Saturday, December 31, 2011

21 Years of Self-portraits

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait with Tools and Ironing Board (age 37), charcoal on paper, 14  x 18 inches

The new year is a time of reflection, where you have been and where you want to go. I think of self-portraits as a tool for reflection.

The Self-portrait with Tools and Ironing Board  captures my feeling about 2011. 2011 was chaotic and messy as I tried to work full-time while preparing for an art exhibition,and also while trying to keep up with the house and be a good wife and mother. I felt tired and unprepared for each day. I never felt like I could complete each task to satisfaction and was always torn between responsibility and what I wanted to do.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 16 Years,
oil pastel on paper.
Over the years I have documented my own life in self-portraits. In my teen years I drew myself continuously. It was partly as a way to learn the human form, but also a teenager's self obsession.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 19, oil on board, 12 x 14 inches
I did several self-portraits in college but the one above is the only one that survives.

Kate Kern Mundie, I'm Ready (Self-portrait at 30), oil on paper, 18 x 24 inches
I'm Ready was painted shortly after I turned 30 and had decided to leave teaching and non-profit work in favor of a steady-paying full-time job. I did this painting while in the midst of a job search. A few weeks after painting this I got my job at the engineering firm where I still work. It was one of the best moves I have made.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 33, pastel on paper,
20 x 24 inches
Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 34 and Pregnant, graphite on paper, 14 x 18 inches
The nude self-portrait was drawn around the time we decided to try for kids. Making the decision to have children can be daunting for any couple but especially for artists. Children can mean an end to any art making, yet we continue to struggle against that possibility.

2012 will be another busy year as we balance family, work, art, and anything else that comes our way. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

just in time for the holidays: new "Gruss vom Krampus" print!

While creating a label for a special Krampus-themed ale of my own concoction, I decided to also use the design for paper lanterns to be displayed in my home on Krampusnacht itself (December 6th) but also during the first annual Krampuslauf Philadelphia on December 10th.

The lanterns are in production now (Kate and I have the sore fingers to prove it), but the reaction to this design was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to make a large, gorgeous print available to you, the Krampus-loving/fearing public:

For those unfamiliar with Krampus, he is a goat-like horned devil with a long red tongue traditionally associated with St. Nicholas - however, this kinky Germanic yuletide spirit's folkore tradition actually predates the Christian era. Denizens of Europe's alpine regions had been marking the annual arrival of Krampus for many centuries before the concept of Christmas came along, and long before the aforementioned former bishop of Turkey stole the spotlight. Traditionally, Krampus serves to punish naughty children by whipping them with switches or tossing them in icy rivers. Like Black Peter, Krampus is the "bad cop" to St. Nick's "good cop".

So, now you can display this darker side of the winter in your own home.  Krampusnacht may come but once a year, but this 17 x 11 inch print on 12pt stock will help you keep the spirit all year 'round.

Get one today for yourself and a friend at, and we'll ship them for only $1!

Season's beatings!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Painting Sale

Kate Kern Mundie
oil on mylar, 4 x 6 inches, 2007
archivally matted and framed at 11 x 14 inches
I have not offered a holiday sale in four or five years. Since it has been so long, I am offering a selection of small framed paintings. Now you will not have to worry about how to present the work, or wait while a framer frames the painting, or even pay extra for the frame. You can follow this link to see prices and use PayPal to purchase a painting.

Below you can see how the work is framed.

Kate Kern Mundie
oil on mylar, 4 x 6 inches, 2007
archivally matted and framed at 11 x 14 inches

Kate Kern Mundie
oil on mylar, 6 x 5.5 inches, 2006
archivally matted and framed at 14 x 11 inches

Still Life for Warren
Kate Kern Mundie
oil on mylar, 8 x 6 inches, 2006
archivally matted and framed at 14 x 11 inches

SOLD Fiestaware Pitcher
Kate Kern Mundie
oil on paper, 8 x 7 inches, 2006
archivally framed at 9 x 8 inches

All of the paintings above are presented matted under glass in a 14 x 11-inch waxed maple frame.

Below, is a painting done at Eastern State Penitentiary, America's most haunted prison (okay, I just made that up, but it could be true). The photo on was taken right after is was painted before it was varnished and framed. The color on the left is truer than the example on the right. The image on the right is to display how the painting is framed.

