Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

As the sun sets tonight, there is the promise of a new day and a new year. I wish you all a Happy & Healthy New Year and hope you enjoy this video of Scotland's gem, Eddi Reader singing the traditional end of year song "Auld Lang Syne". Be safe, fill your hearts with love, grow something this coming year, respect and nourish the soil and it will nourish you, reach out to someone in need and pray for peace.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"After the Storm", Gregory Dunham Watercolor, 21x41", 2008, Private Collection

After the Storm, Christmas Day

Out on the river,

snow covers a thin layer of ice.

Clouds lift, skies brighten,

sounds are muffled as day begins,

transformed by a blanket of white.

Even birds are waiting

for the wind to stop,

as small drifts form waves.

The house is like a ship

anchored on a sea of white.

After the storm, the fields

are silent, no footprints yet.

Deer are resting among

islands of hedgerows and fence lines,

landmarks in a sea of white.

Slowly, the house awakens,

warmed by red oak and birch.

Down in the kitchen, coffee is on,

Christmas magic inside and out,

transformed by a blanket of white.

Though I in no way consider myself a poet, I was inspired to write the preceding poem to go along with the mood in my painting.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May you experience the magic of love, the warmth of family & friends, peace both within and without, and a sense of joy, wonder, hope & fulfillment, as the season turns and the light slowly begins its return.

You can see a larger image of the above watercolor at my web site: Gregory Dunham Watercolors a Christmas Card

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Story of a Drawing and the Passing of Time: from the Real, to a Drawing, to the Real

The Story of a Drawing and a Knitted Hat
The Hat, 1976, Graphite Drawing by Gregory Dunham, Private Collection

Paris 1970
Nearly 41 years ago, on an extended stay in Paris during the winter of 1970, besides the outdoor produce markets, one of my favorite spots to visit was the Jardin du Luxembourg. I loved to watch the children sailing their pond boats, the kids on the carousel reaching for the ring with their sticks, old gentlemen playing boules, young mothers and nannies pushing strollers, lovers walking arm in arm and the many people on benches watching, reading or eating. They were all a wealth of material for future paintings. On one such excursion I noticed a young boy riding a pedal cart, wearing a knit cap and scarf with an elephant design.
Little Boy in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris 1970, Gregory Dunham photograph

I took a photo of him and stored the memory away in my mind, till six years later, in 1976, when I did a graphite drawing and a watercolor of the little boy in his hat. Both the drawing and the watercolor sold from a show I had that year at the Guild of Boston Artists.

Now the most interesting part of the story begins. Ten years later in 1986, we learned we were about to have a son, whom we would name Stow after my friend and mentor Stow Wengenroth. Giving thought to a birth announcement, I suggested we use my drawing of the young boy from ten years earlier. Unfortunately, I had no photographic record of the drawing or the watercolor, but I was able to contact the buyer of the drawing and she agreed to let me borrow it back for the announcement. Sadly, I was unable to keep track of the collector who purchased the watercolor and as a result do not know its whereabouts.

As the story continues, two years later, after the arrival of our daughter Abby some friends held a baby shower for us. One of our friends had had a hat, similar to the one on the announcement, originally worn by the little boy in Paris, knit as a gift for Stow. When we placed it on his head we were struck by the resemblance to my drawing and to the Parisian boy from nineteen years earlier.

Stow in "The Hat", 1989, Gregory Dunham Photo

Detail: Little Boy in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris 1970, Gregory Dunham photograph

I'll end my story of the passage of time from the real, to a drawing, to the real here. Stow turned 24 this year. The drawing is 34 years old and the little Parisian boy is probably about 43 by now and for all I know may have a little boy of his own wearing a similar hat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day (UK) and Veterans Day (USA) A personal story of remembrance and thanks.

