Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scents of the Season

Scents and aromas have the amazing ability to transport one back in time, recapture a favorite event or place, and soothe or stimulate.  The olfactory memory of something yummy baking in the oven, freshly laundered sheets, flowers you carried when you walked down the aisle, or baby powder can bring a smile to your face and warm your heart.  Nothing warms a home more than a beautifully scented candle during the cold winter months.  LUCKY HILL has a wonderful assortment of candles throughout the year, but an especially lovely selection for the holiday season.  

From the pages of Paddywax's Library Collection emerges the ultimate in Christmas literature:  Charles Dickens.  The quote on the candle reads, "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year".  Top notes of tangerine, clove, and juniper herald in the season.  Charles Dickens is available as a boxed candle ($25) or a 2-wick travel tin ($8).

Simpatico by K. Hall brings two holiday fragrances to their hobnail collection.  As with the year-round fragrances, Scotch Pine No. 26 and Reindeer No. 29, have an astounding 100-hour burn time and the option of re-purposing the hobnail glass vessel after the candle has finished surrounding you in scent.

Scotch Pine No. 26 is a warm, woodsy fragrance reminiscent of crisp winter nights.  The true pine scent is known for its clarifying and uplifting properties. ($29)

Reindeer No. 29 combines fall and holiday as red currants and cranberries collide with cedar wood, Frasier fir, and embers.  It's an exhilarating and cozy fragrance contained in a stunning cranberry glass hobnail. ($29)

And not to sound like a broken record.....but I can't help but once again utter that lovely name, Clive.  If you've read the post about 2550˚ candles entitled,  Hand-Poured Personality, you'll recall my desire to spend the winter months with Clive ($28.50).  No, not Clive Owen, but rather the candle that embraces you with fragrant tobacco leaves blended with rich black tea, followed with bright green notes of bergamot and earthy vetiver.  Sigh.  Simply brilliant.....and always the gentleman.  Where's the mistletoe?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Small Works Show

Dice Head morning  6 x 6  oil on panel

Dan Graziano's 2012 Holiday Small Works show now hangs in the gallery area of LUCKY HILL.   He is pleased and I always .... incredibly proud of him.  The new show is comprised of 21 paintings that focus on Castine and its environs.  As this is a small works show, all the pieces range in size from 6" x 6" to 6" x 8".  

off neck  5 x 7  oil on panel

Many customers and friends comment on how "productive" Dan is where his art is concerned.  I am quick to point out he is infinitely dedicated, incredibly disciplined, and takes his art and the creative process very seriously.  He is in his studio every morning by 9:00, if not earlier, and works until at least 5:00.  Often those hours extend to weekends as well.  As a working artist, he believes in working as opposed to waiting for the "stroke of genius" or bout of artistic inspiration. 

long shadows  5 x 7  oil on panel

I read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers when it was first published.  Dan read it a couple of years ago and we were fascinated by the 10,000-hour rule.  Last year Dan participated in the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational and while at the reception, fellow artist and friend, Daniel Aldana, mentioned the 10,000-hour rule.  It elicited a lengthy and lively conversation.  I know there are a lot of people who say Gladwell comes up with a concept or theory and then finds data to support it.  Be that as it may, most people who are regarded as "geniuses" in their field will be the first to chalk their success up to hard work as opposed to innate gifts.  What was the old quote by Einstein?  Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration?  But back to Gladwell and the 10,000-hour rule.  In a nutshell, after analyzing studies that focus on excellence and expertise, researchers have come to the conclusion that 10,000 hours is the amount of time one needs to invest in a field to achieve a level of excellence.  You can do the math, but based on a 40-hour work week that equates to just under five years.  If you ratchet your workload up to a 48-hour work week you can accomplish it in four years.  When I ask Dan how he's doing, he tells me he's chipping away at his 10,000.  Kudos to him.

twin peaks  6 x 6   oil on panel

Small works are unique creatures.  Think about it.  A painting in a 6" x 6" sqaure.  Measure it out on a piece of paper.  How much can you convey in that amount of space?  There is something to the concept of not only what you do paint, but more importantly what you don't paint.  Dan and I often refer to this as "the economy of the stroke".  A thin line or a tiny dab of paint can convey far more when handled effectively than a multitude of strokes.  This collection of tiny jewels highlights Dan's fascination with light and shadow and the drama and graphic abstraction they create when overlaid on architecture, objects, and the landscape. 

Images of all of the paintings in the show as well as others can be seen at or click here

The Adams School  5 x 7  oil on panel

water's edge  6 x 6  oil on panel

take-out  6 x 6  oil on panel
house at the junction  6 x 8  oil on panel
early one morning  5 x 7  oil on panel