Open House at Care Dimensions, Lincoln, MA

Sunday, March 24 was the long awaited and eagerly anticipated opening of the Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln, MA.

The 18 bedroom house is just gorgeous, the work of Siemasko and Verbridge Interior Design and EGA architects. 

To play even a small part in this project was an honor and a thrill.  Many thanks to the staff at Care Dimensions for commissioning me to create two works for this special place.

 

Care Dimensions Open House, Lincoln, MA. How paintings Tell a Story installed in the background.

Terra Cotta Army at the Virginia Museum of Art, Richmond.

What a thrill to see members of the Terra Cotta Army at the Virginia Museum of Art last week. I had no idea they were on exhibition-made my trip to Virginia and DC all the more memorable. 

Care Dimensions Paintings, Lincoln, MA. Installed.

Very excited to see these works installed in their new home.  Looking forward to the open house for this important space.  Many families will benefit for the hard work and dedication of the Care Dimensions staff who worked so tirelessly on this project.

Installed, January, 2018.

 

The autumn painting in progress, September, 2017.

An in progress review of the paintings, October, 2017.

Installed: How Paintings tell a Story, Care Dimensions, Lincoln, MA.

The intension of this triptych is to visually reference the writings of Henry David Thoreau, who lived on Walden Pond near what is now the new hospice center in Lincoln, MA. He moved to a cabin on Walden Pond soon after the death of his brother. The combination of the hospice center hiring me to create site specific work and the research I did on Thoreau’s time on Walden Pond made a big difference in the success of this important space. The design team was able to consider proper lighting and optimal location for the painting.

Video of the paintings I created for the new Care Dimensions Hospice House in Waltham, MA.

This grouping of paintings which I have titled How paintings tell a story, was created for the new Care Dimensions Hospice House in Waltham, MA. The subject for the paintings was inspired by the natural environment of nearby Walden Pond and its most famous resident, Henry David Thoreau, who lived in a small cabin on the property for two years following the death of his brother.

 

I returned to Walden Pond many times throughout the creative progress in order to visit Thoreau’s home as it was reflected through the seasons.  I also visited the construction site in different stages of completion to ensure my paintings would be complimentary for the intended space.  Going back and forth between the Pond, the job site, and then working in my studio proved important to make sure I was synchronizing the paintings, Thoreau’s essays and the new hospice house.

The paintings attempt to celebrate the beauty of Walden Woods as they simultaneously act as metaphors for life’s story, much as Thoreau did in his many written essays on the same subject.

The painting on the left suggests sunrise seeping through the trees, breathing life onto the earth. The light source coming from behind and casting a long shadow mimics stage lighting, giving the painting a theatrical quality. This sets the stage for a life to come, a promise of a future to be explored. The trees point to the right, guiding the viewer to the painting in the center.

The central painting includes a pathway in the composition. This suggests moving forward into unknown terrain, climbing a path that is a bit crooked and uneven, but guided by the light that is now in the background.  The open space in this composition is on the right of the painting-the light blue of the sky which holds a sense of distance, a way forward, the bend of the trees guiding the wanderer into the distance.

The painting on the right contains the body of water that one expects to find on Walden Pond: calm, cool, and a deep Prussian blue value that bespeaks a brisk New England autumn day.  In this composition, the trees shift to the left, allowing the viewer to return to the first painting and engage with all three paintings as a whole.

The trees are included in all three of the paintings to represent the rootedness of life.  The water is symbolic of ephemeral nature, another visual and spiritual symbol recognized in many cultures throughout history.

As a naturalist, Thoreau understood that the path to a greater understanding of life is through an understanding of the natural world around us: “We can never have enough of nature”, he wrote. “We must be refreshed by the sight of the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees.”

It is my hope that visitors to the Hospice House in Waltham will find peace and serenity as they rest in front of these paintings, whose story mimics those of the people they have come to visit.

 

 

My visual interpretation of Henry David Thoreau: How paintings tell a story.

A Walk through Walden Woods in search of Thoreau’s Cabin.

I spent last Saturday walking through Walden Woods in search of inspiration for my #caredimenisons commission. The new Care Dimensions building is located in Waltham, MA. not far from Walden Pond. The commission features three paintings inspired by the natural environment of Walden Pond. The quiet serenity, sense of peace and the smell of autumn trees on the trail was invigorating. Thoreau, who lived in Walden Woods for two years after the death of his brother John, (his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson owned the land at the time and let him live on it for free), wrote his most famous essays while huddled in his very small cabin. A replica of the cabin is on site and invites visitors to imagine what it was like for Thoreau to live there. I understand Thoreau’s desire to live simply and peacefully. I hope my paintings reflect the Walden Pond Thoreau came to know so well.

