Open Studios: Plan A Happy Post-Election Weekend

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Windsor Terrace artist Susan Greenstein’s watercolor view from New York’s High Line (not for sale).

THIS WEEKEND (NOVEMBER 12-13) THIRTY-FIVE ARTISTS in Windsor Terrace and Park Slope will open their homes and studios and invite us in on Saturday and Sunday to have a look, talk about art or not, and maybe buy something, maybe not. The hours are 12 to 5 pm both days. Brooklyn Artisan is quick to attest on the basis of previous years that it’s a lot of fun to do and certainly should give you a good rest from politics.

To make a plan over brunch, check the map at parkslopewindsorterraceartists.com. (The map is downloadable. Most of the studios offer map printouts that you can pick up and carry with you.)

The site also has a Directory of Artists that’s set up to be fun to browse. Use it as a planning tool to choose studios most likely to interest you. In past years, Brooklyn Artisan has started our meanderings at the southeastern edge, 41 Fuller Place, with the dazzling watercolors of Joy Makon. Many of her subjects are local scenes, beautifully composed (and hard to resist. Ask Joy about giclée prints, too). One year we worked north and west to Park Slope, ending up with interesting conversation on technique in Simon Dinnerstein‘s impressive top-floor home studio (his Fulbright Triptych is world famous), and another year, we circled around Windsor Terrace, buying a charming Christmas book with illustrations by Dara Oshin and a watercolor by Susan Greenstein for Christmas gifts.

Warning: It may be hard to part with your gift purchases! (Susan’s watercolor view from the High Line hangs handsomely in this writer’s home even as she types. See homey photo above.)

Art in the Slope: Hear Six Artists Speak About Their Work

 

Richard Barnet at his foundry.

440 Gallery artist Richard Barnet at his foundry.

This Sunday, February 29 at 4:40 p.m., the six members of artist-run 440 Gallery in Park Slope will speak about their work in a Q&A session. Gallery curator and fellow-artist Karen Gibbons will moderate this panel discussion about the current exhibition: New Members Show 2016.

Celebrating a 10-year anniversary this year, 440 Gallery is a neighborhood and family-centered storefront where one can explore art on all levels. One or two member artists are always on site during open hours (Thursday through Sunday) to talk about current exhibitions and upcoming events.

Painter Amy Weil works with encaustic media.

Upcoming events
(free, start at 4:40pm)
• Sunday Feb. 29: New Members Show Artist Talk
• Sunday March 6: Me, Myself and Eye: Andrew Drury Percussion—part of a monthly series of musical afternoons

Joy Makon will speak about her watercolor process.

Joy Makon will speak about her watercolor process.

Updated events as well as current and upcoming exhibitions are listed on the gallery’s website.

Location
440 Gallery is at 440 Sixth Avenue (9th Street and 6th Avenue) in Park Slope, Brooklyn. F, G, R trains.

This Weekend Discover Art & Artist studios in Park Slope & Windsor Terrace

Facing East at Pemaquid Point, watercolor by Brooklyn Artisan executive editor Joy Makon. At letter R on the weekend open studio tour.

Weather reports forecast a beautiful late-fall weekend, November 7 & 8—a perfect time to wander about Park Slope and Windsor Terrace and pop in and out of the 34 artist studios that will be open for viewing this weekend.

The third annual Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artists Open Studio Tour features a mix of cutting-edge, classic and experimental work from established and emerging artists who make Brownstone Brooklyn their home. Many of the artists on the tour recently participated in Gowanus Open Studios and if you had a chance to discover art there, you’ll be pleased to find a lot more this weekend.

Information: Tour website, downloadable map & suggested itinerary, Facebook
Look for the green balloons outside of each open studio location. FREE.

Some highlights from the 34 artists on this year’s tour:

NORTH SLOPE studios: painters Gregory Frux and Janet Morgan, letter I on the map; distinguished classical artist Simon Dinnerstein, letter F on the map, mixed-media painter Jerry Friedman, letter H on the map.

SOUTH SLOPE studios: metal-sculptor Janet Goldner, letter Y, will be doing welding demos over the weekend; David Weiner, also at letter Y, will create event-based sculpture in real time; abstract painter Joy Walker, letter X; printmaker, illustrator, painter Nancy Doniger and kinetic metal sculptor Eric Jacobson, showing at letter G; digital/photo/social commentary artist Bob Hagan, letter M; plus 9 additional open studios—check the map.

WINDSOR TERRACE studios: sculptor Lisa Lincoln, letter P, will be creating with clay on Sunday; functional potter Caryn Kreitzer, letter O; at letter E: monoprints, watercolors by Susan Greenstein plus watercolors, photography by Phil DeSantis, plus 4 additional open studios—check the map.

Plenty of great places to stop and refuel along the route…but you knew that already…

3rd Annual Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair Saturday, Dec. 6

THE OLD STONE HOUSE near the edge of J.J. Byrne playground in Park Slope is once again the historic venue for independent Brooklyn bookstores and booksellers to offer their choices to holiday shoppers,  including second-hand volumes sadly out of print. The New Yorker calls them “literary gems.” Look for booksellers Honey & Wax, Freebird Books, Faenwyl Bindery, and more than a half dozen others. Speaking of the New Yorker, at 2pm artist Maira Kalman will sign copies of her latest, My Favorite Things.  The Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair‘s hours are from 11am to 5pm. (See Brooklyn Artisan’s past coverage of this event)

Washington Park, Third Street (@Fifth Avenue), Park Slope. theoldstonehouse.org

Confessions of a Man with a Guitar — and a Dream

Park Slope resident Winslow Browning was able to teach this writer a thing or two about classical Spanish guitar.

