Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Andrew Saftel at Bennett Galleries

andrew saftel - where water meets land

andrew saftel - where water meets land

andrew saftel - where water meets land

andrew saftel - where water meets land
Andrew Saftel is an absolutely astounding (and remarkably prolific) artist. His new show, Where Water Meets Land, currently on view at Bennett Galleries, is comprised of several new paintings, created in his now-recognizable style. Saftel works on large pieces of wood, carving text and images into the surface of each piece, embedding found objects, affixing pieces of ephemera and covering the surface in layer after colorful layer of acrylic paint. His paintings are like visual treasure troves; bursting with warmth and life, these pieces tell stories that are both personal and universal.

Saftel is an artistic Renaissance man. In addition to his paintings he also creates sculptures and prints (and examples of each are also on view in this show). The most exciting additions to this particular exhibit, however, are the large digital photographs that are on display. The images for these pieces were collected on a visit to Bangladesh and they are the most straightforward, journalistic work that the artist has produced. Saftel layers images together, blending his subjects with their surroundings in unexpected and aesthetically pleasing ways. They remind me very much of Dan Eldon's work, which detailed the lives of his subjects but was always filtered through his own artistic vision.

I have had the pleasure of participating in two workshops taught by Andrew Saftel and he is as generous and kind-hearted as he is talented. His desire to collaborate and his genuine enthusiasm for other people's work is heartening. He is a great artist and a great man.

If you are free this Saturday (November 16) please consider attending his artist lecture at Bennett at 3:00 PM. It is sure to be a blast.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Old Sugarlands Trail

old sugarlands trail

old sugarlands trail

old sugarlands trail

old sugarlands trail
We hiked a portion of Old  Sugarlands Trail last year and I was keen to go back and complete it. Early Saturday morning we rounded up a couple of friends and did just that. This trail is just under four miles and runs the distance between Newfound Gap Road and Cherokee Orchard Road. It is a fairly easy trek though there is a portion in the middle that climbed steadily and caught us a bit off guard. But the trail is wide and fairly smooth and the return trip was all downhill, which made for a pretty easy-going experience. The LeConte Creek crossing (towards the end, just before Cherokee Orchard Road) is storybook beautiful.

This coming weekend we will hike the Alum Cave trail up to the LeConte Lodge where we were able, at the last minute, to snag a cabin for Saturday night! We visited the lodge several times last year but this will be our first time staying overnight on the mountain. It will be cold, cold, cold but I am so excited! Better invest in some new long johns before we head out!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Fallonator!

Seven years ago today Blake Berris debuted as Nick Fallon on Days of Our Lives. Even though we lost him to Salem's Statesville Prison for a few years I still think his anniversary date is a cause for celebration. This time last year I was on the verge of disowning Nick. That was before the amazing Smith Island Story this past May. And before I met Blake not once but twice at Days fan events. So it's safe to say that, at this point in time, I'm feeling pretty invested in the character again.

November Sweeps are upon us and things are getting nuttier in Salem by the day. Nick continues to be delusional and duplicitous and his actions will no doubt result in him hurting himself and probably a whole bunch of other people. I don't want Days to lose him but I have to consider the possibility that the show doesn't intend for Nick to be a long-term presence in Salem (and that Blake himself may want to devote more time to other projects). I'm trying not to think about that, though, and just enjoy the wild ride while it lasts. 

Nick continues to be one of the most entertaining and compelling characters on the Days canvas and Blake continues to make him more sympathetic and rootable than he really has any business being. He is such a gifted performer and I am truly thankful for every day that I get to see him on my tv screen.