Sunday, June 29, 2014

Provincetown Prints

Blanche Lazzell, Anemone II

A few years back I did a post about white-line woodblock prints.  It's a printing process that's
uniquely American; in fact, it was invented in Provincetown so the prints are often referred
to as Provincetown Prints.  Unlike traditional woodblock printing where each color requires a different block, this process uses just one block with a tiny groove cut between each section to divide the colors. This method leaves a thin white line separating the colors, hence the name
white-line print  You can see a few of my own white-line prints in this old post about my artwork.

Blanche Lazzell advertising print

The invention of the process is credited to Bror (B.J.O.) Nordfeldt and it was developed by a
small group of artists who were in Provincetown (unable to travel to Europe) during WWI.
The two prints above are by Blanche Lazzell who, arguably, has become the most famous of
the practitioners of this process.  She taught the printing process to the next generation of
artists and it's still practiced and taught today.

The Provincetown Art Association and Musuem, celebrating its 100th anniversary
this year, is now showing an exhibit of Provincetown prints made over the last century.
I wanted share a small subset of that exhibit, the prints from those earliest days that 
show the life and times of people 100 years ago.  The scenes, the dress, the styles
and lifestyles captured in these prints is wonderful.  

Harvest of Sea by Flora Schofield, 1933

Woman Sewing by Maud Squire (etching) ca. 1915

"The Pianist" by Ethel Mars, ca. 1918

Tea Time in Morocco, Bror Nordfeldt, ca. 1916

The Party by Ethel Mars, ca. 1920

"Mother Love" by Edith Wilkinson, 1914

Figures and a Dog, Ada Gilmore, ca. 1916

This is my favorite one.  I've also seen this print titled "Gossip" which I love.
Aren't the outfits great?

Untitled, Mildred McMillen, ca. 1916

This is a great Provincetown scene before automobiles that now line the streets.  A horse and
buddy are perhaps delivering fish or ice.  The sailboats in the harbor seem to be floating the sky.

This amazing show of Provincetown prints work is on exhibit until August 10th, 2014.

Provincetown Art Association and Museum
460 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA  02657

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More from the Tip of Cape Cod

So here we are again where we last left off.  Low tide on Provincetown Harbor.

The water is quite shallow in much of the harbor so when the tide goes out, the sun heats the water
and sometime by the end of the day, the water is incredibly warm when the tide starts coming back in.

Provincetown is filled with textures.  Weather worn clapboards, shingles and a sculpture
in front of the museum are well contrasted here.

You may remember this house from a post I did in all black and white about
 a very gray day in Provincetown.  I have to say, it's unfortunate the hedge
doesn't allow a view or path to the front door.  I suspect it's a privacy hedge but even
a solid white gate would look better.  That's my critique for what it's worth. 

I just happened to be lucky enough to be there on the day when this beautiful
Gothic Revival was getting a whitewash.  There's so many things I love about this photo.

I think it was Erin from Whaling City Cottage who pointed out on Instagram that the 
trim looked like shark's teeth.  Isn't it great?  I love Tom's straw hat and and the crooked chimney.

And here's Huck, in a great action pose, having been convinced to use a wide brush.
No rollers, no sprayers.  Completely old school.

The town has unfortunately become overbuilt but it does make for some pretty nice compositions
of gray shingles and white trim...

...mixed with lots of cottage charm...

...pretty gardens with white picket fences with a view of the harbor from almost everywhere.

Roses seemed to be the flower of the week.

Although Provincetown has been a fishing village for centuries, it's main wharf
is now a mix of fishing and pleasure vehicles.

The beach at low tide.

Provincetown's main street, Commercial Street is lined with shops,
galleries and restaurants.

John Derian's little shop is a hidden gem.  It's a cute little shack packed with his signature
decoupaged wares and some great one-of-a-kind pillows, lights and other homes
accessories.  Look for it on Law Street right near the center of town.

And the famous Lobster Pot.  It's become an icon with all of it's fun vintage signage.
(Note:  Get the lobster-avocado cocktail!) 

There's a show at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM)
of woodblock prints that represent 100 years of print work in Provincetown.

It's open through August 10th so if you can make it, it's worth the cost of admission.

This is a print by Edna Boies Hopkins whose work I love but I'll show you 
another subset of prints in another post.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


       Photo:  Me                                                                         Painting:  Christina Baker

I decided to take a day off work and escape to Cape Cod the other day.  I sat in bumper-to-bumper
traffic for an hour to hit the road to relaxation.  Funny how that works.  I had a great day in
Provincetown seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  It's just a two-hour drive from Boston but it's a world away.  People you barely know greet you with a hug or kiss on the cheek--something I'd be quite uncomfortable doing with people I see on the subway far more often.  But I digress.

I find it relaxing to walk around with my camera and look for compositions to photograph.
I'll share more of my photographs in another post but while I was there, I was posting some of photos to Instragram.  Shortly after I posted my photo of Provincetown Harbor at low tide, I saw Christina Baker post one of her paintings called High Noon.  I thought my view of the harbor
could easily serve as inspiration for Christina's painting.  And I love seeing the two side by side.

