THE ARTFUL MIND THE SOURCE FOR PROMOTING ART SINCE 1994
MICHAEL ROUSSEAU Berkshire County, MA
Photographs by Lee Everett
“Coney Island”, Oil, 30 x 30”
ICONIC IMAGERY March 4 — March 27, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 5, 3-6pm
510 WARREN STREET, HUDSON, NEW YORK FRIDAY & SATURDAY 12 - 6, SUNDAY 12 - 5 518. 822. 0510 510WARRENSTREETGALLERY.COM
The Kingdom, Oil on Canvas, 30x40
Lauren Clark Fine Art
25 Railroad St. Great Barrington
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Art is a timeless giftâ&#x20AC;?
email@example.com 413-528-1253 www.stephenfilmus.com
ARTFUL CALENDAR FEBRUARY 2016
St. FranCIS Gallery rte. 102, south lee (just 2 miles east from the Red Lion Inn) Friday thru Monday 10-5pm. reopening in spring 2016!
510 Warren Street Gallery 510 Warren street, huDson, ny • 518-822-0510 hanna Mandel, Mary carol rudin:February 5 - 28, opening reception feb 6, 3-6pm. Friday & saturday, 12 - 6, sunday 12 - 5 or by app firstname.lastname@example.org / 510warrenstreetgallery.com
the Clark art InStItute 225 south st, WilliaMstoWn, Ma • 413-458-2303 an eye for excellence/ twenty years of collecting, clark’s permanent collection, thru april 10, 2016
Clark art InStItute 225 south street WilliaMstoWn Ma 413.458.2303 / www.clarkart.edu an eye for excellence, thru apr 10, 2016
DenISe B ChanDler Fine art PhotograPhy & Photo art 413-637-2344 or 413-281-8461 (leave message) *lenox home studio & gallery appointments available. February 2016 *the good Purpose art gallery, lee, Ma…Mid-Winter night’s Dream. opening Feb 12 5:30 - 7:30pm *exhibiting and represented by sohn Fine art, lenox, Ma *exhibiting as an artist member/owner at the 510 Warren street gallery in hudson, ny DIa art 3 beekMan st, beacon, ny • 854-440-0100 / diaart.org robert irwin: excursus: homage to the square. thru May 31, 2017
FrOnt Street Gallery 129 Front st, housatonic, Ma • 413-274-6607 housatonic gallery for students and artists, featuring watercolor and oil paintings by artist kate knapp
GOOD PurPOSe Gallery 40 Main street, lee, Ma • 413-394-5045 upcoming collaboration with community access to the arts (cata). the show is titled selected Works by cata artists, 30 x 40 x 8 and opens on January 12 and runs through February 16. Midwinter night’s Dream, reception Feb 12, 5:30-7:30pm. thru March 22, 2016 (9am - 4pm every day)
JOhn DaVIS Gallery 362 1/2 Warren st, huDson, ny • 518-828-5907 email@example.com February 6, solo exhibition of paintings by Joel longenecker. the work will be on display through Feb 28. reception for the artist on the 6, 6-8pm
lauren Clark FIne art 25 railrD. st, gt. barrington, Ma • 413-528-0432 lauren@laurenclarkFineart.com www.laurenclarkFineart.com www.windowworldart.com annual valentine’s Jewelry trunk show, Magdalena teigen story of Pola oslo Designs. Fri, Feb 12, 5-8pm, sat, Feb 13, 1-7pm, sun Feb 14, 11-3pm. also, Fine art and framing.
