There has been so much going on that I feel very disconnected from painting. With the luxury of being retired, and having ALL my time to do whatever, I seem to have built a hamster wheel for myself. Going round and round. But it’s all from choice, and wanting to be engaged in a bunch of stuff. Maybe a horror vacuii…. fear of empty time, or more likely just my ADD.

There has been such a press of commitments, from the family re-union in Ca. to getting the RiverWall Mural installed to getting the planning for the “Big Draw” off the ground (see below), and this past weekend doing a four day trip to our place in N. Carolina to have the road graded…before it washed away, and fix a plumbing issue. Two days driving…600 mi., for two days there. I’m sitting here scratching the poison ivy souvenirs I got.

The panels of the RiverWall mural are installed; BUT there is still one with lamination problems! So I’m waiting to get a replacement from Seattle to install and FINISH! I got some pics today of people using the wall at night; apparently a place for shooting pics with cell phones! I want to get down and shoot some long exposures of people there making photos. Very gratifying to see a totally unexpected use!

Photo Ops at the RiverWall; 2:00 AM

Photo Ops at the RiverWall; 2:00 AM

The Big Draw Ruskin ( http://bigdrawruskin.org )is off and running…we’re in the midst of scheduling artists, planning the PR, updating the website…etc., etc.! Dolores (my wife, Dolores Coe the painter) is doing most of the work; she is so good with organization and details! The anchor event is the design and painting of a majot mural on a local building by a community group. Leading the group this year is an old friend and a distinguished artist, Josette Urso! She was chosen from a pool of applicants, and will be in residence here for 2 1/2 months directing the project.

Mary Martha House Building, Ruskin, Florida

Mary Martha House Building, Ruskin, Florida

This is an extremely challenging problem; to develop and paint a ‘mural’ which integrates with, and somehow involves, the whole building. We think Josette is the perfect choice of an artist, given here open ended approach to images and compostion, as evidenced in her collages and past Public Art Projects. See: http://josetteurso.com . There is a full apartment in the bulding, available to Josette for her time here, so it’s an artist in residence program as well as a mural project.

The “Big Draw” will be a mix of mini courses and workshops, taught by artists, addressing many aspects of drawing. We have a 7,000 sq. ft. studio, an empty huge storefront, which serves as our studio. We are partnered with the Tampa Museum, USF School of Art and Art History, Very Special Arts, and other organizations who will sponsor events here or at other venues. An extremely popular event last year was the Drawing Marathon, directed by Marjorie Green, which was an intense two day workshop in large scale drawing, modeled after the Marathon of the NY Studio School. Check the website for full info and schedule.

Last year the directing artist of the Mural was Michael Parker, who did an extraordinary job with the mural “Head, Heart and Hands”, celebrating our community, Ruskin Florida. He led a group of teens and adults through the whole process of conceiving, designing, and painting the piece.

"Head, Hearts and Hands" 20' X 100' Clark Furniture Building, Ruskin.

"Head, Heart and Hands" 20' X 100' Clark Furniture Building, Ruskin. October, 2008