If you have not been to the Fenway Studies at 30 Ipswich Street, Boston, MA, you will be putting it on your calendar for the first weekend in November. It is simply, like being in another world. There were a limited number of them open today for the Fenway Open House, but each of the artists I visited was worth every ounce of gas I spent getting there. Alexander (Sasha) Gassel's studio is covered floor to (20 foot?) ceiling in
Russian Icons, and his own personal interpretations of Biblical stories.
|Moses by Alexander Gassel|
What is not covered by shaped canvases, stretched canvas, wood constructions, egg tempera or gold leaf is marked with old photos of his family. Back in the day he was making paintings to glorify God in defiance of Communist law. It's possible we'll get some of his work up at North River Gallery in time for Christmas. Stay tuned.
|Tristan & Isolde by Alexander Gassel|
Denise Lindquist wowed us with her cloud paintings, Origami take-out boxes and plush bean bag animals. Denise's work will be at Gallery 55 in Natick soon.
|Take Out by Denise Lindquist|
Her palette is distinctly tight. I don't have any pics of her clouds, which she seemed to be loath to paint anymore, but she's given in recently. Let's say there's a reason her murals are scattered in high-end locations around Boston.
David H. Lowrey's studio was intimidating at first because it was so dark and I thought it must be an antique dealer's showroom. But actually, David is a highly talented, brutally perfectionistic marionette maker, camera obscura researcher, painter, and says he lives in the 17th century.
|David H. Lowrey|
In the far corner he has a mock-up of Vermeer's studio complete with full-size dummy used by artists in 18th century France. It was simply amazing to see all the 4" hands and shoes lined up in rows. I wondered if he possibly did work for Hollywood, but he claims he doesn't. Please, please, don't miss meeting this fabulously talented, genuine gentleman artist.
Robert Grady, formerly with the Vose Gallery, shared some of his methods with us. He does small oil studies of fine vases, pots, and bowls. From these, he enlarges them slightly, plays around with the color and composition for a bit, and from there chooses which will become 50"x 50" magnifications.
|by Robert Grady|
I thought he and my friend, Laura Tryon-Jennings would enjoy exchanging notes. The paint application is completely different, as well as the mood. It is refreshing how two artists can be painting similar topics, but have utterly different interpretations.
|by Paul T. Nagano|
Last artist of the day for us was Paul T. Nagano, a watercolorist who divides his time between Boston, Honolulu and Bali. Delicate, thoughtful, and gracefully bold is how I would characterize Paul's works. He and Obama went to the same school in Hawaii, although they are not the same generation. After 22 years working at Pucker Gallery, Paul left to devote himself completely to his painting. It seems he's also written a book about Bali.
|by Paul Nagano|
The artists I met who live and create at 30 Ipswich Street are talented and approachable. The building itself was commissioned by the wealthy Bostonians of the Guilded Age specifically to house artists and to maintain Boston's edge in 1905 as the center of American painting. The building is modeled after the Paris studios of the 1800's. I hope you'll go when you can, and share the experience with your children.