Friday, July 31, 2009

Sneak Peek... "Enchanting Ireland" Exhibit opens this Sunday...

Click on images for larger view...

"Wet your Whistle"... 10x8” oil
Another tribute to two Irish staples… Music and Guinness. Guinness is the bevy of choice in Ireland. All you have to say is, “I’ll have a pint”, and a Guinness is brought to you in about two minutes… it takes that long to be poured correctly according to the best barkeeps. Guinness is celebrating their 250th anniversary this year. Founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness in Dublin at St James Gate, it has been the bevy of choice not only in Ireland but many other countries ever since. The name Guinness means more than beer … Every generation since Arthur has played a major role in contributions to the country through philanthropy and service. In fact, the Guinness name, in Ireland, is revered like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and Martin Luther King Jr. are in the U.S. The Guinness Storehouse since it began has been known to that take care of its employees. Even in the 1700’s they offered pensions and housing to their workers… and in the event of death… they continued the pensions to the wives. The old saying to every daughter was “Marry a Guinness man, he’s worth a bundle dead or alive.”

"Ladies View"... Ring of Kerry, Killarney, County Kerry, 14x18" oil
Ladies View is a scenic point along of the Ring of Kerry, in Killarney National Park, Ireland. The name comes from admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. Ladies View is the most famous and photographed view of Killarney and is approximately 11 miles from the town of Killarney, one of our favorite stays during our visit.

"St. Patrick's Cathedral... Interior View"... Dublin, 24x12" oil
Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin founded in 1191, is the largest church in Ireland. The present building dates from 1220. This interior view is from the altar looking toward the entrance.

Side note: Saint Patrick (c. 390 – 460) was a Christian missionary, who first brought the Gospel and Christianity to Ireland and is recognized as the patron saint of Ireland.

"O'Carroll's Cove"... Ring of Kerry, 11x14" oil
The Ring of Kerry is part of the mystical & unspoiled region of Ireland that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. The Ring is in the top ten most scenic drives on the Planet… a 112 mile drive along the Iveragh Peninsula in the south western region offers some of the most spectacular scenery and beauty beyond question. Jagged cliffs work their way down to the North Atlantic Ocean. One of the crowning jewels of the Ring is O’Carroll’s Cove. The strand here is one of Ireland’s many pristine beaches.

"Poulnabrone Dolmen"... The Burren, County Clare, 24x30" oil
The Burren, a great rocky expanse in County Clare, is one of the world's truly unique places in that it can supports Arctic, Mediterranean and Alpine plants side-by-side. Its ancient, awe inspiring stone structures hold secrets from the past that may never be unraveled. Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen is an ancient stone tomb dating between 2000 - 2500 B.C. It's just one of the many ancient historic monuments dotted throughout Ireland.

"The Fairy Tree", 24x24" oil
Ireland is steeped in superstition and folklore that is handed down from generation to generation. Some stories have been in written form since the 8th Century but most originated over 2000 years ago when druids passed on stories orally from one generation to the next. Like the Gaelic language itself many of Irelands legends have links with those of ancient Celtic races throughout Europe. Irish folklore is rich in tales of fairies, leprechauns, banshees, and other supernatural beings. One such folklore is that of the Fairy Tree. When a lone Hawthorne , Ash, or Oak tree is growing in a field it is best to let it be… it is considered a Fairy Tree. The Fairy Tree is supposed to be a magical gateway into the little folk's world. Some believe the fairies live in the tree; others believe the tree is a door or gateway for the fairies to pass from their realm into our world and then back again at their whim. It is a superstition that if one interfered with such a tree then bad luck would follow because this was the home of the ‘little people’. Some superstitions have deep roots… recently a road was being upgraded to a major highway and one such tree was in the way – so instead of chopping it out – they built the road around it. This is true… Tami and I traveled on the highway that conveniently curved around a lone Hawthorne tree or should I say, “Fairy Tree”.

Side note: Be sure to look closely at this painting… you never know what you might find.

