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I still haven’t been able to respond as quickly or as well to comments as I would like (it’s one of my 2017 resolutions, but I clearly need to keep working on it!).  To make up for this a little bit, I am going to use today’s whole post to respond to a query.  Long-time Ferrebeekeeper reader and commenter, Beatrix, asked a great question in response to my post about New Year resolutions. She asked ‘How do you promote your blog?”

Now the literal answer to this is: um…I don’t.  I don’t really promote my art either.  It has always seemed to me that you can be good at doing things, or you can be good at promoting yourself.  The divergence between the two explains so much about our world of shiny empty celebrity and poor outcomes.  Yet, if the self-promoters can fill up the world with their hate rallies, rap videos, and stupid naked selfies, we artists and writers can at least make a little more time to promote ourselves and each other.  Andy Warhol’s acolytes can’t have everything, dammit (even if they have ascended to the nation’s highest office).

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As classically construed, self-promotion involves pushy behavior and obtrusive stunts, but there are things that regular people can do too.  I am going to rebuild my online art gallery, sell more inexpensive prints and artworks, and “cross promote” across platforms. I am also going to rephrase Beatrix’s question and crowd-source it to all of you: what do YOU think works best for promoting content in our world where everyone is always trying to get people to look at their youtube channel (or using cheap stunts like caps and bold letters to catch attention)?

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(Or just portrait photos)

Most importantly though, I am also going to promote Beatrix’s blog “Keep Calm and Curry On” This delightful site features amazing anecdotes and tales of daily life in rural Nepal and life beneath the eves of “the roof of the world”.  Beatrix talks of her multicultural marriage which combines the world’s two largest democracies under one nuptial roof.  She also gives us a treasure trove of essays on gardens and herblore which literally bring you the flavor of South Asia.

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But all of that is merely garnish: the true main course of her blog is a magnificent list of curry recipes. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but you can tell they will be delicious just by the ingredients.  As a winter treat I promise to cook one of your curries, Beatrix, and I will blog the results here.  However first I need to get a chance to walk to the other side of Ditmas Park (or maybe even head over to Kalustyan’s).   These recipes are obviously delicious, but they don’t make any concessions to the American household which has maybe a jar of Madras curry powder or some cumin.   It might take me a little while to get some cassia leaves and ghee (and to dig the cardamom pods and turmeric of of the back of the cabinet), but I know it will be worth it.

So check out Beatrix’s site, and head over to Instagram and look at my “Flounderful” collection.  Even more great content is on the way, and, above all, let everyone know what you think with a comment!  Readers are the best people in the world.  I love you all. so let us hear directly from YOU!

…plus here’s a saucy celebrity gif.

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Hey! How did that get here?

Candace Profile (Jacob Collins, 2004, oil on canvas)

As part of my continuing effort to write and think more about good contemporary art, here are two paintings from one of the masters of contemporary realism, Jacob Collins.  Like me, Collins studied at the Art Students’ League of New York and, also like me, he has a BA degree in history rather than fine art (although his degree is from Columbia).  I feel his unusual academic background is apparent in his works which, despite portraying the same subjects which are always the focus of realistic paintings, have an extremely thoughtful and somber quality.  The quiet pensiveness of the nude Christian model at the top suggests a deeper truth about the meaning and brevity of life than the average studio nude.  The jagged tumult of red and green brushstrokes below is revealed to be a perfect realist still life of freshly dug beets.  Swift precise strokes of complementary color swirl together to suddenly become a mundane item.  Through the magic of Collins’ brush, making borscht becomes an experience of beauty.  One is reminded of Chardin, about whom Proust wrote “Until I saw Chardin’s painting, I never realized how much beauty lay around me in my parents’ house, in the half-cleared table, in the corner of a tablecloth left awry, in the knife beside the empty oyster shell.”

Collins was born in 1964 in New York City.  It seems he quickly learned the city’s lessons of social networking and constant hard work because he has a remarkable artistic resume (which can be found at his website along with  galleries of his lovely still lifes, landscapes, and portraits) and he is married to a very successful writer.  Perhaps I should learn not just from his bravura impasto but from his obvious diligence and organization.  It’s time to get back to painting and putting up my own art website!

Beets (Jacob Collins, 2009, oil on canvas)

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