Ann Craven is an artist who lives and works in New York City. Craven recently held her first retrospective, “Time,” at Le Confort Moderne in Poitiers, France. Her most recent show, “Hello, Hello, Hello,” is up through March 5 at Maccarone in New York.
A late fall Craven Consumer Report happens while the artist prepares to ship some art to Gallery Diet in Miami for the art fair week. We spend some quality time with her two dogs—Magic and Moonlight—and listen to a good deal of Johnny Cash. As winter looms, the Internet is used to both purchase doggy sweaters and find a plumber to fix the radiator. All this and more, including more renditions of “Danny Boy” than you can shake a stick at, below. —John Chiaverina
Tuesday, November 17
I listen to Johnny Cash and June Carter’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” before I go to sleep. It always reminds me of my dad.
I am up, feeding my pups Magic and Moonlight.
I go into the studio and add a new painting, Moon (Cloudy Night, Cushing, 8-1-15, 11.25PM), to the list I keep of all the moons I’ve painted in 2015. Keeping a thorough record of when and where I’ve painted a new work is very important to my practice. This moon will be on view in my upcoming show—“Hello, Hello, Hello”—at Maccarone in January. Magic and Moonlight are looking at me expectantly—we usually go for a walk now.
In the studio today I work with my assistants Ana Cardoso and Owen Campbell to create titles for several new 2015 moon paintings. First we must list all the words that I’ve written on the verso of the paintings (the date, time, place) so I can create the official titles.
I often listen to Johnny Cash while I work.
Wednesday, November 18
I am going to bed.
I am up, feeding the pups, and talking to Peter about the plumber that is coming at 9 a.m. to fix the radiator in the bedroom that has been leaking since we had switched it out last July. I am on the computer doing a search for Radiator valves on the internet to see if we can get one at the nearby plumbing supply store called George Taylor Plumbing Supplies, an old Tribeca staple used by many artists over the years. I find out online that the new name of the store is George Taylor Specialties.
Left: The Moon painting with the pink halo, Moon (Peach Halo, Cushing, 8-29-15, 9PM), 2015. Right: Leaking valve that we need to change.
Ana just texted me—we will meet here so we can work together on list for Miami while Owen photographs.
I go into the studio and write “peach halo” on the 2015 moon list for Moon 2015 info doc. I realize that I forgot to write down all the information that is on the versos of the paintings that are leaving today for Miami. This info becomes part of the titles that I need to finish for the Gallery Diet checklist.
Magic and Moonlight are looking at me again as usual—we usually go for a walk now.
Peter calls the plumbing company and they tell us that they are not coming today as they tried calling us for the last hour to confirm—we never got a call. We make an appointment for next Tuesday.
Owen arrives and starts to clear the wall that we will use to photograph the paintings. I realize Magic and Moonlight ate my Color Card so I search on the computer for a new one.
I like the small color checkers, but they only make big ones now. Everyone is complaining on the comments of the searches that the company stopped making this great little color card! Darn I hope they will make these again because the large ones are too large for my small paintings. I like to have the small card for the image because it looks better.
The card M+M ate is called X-Rite Color Checker mini. I go to B+H website and buy one online and send Owen to B+H. X-Rite Color Checker – Large. The pickup for Gallery Diet is at 2 p.m. so we have plenty of time—although we still have to work on the 2015 moon list—list all the words that are on the verso of the paintings—so I can create titles. Ana will be here at 10:30 a.m.
In studio for the rest of the day working on paintings.
Thursday, November 19
Wake to dogs.
I talk to Art Supplier about the Oil Paint Colors I need to Order. Sometimes I use Blick because I like them. I stick with Gamblin oil colors and I use the 150 Ml tubes. I look online at the same time I am talking to the Blick Soho Store so I can see the choices easier.
I work on the computer and create a Bookmark folder called “Titles – Inspiration For Titling My Work.” My paintings sometimes contain multiple paintings, so today I am trying to find words that have to do with “multiple” pieces because I need to finish DIET show checklist. I go to really great websites about making lists and what words are used to make multiple pieces.
When I title a painting the first word in the title literally describes what the work is—moon, flower, bird, etc. If it is a single moon painting the first word in the title is Moon. If it is a flower painting, the first word in the title is Flower, and so on. Because these newer paintings have multiple pieces, the first word in the title will be the scientific number for that multiple. From my searches online, I decide on words like: Triptych, Quadriptych, Sextuple, Heptaptych, and Polyptych, which means several after eight, and so on.
Ana arrives and we go over checklist for Gallery DIET and talk about more titles. I show her the document I am starting with the titles and the research I did on the multi-panel wording.
Plumber arrives a few days early to fix the leaks in the bedroom radiator.
