Where It’s At

Thirsting for art on a hot August First Friday

Tue, 08/16/2022 - 10:30am

    The August First Friday began at Joy to the Wind for me. I hadn’t made it over to see John and Lynne Seitzer’s gallery on the east side of the Harbor and that needed to change.

    As soon as I walked in I felt the light and warmth I usually do there. Lynne showed me some of John’s new “Overlay Art” series in which the paintings – be it a landscape or seascape – are overlaid with complementary colors that change the painting’s appearance from a distance and close up (that was the particularly cool part for me).

    But then, check this out: As Lynne and I moved through John’s work she showed me how he’s really been doing it all along – for years … take a painting called “Early Light” that was part of their “By the Land and By the Sea” show I wrote about in 2017 … the sunlight dancing on that water sure looks like the overlay in 2022 ...You’ve gotta see them.

    Lynne’s work is innately ethereal; it just is. Whether she’s painting a bird in the backyard, women celebrating the light or lying still on the floor of Cathedral Wood listening to the sounds from within from her “Myth, Memory & Monhegan” series; or her light and lifting paintings of women receiving and radiating light.  But Lynne’s landscapes are where I like to linger … even the ones depicting a threatening storm in the country or on Monhegan. Her greens and yellows, blues and whites ... 

    After enjoying a piece of dark chocolate (always served for First Fridays), it was time for hugs and a drive over town.

    I had a most entertaining conversation with Don Josephson at Studio 53. Don has a solo show, as does Nancy Keenan Barron, this month.

    His show represents work completed in the last 15 years, seven of which were in a cabin on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. Some of his art was made of things he found on the beach. He made sure that whatever he created would fit in a suitcase – that would include the “Whittle Bird” and the “Shingle” birds in the show. The Whittle Bird is a tall, maybe 24” tall bird (yep, it’s all legs) and it does come apart. He calls them “Tico Toys” because on the side of Costa Rica he lived on, the people referred to themselves as “Ticos.” 

    You’ll find the Tico Toys displayed in the center of the back wall with some birds made of shingles, and (one of my favorites from years back) a painting titled “Three Beach Boppers.”

    There’s something about those “Beach Boppers” that really calls to me … maybe it’s the way the boys appear to be walking, enough so that I can imagine them just walking off the canvas and past me on the way to the “bar” area of the gallery for First Fridays and asking Barkeep George for a tall drink o’ water.

    Maybe it’s because they’re on a beach and I can recall times walking with friends back in my school days with friends, talking and stuff … there’s an innocence and a subtle intimation that this may be their last summer as just boys; that if they walked that same stretch of sand next year, they wouldn’t be the same ...

    “I did a series of 15 paintings of people walking on that beach. Some men looked like women, and some women like men … I haven’t shown them yet,” he said.

    I said I hope he would. I think people would be riveted to each and every stretched canvas ...

    “It confuses me to look at a scene and paint it,” Don said. “When I work on landscapes in Mexico, I’m usually thinking about Stonington, or  I’m comparing Costa Rica to an island in Maine and painting that island.”

    And then I focused on a small painting of a yellow 1963 Volvo. It was his favorite car. He said he had a painting of his old yellow Volvo wagon in a show last year and someone bought it. Don still seemed surprised about that. And I couldn’t help but think I had a pretty good idea who that might have been … 

    First Friday is a great time for people to get out there and talk to gallery owners, artists – there are almost always artists there with a show or who are represented by this or that gallery.

    In addition to the two, yikes, two that I visited this month, there were also receptions held at Gleason Fine Art, Ae Home Ceramics, Ed Brown’s Wharfside Gallery, Boothbay Region Art Foundation, Black River Gallery and Gold/Smith.

    Two more First Friday Art Tours remain for 2022 on Sept. 2 and Oct. 7. Go ahead, take a walk, on the creative side!