MarGuerIte BrIDe hoMe stuDio at 46 glory Drive, PittsFielD, Ma 413-841-1659 or 413-442-7718 Margebride-Paintings.com Fb: Marguerite bride Watercolors original watercolors, specializing in custom house and building portraits. lessons in Watercolor technique. gift certificates. now on exhibit: Winter scenes at Mary’s carrot cake shop, union st., Pittsfield. 2 • FeBruary 2016 the artFul MInD
Vault Gallery 322 Main st, gt. barrington, Ma • 413-644-0221 Marilyn kalish at work and process on view, beautiful gallery with a wonderful collection of paintings
DeB kOFFMan’S artSPaCe 137 Front st, housatonic, Ma • 413-274-1201 sat: 10:30-12:45 class meets. no experience in drawing necessary, just a willingness to look deeply and watch your mind. this class is conducted in silence. adult class. $10, please call to register. Joseph Maresca Coming to America - The Immigrants, 201570" X 64"
Winter exhibit: Paintings by bruce sargeant, JosePh Maresca, harry orlyk, DaviD DeW bruner anD lionel gilbert recePtion: sunDay, Feb. 28th 2-4PM Feb 17 - aPr 3, 2016 carrie haDDaD, 622 Warren st., huDson, ny 518-828-1915 MaSSMoCa 1040 Mass Moca Way, north aDaMs, Ma • 413-664-4481 clifford ross: landscape seen & imagined, thru april 17, 2016. liz Deschenes: gallery 4.1.1. thru april 24, 2016. artists' choice: an expanded Field of Photography, thru april 24, 2016. nOrMan rOCkWell MuSeuM 9 Ma-183 stockbriDge Ma • 413-298-4100 / www.nrm.org Masters of the golden age, thru March 13, 2016
SaMuel DOrSky MuSeuM OF art state univ. oF neW york, neW Paltz • 845-257-3844 among the exciting exhibitions planned for 2016 are: Made for you: new Directions in contemporary Design, investigating the ways in which contemporary design objects are customized for the individual whether handmade or through 3D printing technology. hours: Wednesday-sunday: 11 am - 5 pm SChantz GallerIeS 3 elM st, stockbriDge, Ma • 413-298-3044 schantzgalleries.com a destination for those seeking premier artists working in glass
SOhn FIne art 69 church st, lenox, Ma in collaboration with hotel on north & cultural Pittsfield's 10 x 10 upstreet arts Festival. on view at sohn Fine art gallery: thru March 21, 2016: reception, sat Feb 20, 4-7pm. on view at hotel on north l February 2 - March 2, 2016. 1st Friday artwalk, Feb 5, 5-8pm, reception Fri Feb 12, 5-7pm
THEATRE & ENTERTAINMENT
COlOnIal theatre 111 south st, PittsFielD, Ma • 413-997-4444 www.berkshiretheatregroup.org the production form theater treibwerk: Moby Dick, Feb 17, 2pm. Facing our truth, sat, Feb 6, 7:30pm . Marc cohn, thurs. Feb 25, 8pm. singer, songwriter and Pianist; through the looking glass: Musings from Pens of berkshire Women Writers, the unicorn theatre, sunday, apr 17, 3pm
helSInkI CaFe 405 coluMbia st, huDson, ny • 518-828-4800 firstname.lastname@example.org Jackie greene thurs Feb 18, 8pm. sarah borges Full band, “good and Dirty”, cd release Fri Feb 26, pm. Dar Williams, Feb 27, 9pm
the Ghent PlayhOuSe 6 toWn hall Pl, ghent ny 518-392-6264 / www.ghentplayhouse.org the Weir, Jan 22 - Feb 7, 2016 spellbinding stories of ghost lore, irish gentle Folk and haunted house over a fairy road to valerie, ireland. boeing, boeing: March 18-20, 25-26 and april 1-3, 2016
Warner theatre 68 Main st, torrington, ct • 860-489-7180 www.warnertheatre.org gordon lightfoot. Yes! Gordon Lightfoot! april 14, 8pm senD in your listings by the 5th oF
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the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 3
the artFul MInD artzIne FeBruary 2016
Happy Anniversary Artful Mind! You are 23 years old!
Lindy Smith Photographer and Printmaker page 8 It’s Artfulmind Cooking at elixir with Nancy Lee Page 18 Michael Rousseau Photography: Lee Everett page 20
Planet Waves astrology February Eric Francis page 28
Clinton Smith Glass Artist page 30
FICtIOn: Please God not Van Gogh Part II Richard Britell page 35
Contributing Writers and Monthly Columnists Eunice Agar, Richard Britell, Eric Francis, Amy Tanner Photographers Edward Acker, Lee Everett, Jane Feldman Sabine von Falken, Alison Wedd Publisher Harryet Candee
Editorial proofreading Kris Galli Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Candee
Mailing address: Box 985, Great Barrington, Ma 01230
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FYI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. Disclaimer rights available upon request. Serving the Art community with the intention of enhancing communication and sharing positive creativity in all aspects of our lives. We at The Artful Mind are not responsible for any copyrights of the artists, we only interview them about the art they create.
