Friday, September 16, 2011

Ned Martin's Two Worlds: NYC + Rural PA

From an Artist/Painter's point of view, New York City and Rural PA offer an endless source of inspiration, intrigue, and things that make me go hhhmmmmm!

NY You can tell if someone is a real NewYorker by the way they wait for the light to change (when walking). Tourist wait on the sidewalk, NewYorkers wait in the street about 10 feet into the first lane.This is not recommended for the casual walking tourist. A bus will take you out in a NY minute and never slow down! Not kidding around.

Rural PA I went to my first tractor pull! Most of the tractors were not tractors but pickup trucks with large stove pipes coming out of the beds of their trucks with great plumes of black smoke shooting out. They pulled a big sled with lots of weight until they inevitably bogged down and could go no further. I have 2 suggestions: The sport should be renamed "trucks getting stuck in the mud" AND it would be more interesting if they allowed them to get out and punch each other like in Hockey.

NY Most tourist surround themselves with tourist while in NYC cuz they go to "tourist" destinations. See the real NY! Find a small deli on an off street, go in and order salami and provolone on a hero. BEST DAMN SANDWICH EVER! Street meat is also the tops! Best calamari in NYC? Took me forever to find it... MARSEILLE's / 630 9TH AVENUE on 44th and 9th!

Rural PA Best burger in Central PA: "Bear Burger" (not really bear meat- it's a big hunk of beef) @ Crippled Bear Inn (on the old rt.15) 2967 Lycoming Creek Road in Williamsport. Have it with a large order of fresh cut fries and a draft Yuenling.

The corn fields lay flat on frozen ground this time of year although a few scattered, truncated stalks turn skyward stubbornly refusing to cooperate. The ablility to see across a vast expanse for a mile or so is not something New Yorkers take for granted. Just standing there and listening to nothing awashed in the cold breeze gives me a sense of calm and energetic enthusiasm all at the same time. "I must paint this," I mutter. "The distant hills rolling in great ribbons of burnt sienna and sap green and paynes gray..." The crows squawk  and rush past me close enough (I swear) I could hear their wings beating against the cold air. Yes, the crows. Gotta paint the crows into this scene. So I leave this place but it stays in mind's eye and I relive it over and over during the next couple of days. I will paint it soon. 

This morning my first cup of coffee and I were greeted with more crows. First a single voice barking loudly then a duet followed by a raucous chorus. I leave the warmth of the log cabin and stand on the deck staring into the woods.

"They've found something dead to eat and are fighting over it," Renee informs me. "It's the only time they do that." I smile. I listen. They are close. Maybe a half mile, maybe even... The loud boom of a gun shot, then another makes my body jerk. 
"Who in the hell would be shooting a gun so early on a Sunday morning?" I growl.

I shuffle back inside. "I like crows- admire them for their intelligence and beauty," I say to myself. "I have often wished I could have one for a pet like in the movie A Wonderful Life." I go to feed the horses and as I walk out the front door I see a dead crow laying on the gravel driveway. It managed to fly here before falling out of the sky. I realize then I kinda got my wish- in a twisted dark way.

We are alone- the crow and the artist. I examine the corpse closely and I think... my job as an artist is to record in paint things that make others stop and look and to see and to ponder and to feel... This is my responsibility. I will keep the crow and study the thing, paint it and show others what they are missing. 

My gun is a brush.