(Eastern State Penitentiary)

Kate Kern Mundie
oil on museum board, 10 x 8 inches, 2007
archivally framed at 11 x 9 inches

framed in waxed maple 10 x 8 inches

Highland Road (A93)
Kate Kern Mundie
oil on paper, 8 x 5.5 inches, 2006
archivally framed at 9 x 6.5 inches

framed in waxed maple 9  x 6.5 inches

SOLDFlowers for Vuillard
Kate Kern Mundie
oil on panel, 14 x 12 inches, 2008
archivally framed at 15 x 13 inches
framed in waxed maple 15 x 13 inches

Kate Kern Mundie
oil on mylar, 8 x 6 inches, 2007
archivally matted and framed at 14 x 11 inches
matted and framed at 14 x 11 inches

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hero’s Lamps

Kate Kern Mundie, Hero's Lamps, oil on masonite, 14 x 12 inches

I have started a new series of paintings related to mythology.  This is an interior view with a still life of lamps in a cottage on the high bluffs on the Atlantic side of Cape Cod. However, as I painted it, I wondered if these lamps could have been Hero’s lamps for illuminating Leander’s way across the Hellespont. Is this the room after the lamps have been extinguished and Hero has thrown herself into the sea? Or are the lamps waiting to be lit in the evening expecting Leander to arrive?

If you are not familiar with the story:
Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, lived in a tower on one side of the Hellespont (Turkey's "Sea of Helles" now called the Dardanelles), and was courted by Leander who lived on the other side of the strait. Leander swims across the strait guided by Hero’s lamp in the tower. Leander persuades Hero to give up her virtue and their tryst continues nightly through the summer. A storm arises but Hero begs Leander to swim to her that night. The winds blow out Hero’s lamp and Leander loses his way in the stormy sea and is drowned.  On finding out that her lover has died, Hero jumps from her tower and is lost to the sea, too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sewing Machines

Kate Kern Mundie, Sewing Machine, 6 x 8 inches, ink on paper

Sewing machine is a wonderful still life object. The sleek design and silhouette of an old machine is a pleasure to draw and paint.

The first three images are of  a peddle powered machine in a sewing cabinet and the last image is a portable table top Singer from the 1920's.

Kate Kern Mundie, Sewing Machine No. 3, 16 x 20 inches, oil on masonite

Sewing and sewing machines appear throughout art history, whether as a symbol or as a part of the female interior world

Kate Kern Mundie, Sewing Machine in the Red Room, 14 x 12 inches, oil on masonite
I use the sewing machine as still life object or as an interior paintings focus.

Kate Kern Mundie, Sewing Machine and Sari, 12 x 9 inches, oil on linen
For an update to this post go here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011




WILKES-BARRE PA – The Annual Sideshow Gathering — the world's only sideshow convention — returns to northeastern Pennsylvania with its unique and shocking blend of weird, wonderful, and wacky entertainment. From November 4th through 6th, the strange takes center stage when showmen and genuine sideshow freaks from across the country descend on Wilkes-Barre's The Woodlands Inn & Resort to celebrate the giddy thrills of the carnival sideshow. Over the course of three days, many of today's best sideshow performers will walk on glass, swallow swords, eat light bulbs, put hooks in their eyes, attempt to break a world record for the largest simultaneous ten-in-one sideshow, and otherwise risk bodily harm for the sake of twisted entertainment. The Sideshow Gathering is the premier networking event for performers, fans, collectors, and historians. The Sideshow Gathering has steadily drawn increased attendance year after year, and is an unsurpassed weekend of gasps and laughs.

This year, the Sideshow Gathering’s 10th anniversary, is especially poignant as it also marks the passing of its founder Franco Kossa, who died suddenly last May. With Franco’s tragic death the future of the Sideshow Gathering looked uncertain, but a dedicated group of friends, performers, and volunteers have worked steadily to ensure the event will continue this year in grand style. “Franco himself will be present, in spirit and body,” said artist James Mundie, who has designed a special memorial banner to be unveiled at the Sideshow Gathering. “Franco’s ashes will preside over the event, and patrons will have a unique opportunity on Friday night to ‘visit’ with them. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s perfectly appropriate for this event and Franco would have loved it.”