4 • FeBruary 2016 the artFul MInD
the MuSIC StOre
the benefits of shopping locally are many. and as more and more small, independent stores close we remain mindful of how fortunate we are for our many loyal and hugely supportive customers. We are able to continue our support for many of our local schools’ art programs and performance groups. We are able to showcase some of the fine work that independent instrument makers and luthiers are creating one at a time right here in berkshire county including - brier road’s guitars’ gorgeous oM acoustic guitar made entirely from fine tonewoods sourced here in berkshire county, - undermountain ukuleles’ lovely a/e Flame Maple soprano, a big voice in a small, appealing package - our own Dr. easy’s Drunk bay cigar box guitars, simply the most amazing bang for a box ever heard and featuring six brand new boxes so far for 2016, - the lovely stockbridge made serenity bamboo Flutes and Walking stick/cane flutes and - Whitmer acoustic guitars, lovingly made one at a time from fine tone woods. the Music store has, for fifteen years enjoyed helping the community, near and far to make music. and this has been a rewarding enterprise for us. We look forward to continuing this mission into the second half of our second decade. and, as always, we offer wonderful musical instruments and accessories at competitive pricing. but
there are just some things that we like to share with you, including support for our newest music makers, and great deals, raffles and new and used instruments for everyone. come and join the fun . . . We welcome the lovingly berkshire county individually (not factory) made brier road guitars Whitmer guitars, and undermountain ukuleles. Play and own an absolute original. composite acoustic guitars (the forever guitar!) and their peerless travel guitar, the cargo, a favorite of our own Dr. easy, David reed, made of carbon graphite and impervious to most changes of temperature and humidity. you can see it often in his hands in performance locally and abroad. guild guitars - light, powerful, affordable, beautiful! terriFic ukuleles! 60+ DiFFerent models: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone, acoustic and acoustic/electric, six string, resonator, the Maccaferri-like Makala Waterman uke (made all of plastic for easy portability almost anywhere!) the remarkable u-bass, and the new solid body uke bass by the Magic Fluke co.! you might even hear Dr. easy play a banuke made in the 1920s! how about a cordoba cuatro? or guitarlele? experience the haunting sound of high spirits native american Flutes! how about a West african Djembe with a sMashing carry bag? or a beautiful set of african Djun Djuns? try a ‘closeout’ guitar to suit almost any budget (the Pro series at DeeP unpublished discounts) alvarez guitars - great tone and great value breedlove - beautiful, american, sustainable. and so many more brands and types, including luthier handmade instruments from $150-$5000 . . . . ever heard of Dr. easy’s Drunk bay cigar boxes? acoustic/electric cigar box guitars, exquisitely made, which bring the past into the present with a delightful punch, acoustically anD plugged in! you can even hear them in concert if you catch Dr. easy’s act in local venues! harmonicas, in (almost) every key (try a suzuki hammond ‘Mouth organ’). Picks (exotic, too!), strings (!!), sticks and reeds violins, Mandolins, Dulcimers, banjos, and banjo ukes! handmade and international percussion instruments! Dreamy locally made bamboo and wooden flutes and walking stick flutes! and the new berkshire county rowe stick Dulcimers, easy to play and adore, the sales of which benefit veteran’s homes and outreach programs. and there is more to delight the eyes, intrigue the ears and bring warm joy to the heart. We remain your neighborhood music store, where advice and help are free and music is the universal language. Working with local luthiers and repairmen we offer stringed and band instrument repair. and we just may have something you haven’t seen before (have you heard the electric cigar box guitars?). We match (or beat) many on-line prices for the merchandise that we sell, and do so in person, for the most part cheerfully (though we reserve the right to glower a little when asked if we can ‘do better’ on the price of a pick!). come and see us soon and help us celebrate the early months of 2016! your patronage helps the community and makes it a more tuneful, healthy and happy place! cheers! The Music Store, 87 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, is open Wednesdays through Saturdays and by appointment. Call us at 413-528-2460, visit us on line at www.themusicstoreplus.com, on Facebook as The Music Store Plus, or shop our online Reverb store at https://reverb.com/shop/theMusicstorePlus.
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~ Plato
BerkShIre FeStIVal OF WOMen WrIterS March scheDule
the sixth annual berkshire Festival of Women Writers announces its March schedule, offering 33 events from March 12 – 20. this year’s Festival features nine full days of events, many free, with nationally renowned and local women writers presenting workshops, discussions, readings, performances, and talks. “this year we are offering a cohesive, conference-style experience where people can come to spend a few days or more in the berkshires, partaking in the Festival and other winter activities,” says Founding Director Jennifer browdy. the opening weekend will take place at eastover retreat center in lenox on March 12 & 13; the Festival will close at hotel on north in Pittsfield March 19 & 20. each weekend will offer half and full day event options, including several workshops, readings, performances, and meals. Weekday events will take place at various locations throughout the county. the berkshire Festival of Women Writers has become a popular highlight of March, Women’s history Month, attracting high-profile women writers and participants from around the country. among this year’s featured presenters are the young adult mother-daughter team Jane yolen and heidi stemple, as well as the celebrated food writer and restaurant critic, ruth reichl, who will give a brunch talk on March 19 at hotel on north. acclaimed authors cheryl clarke and breena clarke (sister founders of the hobart book village Festival of Women Writers), memoirist Mary Johnson (founder of the a room of one’s own Foundation for women writers) and esther cohen (founder of the unseen america Project) will present together in two sessions, “an unquenchable thirst for Writing” and “Women Writers: building sisterhood,” both on March 12 at eastover. Writer, activist, and founding editor of Ms. Magazine letty cottin Pogrebin, and award-winning afro-latina author veronica chambers will be interviewed by anastasia stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine, on March 19 at hotel on north. on the same day, author sonia Pilcer hosts her popular “Women Writers of a certain age” reading, featuring award-winning authors helen epstein, barbara slate, and karen schoemer. young women are well represented in this year’s Festival, including a reading by Monument Mountain high school girls and a writing and spoken word workshop, “ophelia rising,” by accomplished poet grace rossman, both on March 18. March 20 will open with a brunch talk at hotel on north by journalist sheila Weller, author of the bestselling biographies Girls Like Us (on carole king, Joni Mitchell and carly simon) and The News Sorority (on christiane amanpour, katie couric and Diane sawyer); it will close with local author and performer alison larkin offering a “Festive british tea Party with the english american.” berkshirewomenwriters.org - visit website for complete schedule of events and registration information.
