opening serves as a fund raiser for Philadelphia Stories and has a cover fee of $20 ($25 at the door). Unfortunately, Mary and I will not be able to make it to the opening because of a busy weekend for William's confirmation and Paddy's first communion. If you haven't or can't see the show there is also a wonderful book published with reproductions of all of the artwork and literature. The book in of itself is a nice work of art. 

For friends and family in the San Francisco area you will have an opportunity to see one of my paintings on display (below) in Richmond, CA, at the National Institute for Art and Disabilities (NIAD). It is part of a benefit for the institute called Win Win. Tim Buckwalter, my good friend that I went to undergraduate school with at the Tyler School of Art is the Art Director at the institute and asked if I could donate one of my paintings. I was more than happy to comply! 

Both of these organizations do great work in the art community. If you have a chance to support their work please do so! 

The Four Humors of Sometime Soon, 2013, polyptych, oil on wood panels. 61X15.25 cm. 


Steve and Russell Visit the Land of Pork

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Last November my great friend from my days in art school, Gerry Bannan and his lovely wife Betsy, honored me by having a solo show of my paintings in their studio/gallery in Roanoke, Virginia. I'm still impressed that they arranged to have Bill Clinton visit Roanoke while I was there. See the details of that visit here.

The show in Roanoke was up for November and December. For most people that would be enough. But not for Gerry. He then moved the show to the Patrick Henry Community College where he teaches. So, for January through the 19th of February, folks in the town of Martinville VA got to see (put up with) my work. On the 19th Gerry invited me to come and talk to his students about my work.

The first trip down in November I went by myself. For this trip I managed to talk Steve Garr into coming with me! Now, I have had success with this in the past, because I there were at least two other times I talked Steve in to crossing the Mason Dixon Line to head deep in the the land of boundless slow cooked pork. Once with his brother Mike and once with the legendary Jim Reed.

This trip, much to my regret, was way to short. Unlike the good ole days where we could roam at will, I had to be back in West Chester to make sure the kids were off to school and such. We left at 7:00 AM on President's Day and returned the next day at around 10:30 PM! A whorl wind tour but fun nonetheless! Check out photos of our trip here

The Red Show

I might be short on paying work, but I am having a fair amount of success in getting my paintings shown. I will have another of my paintings in a show called The Red Show in Stoudsburg, PA. I don't know how long the show will be up, but the opening will be on Saturday, February 9th from 4-8 PM. 

I think the painting that will be on exhibit will be the one above, called The Four Humors. It could be the one below, called The Letter. I'll find out on Saturday! If you are in the area, please stop by! 

Forgotten Philadelphia

The Four Humors of Tinicum, 2012, polyptych, oil on wood panels. 60.7X14 cm. 

The Four Humors of Tinicum, 2012, polyptych, oil on wood panels. 60.7X14 cm. 


Last fall I was part of a painting and writing exhibition called "Forgotten Philadelphia" through the organization Philadelphia Stories. The show featured 16 visual artist. Each artist proposed a location in Philadelphia that meant something to them and might be off the beaten trail, or in other words, a forgotten part of Philadelphia. The people at Philadelphia Stories then paired each visual artist with a writer, who then went out and wrote about the location. 

I proposed to make a painting about The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. When I live in Philly over 20 years ago I use to visit this place often as it was one of the best birding spots around. Back then it was called The Tinicum National Environmental Education Center after the creek that flows through it. The poet that I was paired with was JC Tood, who wrote absolutely wonderful poem about the refuge. 

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The show in Center City was up from September 15th to November 9th. If you missed it you have another chance to see it because it is moving to Arcadia University from January 21st till February 20th. The opening reception will be on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00 PM. 

Along with the exhibit Philadelphia Stories published a book (right) with all the works in it. If you are interested in buying a copy they are available here ($30 hardback). 

A Weekend at the Big Lick

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This past weekend my friend from art school Gerry Bannan and his wife Betsy hosted a show of my paintings in their studio gallery in Roanoke, Virginia called BanG Studio. I have often heard that if you want to get anywhere in the art world (or any world for that matter) it is all about who you know. Well, let me tell you, if you are going to do anything concerning art in Roanoke you need to know Gerry and Betsy! Not only did I get the royal treatment and the honor of being the first painter to show at their new space, but I also got to witness power tool drag racing and a speech by former President Bill Clinton! The number one thing that I learned form the weekend is that Roanoke doesn’t suck!I’ll let you figure out why it was once called the Big Lick.