Attractions at the 10th Annual Sideshow Gathering will include:
The weekend's emcees, Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill of The Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow — named “Best Sideshow Duo” by Washington City Paper; FreakShow Deluxe, Hollywood's own and only carnival-style sideshow; Coney Island Chris, the hilarious one-man ten-in-one seen on America's Got Talent; Philadelphia's Olde City Sideshow, featuring Danny Borneo, Martin Ling the Suicide King, Reggie Bügmüncher and special guest GiGi Holliday of Baltimore's Sticky Buns Burlesque; the incomparable Harley Newman, professional lunatic; Cheeky Monkey Sideshow, featuring Swami Yomahmi, Sally the Cinch, Mab Just Mab, and tantalizing guest Cherríe Sweetbottom; Keith Bindlestiff, co-founder of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and alter-ego of presidential candidate Kinko the Clown; Knotty Bits Sideshow, and many more! Additionally, vendors such as Col. Hunsley's Freaks and Oddities and James Taylor's Shocked and Amazed! will display genuine freak animals, memorabilia, rare books, and original show banners. Step right up to the Sideshow Gathering for a weekend of entertainment and diversion you will never forget!

Concurrent with the 18th Annual Inkin' The Valley tattoo convention at Wilkes-Barre's The Woodlands Inn & Resort, the Sideshow Gathering begins at 3:00 PM on Friday, November 4th, with live sideshow performances starting at 5:00 PM. The convention floor opens again at noon and performances will resume from 3:00 to 6:00 PM and 10:00 to 11:00 PM on Saturday, followed by a special auction of original art and rare carnival and circus items. On Sunday, there will be encore performances from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. Admission for the entire weekend is only $15.

- - -

"Legacy isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think of sword swallowers and fire eaters and people who eat broken glass,” said James Taylor, publisher of the journal Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway and someone who has attended the Sideshow Gathering from the beginning, “but it was for the late Franco Kossa when he created the annual Sideshow Gathering, and that yearly convention has shown for a decade that Kossa's heart was in the right place when he had legacy in mind. Hey, I told him not to do the Gathering when he first came to me about it, and his reaction was perfect: ‘Yeah, but...’ And he did it. We're all in debt to him."

Ten years ago, tattoo business owner Franco Kossa wanted to add sideshow entertainment to his annual convention, Inkin’ the Valley. These art forms shared a common history, so it seemed an ideal pairing. “Tattooed people have been exhibits forever,” Kossa said. "Sideshow history and tattoo history are conjoined.” However, at the time the popular acceptance of tattooing was on the rise while sideshow was on the decline. It was while talking with legendary showman Ward Hall, co-owner of the World of Wonders, about the wholesale disappearance of sideshows from America’s fairgrounds that Franco hit upon the idea of starting a convention for sideshow performers. The idea was that for one weekend a year showmen and carnies from across the country could gather to ‘cut up jackpots’. It would be like the old showman’s clubs, but the public would also be invited in. From those humble beginnings, the Sideshow Gathering – the world’s only sideshow convention – was born and in time became a much anticipated annual calendar event for veteran showfolk and a training ground for the next generation. Tim O’Brien of Ripley’s Entertainment and Ripley Radio said, “I come every year to find new talent for Ripley’s. This place is a cornucopia of oddities and bizarre acts!”

“Frank was a generous and loving man who created for this group of people a haven where once a year we could gather… to share the love of our different lifestyle, and our respect for one another,” said Ward Hall, who was himself once honored by Franco Kossa at the Sideshow Gathering with an Ambassador of Wonder Award for his many decades in the sideshow industry. “Through his compassion for those who wished to present themselves to the world in unusual ways, Frank provided a method for us to gather together and get to know him and each other as no one else was ever able to do… I expect that he is now working to assemble a Sideshow Gathering in Heaven for all our people who have gone on before us.”