rOBert FOrte robert Forte, cyclone, 36 x 48”, oil
JennIFer PazIenza JenniFer Pazienza, PhotograPh, becket WooDs
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, has traveled with me since it took up residence in the psychic landscape of my urban new Jersey childhood. today i write from the becket woods, the antithesis of the expansive landscape that surrounds our canadian keswick ridge new brunswick home and my studio. in becket my husband gerry, our sweet dog Mela and i can sequester ourselves within the heart of the berkshire Mountains for a winter’s rest and reflection. how blessed are we? our days begin with a walk, coffee and reading by the fire. Just before coming down, a dear friend gave me alexander Mccall smith’s What W. H. Auden Can Do For You, an account of his life-long relationship with auden’s poetry. Perhaps like you, my most memorable experience of auden is his Stop All the Clocks made popular by Four Weddings and a Funeral. best known for his Number 1 Ladies’ Detective novels, my love of Mccall smith and my entre into auden began with his character isabel Dalhousie in the series, the Sunday Philosopher’s Club. to the question, what has auden done for me? Mccall smith affirms for me, that the once politically engaged young poet, in later years would see that it is landscape, history and love that give structure to his best work. i find this affirming as i sit within the becket woods contemplating my painting practice and return to the studio in February and i remember that, The woods are lovely, dark and deep… But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
510 Warren street gallery
robert Forte’s first featured show at 510 Warren street gallery will explore iconic imagery from his past. “Just as Marcel Proust’s complex ‘remembrance of things past’ could be invoked by the simplest sensory sensation created by a madeleine eaten years before, so i have endeavored to express my personal icons through art. returning to my roots is particularly relevant for me because my love of art began with an early obsession with drawing.” “iconic imagery” will be on exhibit from March 4 to 27, with an opening reception on saturday, March 5, 3-6 p.m. after attending the high school of Music and art in new york city, however, Forte took a different road, through college (columbia) and law school (harvard), until retirement from the practice of law in 2001. Following intensive study with such eminent artists as cornelia Foss, Minerva Durham and Philip Pearlstein, he embarked on my new career. “the imagery that i have conjured from my past is depicted through bold color to recreate mood, simplified and powerful forms, rather than a focus on detail, are used to convey the essence of the remembered images. seen primarily through oils, but also acrylics, the paintings hopefully resonate with such experiences as the weirdness and exhilaration of a day or night at coney island, the aroma (alike a madeleine) of freshly baked apple pie, or the illusive strains of distant music.” in addition to Forte’s upcoming featured show he exhibits regularly at 510 Warren street gallery. he has also exhibited in new york, great barrington and housatonic, and has been a regular contributor to the summer shows at the new Marlborough Meeting house. Forte’s works are held in many private collections throughout the country. to see more of his work, visit his website at www. robertforte.com. 510 Warren Street Gallery, 510 Warren Street, Hudson, New York; www.510warrenstreetgallery.com Call for gallery hours: 518-822-051
Jennifer Pazienza’s work is held in public, private and corporate collections in the US, Canada and Italy. Her work is represented by St. Have a great hair day! Francis Gallery in Lee, Mass., Art + Concepts Samantha Candee Gallery in Fredericton, NB and The Jonathan Banis now accepting appointments croft-Snell Gallery in LonGive our new talented stylist the boost don, Ontario Canada. of confidence she deserves. It gives her the experience she Jennifer Pazienza - jenneeds to succeed and provide a great discount niferpazienza.com, jenrate for the community. firstname.lastname@example.org To receive 15% off of your service by showing this ad.