How Paintings tell a Story

My goal as an artist is to work with designers and architects on site specific projects; working with designers and architects presents an opportunity to interact with professionals with whom I can share my ideas and who can in turn share their visions for how they perceive the final building will engage the user.  Currently, I am working on the Care Dimensions commission for their new facility in Waltham, MA.

By creating site specific work, I can pre-determine the size, shape, palette and subject of the work.  As with all of my commissions, this one attempts to connect the mission of the patron, in this case a hospice center, with the local scenery and history, Waltham, MA., and given this location, the writings of Concord native author Henry David Thoreau whose book Walden recounts his experience of living for two years in Walden Woods near the Waltham/Concord town line.

The three paintings in this commission attempt to celebrate the beauty of Walden Woods as they simultaneously act as metaphors for the trajectory of life.

The painting on the left is meant to suggest sunrise seeping through the trees, breathing life into the foreground. The light source coming from behind and creating a shadow in the foreground mimics stage lighting, a common practice in Baroque art and one that gives the painting a theatrical quality. This sets the stage for a life to come, a promise of a future to be explored. The trees point to the right, guiding the viewer to the painting in the center.

The central painting includes a pathway in the composition. This suggests moving forward into unknown terrain, climbing up a path that is a bit crooked and uneven, but guided by the light that is now in the background.  The open space in this composition is on the right of the painting-the light blue of the sky which holds a sense of distance, a way forward, the bend of the trees guiding the wanderer up the path and into the near distance.

The painting on the right contains the body of water that one expects to find on Walden Pond: calm, cool, and a deep Prussian blue value that bespeaks a brisk New England autumn day.  In this composition, the trees shift to the left, allowing the viewer to return to the first painting and engage with all three paintings as one unit.

The trees are included in all three of the paintings to represent the rootedness of life, a visual symbol used in many cultures such as in Navajo Sand-paintings.  The water is symbolic of the ephemeral nature of life, another visual and spiritual symbol recognized in many cultures and throughout history.

As a naturalist, Thoreau understood that the path to a greater understanding of our life on earth is through an understanding of the natural world around us and of which we are part: “We can never have enough of nature”, he wrote. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and Titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.” (reprinted from walden.org/thoreau).

Working on this commission for Care Dimensions has provided me with the opportunity to share my ideas with architects and designers, with the CEO of this important Hospice facility, and to channel the writings of Henry David Thoreau.  Next: the mission of Care Dimensions and symbolic in the paintings.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about how my work, please contact me to discuss your ideas.

Care Dimensions Commission: The in-progress paintings in my studio

Care Dimensions commission as it unfolds in my studio.

Using simple household tools such as a turkey baster and a squeeze bottle, I apply layers of colored pulp to the surface of the painting, building the many elements of texture that make my process so unique. The three dimensional quality of the surface will mimic the original, natural environment.

The three paintings in-progress at the beginning of the work day. The challenge of working on three paintings at once is to make sure they flow together. The palates for each must be unique so they hold their own identity; at the same time they must also work harmoniously together. It is a challenge I embrace as I see this as a musical concept-harmony and identity, almost like instruments playing in an orchestra.

 

 

  Close up image of the Fall inspired painting. The cotton abaca pulp is applied with the turkey baster while the overeaten pulp is applied with the squeeze bottle.

End of the work day, Friday, October 27. The Fall painting is coming along with a new layer of colors having worked on it all day. The Summer inspired painting (right) will be worked on next. This allows all three painting to be worked on at the same time and to keep pace with each other. That is, when one painting is worked on for a period of time, I leave it for a few days until the other two paintings are worked on to meet the same level of completeness.

What the final paintings will look like. This is what the art review committee chose during our meeting in August, 2017.

Care Dimensions Commission: Painting the Background

A turkey baster is used to apply what will become the blue sky of the autumn inspired painting.

The commission for Care Dimensions  in its beginning stages in my studio, October, 2017.  The panels have been covered with a base sheet of pulp and the first layer of what will become the skies is poured directly onto this layer.  Using basic “painting tools” such as plastic spoons, a turkey baster and recycled plastic cups, I begin this essential stage of the painting process, working on all three paintings at the same time to ensure time management-as one painting dries between applications of color, I anticipate the paintings will be completed by the end of November.

 

 

Two of the three paintings resting on the vacuum table in my studio, October, 2017. The painting on the right exhibits several shades of blue pulp on it. This is necessary to determine the which is the correct shade to be used for the final painting.

Over beaten abaca (pulp from the banana tree-very strong, used to make nautical rope) is removed from a blender after color has been added. The blender is used to ensure the color is evenly distributed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the final paintings will look like. This is what the art review committee chose during our meeting in August, 2017.