Thursday, November 24, 2022

The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year

 Yeah winter showed up like a tax form from the government. We are having a "white Thanksgiving" here at the farm this year. The good news is I was out on the ice, 4", and did this painting on the 21st. If anybody did an earlier painting on the ice this winter in the lower 48 states, I want to know who that bastard is! 

Being on the river a few times lately, is like going home to me. A place to escape politics, capitalism, idiots(mainly), the news, everyone and everything. No music, no advertising, no farms, no nothing except the wildlife refuge. I owe it to myself to do a series of just the river before I die. The river has been a gift.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Catching up

     So I got a little busy. We made it through our schedule and at the end, out of sheer madness I guess, I added Memphis. I worked 6 months straight with no days off and got COVID 19 as my beer chaser reward. 

     In the meantime The Leigh Yawkey Museum bought my painting for it's permanent collection which made me extremely happy, for not only are Katie and I in their permanent collection, I know my Grandma would have been beaming with pride. Katie and I were the first married couple from Wisconsin to ever be in the Birds In Art Show at the same time. I don't do museum shows. I don't apply to things other than art fairs, and clearly I can't keep up with that anymore, so this was special for me.

    All I know is next year I am doing 4 maybe 5 art festivals tops. Never again do I want to work a schedule like this past year. Now I have all these loose ends to deal with and it feels dysfunctional. Doing shows are a blast and I can not say enough how much fun I have meeting people. My paintings open a lot of doors for me, of which I am very grateful for. That said I can't go on like this anymore. At every show people tell me, "No you have to come back, we love your work." Well, it is like that at the following show and people don't travel with us and see what it is like. It is like being on tour but in between gigs you are writing new songs and at the next show you are relying on the new shit to make your living. It is fucking exhausting. Only reluctantly am I an Art Star. Without a doubt I can say I have given it everything I could and that feels damn good. Seriously how many people give everything they have to give to something they love? I know I am truly blessed.

     We are both writing a book, and have written everyday this year recording all the madness. We are going to keep restoring our farm. We got the land put into the Pollinator Program with the USDA and are very excited to see the land be transformed.We are going to slow down. We are going to do work that is more ambitious and we don't have to care if it sells or not moving forward. We have about 8 more months to bust our asses, and then we are making a change. Maybe it will be a sabbatical. Maybe semi-retirement. I don't know and I don't have to know. Clearly I am never going to stop being an artist, it is who I am to my core. 

I will post a few paintings in my available works page soon in case anyone wants anything for Christmas. 

Katie and I have a gallery show at the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee in March.

Thank you all for helping me get through the loss of my Grandma, she is so strong in my memory it is like she is still here with me everyday.



Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Lenora Fletcher

 My Hero, one of my best friends, my Grandma died today. Til the end she inspired me with her dignity, grace, character and intelligence. She was a one room school house teacher and inspired this painting. I talked with her pretty much everyday for the last decade. She made me feel completely loved, encouraged my artistic streak, and in many ways was my mother, role model, and part of my soul. She unquestionably is very responsible for who I am today.

So I am not sure what the rest of my year will look like. All my shows this year have been ridiculously good. Before today I was unsure if I would be able to complete my schedule. For my sanity I will do my next two shows and go from there. There hasn't been an off day since Easter and excluding the upcoming funeral I do not anticipate another until October. 

Thank you all for your support, you made my Grandma very proud of me.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Summer Schedule

 People have asked me for years about posting a show schedule.So here it is. This will mark our last full tour and so Katie and I are both each writing a book about our lives as artists, and this is the true experience of the art fair circuit. Unless somehow I need the money or I stockpile a bunch of work, the next few years I am cutting this list in half. Period.

Our first show at Old Town in Chicago was very successful, so I am short on work already.  I have very little work to give Tory Folliard Gallery at the moment. As of now I am going through with this schedule until I run out of paintings. I will not be posting anything for sale until the holidays. No days off until October and I will do my best I promise.

I am doing Uptown in Minneapolis this year as a show of support for Minneapolis after everything it went through.The Twin Cities have been especially supportive of me over the years.Thank you everyone. I will try my best to be here for all these shows.

