Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sailing near Brooklyn
14 x 16 Oil on Linen

Sometimes inspiration is served to the artist on a silver platter. This happened to me a few weeks ago when I received an invitation to enter a competition at The Salmagundi Club. The Salmagundi is wonderful arts organization founded 137 years ago. It is now housed in a beautiful brownstone building on 5th Avenue in lower Manhattan. Elizabeth and I have been members since the early 90's. I love being part of a long tradition, walking the same halls and exhibiting in the same gallery as such great American artists as J. Francis Murphy, Childe Hassam, William Merrit Chase, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and Louis Comfort Tiffany, as well as my teacher Frank Mason and his teacher Frank Vincent DuMond. The competition involves an exhibition at the Salmagundi to celebrate the Dutch founding of Manhattan 400 years ago. Artist members were asked to paint contemporary scenes of New York waterways. From this exhibition juror Leendert van der Pool (you can't get much more Dutch than that) will select 40 works to travel to the Zeeuws Maritiem Muzeeum Vlissingen in the Netherlands. Holland, the home of great seascape painting, Ruysdael, van Goyen, van de Velde, de Vlieger. I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that, but I moved out of the city 14 years ago and whatever cityscapes I had were sold long ago. What to do, what to do, think Torak, think. I used to live in Brooklyn Heights and frequently walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan, I especially enjoyed exploring the South Street seaport area. So I rummaged through some old sketch books. There's got to be something there that I can use. Aha! The bridge! Perfect! Late afternoon, the sun to the south of the bridge and west of Brooklyn. Yes I remember it well. Keep it luminous, the Dutch love luminosity, a few big clouds, the Dutch are famous for their clouds, simple, contemporary, atmospheric, cheerful...done. The show opens at the club on Monday. Wish me luck.....

3 comments:

Eulalia (Lali) said...

Yes! Good luck! Do you get to go to the Netherlands if your work is chosen?

Thomas Torak said...

The rules of the competition state that shipping costs will be paid for the paintings only. Perhaps if I could present my travel as performance art I might be able to finesse the guidelines.

Walter Lynn Mosley said...

Good luck Tom!