Saturday, February 25, 2012

"What does Joe do?"

I wanted to post this story that a friend emailed me after reading my blog post, "Sewing Machines". He asked to remain anonymous:

Kate,

I love your work on sewing machines. They are quite masculine to me, though. I don't know if I told you, but my dad is a tailor. His shop has 3 machines, including 1 blind stitch, that are like industrial revolution relics. He used to make custom suits for the neighborhood men.

The shop, and Dad, were like scenes from Guys and Dolls. When I was a kid I used to go in with him on Saturdays. There was a guy, Joe, who sat at the machine next to the phone. He would never sew, just answer the phone when it rang (often), and write things on a little pad. Since I was always slow on the uptake, it took me months to ask Dad, "What does Joe do?" "He takes messages," was the answer. It took me more years to realize that Dad was running a bookie operation, in addition to the custom suits. More characters came in and out of that shop than I could possibly remember.

So, thanks for spurring some funny memories at a time when Mom and Pop (98 and 92) are in their waning years. Pop is now starting to think about quitting the shop. An era will pass for me when he does.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Painting on Cape Cod

Kate Kern Mundie, Highland Road, 14 x 12 inches, oil on panel

In June, we went to Cape Cod for an art making holiday. We rented a cottage tucked into the dunes in North Truro near Coast Guard Beach and under the watchful eye of the Highland lighthouse. There was a house up on the hill behind ours and I climbed up there and did a painting from the porch. From that house you could see both the bay and Atlantic Ocean sides of the cape. This is a view looking down Highland Road towards the bay with Provincetown in the distance.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Painting at Beaver Farm

Kate Kern Mundie, Beaver Farm, 8 X 16 inches, oil on panel
On a perfect fall day I drove out to Beaver Farm. It is a working farm that is part of Camphill Special School’s transitional program. Camphill Special School hosts artists to paint at its bucolic location as a fund raiser for the school and gives artists time to work in a beautiful setting within a community of other painters. This was the third year of Plein Air for Camphill Special School but my first time. I was really happy I could join the group of artists and support the school.

When I arrived at the farm, I was given the tour by Guy Alma who runs the program. He showed me around the new campus buildings and then the barn built in the 1930s.  I got to see the new piglets born just days before and some heifers and nurse cows and get a bit of history about the farm. 

I set up on the hill overlooking the fields and woods towards French Creek and was soon joined by Joe Sweeney. I painted for a few hours and then returned home. 

The exhibit  and sale in support of Camphill Special School will take place in December 2012 at Rosenfeld Gallery. I will post more information as it becomes available.



Saturday, February 11, 2012


I recently interviewed Al Gury for his February show at FAN.  Al was one of my teachers when I was a student at PAFA. I love his work and his thoughtful approach to painting.

As a student, I would go to Al's studio on the 5th floor of an old warehouse building in Old City. It is just as you might imagine an artist's living and work space to look. Al's studio was filled with paintings and drawings, works in various stages of being completed. His living area was full of books and collected work, paintings by contemporaries and mentors. Al also collected American Arts and Crafts ceramics and furniture. I remember thinking, "This is what I want my life to be like."  

You can read the interview here

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Interview with James Mundie published in Bizzarro Bazar

I recently conducted an interview about Prodigies and Cabinet of Curiosities with Bizzarro Bazar, an Italian blog dedicated to the wonderful world of weirdness.  That interview, published in Italian, appears here.  Even if your Italiano is rusty, there are plenty of pictures to enjoy.  Ciao!

James G. Mundie, The Lady with the Two-headed Kitten, ink drawing on paper, 2006