The holiday card from my landlord (and friend; some of us are too lucky) this year said, “Beat the odds! Have a great year!” Things do look bleak. But without venturing my opinions on matters like the auto industry and stimulus packages that people don’t generally look to picture framers to explain to them (I promise to stick to things I know about), I’m feeling strangely positive about the outlook — and not just because the long-awaited new administration has finally taken over. More big picture thoughts at the end, but meanwhile…
Here at my studio, I look forward to a few things in 2009:
- Having Christin Coy join the gallery. I look forward to framing her paintings and having them here in the gallery to enjoy every day. (That’s Christin’s “Bear Valley Glow” above.) Christin is a wonderful Marin County landscape painter who has been active on the local scene for many years. Visit her website, www.christincoy.com to find out more about her and her work. And look for her contributions to the Journal as well. She and her partner Richard Lindenberg – another terrific landscape painter – are planning a couple of painting trips over the next several weeks, and I hope she’ll send updates. I’m very pleased to be adding her to the gallery. We’ll be officially introducing her at an opening for…
- Paul Kratter – a show of new studio landscapes, larger than what we typically show of his. Should be spectacular. June 6. Get it on your calendar now! Paul too will be contributing to the Journal.
- Just got off the phone with Bob Flanary who is working on a mural we arranged for him to do for a home in Berkeley being remodeled by my friend and neighbor, Alex Bergtraun. It sounds tremendous! Bob’s excitement was contagious, so this will certainly be a highlight of the year. As soon as he gets an email address (and I thought I was a Luddite), Bob too will be sending in entries.
- All things considered, we did very well with Robin Moore’s show, “Tomales Bay – A Shifting Light” , but many of these wonderful pieces are still available. Have a look! Meanwhile, we are working with Robin to build on the success of the first show. Discussions are centered around the subject of California Trees. Robin has an extraordinary affinity for trees. She and I are both avid fans of Arthur and Lucia Mathews, and are playing with the idea of framing the show in highly individualized frames with polychromed low-relief carving. In this economy, though, we’re both concerned about producing such labor-intensive work on spec. Any thoughts or ideas are welcome.
- “A Heaven In the Eye” – a group show here at the gallery of local plein air painters from around the Bay, painting our beautiful Bay from their respective points of view. Paul and Christin will be joined by at least two other artists yet to be named. Probably November.
- This journal. The web has been great for me, allowing for a new and promising business model. This…uh…”blog” (why do I dislike that word?) will help me stay in touch with at least our core customers and share my enthusiasm for my work. In spite of the downturn, things remain vital here!
The big picture –
It truly feels like a new era fraught with danger but also full of tremendous opportunity for a renewal of our national character. In an article I have coming out this month in Arts and Crafts Homes and the Revival, called Real Wealth: The Value of Art and Craft in a Debased Economy, I expand on the significance of one 19th century epigram for our time (got it out of John Bogle’s new book, Enough):
Some men wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called work.
Some men wrest a living from those who wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called trade.
Some men wrest a living from those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called finance.
Now’s the time to renew our support of small craft studios, for if manufacturing, along with agriculture, is the foundation of the economy, the small workshops and studios that are frequently the origin of companies and products are the bedrock. No healthy society can abandon the basic skills cultivated in small workshops. No civilization can survive without the artistic spirit of the small studio. My hope for 2009 is that it will be remembered as a watershed year when our economy and culture began to reestablish themselves on more sound footing. I hope you’ll check out the article.
So this journal is off and running! Happy New Year to all! May we all beat the odds together! Please come by and see us!