Listening to every version of “Oh Danny Boy” that was ever made on YouTube. Amazing Cher cover of the song, and Joan Baez, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, Roy Orbison, Bing Crosby, and The Irish Tenors.
Also listening to David Bowie and Marianne Faithful cover of “I Got You Babe.” This is one of my favorite music videos ever recorded.
Searching for Dog Sweaters for Magic and Moonlight on this great website called Dr Foster Smith For Dogs or something like that. I bought Magic and Moonlight one sweater. I need to find the other one only smaller. The sweater I bought at drsfostersmith.com.
Walking Magic and Moonlight.
Studio – Draw on canvas.
Mix mix mix the paint.
Listening to Maria Maldaur “Sweet Harmony.”
Lunch. Fresh Direct delivers the food I ordered for the next few days. I needed to use Fresh Direct for my food this week because I am working so hard on finishing these exhibitions and I can’t shop right now. Its great food and very fresh.:)) Direct link to Fresh Direct!
Studio ALL DAY.
I stop Painting and start to finish work for the day. Cook food for dinner.
Friday, November 20
Wake to dogs.
On computer processing images for Gallery Diet show in December including several new moon and stripe works. Gallery Diet Checklist.
Work on diptych of large magenta moon and stripe for Maccarone show.
Listening to “Hurt.”
Prepare for dinner with Thomas Halley and my husband Peter Halley.
We eat chicken, steak, and ravioli with sautéed kale and red onions; Annie’s Mac & Cheese; and roasted acorn squash (from Maine where I live in the summer).
Saturday, November 21
Pictures coming in from Maine on my phone. Warms my heart to see the studio and the house in the winter.
Working on computer to finish DIET show checklist. Listening to “If I Were a Carpenter.” I spend some time googling birds. Some of my recent favorites are Northern Bluebirds, Yellow Warblers, and Cardinals.
Draw on canvas — a new Yellow Warbler bird with a pink Brown-eyes Susan flower background. Images if “Bird Printout ideas,” images I pulled from the internet and played with in photo shop:
Mix magenta and blue paint for a large crescent moon painting.
Still at the studio. Magic and Moonlight walk in a circle. Magic following Moonlight, always, aimlessly, just circling—makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Talk about animal studio habits here—as the dogs are developing their own interests, things they do, and how they avoid trouble. But Magic once bit into a dried hunk of oil paint that was on a painting sitting on the floor, and I had to wash her mouth for a while to get the paint off her teeth.
Photograph the moon outside on Walker Street, and post on Instagram: Untitled (Moon Phase, 11-21-15, 6:45PM, NYC), 2015, Untitled (Moon Phase, 11-21-15, 6:50PM, NYC), 2015 and Untitled (Moon Phase, 11-21-15, 6:55PM, NYC), 2015.
Had dinner at Mezzogiorno in Soho with Florence Derieux, so nice.
Sunday, November 22
Wake up to gray day—I love gray days, gray Sundays.
Coffee, breakfast, dogs, family morning.
Walk dogs and sing “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” by Johnny Cash to myself as I walk and think how sad Sundays were for me at one time—huge sad days, sad, lonely days—always wishing I had a love of my own, family, etc…the part when Johnny Cash says “then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt. Then I washed my face and combed my hair and stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.”
I know that place so well.
Work on new painting—Moon (Magenta Crescent), 2015, a 72-by-72-inch painting. Also one of last summer’s 14-by-14-inch moons is now getting blown up to 60 by 60 inches. A similar painting—though a crescent moon instead of a full moon—will be in the Maccarone show.
Rehang sheet curtains in kitchen.
Talk to brother Joe, seated.
We talk about how in life “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” We talk about about how taking your time to make the right decisions in life is important, and not to rush things for stupid reasons. We talk about how you should never please anyone but yourself—first. Joe is in the hospital in Boston—and we talk every day—and today’s conversation is about how to take life with a grain of salt—slow down he says.
Joe says: “Built for comfort not for speed.”
Annie: “That’s an old Willie Dixon song that I covered when I was in the band.”
Joe always says ZZ Top loved that song. ZZ Top are Joe’s idols.
We an old Cadillac, or we an old Harley…
“And I don’t gut no diamond, and don’t have no gold
But I’ve got a lot of lovin’ to satisfy your soul
I’m built for comfort, I ain’t built for speed
But I got everything all the good girls need”
Looking at small moon paintings that might work for the Maccarone show.
Late dinner (steak for me) with Peter and Magic and Moonlight. I listen to “Flesh and Blood” before I go to bed. And then to “Danny Boy” by Johnny Cash because it makes me think of my mother. It makes me cry almost every time to hear it but I want to hear it anyway no matter. I had my cousin sing the song at my mother’s graveside funeral 10 years ago. I’m sure she loved it.