"Solitude near the Long Walk"... Galway, 18x24" oil
The Long Walk is a street lined with colorful houses located on the banks of the River Corrib where it meets the Galway Bay. Along this street Galway's gentry of old used to go for strolls. People today still stroll the promenade at The Long Walk which is mentioned in Steve Earle’s recent hit song “Galway Girl”… from the movie PS, I Love You.
Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay

"Fields of Tipperary"... County Tipperary, 11x14" oil
When we think of Ireland, we think of the Emerald Isle, the shamrock, the "Wearing of the Green" and the 37 other almost proverbial shades of green. The landscape of Ireland is unsurpassed in beauty. The Emerald Isle boasts the fact that one can see “40 shades of green” an expression made famous by our own Johnny Cash. After a trip to Ireland in the early it seems “The man in black” was also enchanted… so much that he recorded an album in 1961. The most enduring of Cash's Irish songs is "Forty Shades of Green", including the confession that "most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town, and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown".

"Annie Moore... Farewell Dear Ol' Erin", 12x24" oil
Immigration has played a major role in Irish history… past and present. The potato famine in the mid 1800’s brought millions to the United States to elude starvation… many have been immigrating ever since to live the “American Dream” . Only within the last several years has Ireland’s economy thrived. I asked a local woman in Killarney, “Why do you treat Americans so good here?”… her response… “Because you opened your borders to us when no one else would … we would have perished.” Made me proud to be an American. Annie Moore (January 1, 1877 - 1923) was the first immigrant to the United States to pass through the Ellis Island facility in New York Harbor. She arrived from County Cork, Ireland aboard the steamship Nevada on January 1, 1892, her fifteenth birthday, She was accompanied by her two brothers to meet their parents who had come to the United States in 1888. As the first person to be processed at the newly opened facility, she was presented with an American $10 gold piece. Annie Moore is honored by bronze statues at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and in Cobh (pronounced Cove), the Irish seaport from which she sailed. My model of Annie for this painting was the statue of her in the port town of Cobh, where the majority of the Irish immigrants left their home for a new life in Amerikay.
Statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland... my model for Annie in this painting.
"Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade"... 8x16" oil
This painting is my representation and acknowledgment of the Irish in America. While in Ireland I noticed the local folks look just like us… then it dawned on me… they are us. I did some research… there are over 34.5 million U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (4.1 million). Their contributions are too great to list… they are a part of our history just as we are a part of theirs.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War an estimated 170,000 men born in Ireland joined the Union Army, whereas only 40,000 were in the Confederate Army. At the Battle of Fredericksburg they were directly opposed to each other and cheered each others bravery. The title for this painting comes from a song of that period with the same title…
With a pipe in his mouth sat a handsome young blade,
And a song he was singing so gaily,
His name was Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade
And he sang of the land of Shillelagh.
The day after battle, the dead lay in heaps
Pat Murphy lay bleeding and gory,
With a hole in his breast from some enemy's ball
Had ended his passion for glory,
No more in the camps will his letters be read
Nor his voice be heard singing so gaily
For he died far away from the friends that he loved
And far from the land of shillelagh.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A bit of enchantment...

An article about my upcoming exhibit was featured in the Sunday edition of the Jacksonville Daily News. The article was written by Deirdre Freeman who interviewed me over the phone while we were on vacation last week. As I hung up the phone I told Tami that I didn't know what to expect... she knows how I can ramble on the phone. We got back Sunday in time to get the paper... Deirdre did a superb job... she managed to write a love story sprinkled with a little family history and artwork... Thanks Deirdre!

Click on the link below to read her article...

A bit of enchantment...
After a trip to Ireland, a local artist was inspired to hold his first solo exhibit
July 26, 2009 8:29 PM
Deirdre Freeman

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Enchanting Ireland" Exhibit: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Enchanting Ireland”

August 2 - 28, 2009

Baysden Gallery, Council for the Arts
826 New Bridge Street, Jacksonville, NC 28540

Take an artistic journey to the Emerald Isle as seen through the eyes and palette of American Artist, Bernie Rosage Jr. The entire "Enchanting Ireland" collection (39 oil paintings) is on exhibit here for the first time. This collection was inspired by a trip Bernie and his wife, Tami, took to Ireland in celebration of their 20th wedding anniversary and their family heritage. These 39 works are the culmination of 11 months of arduous work… “I thoroughly enjoyed painting this series… with each stroke it felt as if I was still in that special place” states Rosage. He goes on to say, “It is my wish that you (the viewer) get a sense of the beauty and magical quality of the Irish landscape, culture, and her people as you view these works… in short… I hope you too are Enchanted.”

