Thursday, April 20, 2017

Octopoda in Hudson Valley

I was very surprised and honored to receive the Director's Choice award for this year's annual members show at the Athens Cultural Center.  More than that, I was pleased to see people appreciating the humor of my painting Octopoda in Hudson Valley.  It was a painting that evolved over several years, starting as a snow scene and eventually moving to night skies and green grass.  But it was the addition of the trapped octopus which really gave the painting its legs, so to speak.  The octopus, an intelligent and mysterious creature, is well known for its ability to escape confinement, so in the longstanding battle between man and nature, it appears as if the octopus may have a fighting chance of victory. As for the frame, I have always wondered how to use this antique moulding I found in the basement, and since it seems to mimic the tentacles of the octopus, it was a perfect way to resolve the edges of this panel. Now I need to revisit other paintings to see which ones could stand to have an octopus added.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hudson River School Revisited

Hudson River Octopoda                    Oil on Paper

A Wing and Prayer Wallet         Upcycled Leather

As I completed the painting Hudson River Octopoda featuring the Thomas Cole House in Catskill and Olana across the Hudson River in Hudson, NY, I realized the importance of the conversation between two artists.  It was the collaboration between Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church that encouraged both men to pursue ideas about man's relationship to nature, thus establishing the Hudson River School of Art.  With this context in mind that I changed the name of this blog to Omgeving, a Dutch word for surroundings-- for when you surround yourself in an environment of creative people, an engaging conversation about art, architecture, and the environment is bound to emerge.

I've had such a 30+ year conversation with dear friend and fellow artist Adriane Errera, whose one-of-a-kind handbags have inspired me greatly. As a lifelong vegetarian, Errera faced an ethical quandary over using leather materials, so when making her handmade accessories, she decided to upcycle second-hand leather garments found at thrift stores, which not only keeps garments out of landfills, but curtails the use of new animal products.  The designs themselves incorporate nature-based motifs with tattoo-inspired illustration. I've long admired her sense of color and craft as she refashioned garments into artistic statements.

So perhaps this blog can serve as a conversation-starter for your own creative growth, either alone, or with friends!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Warm Modernism

 Eastport, Long Island project at night
Street view
 Waterfront elevation

 Master bath
 Kitchen
Family room

This recent Bouler Pfluger Architects, PC project in Eastport, NY combines the sweeping elegance of modern, geometric massing with the traditional shingle style architecture of the area. The home's waterfront exposure is designed to capitalize on the crisp, clear light of the South Fork, for which the east end of Long Island is well known. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Media Blitz Pops

I am taking a moment away from my twitter feed, Facebook, and obsessive news watching to say something about the media as depicted by pop artist Robert Rauschenberg. His fractured images of jumbled news events feel like the noise in my head as I try to navigate the brave new world of a 24/7 news cycle.  Though most often associated with the 1960s, Rauchenberg's career spanned a much greater period, but it is those works from the 1960s which seem especially prescient.  As we click through the channels and surf the web, the myriad of clipped images and sound bites leaves the viewer to make sense of the constant stream of information.  And in these rough days of 2017, none of it seems to make much sense.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Because I Could Not Stop For Death








An early evening stroll through the Athens, NY cemetery behind our house was filled with gothic brooding and contemplation.  With many headstones from the late 19th century into the early 20th, the history of this town's inhabitants is a keen reminder that our life is a fleeting reflection of a moment in time.  Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) provides the appropriate words to match this sentiment.

Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me –  
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –  
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility – 

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –  
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –  
We passed the Setting Sun – 

Or rather – He passed us – 
The Dews drew quivering and chill – 
For only Gossamer, my Gown – 
My Tippet – only Tulle – 

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground – 
The Roof was scarcely visible – 
The Cornice – in the Ground – 

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity – 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Apartment Therapy Challenge


 After a much needed edit

 A messy cleaning process

Order restored 

Chaos remains


Are you a fan of New Year's Resolutions?  I am, and yet every year I seem to make the same ones. Top of the list oftentimes is to get organized.  For the past few years, I've signed up for Apartment Therapy's new year challenge to get the house under control.  Who knew my cabinets were a virtual graveyard for expired medicines and tasteless spices. I mean, when you've got medicine in there that expired in 2009, it's time to clean house.  And as for saving every mug I've ever owned, some can certainly make their way to the church's thrift shop.  The daily tasks Apartment Therapy suggests are a great kickstart to getting the house in order.  Every day, an email inches you one step closer to housing Nirvana and before you know it, you've made some progress, at least until next year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In Praise of the Old


Athens, NY, circa 1875 


Eastlake details on the porch railing 


Original bannister and front door 


 Incredible Hudson Valley light


Jackson and Clara enjoying a moment on the antique couch

What is it about old homes that makes so much sense? Is it the attention to detail, or the efficient use of the site?  Having chronicled the Hudson Valley for several years now, I'm impressed at how the area never ceases to offer up fascinating discoveries in terms of charm, character, aesthetics, and history. One of our recent finds is this house, situated on top of a hill in Athens, NY with a view of the Hudson River.   
The house is a new journey for the Bouler family as we explore every element, sort out what's less than resolved, and get to know our new neighborhood.  Built in 1875, it survived a fire 30 years ago and several ill-conceived renovations.  Walking around the rooms, we envision those who built it, wondering their names and careers.  Were they in shipping, maybe exporting ice, as many did in the Athens area? Perhaps an artist from the Hudson River School? How many servants did they have?  When did the home get electrified? Snooping through town records can certainly help piece together the answers, and we are grateful and thrilled to be adding our family's history to the genealogy to the house.