Kossa’s dedication to this art form has proven that public interest in sideshow is in fact alive and well. Over the years, the Sideshow Gathering has attracted a great deal of media attention – especially for the world records that were set there for mass sword swallowing and human blockhead – and attendance has steadily increased year after year. The 2010 incarnation of the event was the most successful to date, and seemed to indicate that the 10th anniversary in 2011 would be its best year yet. But then in early May 2011, Franco Kossa suddenly died and the fate of his beloved event seemed to be in jeopardy. Franco Kossa’s widow, Kim, was left with mounting debts and a considerable ‘nut’ to cover for Inkin’ the Valley. If the Sideshow Gathering was going to continue, it was going to need help. “The Sideshow Gathering for Franco meant bringing something he loved to his home town and sharing it with those around him,” said Kim Kossa. “Cost didn't matter, he just wanted to share the fun. It also was about bringing like minds together. Sideshow acts are on the road so much, they rarely get a chance to see other acts and be among their peers.” Like a big extended family, friends and volunteers stepped in to lend a hand, the most visible effort being several benefit performances held during mid-October in Washington DC and Baltimore under the name “Seismic Sideshow” that helped raise much needed funds to cover the expenses of putting on Franco’s creation.

“I believe in the afterlife here on Earth,” said Tyler Fyre of the Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow, “that a person lives on through the deeds they did, the lives they touched, and the legacy they leave. Franco lives on through the Sideshow Gathering, and by bringing us all together each year his legacy will live forever.”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seismic Sideshow posters

I was asked to design the poster for three performances in Washington DC and Baltimore presented by Shocked and Amazed! called Seismic Sideshow - a benefit of earth-shaking proportions.  The proceeds from these performances will support the 10th Annual Sideshow Gathering, which is scheduled to take place at the Woodland Inn & Resort in Wilkes-Barre PA from 4 through 6 November 2011. 

Poster for Seismic Sideshow at Washington DC's Red Palace, 14 October 2011

Featured in national and international media including CNN, Discovery Health, TLC, The Washington Post, AOL News, Bizarre, and more, the Sideshow Gathering was the brainchild of Franco Kossa, who tragically died earlier this year. The Gathering brings together sideshow and variety performers for a weekend of spectacle and fellowship, and has grown to become a much anticipated calendar event for both the performers and fans of this style of entertainment.  Franco himself would take on the expense of putting on the event (booking the venue, etc.), but with his death the financial security of the Sideshow Gathering was in limbo.  A group of volunteers decided they would do whatever could be done to make this 10th incarnation of the Sideshow Gathering a success and a fitting tribute to Franco, and so the idea of these benefit performances came about.  The title of the shows - Seismic Sideshow - came from James Taylor, founder and published of Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway.  The title refers to the groundswell of support from what is often considered an underground form of entertainment (presciently, James proposed this title just a few days before the northeast United States experienced both a rare minor earthquake and then a hurricane).  Having been tasked with the visuals for this, it then occurred to me that a volcanic eruption was an apt metaphor.

Poster for Seismic Sideshow at Baltimore's Sinix, 15 October 2011

The Red Palace in Washington DC will host the first of these events on the night of Friday, October 14th.  There will be two completely different shows (at 9 and 11:30PM) featuring sideshow, variety, and burlesque acts Professor Sprocket, Paco Fish, Candy Del Rio, Spanky Roundbottom, Mrs. Godawful and Her Musical Saw, Belladonna, Skizz, and many more.  Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

On Saturday, October 15th, Sinix in Essex MD (just east of Baltimore) will host a 10 PM show with Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow, Olde City Sideshow, and Swami Yomahmi (a late addition to the bill after the artwork was finalized). Tickets for this show are only $5, so it's sure to be a packed house. 

This is a whole weekend of entertainment that is more fun than the law should allow - so get out there and collect them all!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From the Sketch Book

Kate Kern Mundie, Highland Light in Fog
A week after the opening of my June show at F.A.N. Gallery we went on vacation to Truro, Cape Cod Massachusetts. It is beautiful and has been a place of inspiration for my paintings for the last 10 years. I packed all my painting gear with the intention of doing lots of work.  However, after a year of intense painting in preperation for the show I was burned out. I made several attempts at painting but the paintings were terrible and I was out of steam. I chose to stick to my sketch book and do lots of drawings instead.
Kate Kern Mundie, View of Province Town

