Alix Hallman Travis, Pepacton Cabins, Corbett,
watercolor, ink on 2 pieces handmade paper, 8×16 in.
A Celebration of Outdoor Scenes
Along Rte 30,
Delaware County, NY
East Branch Delaware River
Plein Air Painters and guests,
to benefit the
Catskill Valley Scenic Byway Initiative
Harvard Hall, Harvard, NY
August 4- August 25, 2012
Live Auction August 25th
Studiotour, 2012, 4 fold brochure, 8.5×11″
On September 26-27, 2013 10:00am-4:00pm twenty five artists including: potters, weavers, furniture makers, rug hooker, contemporary quilt maker, painters, mosiac designer, printers, sculptors, leather clothing designer) who maintain separate, dedicated studios opened their studios to the touring public. Each artist was present to greet the touring public, display work, explain their processes, if appropriate may have demonstrated processes, and made sales. This was a first time event for our central Delaware County, NY studio artists and was the culmination of 9 months work, most of it gratis. We were supported by advertizers and a MARK Project, Middletown Small Business Grant. I coordinated the event. We artists were very pleased with the event and had hoped to repeat in 2013, however, art funding locally and from the state has absolutely dried up and without funding to handle much of the advertising and printing we are unable to stage a tour in 2013.
Exhibition card; top image is my ”Parade”, Catskill Mt. Life series, no. 6
Windsor Whip Works Gallery
When one looks at my paintings one immediately notices: paint applied with a palette knife, areas of bare canvas, high key color, a distinct light source and figures moving within a (strong vivid sense of place). A particular scene depicted in any one painting is not meant to (be one that I have actually witnessed but instead, to suggest many similar occurances like it common in my community. In my “Catskill Mountains Life”oil paintings my plein air painting in watercolor and my quick, figure sketches have come together with my imagination to express the spirit of a community.
From knowledge gained from painting outside I have developed a thorough knowledge of this physical place, its vernacular architecture nestled into the old, rounded mountains and along the kills, all touched by the seasons. Many years of observation were required before I recognized the social pattern I was seeing within the physical place. From my observations and interactions with neighbors and friends I have become attuned to our shared communal life. I join the two perspectives, plein air landscape and figure sketches to depict a colorful and spirited reflection of place.
On the canvas the application of paint mirrors the undulating lines of the low mountains, rounded and carpeted with vegetation. High key colors are applied with palette knife, often leaving areas of bare canvas. There is a focus on the figure–these persons could be anyone in the community. Each setting though not realistic, is obviously set in a mountainous, a Catskill Mountains, terrain.
In 2007, I painted and exhibited a series of paintings, “Music in the Mountains”. From those first reflections of life around me my work exploded into a series of paintings, “Catskill Life”. In this series I focus on shared experience: entertainment (music, dancing), water, parades, fireworks, food and family, helping hands, the post office, and finally the funeral.
My emphasis is on the figure, not the face. In fact my figures do not have facial features, just the front, back or side of a head. The activity speaks for itself, the reactions of the figures is expressed in the attitude the figure assumes–no smiles, frowns, tears are needed. It is all there in the lift of the head, the slump of the shoulders, the speed of the feet, the outreaching of the hand.
My recent trip to Bergamo and Venice, Italy was a lovely painting experience. In keeping with my policy of a new environment requires trying something new, I carried with me a watercolor journal of a material new to me, a 10×8” bound journal of Khadi Papers, HB4 WR 210gsm Rough and my ink pen. While I usually use my rigger brush for calligraphy lines I wanted to try the ink pen this time. The size of the journal is also smaller than the scale I usually paint. The journal, pen and small traveling paint set, filled with my own fine paints and supplemented with 7 brushes was light and fit nicely into my tote bag.
I completed 22 paintings on 18 pages in 4 short painting sessions. It is easy to turn the journal lengthwise and paint on two pages. The only problem for me was the habit of the wet paint to sit on top of the paper and take its own good time about drying. I frequently changed painting locations with the book held open to keep from smearing the painting.
I had carried the indelible mechanical pen with which I usually sketch and wished for an ink that would run with the water color–next time. With the pen I had I was unable to easily vary the width of the line I was making.
I feel that my results please me so much that I intend to exhibit the sketch book at members’ show in the Longyear Gallery. By web search I have uncovered a picture of a plexiglass box, or riser with a hole for a hand turning pages in the side. I am investing in having a single one made so I can show off my sketches and watercolor journals.
The summer painting season has been a whirl. Our weather here in the Catskills has been beautiful. Lots of rain but our plein air sessions have somehow dodged each storm. We have not had to cancel once! That leaves me worn out. I am teaching six students in two weekly classes plus participating in one East Branch Delaware River Plein Air Painters’s paintout each week.
In between those activities I have prepared for my exhibition: Kitchen Paintings, watercolors by Alix Hallman Travis. I feel very valued and gratified by the support I am receiving from two other local organizations. Writers in the Mountains accepted my invitation to hold a reading of some of their pieces revolving around food and the kitchen in the gallery space among my paintings. Homegoods of Margaretville, the fabulous kitchen store that handles my “kitchen” cards, is hosting a book signing. I will be very busy and having a good time.
I’ve been busy–very busy preparing an exhibition catalog for my upcoming show at the Longyear Gallery, Margaretville, NY. The Longyear is a cooperative gallery and the opportunity to feature each artist’s work comes around every two years. My second opportunity in the rotation was to be in 2010 but I was too busy with other shows to give the Longyear the attention it deserved. After all, this is the exhibition that will be most accessible to my neighbors and local friends; I thought long and hard before I chose to exhibit my “kitchen paintings”. I had exhibited these paintings in 2010 at The Futon Company, Worcester, MA and the viewers enjoyed them.
Then I had to choose which of the many to exhibit. A few of the paintings still in my possession had been exhibited individually at the gallery before, some never. The decision was difficult. I felt that the grouping required that I include some few previously seen. I feel those previously exhibited will appear in a different light when seen as part of a larger collection of similar still lifes.
Then I have produced a book of my paintings, an exhibition catalog of sorts and a promotional item for me. I used the free software program Blurb, and the process was easy, though not necessarily painless. One still must choose a few paintings from many to include. A writer friend and one of my first students, wrote the foreword; an art historian friend contributed an essay on still life painting, and I added a family recipe and a painting of the product to the mix. A selection from the book can be seen above–just turn the pages. The book is available for purchase. Just click the shopping basket.
I am most gratified to be able to offer our lovely gallery space during my show to the Writers In The Mountains for a reading of their pieces of food. The wonderful The Home Goods of Margaretville, which already carries my “kitchen” cards has offered to host a book signing! Such fun!