413. 528. 9999 Great Barrington, MA
the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 5
DenISe B ChanDler PurPle©Denise b chanDler 2014
liMiteD eDition PhotograPhy & Photo art
Denise b chandler is a fine art photographer and photo artist who is a lifelong lenox resident where she maintains her studio and private gallery. the majority of chandler’s work is contemporary and concentrates on the details of a subject frequently embracing bold colors, geometric shapes and patterns. this February, chandler departs from her usual artistic style that has become her signature and brings us not only a new collection of work being exhibited but with a very different feel. chandler will participate in the good Purpose gallery’s next exhibit, an invitational group show…” Mid-Winter night’s Dream.” gone are the bold colors, geometric shapes and patterns, and parts of the whole of a subject. instead, she brings, to exhibit, images that are wide open landscapes, photographed in very low light. heavy fog, dreary rainy cold winter days all with their muted tones create a dreamlike mood. chandler’s new work is reminiscent of the american 19th century hudson river school whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. Particularly beautiful are chandler’s housatonic river # 1 and # 2 landscapes and stairs…and, just as with the painters of the hudson river school who depicted the american landscape as a pastoral setting where human beings and nature coexist peacefully so does chandler with her riverbeds and ocean beach. all images exhibited by Ms. chandler are printed with archival pigment inks and on the finest fine art papers. each image is museum quality framed with 8-ply white 100% cotton mat board and uv blocking acrylic. the show runs from February 12th through March 22nd. the opening reception will be February 12th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM and will include complimentary drinks and live entertainment. as well as exhibiting at the good Purpose gallery for the month of February in their invitational group show, chandler exhibits monthly at the 510 Warren st gallery, in hudson, new york where she is an artist gallery member/owner. Denise B Chandler is represented by the Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts (her primary gallery)where a large amount of work is available. Studio & Home Gallery visits are by appointment only at 415 New Lenox Rd. - Lenox, MA 01240 Please call 413-637-2344 or 413-281-8461 and leave a message and your call will be returned. Website: denisebchandler.com e-mail: email@example.com
6• FeBruary 2016 the artFul MInD
ValentIne’S Day at elIXIr
romance is a delightful valentine’s theme, but my view of valentine’s Day takes a bit of an off road adventure down a path into the forest of the unconventional. i think of several other types of love to be celebrated. i adored valentine’s Day as a child and enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm while raising my 3 children, and now with my granddaughters. cut out handmade paper hearts with doilies and magazine flowers, sugar cookies with icing, and hot chocolate on a snowy February day is a very pleasing way to celebrate. i will be serving those items at elixir and have materials for people to make their own valentines on that weekend. another love that is outside of the romantic is self-love. Many are not in relationships and should be encouraged to celebrate this holiday of “love” by treating themselves to a delicious nurturing meal. For those solitary diners i suggest a rich and absolutely satisfying, self-nurturing vegetarian enchilada with mole sauce followed by raw vegan dark cacao lavender fudge and a rose elixir. Friendship is a wonderful love that carries us through our lives during all of the ups and downs. that should clearly be celebrated on valentine’s Day. Why not meet a friend or two for afternoon tea at elixir and order a variety of small plates: cheese board with dates and walnuts, hummus and stuffed grape leaves, warm broiled tempeh drizzled with Dijon vinaigrette. several desserts could follow…chocolate layer cake, vegan chocolate mousse, and for those who may not like chocolate (there are a few!) there is the saffron cake with rose cream. i will be celebrating all of the above and hope to see many people doing the same. elixir’s valentine’s Menu will be posted on our fb page elixir and our website. i will leave you with yet another type of love: deep inner knowing if we listen carefully only speaks of Love
Elixir - 70 Railroad Street Great Barrington (next to the Triplex); Winter hours: Sunday, Monday, Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-10pm, CLOSED Tuesday & Wednesday. 413-644-8999, firstname.lastname@example.org, elixirgb.com, fb page Elixir.