Enjoy more of Christina's paintings on her website, her blog and Greg Irby Fine Art.

The weather is perfect which, to normal people, might mean the beach or a barbecue.  To me it's a big painting weekend out on the back porches.  I have to get back out there.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A2Z Vintage

For you locals, I wanted to give you a heads up about a new place to
check out. I've talked about Darby Road a few times before--it's where
my "store counter" kitchen cabinets from--but the former Darby Road
warehouse has a new business called A2Z Vintage that carries vintage,
antique and one-of-a-kind items.

I thought I'd give you a tour of their 10,000 square foot warehouse 
to show just a little a bit of their eclectic mix of items.

Right outside is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.
These are faux bois columns for a pergola.  You can see in a few 
places where the beams go in.  The tops actually collect water and
drain it down to the bottom.  Wish I had a place to use these. 

A great piece for an unfitted kitchen.  I love the touch of old green paint.

A nice variety of "mantiques."

If your name is Joseph and you have a cafe, here's the perfect sign for you.

A great pair of urns.  Notice the fish motif in the second one?

A 1840s painted armoire.

A monumental 1850s English pine cabinet.  Just gorgeous!

A great collection of vintage and antique rugs.

I flipped for this antique Heriz.  I asked Paul to measure to see if
it would fit in my living room.  It does!  It seems these rugs were out of style for
a while but have you been noticing them being used more in modern settings?

There was a pair of these great driftwood sconces.

The perfect stool for a princess to put on her glass slippers.

Look at the marble top on this antique Italian-style vanity!

There's also a little bit of mid-Century mod furniture,
lamps and accessories.  Perfect for your '50s ranch!

The owner, Jon Ames, has a great eye for paintings.

There's also a nice selection of Asian pieces.

I love this blue color.

Victorian settees aren't really my style but I'd love to see this recovered
on something like a grey tweed or herringbone pattern.

A beautiful little faux bamboo table perfect for evening cocktail.

Baa Ram Ewe!

Okay, so blue damask might not be your thing but look at the beautiful
frames on these Louis chairs!  Again, I'd do these up in men's suiting
to balance their feminine curves.

Be sure to check out A2Z Vintage soon to take advantage
of their 20% off Grand Opening sale.  Let them know I sent you!

A2Z Vintage
39 Green Street
Waltham, MA  02451

and by appointnment.

Monday, June 2, 2014


I don't know why time seems to evaporate this time of year.  The days
are longer but now the weekly chores extend to the outside spaces and
the extra daylight hours easily get filled.   

For the past few years, one of my springtime rituals has been taking
down my living room drapes and rods--I still have to do the latter--and
let the sun shine in.  I always enjoy this simpler look.  My living room
is very small, just 11-1/2 feet square, and taking down the drapes makes
the room feel larger. I'm considering making this a permanent change
by adding shutters to the lower half of the windows and a roman blind at the top.

 Bi-fold shutters would fold back to let in the light during the day and
close at night for privacy.  I would rarely close the roman blinds on the
top half but they would provide a little color, softness and/or texture.

I'm also planning a new slipcover for the sofa that will lighten up the
room for summer.  More on that later.

I recently took a work day off for a carpe diem and I headed
up to Essex, Mass with the Princess of Pillows, Carol from 6Wilson
for a day of treasure hunting and I thought I'd share a few images from
that day.  Above is an antique set of Japanese spouted nesting bowls.
I've never seen anything like that.  It's amazing they're all in perfect
condition after so many years.

A high-strung quartet.

I have a weakness for old wood and rope.

And if you've ever been to Andrew Spindler, you may
recognize the mammoth succulents he has outside.

And no day in Essex is complete without a stop at Woodman's...

...for a lobster roll and onion rings.

I've been picking away at the painting in the kitchen.  I wasn't
in love with the dark color I had chosen for the back of the kitchen
shelves.  So after a few new samples, I changed it to Ben Moore
Iron Mountain.  I guess it's also Darryl Carter's Vinton Brown.
I think it works nicely with Chelsea Gray

So I've been working on the bits that needed painting a little at a time.
I used the cabinet color around the fridge and painted out the
back of the cabinet with the Iron Mountain.  I still need test stain samples
but I needed to get some wood conditioner and more pieces of fir so my
samples are as accurate as possible.

And lots of other projects going on at the same time.

I'm still cleaning out, organizing my basement.
It's not a bad basement for an 1842 house but it's painted
Pepto Bismol pink on all the walls.  The ceiling is old post and
beam construction but that was, sadly, painted Virgin Mary blue--
you get the idea--so I got some waterproofing paint by Behr in a 
color called "Silt" for the walls and I'll mix up some brown-gray for
to highlight the beams.  It will never be a beautiful or finishable
basement but I think I can make it a really cool, funky space.

I'm also totally reworking the garden.  My new French doors give me
a different view and I think I want to screen the view of my 
neighbor's chain link fence and their view right into my kitchen.

I still need to paint all the new exterior porch work as well as my fence
which doesn't match my house.

So lots to do!  My apologies for not being around much but that's
probably the way it's going to be this summer.