As I said Gerry and I go way back to undergraduates at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and we also traveled around Europe together in the summer of 1987. When I was at Tyler, I often wondered how I ended up in a school with so many fantastically talented people, and Gerry was surely one of them. See his works here. After we graduated from Tyler, Gerry went off to graduate school at the Pratt College of Art in NYC where he met Betsy, who is also a fantastically talented painter. See her works here. They married and eventually ended up in Roanoke, where Betsy’s family is from and have been there ever since. They recently moved their studio out of their house and into a formal studio space in downtown Roanoke.

This space is nothing but awesome! They use about half of it as a studio work space and the rest as a place to show art. I am honored to be the first painter to show work in their new space. This is especially good for me as I haven’t shown work in a gallery setting in about 25 years! Having over 30 of your paintings all in a row allows you to see and think about your work in ways that you otherwise can’t. The opening was great and well attended. I especially liked that mom and dad were able to come up and see it. It is nice to show them that my art school education is still working for me. I also want to thank all of Gerry and Betsy’s friends that came out to see it and made me fell like I was at home. What a wonderful art community you have there! I look forward to more visits in the future. Checkout photos of BanG Studio and the opening here.

The next day, Saturday, was one busy day. It started off with breakfast at Ernie’s with mom and dad in downtown Roanoke. We had planned to eat at Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles but they didn’t open until 9 AM. This was not good as we were hungry at 8 AM. Ernie’s it is. I’ll have to give Ernie’s the thumbs down as the grits that we ordered were instant grits. I could tell they were instant just by looking at them. It is a cardinal sin to serve instant grits south of the Mason Dixon Line! After breakfast we walked around the open market place and then mom and dad got on the road. I headed back to the Bannan house where we then promptly head off to the Power Tool Drag racing.

I must admit I was a little skeptical that these racers would race, or move forward in any significant way. On Thursday night we visited the workshop of Rob Humphrey the organizer and a racer in the event. Also there working away was Matt Ames, the race announcer and also a racer in the event. They tinkered away for a while and when they tested the Philosophy Inc. entry it didn’t move so well. I am happy to say that by race time all the bugs had been worked out of the system because these things moved like bullets! Check out the photos of the race here

After the racing Betsy, Gerry and I were feeling hungry. I made the point that it was after 9 AM and Thelma’s should be open. Gerry and Betsy mentioned that it was about the only place in Roanoke that they had never eaten. Decision made and we were off. Now, I have eaten lots of strange meals in my day but this was as simple as this; hashed potatoes with bacon (I’m also pretty sure the potatoes were cooked in all of the bacon fat), a big huge piece of fried chicken, and a Belgian waffle. Nothing green or remotely healthy, just southern comfort food at it’s best. It rocked!

It was my original plan to head back to West Chester at about this time, however, Betsy and Gerry somehow convinced former President Bill Clinton to come speak just blocks away from their house. How could I leave after all the trouble they went through to get him to come and speak to me? I couldn’t, so I stayed.

No matter what you think of Bill Clinton, he is one of the most iconic figures of our time and one of the greatest orators ever. And just incase any of you are unaware, I am a dyed to the polar fleece, union loving, latte sipping, progressive, liberal democrat. Needless to say I was very excited to see President Clinton. The event started at 7 PM and we got in line at 4, and it was worth it! He was as a dynamic speaker in person as he is on TV and we enjoyed every minute of it. Check out the photos of the event here.

Woo. What a weekend. Sunday I got up early and had a very uneventful drive back to West Chester.

Thanks Betsy and Gerry, and the rest of the Roanoke crowd for a wonderful weekend!

Russell

Art on North Franklin Street

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Thanks to everyone to stopped by for our open house to show sculptures by Steve Garr and paintings by yours truly. Steve, Mary and I had a great time. If you were not able to make it yesterday, the works will be up for 4-6 weeks, or until we get tired of looking at it, or until we get another one of my friends to hang up their works on the wall, or until we get evicted. Check out photos of the installed works and of some of our visitor's from Saturday (I used the camera on Mary's iPhone, most of which came out too blurry to use).