Kate Kern Mundie, Laundry

Thursday, September 15, 2011

US Artists American Fine Art Show and Sale

Kate Kern Mundie, Dawn (Looking West), oil on masonite, 24 x 28 inches

Once again I will have work at F.A.N. Gallery's booth at the USArtists American Fine Art Show & Sale

USArtists is the nation’s premier American art event. Many of the country’s
finest art dealers exhibit and sell an extraordinarily rich and diverse collection
of 18th- through 21st-century American art.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 23-25, 2011

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
Opening Night Preview Gala: Thursday, September 22
New Collectors Night: Friday, September 23
Show Hours:
Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

All proceeds from USArtists directly benefit student scholarships
at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Updates to the Mundieart website

Kate Kern Mundie, Metalman Point, Sheephaven Bay, oil on masonite, 10 x 14 inches, 2010
My pages on have been updated. If you have been reading the blog it will be familiar stuff. It is all the oil paintings that were in the June exhibition at F.A.N. Gallery.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New F.A.N. Gallery website

I have been showing with F.A.N. Gallery in Philadelphia for the past four years.  I recently took on some marketing work for the gallery. I designed the new website for F.A.N. Gallery and I manage the blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In the Movies

Kate Kern Mundie, 8th and Market Streets (Lits Bros.), oil on panel, 30 x 20 inches

I am a little behind in my movie watching. I finally saw “How Do You Know” written and directed by James L. Brooks. It was a cute romantic comedy starting Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. The real reason I watched is one of my paintings is in the movie.  
Image: via poptower. Scene from “How Do You Know”, painting by F.A.N. Gallery Artist Al Gury can be seen in the back ground in the gold frame.

Production for the movie started in the summer of 2009. The movie was filmed in Philadelphia and Washinton D.C. During that time a “How Do You Know” production staff member came into F.A.N. Gallery looking for paintings of Philadelphia scenes. They rented paintings from the artists Treacy Ziegler, Al Gury, Tezh Modarressi, Gregory Prestegord, and me, Kate Kern Mundie. The paintings were used in developing the look and feel of the office and home of the character George, portrayed by Paul Rudd. On the DVD, you can see the paintings in chapters 2 and 3 in George’s office and in his home at the beginning of the movie.

I don’t think I have ever watched a movie that closely for set design before. The paintings were hard to pick out unless you knew what you were looking for, but it was still exciting to see my painting in a movie.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking for Hopper

Edward Hopper's house from the road

Hopper's north facing studio window

Kate Kern Mundie, Mill Pond Road (Truro)
oil on canvas mounted on panel, 16 x 16 inches, 2009
For several years I had been poking around Truro trying to find the house that Edward Hopper built and used as a painting studio from 1934 until his death in 1967. In past years I had seen the house from a distance but had never figured out how to get to it. I had painted along Mill Pond Road and painted his house perched up on the bluffs above the water by Fisher Beach. A few months ago, I found the address of Edward Hopper’s house by looking at Truro zoning information. From the last information I had found on the house, his nieces were trying to get the house turned into a museum and that they had left his easel in the house as a homage to him.  Now, I had an address and  knew exactly where to go. When we got to his road I realized why I had never found the house. The turnoff for Hoppers house is a very long pitted dirt road that looks very private and I had been to shy to go poking along private roads.  The road winds along through the woods for about two miles until it opens up and you can see his house. There was no chain across the drive way and no “No trespassing” signs so we drove down to it. I climbed the long stairs up the hill up to the house and peaked in the windows. Someone lives in it now. I did not see the easel. I guess the plans to make it into a museum have failed. I snapped some shots of the house, porch and Hopper view and then left. I did not want the home owner to find me there poking around their house. Although, if you live in a famous persons house you must expect some meddlesome fans to periodically come around.  
Overlooking Fisher Beach

Hopper's “Rooms by the Sea” is an interior view of this house but he never did an exterior view. I would suppose since he had a great studio space at the house he would be more comfortable painting in the studio and would not have the urge to go out and paint the house.  Hopper painted interiors and exteriors of many of the other places he lived or stayed. Some of his paintings were straight forward landscapes, urban streetscapes, however some paintings become almost portraits of the homes of friends.  Many of his other landscape sites and buildings are a conglomeration of several buildings and points of view combined to make the most compelling composition. TheNighthawks, arguably his most famous paintings, is believed to be thecombination of several dinners and automats and a couple of different streetcorners.