How Brooklyn resident Winslow Browning, above, managed to teach this writer a thing or two about classical Spanish guitar. (Photo by Goodman/Van Riper Photography)

GROWING UP IN A SMALL KANSAS TOWN, I wanted to learn to play an instrument because all the smart kids knew how to play an instrument. My parents ignored me, but they let me get a car instead. I really didn’t do anything about the whole music thing until one Saturday morning here in the big city when I walked into a music store in midtown Manhattan and bought the cheapest guitar possible (“You can pay more,” a college friend said, “but you can’t pay less”) and toted it back to my apartment. Then I sat on my couch and stared at it for a while and realized I might’ve made a mistake since I didn’t have a clue how to play it, but I refused to accept that idea.

That’s when I found Park-Slope-based Winslow Browning on the internet. We talked and he asked me what style I wanted to learn—Rock? Classical? Country? Um, Easy Listening?

Gee, I hadn’t thought about that. “I like the Beatles?” I said, except it did sound more like a question.

“Okay,” he said.

“Yeah. I have a T-shirt with their drum logo on it and everything.”

“Okay,” he said.

TWO DAYS LATER HE SHOWED UP AT MY APARTMENT at the appointed hour with his guitar, which looked to me like the most beautiful instrument this side of Spain. He examined my guitar critically, then he showed me how to sit properly, how to hold it, and how to play the notes of a scale — you know, Every Good Boy Does Fine. He showed me flats and sharps. Then he told me to pick up a music stand and First Lessons for Guitar (Las Primeras Lecciones de Guitarra) by Julio Sagreras.

We never spoke of Rock, Country, Easy Listening or The Beatles again, but he did do his best to teach me how to play Spanish classical guitar.

AND 15 YEARS LATER BROWNING IS STILL AT IT, as he has been all his life. “When I was growing up, my parents had a string guitar lying around my house,” he says, “and I learned chords and stuff playing with my friends, then I had a chance to take classical guitar lessons and it made my heart flutter.”

Browning went on to study music with renowned classical guitarists Fred Nance and Juan Mercadal, the latter a Cuban master. “I was so totally steeped in the classic music field and so hungry to reel that all in and take all these classical classes, all this pop music stuff got tossed out on the other side,” he told me.

SO THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LEARNING TO PLAY “DAY TRIPPER” AND “I FEEL FINE.”  I wouldn’t say I was an abject, miserable failure at classical guitar (although the pieces Winslow did manage to teach me sounded nothing like they did when he played them) because he taught me how to play scales and tune it and change strings when I had to. And I can still do all that stuff when forced to at knifepoint. He also taught me that it was a good thing my parents didn’t waste money on music lessons for me and let me waste it on a car instead. But in his hands even my cheapo axe sounded beautiful.

IT’S A GREAT THING THAT WINSLOW’S STILL AT IT, sometimes giving lessons in his five-floor walkup, or anywhere around the city really — he comes to you. Also, he and his wife, accomplished flautist Suzanne Gilchrest, present a limited concert series with their group Guitar Among Others. Like Paul McCartney’s later career, or Steely Dan’s, GAO’s lineup always changes. And each summer they travel to Summerkeys, a summer camp for classical musicians in Lubec, Maine, where he’s the only guitarist who teaches solo playing.

“In the Brooklyn Eagle a few years ago there was an article that talked about how Brooklyn was made up of a bunch of small towns and villages,” he says. “I love telling the story in Lubec because it really is a small town;  it’s very comfortable, and you’ll walk up the street and someone will say ‘Hey, that was a great concert last night.’” No wonder they say that to him: Like I said, the guy really knows how to play a mean Spanish classical guitar.

Today, Executive Editor Phil Scott plays a mean keyboard  — of the qwerty sort — and  as you can read for yourself here he also knows how to twirl a dial.

Walt’s Words: “Election Day, November, 1884”

The Cyclone, Coney IslandAs Ample Hills Creamery oft reminds us, Walt Whitman wrote admiringly about our Kings County homeland. The words below, however, are Whitman speaking of the country as a whole and what makes “America’s choosing day” so quintessentially American: “the swordless conflict” to be resolved at the ballot box. 

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

 

A small footnote: 1884 is the year that Coney Island started building its roller coasters, a perhaps-too-perfect political symbol. 

Neighborhood artists open their studios for one weekend

©2014 Joy Makon. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Watercolorist and Brooklyn Artisan executive editor Joy Makon will be participating in the Open Studio weekend.

Park Slope Windsor Terrace 2014 Artists’ Open Studio Tour
Saturday, November 8 & Sunday, November 9, noon to 7pm each day.

The artists and photographers of the Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artists Group invite everyone to visit their studios on November 8 and 9.

This unique urban experience will be a chance to visit over two dozen studios located in Brooklyn Artisan’s neighborhoods of Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. Studios are within easy walking distance of each other (see the tour map) and accessible by several subway lines. There is no fee for the tour.

This is an excellent opportunity to visit active Brooklyn artists and view new, local art. Expect to see a wide selection of art—painting, photography, ceramics. By going to the artist’s studio and meeting the creator, you will discover the history and story behind each piece.

Samples of the artists’ works, printable maps of the studio tour, contact information for each artist and details of this event may be found at the Open Studio Tour website.

For more information, please contact: tomkeough@tomkeoughartist.com or 718-768-6171

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