Sunday, July 12, 2009


Islesboro art exhibit

I'm island-bound again later this week, for a group exhibit with some terrific women I've been lucky enough to go on retreat with for a week each September, for the past three years. We paint, draw, write, eat, laugh a lot, walk, play Scrabble - but mostly just work hard on our own projects. Mine is usually plein air painting around the island. Islesboro is a beautiful place. Here are five of the paintings I'll have in this week's show, which opens on Friday evening at the Islesboro Historical Society:

These all measure under 12" x 16", though I am bringing a few larger paintings along for good measure. Meanwhile, on the book front, I'm almost finished reading Diary of an Art Dealer by René Gimpel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1966), and it's so good I've blazed through over four hundred pages in what seems like no time flat. Gimpel bought and sold some of the best art the world has ever had to offer, and his diary is gossipy and opinionated and intelligent and generous, and exhibits a deep love for art and artists and sympathy with their endeavours. The sections about meetings with Renoir and Monet are particularly fine, as well as his reminiscences of Marcel Proust, and his thoughts about Botticelli and Vermeer. Gimpel defined the truly great work of art this way: "To survive for all time is to express all the beauty contained in a certain place and in a fixed second of eternity." (p.329) Gimpel, the introduction tells us, retained his sense of honor and serenity even as his health broke in a German concentration camp, Neuengamme, where he was sent after being arrested for his part in the French Resistance. I am dreading the end of this book, knowing what's ahead. Because the writer did not, despite his trenchant political comments, and I want to call out to him across time, to warn him. Impossible and heartbreaking. I read on.

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