Yesterday morning I left for Plein Air Olana, at Frederic Church’s estate on the Hudson River. I usually post my blog early in the morning, but the Bangor Daily News blog feed was glitching. No problem, I thought, and drove as far as McDonald’s in Brunswick, where I bought a dollar coffee and used their internet to publish. At a rest stop in Massachusetts, I checked my messages. “What is this stock market crash?” a friend texted me. A glance at the news told me that the NYSE had suspended trading.
“Oh, man,” I said. “I’m too old to go through this again.”
I’ve done an autumn show forever in a Westchester (NY) town. It is a great party in a beautiful location, and many of my besties in the painting world are there. In 2008, after years of great sales, we sat on our hands watching painting after painting barely make the minimum. We were dazed; nothing we knew about the economic situation justified such a spectacular fall from grace.
I rode home from the City with my pal Jane Bartlett. We listened as pundits discussed the closed-door bank deal hammered out that weekend. Clearly those with money had sensed that something was afoot.
Today I texted Jane, who is doing a show on the other side of New York: “If the banks have failed, it won’t be the same without you. Please plan to take a drive with me.”
I can joke about it now, but that event started a long term slump. Maybe the $100 million art sales were plugging along as usual, but most on-the-ground artists I know reported similar experiences.
Apparently yesterday’s failure was a glitch, but one of a spectacular spiral of glitches: the NYSE, United Airlines, the Wall Street Journal. And of course, briefly, the Bangor Daily News blog feed.
But am I with Hamilton Nolan in believing it’s time to panic? I don’t have the energy for it. And anyway, I believe that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” although I don’t presume to know what shape that might take.
In an hour we artists begin painting at Olana. Our best work will be sold at auction on Saturday evening, and there will be a tent sale on Sunday. If you’re on the Hudson, let me recommend you visit. The house alone is worth the price of admission.
It’s a lot more fun to come chat with painters than worry about the end of civilization. After all, if the world is ending, you might as well experience it surrounded by beauty.
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.