Shortly before 11 AM, whilst strolling about Brixham in Devon, UK, on November 11th 1999 with Pat, Stow & Abby,
Brixham, Devon, UK, 1999
church bells began to toll and shops and offices emptied as people began to gather at various points around the city and at exactly 11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month, the entire town fell silent. We stood among them in silence, men, women and children, keenly aware of the solemnity of the moment. No cars moved, no boats in the harbor moved, no sounds at all, but for that of our breathing. Most eyes were moist with tears as they remembered those lost in war. The observance lasted, perhaps, 15 minutes with prayers and a hymn after the silence. It was a very moving experience for us.

Today, 11 years later on 11/11 at 11 am, I observe a few moments of silence in honor of Veterans Day (USA) and Remembrance Day (UK) to serve as a reminder that our freedom is not free. In particular I remember my father William James Dunham,
who served in the Atlantic and my stepfather Chester Otis Kingsbury who served in the Pacific, both of whom survived the war.

God bless those that gave their lives, so that we may live in freedom and those that are serving today around the world, so we may continue to enjoy the precious gift of freedom.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Corea Harbor, Maine - Graphite Drawing: When the Past Becomes a Ghost or Let's Keep Our Working Waterfronts - Working

Corea Harbor, graphite, 15x22, 1982, Private Collection

I did the above drawing of Corea Harbor, Maine in 1982, years before the gentrification of the waterfront. It always puzzles me why people are attracted to an area by its rustic and picturesque beauty and then proceed to "improve" what attracted them in the first place. Maine is losing far too many of its harbor fronts to gentrification. Unfortunately, when I returned to this location, I was saddened to see, it is no longer worth a second look. It has been "improved" to all of our loss.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 Dunham Solo Show at Courthouse Gallery, Ellsworth, ME

My 2010 solo show opens with a reception at the Courthouse Gallery in Ellsworth on Thursday, July 29th from 5 - 7 pm. There is a catalog featuring some of my available work at the gallery or online: Courthouse Gallery 2010 Dunham Catalog
I will be showing my first five oil paintings added to my ongoing Granite Series watercolors. I will also have a small oil of the Bucksport waterfront, with beached lobster boats, railroad boxcars and the paper mill, and of course, many new watercolors. The show will run through August 25th.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Searsport Watercolor

My latest watercolor:

"Morning Light, Searsport", 29.5x41.5"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

19th Century Hudson River School paintings complement American Paintings Collection at the Hood Museum

We just returned from a visit with Abby at Dartmouth. While there, she brought us to the Hood Museum to see a magnificent collection of 19th Century Hudson River School paintings on loan from a parent of a Dartmouth student, including among others, Thomas Cole’s Schroon Lake, 1835–38; John Frederick Kensett’s Landscape (Reminiscence of the White Mountains), 1852; Sanford Robinson Gifford’s Mount Mansfield, 1859; and Albert Bierstadt’s Haying, Conway Mountains (Peace and Plenty, North Conway, New Hampshire), 1864. You can read more about this exhibit by following this link: Private Collection Complements the American Paintings Collection at the Hood Museum

One of my favorite works on view is this little gem from the Hood's Permanent Collection, "Below Mt. Manadnock", oil on panel painted around 1913, by Abbott Handerson Thayer, (American, 1849-1921).

In this painting Thayer reverses earlier landscape tradition, by bringing the distant peak into focus and merely suggesting the middle and foreground by an almost calligraphic use of brush strokes.

Another favorite in the exhibition is “The First Thaw”, 1913, Oil on canvas by Willard Metcalf , (American, 1858-1925)

Hood Museum of Art Collection, Dartmouth College

This Painting has a spontaneity and freshness of brushstroke with a wonderful glow of sparkling color that does not show as well in the photo as in person.

The exhibit will run through November of this year.

There is also an exhibit of Modern and Contemporary Art including a wonderful Rothko and a brilliant Sean Scully, that runs through March 14th.

"Wall of Light Summer", 2005, Oil on Canvas, by Sean Scully

If you’re up that way, be sure to visit. Admission is free at the Hood Museum.