Bernie Rosage Jr. is a native of Onslow County, North Carolina, where he resides with his wife, Tami, their children and grandchildren. Bernie’s passion for art started at an early age and continues as a self taught artist. He likes the term "self motivated to be taught" as he works hard to fuel his passion of oil painting. His painterly approach to color and texture adds to his unique sense of style, best defined as Impressionistic Realism. His subjects are often personal and convey feelings of peace, serenity, and nostalgia. "I am drawn to country roads, marshlands, cottages, barns, trees, open fields, flowing rivers, etc... anything that eludes to a peaceful, calming feeling when viewed," states Rosage. His paintings are a wonderful culmination of sensitivity and skill and are collected throughout the United States, Ireland, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Go to Bernie’s web page and click on his “Enchanting Ireland” blog to read more about these paintings and their experiences in Ireland.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bernie's Ramblings: Fresh on the trail of Ben Long's Frescoes...

Tami, Liv, and I are enjoying a week in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. The weather has been clear and cool... almost an enigma for July in the south. Between hiking, horseback riding, plein air painting, picnicking, and just relaxing... the three of us have manged to visit three of the Ben Long fresco locations on the Fresco Trail.
First things first... What is a fresco?
Fresco is a medium Michelangelo chose when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The technique involves mixing sand and lime, placing the mix on a wall and painting it while it's still wet. Fresco painting is a b tenuous art. So quickly does the bonding of the pigment to wet plaster take place that great skill and meticulous planning must be maintained in order to achieve the beautiful result.
source: Ben Long Fresco Trail brochure
Check this out in detail here...
The Fresco Process
On with "fresh on the trail..."

This is one of my favorite spots on the trail... I have painted this small church on several occasions. Last Monday, Tami dropped me off to plein air paint while she and Liv went to the newly remodeled library in West Jefferson.

I found a nice shady spot under a huge Linden tree... 2 1/2 hours of peaceful recollections of my sister, Kristi, and savoring the beauty of this sacred spot.

Finished painting... "St Mary's"... 8x10" Oil on panel by Bernie Rosage Jr, en plein aire, July 20, 2009.
Click HERE to see a painting I did of St Mary's in 2007.
Stop #2... Holy Trinity Church, Glendale Springs, NC
We have been going to Glendale Springs for years to visit George Bell's Greenhouse Crafts Shop... our favorite shop in the Blue Ridge. Our journey there would not be complete without a trip across the street to Holy Trinity and the frescoes there. I have painted this small church as well.
Click HERE to see a painting I did of Holy Trinity in 2007.
We had a cool visit with my cousin Pam (Aunt Pammie) who lives in Morganton. She took us on a tour of the town... what a beautiful town too. The highlight of our tour was the The City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium.. (CoMMA) for short. The crowning jewel of the CoMMA was the ceiling fresco by Ben Long titled... "Sacred Dance & The Muses". We actually sat on recliners on a revolving floor to view the awesome work... how cool is that! You can see Liv enjoying the fresco in this photo.

Liv, Pam, and Tami enjoying the comfort and the artwork.
Clio "Goddess of History", Urania "Goddess of Astronomy" , and Pegasus...
Thalia "Goddess of Comedy and Terpsichore "Goddess of Dance"...
Ben Long even included a self portrait in this work showing his exhaustion from his labors.
These wonderful works and experiences only prove my theory that every artist and art patron already knows... There is nothing like viewing art in person!
Thanks for listening to me ramble... feel free to comment...
Thanks Aunt Pammie for a GREAT day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20th... Remembering Kristi...

Tami, Olivia, and I hiked a couple of trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday... I came across and photographed this vacant chair at the Brinegar Cabin (milepost 238.5) and thought it symbolic on this day for my entire family.

Of course we remember her every day...
This was the view from our mountain lodge deck this morning around 6:45 AM...

we never know what a day will bring so we should Cherish Today...

In Faith,

Last years post... Art is therapy for me at times... times like this that is... Click HERE...