Blake+Robertson at Acme: the revival of one still life, and the start of a new one

Blake and Robertson, still lives at Acme
Blake and Robertson, still lives at Acme

At Johnson City Carousel Day in July I re-met Peggy Benz; she was handing out programs, and we realized we knew one another from long ago… finally nailed it down to the 1970s feminist health group we were both involved in. Some days later I got an email from her — she’s now waging a one-woman campaign to clean up “downtown” Johnson City. She’d seen the Nolan+Robertson+Henry+Blake storefront exhibit at 97 Court St. in Binghamton, and wondered if we’d like to do something similar in Johnson City. Hmmm. Despite my doubts, I contacted Rich, Richard, and Mary; Mary was enthusiastic. So Tuesday — in the midst of my struggles with a badly infected spider bite on my arm — Mary and I set up our show at Acme Cash Register, 238 Main St. in Johnson City. We both came equipped with easels and art, as well as my Craftsman-style 3-panel folding screen. Mary vacuumed the rug in the window (and subsequently the entire front office of the bustling family business) as I unloaded my car, then we cleaned the windows, Mary unloaded, and we started deploying easels and artwork in the lovely deep window.

Mary Robertson and I realized when we met each other two years ago that our still life subjects were eerily parallel, considering the fact that we did them with no knowledge of each other’s work. (We’d even had identical grey and white cats.) So this struck me as a fine theme for the exhibit.

Jug and Beanpot  - Glenda Blake
Jug and Beanpot – Glenda Blake – 16×20 in., oils on canvas – at

The human figure is my primary art interest, and lacking quite enough works for the window, I pulled out an old, partially failed still life from a class I took a year or so ago, re-composed it in Photoshop, and re-painted the bothersome bits. What a relief! All I needed was a concrete purpose for fixing it. I’m so happy now with Jug and Beanpot I hated to let it go.

I am an awful perfectionist when it comes to displays — and my sweetie took an awful tumble on the sidewalk, bringing the items I’d forgotten — but somehow we made it through, Mary and I with friendship intact and sweetie and I with marriage intact, despite his possible cracked rib from the fall. We think the window looks great, and so does Joan Sacco, the proprietor. The street traffic in JC may not be our constituency, but Acme has foot-traffic clentele from the restaurant, hotel, and academics sectors, so this could be a good thing. And it really does help beautify the old business district.

This effort took me back to the days when I designed retail windows, both for a full-time employer and as a freelancer. Fun. Rejuvenating. Next week I’m going to redesign the opposite window for Joan, with all their business items, as a thank-you for letting us use what is for now the art window. Really looking forward to it, and hoping we might be able to stay in the art window for a while.

Nolan+Robertson+Henry+Blake, v.2
+Henry+Blake, v.2

Meanwhile, we’ve done a change-out in the Binghamton window at 97 Court St., and I’m planning a showing of my “Feathered and Feline” series at “Window on the Arts,” in Windsor, NY, this coming Saturday.

Can I get a new still life done in time to take the place of Eddie and Blue Eggs,

Eddie and the Blue Eggs (Still Life with Cat)
Eddie and the Blue Eggs (Still Life with Cat) – at

in the Acme exhibit, so I can show “Eddie” in Windsor? Wait and see!

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