I am glad I found the house. Seeing his house felt like a connection to the man who has had a huge influence on my paintings and drawings. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cape Cod 2011

Walking to Great Island in Wellfleet
We went to Cape Cod for a couple of weeks. It was a time to recharge after preparing for the exhibition at F.A.N. Gallery for the past year. It was wonderful to go for long walks with the kids. We took them to Great Island in Wellfleet where we were able to see fiddler crabs (or as Aidan calls them, "fitler craps"). Along our hike around Great Island we smelled something much stronger than the salty muddy smell of the marsh -- the carcasses of two dolphins. They must have beached some time in the winter or early spring.  The kids were more interested in the fiddler crabs scurrying for their holes when the kids came running up to the waters edge than the dolphins. 

There were other wildflife encounters that were more pleasant. We found hermit crabs on the beach and Jim put them in a bucket for the kids to watch for a while before returning them to the sea. There were seals out in the water, who come to a protected area near Head of the Meadow beach in Truro to have their pups and feed. From a distance they look like black Labrador retrievers swimming with just their heads above water until you realize that they are far too large and long to be a dog.

On a walk up to the lighthouse we saw a Black Racer snake.  It reared up about 8 inches off the ground when we walked into its space. It was around four feet long and really quite beautiful.  I pulled the kids back not knowing what kind of snake it was and deciding to err on the side of caution.  I later asked the woman running the gift shop about the snake and she told me what it was and that it was not harmful. I wished I had let the kids look at it longer instead of rushing them away from it. 
Wild Turkey

One afternoon, when driving back to the cottage we saw a very large wild turkey on someone’s deck. The photo does not do it justice. Another afternoon we saw a fox come bolting across the road with something in its mouth. It was large and at first I thought it was a small coyote but Jim thought it was a fox. I think Jim is right and it is a gray fox.  

Gray Fox
Even around the cottage we rented in the woods were were inundated with wildlife. We saw deer and hawks. The kids loved chasing rabbits, chipmunks, and quail around the cottage. Early one morning, Jim saw a weasel chase a rabbit out from under the deck. The poor rabbit did not make it. 

At Pilgrim Lake we saw a swan from the vantage point of the bluffs above the lake. 

I was surprised to see so many different wild animals. It was wonderful to get away from the city and enjoy the woods, water and wildlife.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Penguin (spheniscus humboldti)

Cool thoughts for a ridiculously hot day...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lloyds Tower (Donegal)

Kate Kern Mundie, Lloyds Tower (Donegal), oil on masonite, 20 x 40 inches, 2011

Artists are intrigued by ruins, from 17th-century genre painters depicting Roman ruins in a Flemish landscape, 18th-century paintings done on the “Grand European Tour”, or even current realists depicting the dilapidation of industrial landscapes and urban blight.  The artist might choose for their composition to include ruins as a curiosity, to symbolize an allegory, or as documentation.  I painted Lloyds Tower partly because of its curious nature - an isolated tower with an interesting history, but I also used the tower to give a sense of scale to the painting.  It is a manmade structure in a rugged and austere landscape. The landscape is very abrupt:  land… sea. The tower helps tie the painting together. 

History of the tower:

Banba’s Crown or Malin Head sits at the northern tip of Ireland.  This area on the  Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal has been a look out station for the last few centuries.

During the Napolenonic wars, the British built the tower as part of the 100-plus Martello lookout towers constructed to resist a potential invasion by Napoleon along the coast of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Channel Islands. The tower later served as a weather station and then a signal tower for the famous insurance company Lloyds of London. Employees stationed at the tower used semaphore and telescope to communicate with ships and the island of Inishtrahull’s lighthouse six miles away.

In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi set a radio signal station in the Lloyds Tower and in 1902 succeeded in sending the first commercial radio message from Malin Head to the ship S.S. Lake Ontario Later the station was taken over by the Post Office for communications.

