Tag Archives: beach

New Work at The Chapel


orange lips and fingertips, acrylic and oil on canvas, 56"x62", 2012

On Sunday orange lips and fingertips (pictured above) made its debut at The Chapel, a gallery that operates in association with Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO.  I’m showing four recent paintings alongside folded paper works by Marguerite Corey and photographs by Sylvester Jacobs.  If you missed the public reception, you can catch the show again on November 11 or by appointment (info@johnsarra.com).  Each of these paintings addresses concerns of gain and loss by way of memory, consumption, and death, reflecting upon what we take and what we leave behind.

smoke-shaped forest, ink, shellac, and oil on paper, 22"x30", 2012

I thought that I had finished smoke-shaped forest back in May (see the post from May 8, below), but ended up reworking the painting in early October.  The rising embers seemed to resonate with the blowing/falling cheese puffs, and as a result this piece edged out the competition for inclusion in the exhibition.  It’s another meditation on gains and losses, a depiction of cleared land with irregular trees and stumps scraped into a burn pile while the city throws its own light up over the horizon.  I’ll need to post a future image including the frame, which I made out of reclaimed quarter-sawn red oak.  The distinctive medullary rays provide a contrast to the starkness of the image, and its reclaimed nature (made evident by a few nail holes) is intended as an argument on behalf of both use and preservation.


A Working Vacation

Christine keeps busy with the camera, Florence loves the water, and I can't stop collecting

Christine keeps busy with the camera, Florence loves the water, and I can't stop collecting

shell garden 5

oyster shell garden

shell garden 3stone garden

Yesterday we returned to our home after our annual trip to the east coast.  We relaxed for a week at the beach in NC before heading to the woods in SC.  We look forward to these trips as an opportunity to catch up with our family, but they are also one of the most inspirational and productive times of the year for us.  Christine has been pursuing documentary photography projects at both locations for the last six years, and the project in SC is one where we collaborate.  More on that later.

I have included four images of some of my inspirations from the trip.  This year I was really taken by the worm-eaten remnants of shells, which have many of the characteristics of Chinese scholar’s rocks in miniature.  I settled for photographs in most cases, as I am trying to be increasingly selective about what I drag back to my studio.  I was also able to dig up some nice additions to my rock collection from the fill dirt around my parent’s property.  I am considering the purchase of a few tons next year just so that I can sort through it for treasures.  There are always potholes on the lane that need filling, after all.