June 24-26 Des Moines Art Festival, Des Moines IA

July 21-23 Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor MI

August 5-7 Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis MN

August 13 Charlevoix Art Festival, Charlevoix MI

September 9-11 St Louis Art Fair, Clayton MO

September 23-25 Plaza Art Fair, Kansas City MO

Sept 30, Oct 1,2 St James Court Art Festival Louisville KY

Also this piece got excepted into the Birds in Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau WI. The show opens in September and Katie has a piece in it too.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

From The Land Of Sky Blue Waters

 Back in fall 2020 my High School Art Teacher(yes of course I keep in touch with my old art teachers) visited the farm here and was excited by the old Hamm's beer signs I have. "My brother has the Hamm's account," he happily exclaimed, "I need to text him a picture of this". So I said only to someone you've known for thirty years, "tell your brother not to fuck it up." I drink Hamm's and am a fan of Hamm's. The next day I got an enthusiastic call, "my brother wants you to paint something for Hamm's." So... I got the call and an email with a vintage Hamm's landscape painting with the instructions to paint something similar even telling me to let your inner Hamm's come out. Holy Shit! "I was born to do this," I said. One of the first things I did was inform my friend Mike, Mr. Minnesota and fellow Hamm's drinker. Wild disbelief was his reaction, like most people's. 

Luckily it was covid and I had no art shows and time for this because it was a short deadline, so everything had to be dropped and this became my only focus. Next thing you know I am scrolling through images of old Hamm's beer signs. Picking three vintage Hamm's signs including one of my own, I combined them into one panoramic painting that the format required. As a fan of the old Hamm's northwoods designs, I wanted to connect the history of cool advertising that is associated with Hamm's. Most people I know love the old Hamm's beer signs. Why they ever stopped that marketing campaign back in the 1970's I will never know.  The old Hamm's crown logo has to be one of the best Mid Century Modern designs of anything, period. Living in the midwest, one goes up north in the summer to escape the warm weather. To escape civilization in all seasons. You dream of stealing away to be on the water. That was basically my whole childhood. My family has vacationed up north at Lake Namakagon since the 1950's. My first memories of being up north involve staying at Richard's Resort. Riding in a 1973 Dodge Dart through the dense woods of Bayfield County Road M, I couldn't wait to get to the lake and get out of the car. As we got closer I was ready to explode when from out of the woods the Richard's Resort Hamm's Beer Sign appeared at the driveway's edge. How many people had an experience like this? I try to go up north once a year to paint, and plan on more up north paintings in the future. Its part of my story.

 On warm days I LOVE drinking Hamm's. Putting one in the freezer first to get extra cold, I dream about being up north, being a kid, being with my family. Nothing tastes as good as an ice cold Hamm's on a hot day. Few things in life are better.

There were five designs and they picked mine. We tweaked the painting a few times, making it more blue and vibrant. A section was added to it to make the painting wrap around, meaning the right side lines up with the left side. That was interesting to do but not that difficult, just tedious. We talked back and forth a few times about the idea for the carton, it was to be called the Throwback Pack. This was all very exciting to me. The painting is flipped backwards on the beer carton, and I had to sign my name in reverse.

Time went by. Covid created labor shortages. There was/is an aluminum shortage and the new design was pushed ahead a year. My life rolled on and I forgot about it. I'll believe it when I see it I thought.This is too to good to be true. These things don't happen to me.

And then, I got word that it was coming out this spring. Things got more thrilling when people started texting me images of it. Bizarre when a friend bought me a 12 pack of it. Surreal when I saw it and my name of it. 

I am very honored by this, but it in no way compares to all the experiences I have had with my usual body of work. People tell me all the time how much my paintings mean to them emotionally. Nothing can compete with that. This is just a really really cool side project that somehow happened, and nationwide at that. It is unbelievable really.  I am extremely proud to be apart of the Hamm's story and tradition. If you see it, have a cold one for me!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Same old same old

 Yeah, so much for retirement. I wish.

All I do is paint to keep up with an even more limited schedule for next year. Its like nothing has changed except I feel I am under more pressure to get together some inventory.  I am basically trying to get my head above water. 

That is pretty much my life. So if this is what it is, then I am going to go through with my smaller schedule for this year and then in '23 really cut back to just a couple shows. Period. It is so much fun to do the shows, but it consumes your life. My life needs to be about staying in rhythm and doin good work. I am in good rhythm now, and that is all that matters.

Katie and I are writing a book about our lives being artists. We are writing everyday and seeing where that takes us. Writing about your life seems to be an ego thing, which we do not want at all, in any way shape our form. People have asked us to write a book for years and so we hope to. Hopefully our lives can inspire somebody to quit their job and follow their dreams, or at least be comfortable not going along with the hot mess that is our culture. If I know one thing, it is what it is to be an artist. Wish us luck.

Feel free to ask about work or whatever as usual, I am resigned to this for 10 more months. Thanks again to everyone who helped us have such a wonderful 2021. I know that I am truly blessed.