During World War 2, Malin Head was once again used a lookout station. Other buildings were constructed nearby to house the Irish Defence Forces to keep a lookout and protect Irish neutrality. From the tower you can still see the word "EIRE" spelled out in stones to enable planes to identify their position and to recognize Ireland's neutrality in WWII. Since then, others have added their names along side Eire.

This spot may have been a look out long before the Martello Tower was built. It was originally named for the goddess Banba, the first person to set foot in Ireland.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cape Cod Light

Cape Cod Light
Originally uploaded by Prof. Jas. Mundie
While we were staying on Cape Cod I spent a rainy afternoon climbing up the tower of the lighthouse that was neighbor to our cottage.

The Cape Cod Light was originally erected in 1797 on a cliff in Truro standing 160 feet above a treacherous stretch of Atlantic shoreline. It was to be the first lighthouse in the nation with a flashing light - affected by means of a clockwork eclipser revolving around a multi-wick spider lamp - to help mariners distinguish it from the fixed beacon of Boston Light.

The original wooden tower was replaced with a round brick structure in the 1830s. A new lighting system of lamps and reflectors was installed during the following decade, during which the tower was substantially remodeled.

In 1857 the tower was rebuilt again, and a first order Fresnel lens installed. In 1901, an even larger Fresnel lens array standing 12-feet high and weighing over a ton was installed. This massive lantern floated in a bed of 600 pounds of mercury. Electric power was introduced in 1934, which created a beacon with 4,000,000 candlepower visible up to 75 miles in clear weather. This lens was replaced with high-wattage aero-beacons in the 1950s. Today, the current beacon (above) uses a tiny 110-watt lamp that is nonetheless visible for up to twenty-miles through the amplification provided by its Fresnel lenses.

In 1996, the lighthouse was moved 450-feet from its previous position due to cliff erosion.  Today the lighthouse stands picturesquely in the middle of Cape Cod's oldest golf course.

Interview with Matt Greenway

Matt Greenway, Late Afternoon, 28 x 40 inches, oil on canvas, 2011

Matt Greenway and Kate Mundie at F.A.N.'s June First Friday
I just interviewed artist, Matt Greenway. He is exhibiting his paintings at F. A. N. Gallery this month.

I have admired his work for the last decade. It was fun to find out how he makes paintings and what inspires him. Matt has been influenced by the English impressionist painter, Walter Sickert, who I was not familiar with. I am going to get to know Sickert's work better. We both have been inspired by Daniel Garber.  We both had been blown away by an exhibition of Garber's works we saw at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art's Museum of American Art in 2007.

It's fun to see how another artist thinks about their craft. You can read the interview at fanfinearts blog. 

Daniel Garber, Tohickon, oil on canvas 52 1/4 x 56 1/4 in, 1922. Collection of Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design

Friday, June 10, 2011

What do I Pack for a Landscape Painting Trip?

Some of my supplies laid out on the studio floor
These are some of the things I take on a plein air painting trip.

  • Hat, sun block, bug repellent!

  • Portable easel

  • Surfaces- I prefer painting on Masonite.  Pictured above are 10 x 14 inch, 8 x 16 inch, and 6 x 8 inch boards prepared with white and buff-tinted gesso.

  • Brushes of various sizes: filberts and rounds

  • Liquin - to make the paintings dry more quickly

  • Oil paints by Williamsburg, Sennelier, Schminke and Winsor Newton

  • Palette

  • Old t-shirts for paint rags and baby wipes for cleanup, jars for solvent

  • Camera

  • Sketchbook and pens

  • Milk crate on wheels to cart it all around in 

The paints in my easel box
The colors in my paint box

I do not use all these colors when I lay out my palette.  I use two of each color, a warm and a cool. For example: while we think of blue as a cool color, there are warm and cool blues. French Ultramarine Blue is cool and Cerulean Blue is warm. I change colors depending on the subject.  If it is a darker day, with a cloudy sky I might use Delft Blue instead of Ultramarine. I like Courbet Green and Turkey Umber because they can go to blue or green or brown depending on what you mix them with. Courbet Green mixed with a tiny bit of white will look blue, like ocean water; mixed with tiny bit of Naples yellow it will look green, like fir tree; or mixed with a tiny bit of raw umber it will look black or very very dark brown, like the bark of a tree.