Adventures with Basil: A Week at Harvey’s Lake

We have just returned from an amazing week at Harvey’s Lake in Barnet, VT and have a LOT of new art to share!!

First off, the cabin we rented was incredible: located on 150 feet of waterfront on Harvey’s Lake, we enjoyed early mornings and late evenings reading on the screened in porch (by far, the BEST invention – we practically LIVED on that porch!), kayaking, floating in the lake with inner tubes, and several evening camp fires:

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©2019, Jenn White, View of Harvey Lake Cottage. Photograph
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©2019, Jenn White, View of Harvey Lake Cottage waterfront. Photograph
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©2019, Jenn White, View of Harvey Lake, VT, Photograph

There is spotty cell service, no WIFI, and no TV at the cabin… which was exactly what we were looking for. I cannot even begin to tell you how much art and reading can be accomplished without these distractions!

I spent the first two days prepping six new pictures for the Pismo Series: B, E, F, I, T, and W. Four of these are re-dos: you all know that I have been having issues with the B & W, so they were inevitable. I was on the fence about the E, but decided to re-do it anyway and I really didn’t like the direction the T was going in, so that was re-done also. Check out Basil posing with the first round of pictures:

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©2019, Jenn White, Basil with prepped Pismo Series pictures. Photograph

Next step was to design the knots, the base for the overall design. Basil enjoys hanging out and offering support:

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©2019, Jenn White, Basil with Pismo Series, first stage: Celtic knot. Photograph
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Arshile Gorky

I had brought a 500+ page biography on Arshile Gorky, “Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky” by Nouritza Mattossian (2000) expecting to finish it once I returned home… but I completed it… in three days. I have to say, the biography was amazing and I became totally engrossed with Gorky’s world (I seriously could NOT put this book down) – which, in essence, was an extension of the one I had entered with “Ninth Street Women”: the New York School / Abstract Expressionism of the 1940’s.

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©2019, Jenn White, Basil with Aquash Water Brushes. Photograph

We had decided to spend the majority of our time at the lake, so our only real excursion away was on Wednesday as it was raining. We headed into St Johnsbury and hit the diner for breakfast. While we were there, we were checking out the ads on the coffee mugs and noticed one for The Frame Dames, located just up the street. So, naturally, we just had to check them out. And we walked out there with new toys!! Check out Basil posing with our booty: Aquash Water Brushes!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how many ideas instantly came to my mind when I saw these! I had a great conversation with one of the Frame Dames (these ladies are incredibly helpful, so if you are in the area, please check them out… if not, they are online at: theframedames.com) about how I could uses these brushes and walked out the store wondering how I hadn’t heard of these before. It pays to check out these art stores and check out all of the new toys!

We stopped at the Welcome Center and decided to go the St Johnsbury Athenaeum to view Albert Bierstadt’s The Domes of the Yosemite. If you find yourself  in the area, I highly recommend that you check out this magnificent painting… and if not, you can view it online at http://www.stjathenaeum.org/the-domes-of-the-yosemite:20190717_115808.jpg

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©2019, Jenn White, Basil with “Elaine and Bill. Photograph

Because we simply cannot resist a used book store, we checked out two while in the area and I found “Elaine and Bill: Portrait of a Marriage” – which, I managed to complete on our last morning at the lake:

Elaine de Kooning was one of the ladies featured in “Ninth Street Women” and Willem de Kooning was one of Gorky’s best friends, so essentially, I managed to remain in the New York School world… right now, I can’t seem to resist it! (Full confession: just before I started writing this post, I purchased a Willem de Kooning biography online… I am wondering if this is becoming an addiction…)

I spent another couple of days adding in the rest of the designs for my Pismo pictures:

All of them are now on the studio wall, waiting to be worked on this week:

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©2019, Jenn White, View of studio wall, Pismo Series. Photograph

In between drawing and reading sessions, we managed to get in some time just sitting in the Adirondack chairs enjoying the views:

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©2019, Jenn White, Basil enjoying the afternoon at Harvey Lake, VT. Photograph

I can honestly say that it has been a little bit of an adjustment now that we are home. I absolutely loved the chance to work on my art and read up on artists all day. Tomorrow it’s back to work and reality… until the next escape!!

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