The actor is an athlete of the soul. -- Antonin Artaud approx 1940
lauren Clark FIne art annual valentine’s JeWelry trunk shoW
lauren clark Fine art presents the annual valentine’s Jewelry trunk show with this year’s artist, Magdalena teigen story of Pola oslo Design. Join us at the gallery for a weekend filled with a lavish array of beautiful, unique handcrafted jewelry and spirited refreshments! Friday, February 12 from 5-8pm saturday, February 13 from 1-7pm sunday, February 14 from 11-3pm
of her work and inspiration, Magdalene says, “My european background and extended travels around the world have created fascinating memories. the constantly changing surroundings provoke my memories to surface, creating a visual zone between the present and past. this zone becomes an infinite source for my inspiration. i view jewelry as a very intimate object and feel it has a personal connection with the wearer. through each piece i am telling my personal story. the wearer will expand that story by wearing that object. “all my jewelry is handcrafted by me using sterling silver. its color reminds me of the northern european hues during winters. For additional elegance and beauty i often combine the silver with semi-precious stones that are hand selected for their distinctive features and qualities. the designs range from one of a kind to limited editions. they create style that compliments any look from casual and every day to elegant and classic. i believe the power of elegance lies in its simplicity. i feel rewarded when my work touches someone’s soul. “My passion for jewelry emerged from a need to wear attractive adornments reflecting my personality and fashion style. i could not find many. as a lifelong artist i literally took the matter into my own hands and started to make my own jewelry. today i am proud to offer vivid collections reflecting sophisticated simplicity and desired elegance in a contemporary style.” after receiving her Master in Fine arts degree from san Francisco art institute, the artist spent her early career exhibiting her work in galleries throughout the san Francisco area. With an interest and talent in working with surface and textile designs she is a successful textile designer working for some of the most prestigious companies in the us. lauren clark Fine art offers fine art, contemporary craft, handmade jewelry and custom framing on the premises in the Framing on the edge studio. For more information call or email lauren clark Fine art or visit the website. Lauren Clark Fine Art - 25 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts; 413-528-0432, lauren@laurenclarkFineart.com, www.laurenclarkFineart.com
MIDWInter nIGht’S DreaM susan sabine, luMinous grass
gooD PurPose gallery
the good Purpose gallery presents a remarkable and unexpected photography exhibit, A Midwinter Night’s Dream, featuring several of the area’s most sophisticated photographers, each inviting us into their own midwinter night’s dream. Join us for the festive opening reception on Friday, February 12, from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Meet the artists and hear them explain their processes and dreams. the exhibit runs through March 22, 2016. the natural beauty of winter in the berkshires often lays the groundwork for magical midnight dreams and even delightful glittering daydreams. Photographers such as John clarke, Diane Firtell, John townes, and Michael McManmon use the camera to create stunning and sometimes abstract art. using a variety of mediums such as photo manipulation, mixed media, and collage, they make the world we live in something surreal and dreamlike. our other photographers transport viewers to the splendor of the natural world around us. Photographers karen karlberg and ben Wurmfeld illustrate the serenity of nature in vivid color. rebecca Maaia’s photography demonstrates the transformation of everyday life and everyday people. susan sabino and Denise brazier chandler both delve into beautiful moments with grace and style. More information about the artists and their work can be found on our website, goodpurpose.org. the good Purpose gallery and spectrum Playhouse are professional venues that exist to offer students with learning differences real-life training, experience, and integration with the community. both venues host professional artists and events on a regular basis throughout the year, including student events such as plays, performances, art exhibits, and more. Good Purpose Gallery - 40 Main Street, Lee, Massachusetts. The gallery is open 9am - 3pm Wednesday Monday. For more information on the Gallery, visit our website: goodpurpose.org
FIne lIne MultIMeDIa live PerForMance PhotograPhy anD viDeo
Fine line Multimedia provides single or multi-camera video of music, dance and theater performances. services include: scripting and storyboard art, videography with professional high definition cameras, high quality audio recording, sensitive lighting design and creative editing with the latest non-linear editing system. For the past 45 years Fine line Multimedia has provided audio/video performance production for the boston symphony orchestra at tanglewood, berkshire Performing arts center, national Music Foundation, recording for the blind and Dyslexic, united Way of the berkshires, arlo guthrie, rising son records, bobby sweet, World Moja, Phil Woods, grace kelly, heather Fisch, opera nouveau, ellen sinopoli Dance company and many more. Fine line was established in 1970 by lee everett in lenox, Massachusetts. everett came to the berkshires after studying advertising Design and visual communications at Pratt institute and working for years as an art Director in new york. he taught art in local schools and began a full-service multimedia studio in lenox specializing in the Performing and visual arts and other business and industry. With Photography, graphic Design, advertising, Marketing, audio/video Production, Website, social network creation and administration together under one roof, Fine line can satisfy the artistic communications and promotional needs of a wide range of clients. Please look at some examples from our portfolios of work on our website and use the contact information on the site to get further information, to see more samples, photographs or video reels, for professional and client references or for a free project consultation. Fine Line Multimedia - 66 Church Street, Lenox, MA; www.finelinelenox.com Contact: Lee Everett, 413-637-2020, email@example.com
