Just outside the seaside towns of Monterey and Carmel, California, the 17 Mile Drive is one of the most picturesque drives in the state. Established in 1881, it is located within the Pebble Beach community where the famous Pebble Beach golf course and Del Monte Forest are also found. It is a circular route 17 miles long, with 5 entrances that cars can enter upon paying a 10 dollar toll to the guard in the booth. Upon entering the community you are given a map to help explain all of the landmarks you will see along the way. But there are also markers at each ‘highlight’ where you can park, read information and take in the beauty that these stops provide. To ensure you follow the right path, there is a red line down the middle of the road marking the route.
This is marker 6 “The Restless Sea”. It offers a stunning view of Spanish Bay with a rugged rocky coastline. This painting was created to remind me of my first view of the Pacific coast. It truly was a memorable occasion. I can’t wait to visit again.
On November 11, 2013 I created this painting entitled: “Earl” as part of a series of paintings entitled “Hudson Warren Street” illustrating everyday life in Hudson, of which Earl certainly was a part. Described as Hudson New York’s “Outsider Artist” Earl Swanigan is often seen transporting his latest creations on a furniture dolly. As an artist, I felt my visual portrayal of life in the city would not be complete without him.
The use of one of his paintings in this work, rather than an appropriation of his work merely for the sake of profit, simply served as identification of him as the subject and detailed a stage in the career of the artist who created it. Also, his artwork comprised only a small percentage of my painting. For these reasons, I felt it could be considered fair use. I viewed it as sort of a tribute to the man that has managed to garner popularity and attention in the city of Hudson, his work being sought after by many visitors. About a year later at a joint art exhibit, I told Earl about the painting and showed him a picture of it on my cellphone. Rather than warn me not to display it or offer it for sale, he seemed amused by it, which I took as a positive response.
However, sadly, on October 26, 2015, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed against me by Earl for the distribution of reproductions of this painting on greeting cards. Upon receiving his civil action summons, I immediately removed the work from the website offering greeting cards. I didn’t make a huge profit from reproductions of the work, only $8.50, which amount I offered to pay to Earl which I considered much more reasonable than the $200,000 he was seeking in damages. But he was unwilling to accept this, viewing it as an admission of guilt on my part. I never dreamed that my gesture of admiration could create such a controversy. From correspondence to the court, it became clear that Earl believed my motives to be an attempt to profit off of his celebrity status.
It is indeed unfortunate that such a situation has developed between two artists that work in and obviously share a love for the city of Hudson and I wish there were some way I could clear the air between us. Perhaps his reflection on these words may someday accomplish that.
For anyone interested in a brief summary of my life and art, pick up a copy of Main Street Magazine. It contains an excellent interview and article written by CB Wismar. The magazine is complimentary and can be found at the following locations:
Amtrack Train Station
Columbia Memorial Hospital
Hudson Wine Merchants
Mary Mullane Real Estate
Swoon Kitchen Bar
I recently enjoyed the opportunity to speak to Hudson Junior High School students about the challenges and rewards of being an artist as part of Career Day. There were 36 presenters and guests from various professions. This is my third year of doing this and as a 1975 graduate of Hudson High School myself, I appreciate being able to spend time demonstrating for the kids what is possible when you set your expectations high, put your mind to accomplishing something you would like to achieve, embrace mistakes and failures and see them as opportunities to learn adjust and improve. The strength to meet future challenges is built upon a record of past successes. My thanks go to Carolyn West, coordinator of the event, for including me.
I am delighted to be a participant in the Spring Member’s Show at the Southern Vermont Art’s Center. The center is located at 930 Southern Vermont Art Center Drive, Manchester VT. For more information and a preview of some of the works that will be displayed, click on this link: svac.org
The unspoken communication of tender compassion between a mother and child is an instantly recognizable and moving scene that transcends all languages and cultures. This latest work entitled: “In Mother’s Arms” is an attempt to capture such an intimate, deeply personal moment with brushes and paint.