Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Playing Detective: The Thomas Cole Jr. Story

January was a period of recovery from my Business class, 4 shows, and the holidays. February is a tough month; I have a new saying "every time the snow flies, a dollar dies" as students cancel, or I am unable to get to my very part time job. So when the going gets rough, I sell on eBay.

I have been selling on eBay for 16 years and have made around 3000 transactions. I have excellent ratings, and it has kept my studio heated and business bills paid when I needed money. I have joked that I would sell everything in the house if I had to.  For the most part I enjoy it - from the treasure hunt/junking to find things to sell, the research, and then the excitement of the auctions.  I have an entire education from it, and have become quite knowledgeable about many things, from illustrated books, ephemera, to photography and more.

The most recent exciting research came from photographs I started listing from an album that  I've had for a long time.  So long that I don't remember where I bought it. I broke the photos into subject matter and listed them. A lot of farm animals, a lot of people in theater costumes, lots of mines and rock formations.  I made a lot of images of Trinity Church in Saugerties, NY, and the surrounding homes. I was curious about whether the homes still stood, so I asked a friend on Facebook about them, who referred me to a local historian. We started piecing things together about this lot. Some of the photos were taken from the windows of the attic and office in the church's rectory. When the historian mentioned that the son of Thomas Cole, (the father of the Hudson River School of Art) was a minister in that church for 40 years, I began to wonder....were they his photos?  A photograph held a possible clue-the photographer had taken a photo of a women, down hill from him/her, and there were cast shadows. The photographer's shadow looked like the photographer had a dress on. Or, was it a cleric who wore robes? Then the other clue came up in my research- someone had a rock collection owned by Thomas Cole Jr., which would explain all of the photos of various rock embankments that were photographed in Saugerties, Glasco, Vermont and Massachusetts. I started piecing things together. The clues point to one of a two things: the photographs were either taken by Thomas Cole Jr., or someone who had similar interests and access to the rectory. I may never know. 

Thus far the auctions have bought me enough money to cover some of my business bills as some local collectors bid well on the lot. I still have some photographs left to sell, and I will keep a few; the photograph of the photographer's shadow, which is as close as I will get to having a portrait of the photographer,  a few snapshots of the Catskill Mountains and the creek, views which no longer exist due to overgrowth and construction. There's magic in those mountains.....which have inspired writers, photographers, artists....sculptors and historians like my new friend. Now off to research the little town of Eddyville, a place that I lived for a while...he sent me lots of interesting images and information. Ah, eBay--a lifetime learning online university!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Back in School


The summer went by and I did not make one post!

It was a busy summer since I worked most weeks 6 days a week, whether in the Tibetan shop, teaching privately, or in my Rhinebeck studio.  I took a week of to go to the Cape, but the rest of the summer I was hard at work. Since I left teaching, summers off are a memory of the past. I thought that I would have a hard time working all summer for the first time in many years, but when you are doing things that bring you joy, and are no longer in a soul-sucking job, it isn't much like work at all.

While on vacation I got a phone call from Lea at Marist College, asking if I was interested in being in a class thru WEDC, an educational program for women in business. It was a no-brainer, and I soon found out how little I really knew about being in business.  It is a 60 hour class, and I get a certificate at the end of it. I  have to write a business plan, present it to the instructors, the class, and other outside agencies.

Being at Marist is like being in a bubble. The campus is pristine and lays along the banks of the Hudson River. I went to community colleges and state universities because I had to pay for my education and I could not afford anything more expensive. Going to a college like Marist was an unattainable dream. Though WEDC is only "housed" at Marist, and not actually part of the college, I still attend classes on campus,and I love the energy of being with the college crowd.  I am learning a lot, and can't say enough good about the program.

I have been working hard in the studio, slowly getting new clients, selling some art, obtaining new wholesale accounts. Olana and the Red Lion are doing well with my cards, and I am working on getting them into a few other local historic sites.  There is an article in progress which I will post when I have the link, and I am painting as much as possible outside before the weather takes a turn for the cold...though I may still try and paint outside.  I am thinking of trying to paint from inside the CRV if I can find places to park and paint. Sexy Sadie in not conducive to doing much more than getting me to my destinations, or doing some small watercolors inside the car.

Though I struggle at times financially, I have not broken the bank, and am keeping the studio bills paid, which is pretty good for being in business less than a year. My goal however is to start MAKING a little money so that I can draw as a salary..as working 4 days a week for no pay is tough on paying the bills at home. Besides, I need to start saving for my next vacation to the Cape in the summer.

Stay tuned, as I have promised myself to post on a weekly basis. I have adventures every week, and my new life is rich.  I leave for Barcelona in 10 days, my daughter is having a baby in a few months. It is my busy season... (those who know me are laughing, as they are thinking "when is she NOT busy??!!) Two craft shows, and holiday open house Thanksgiving weekend. It's all fab!

PS photos are of Marist, and Larry has three photographs in the Faculty show there in the art building/gallery.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Junking on the Cape

I love Cape Cod- the ocean, the dunes, the hiking, the salt marsh, the food.
Whale watching.
Mack's Shack.
Jules Besch.
And junking.

Garage sales and estate sales abound on the Cape. Even if you don't buy a thing, you get to see the inside of many an incredible (and some not so incredible) homes.

This trip's finds were not as plentiful as usual, but still for under 30.00 I got the following

Foley Food Mill 2.00 (oh all that tomato and apple sauce I will make with this)
1907 6" thick illustrated Webster dictionary 2.00 (collage heaven)
Stretcher Bars 1.00 - for the roll of canvas I will be getting from a friend
Frames 1.00 for the little watercolors I do.
2 vintage John Denver songbooks 1.00 - that is to resell on eBay
Phillips charging/speaker system for iPod/iPhone 20.00 for my studio.
Old glass slides to make "slides" with. (I use them to make ornaments) 

I can't wait to use all of this...and got my fix on my tiny budget.

Lots of antique, junk, and swap shops on the cape.  And I'll be going back in a few months to shop till I drop.