MarGuerIte BrIDe Watercolors Marguerite briDe, house, W/c
often winter months in the berkshires are the busiest time for artists who are preparing for the next “show season”, which always seems to arrive in a hurry. With plans to exhibit new and exciting material, painters view this creative period with great excitement and anticipation. at least that’s how watercolorist Marguerite bride feels about it. During these “quiet” months, bride also gives watercolor technique lessons in her home in Pittsfield. visit her website for more details about commissioning a painting, purchasing a painting or fine art reproduction, lessons and updated exhibit information; or contact the artist directly. over the years bride has painted many scenes from vacations, special occasions, and favorite settings...all from clients’ own photos. these have included scenes from romantic wedding settings and honeymoon trips, tuscan villas, vistas from fabulous hikes, exciting canoe trips, scenes from family vacations and reunions, “once in a life-time” adventures, and more. commissions are always welcome; a gift of art is suitable for any occasion. Fine art reproductions and note cards of berkshire images and others by the artist are available at the red lion inn gift shop (stockbridge), lenox Print & Mercantile (lenox); and Mary’s carrot cake and gallery (Pittsfield). seasonal scenes are always on display in the public areas of the crowne Plaza in Pittsfield. or visit bride’s studio by appointment. Marguerite Bride – Home Studio at 46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by appointment only. Call 413841-1659 or 413-442-7718; margebride-paintings.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Marguerite bride Watercolors
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linDy sMith PhotograPher anD Print Maker interview by Harryet Candee
Harryet Candee: lindy, I love your photography. I always have, even when you were living in the Berkshires. your work was sensitive, documenting nature, people, antique objects. now that you’ve been living in Iowa, I’d like to catch up with your work. So what were you working on in the Berkshires? and after you moved, what did you focus your lens on, and why? Lindy Smith: thanks so much harryet, for inviting me to do this update. it’s wonderful to be in touch again, after those cover shots and interview photos i did for you in the 90’s. i moved to iowa in 2010 after having lived in the berkshires since 1978. My artistic focus since 2000 has been life-size botanical images of wild plants, made under sunlight, in the historic photo processes tradition. i had been working in different ecosystems around the country doing this work. in 2008 and 2009 the director of the neal smith national Wildlife refuge,
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linDy sMith, cuP Plant DiPtych, cyanotyPe, illinois 30 x 44
near Prairie city, iowa, gave me permission to collect and print native plants out on that prairie, as well as giving me a wonderful lab to work in for two summers. i had also started revisiting work i had done through the 90’s, in particular images of western life, a project that became a book in 2000. it’s called straight West: Portraits and scenes from american ranch life. so my art and photographic interests were already in place when i moved here. Do you feel, after time and after things that have taken place in your life, that you were able to pick up where you left off? Lindy: no. i was in a very bad place, emotionally and physically, when i moved here. i wasn’t able to make art at all. i didn’t even set up a workspace or darkroom. it was a very long and very scary dry spell. but in the summer of 2014 i was given an arts residency at the brenton arboretum, near Des Moines. i began the
residency making kallitypes and cyanotypes of prairie plants and tree leaves, working as i had been in the past. but when i had the opportunity to do a project i’d long been interested in, making kimonos from photographic images, i found myself pushing harder and going further away from where i had been. i felt so grateful to be strong enough to be working hard again and to have a gorgeous and peaceful place in which to do the work. how does the subject matter you shoot reflect on the environment where you now live? Lindy: the only thing i’ve been shooting with is my iphone! i’ve been having a lot of fun with that. it’s easy, no pressure to make a shot perfect, and instant gratification. i still have my hasselblad cameras and have thought a lot recently of going back to film. although it’s a photo process, the botanical work is contact printed so there is no camera involved. the plant
linDy sMith cyanotyPe kiMono MaDe FroM native Plants PrinteD on 6' sheets oF sensitizeD Washi PaPer
serves as the negative. i haven’t actually used a film camera in about ten years and i’m suddenly missing it. My botanical work is inherently environmental. i use materials i am surrounded by, those materials of course being plants. My eyes were opened on the little farm in upstate new york i owned with my ex-husband. i realized the curious plants that were so interesting weren’t weeds at all, and i started doing printing experiments with them. california, Wyoming, arizona, illinois, iowa, Massachusetts and other places i’ve printed each have their own unique plants, although there are the usual suspects - invasive, often - as well. Printing prairie plants here is vastly different from printing woodland and meadow plants in the berkshires. Prairie plants are often very tall or bushy, and stiff with thick woody stems, which help them survive in the heat and wind. i miss the lovely woodland plants of the farm where i lived and worked in columbia county, but also love the drama and scale of the plants here. i did print a couple of years ago at my friend’s family farm in southfield. it was wonderful to be back at work in the berkshires.
how have your skills changed? your materials? any major changes to your overall purpose and thinking? Lindy: i have to say that i still struggle with technical aspects of my work, or should i say i struggle with my attitude about technical aspects of my work. there are many variables in my processes, among which are temperature, humidity, light, state of the plant, the paper, the chemicals. getting all of that in alignment is very complicated, and i have a high failure rate, still. to this
day i really can’t predict what a print will look like, and don’t want to. the excitement of those unknowns keeps me going. i don’t want to be too scientific about it. i’m trying to be more receptive and forgiving of “mistakes” and stay open to the beauty of what in the past i may have considered a failure. i was originally printing in platinum, another historic process, doing the western work and a series of berkshire artist portraits. there are pretty specific ideas about what constitutes a good platinum print, and mine usually didn’t look like that! i think i transferred that insecurity about the aesthetic ideal to the botanical images, and i’ve been trying to undo that mindset all along. an artist friend said to me at one point, “stop thinking like a photographer. think like an artist.” i happen to be one of those people who believe that fine art photography truly is art, and documentary work can be, but i knew what she meant. splatters, light leaks and uneven texture are not ordinarily a photographer’s friends, but they can really add to the beauty of the botanical images. rather than despairing, i try to look at the unpredictable as gifts and be grateful. also, i try to let the plant speak for itself, instead of contorting it into some composition not suited to it. it’s almost like... if i’m tense the plant is tense too. annie laMott said something to the effect that perfection kills passion. i’m not looking for perfection any longer. the work, both the western and the botanicals, is very physically demanding. For the western work i would be climbing over fences, under barbed wire, always on uneven terrain and sometimes on horseback or on a mule with heavy cameras strapped over me. on the ground i would be trying to stay out of the way of
calves and sheep and people on horses. For the botanicals i would go out into the wild, wherever that was, tramping around, landing in hidden holes (one of my most exciting plant finds happened when i rolled into a six-foot-deep ditch), collecting plants while fighting off insects, hauling them back. then the process of sandwiching them between heavy sheets of 2x3 glass and moving them in and out of available light. after the move in 2010 i didn’t think i would be doing any new work. i was worn down, in every way. so about a year ago i started having digital negatives and giclees made of existing work as an alternative to continuing the push for new work. i’ve been very happy with the results. My friends at chicago albumen Work in housatonic have done gorgeous giclees from some of the western negatives, and they look the way platinum prints are “supposed to.” My wild plant collecting has become less random and adventurous, but i feel more confident that there will be new botanicals in addition to the giclees of western work being printed by caW. i have had to alter the way i collect and print and the volume is much reduced. i’ve been establishing a native plant garden at my own small place here in town with the idea in mind that when i can no longer go out in the wild to collect, many of my beloved plants will be in my backyard. We miss you, and you miss the Berkshires and all of its special qualities. I am so glad you’re still shooting and enjoying the life of a photographer! What is life like in Iowa for you? CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE...
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linDy sMith, boneset kallityPe DiPtych 16x40 neW york 2008
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Lindy: Where do i begin? as i said, i was in a very bad place when i came here. My mother had recently died of undiagnosed ovarian cancer. i had been going through a traumatic divorce and had tough health issues to face as well. My ex-husband wanted our farm and i couldn’t afford to buy him out anyway, so i started looking around the country for a place to be. i realized i needed to come back here to be near my father, who was suffering as much as i was; i thought maybe helping him would help me, too. i had always had a terrible fear of going back to iowa. it felt like i would be failing, after nearly forty years on the east coast. i had left iowa at nineteen to study in europe, then continued school in vermont, and lived there, in the berkshires and finally just over the line in columbia county during those years. i had a large group of artist friends and acquaintances, both in the berkshires and new york. going back, especially to a place as nearly universally misunderstood and unknown (even by me, or maybe especially by me) as iowa, felt like i was being dropped into a black hole. but i started over. i left my home, which was my place of work, the source of my inspiration and income; my animals - horses, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigs, bees... my business connections... i’m here to tell you that it’s true: when you have a break-up and are a woman on your own, dealers and collectors forget about you. they wanted the whole package - the well-known spouse, the big life - it makes the work more glam-
orous. it was a big adjustment. life suddenly became much, much smaller.
Is it very different in Iowa than here in the Berkshires? how so, or how not so? Lindy: yes. at the risk of generalizing.... my experience of the berkshires was that one is surrounded by culture. you just absorb it by osmosis. Friends come from other places or, if born in the berkshires, leave and come back, drawn to the beauty and richness of life there. they understand what it is like to be an outsider. People are interested in each other and what someone has experienced. When i was back for a visit a year ago, i had wonderful conversations and visits with friends. it was all art, all the time. i left feeling full and validated. Plus, my ancestors who came from boston in the early 1700’s are buried in becket, and i felt that connection strongly. i guess i always felt it was my job in the family to maintain the ties between the berkshires and the Midwest. the large majority of iowa residents are originally from here. they don’t know what it’s like to be an outsider; this has always been their home. they are friendly, but as with most places, making new friends is challenging. i think the independent farming tradition lives on; folks look after their own and assume everyone else is doing fine. i came without a husband, children or a job, and had no church affiliation - all things that make it easier to become part of a community. so it was hard.
linDy sMith, sheeP convention october 1996 WyoMing PlatinuM PrintFroM My book straight West: Portraits anD scenes FroM aMerican ranch liFe
i live in Des Moines, which isn’t what i would consider the real iowa. there are recent articles in Bloomberg and The Atlantic about Des Moines being the new Mecca for millennials. lots of good restaurants and bars, music, big employment opportunities for techies and other y.P.’s (they even get their own page in the newspaper), affordable housing, biking trails and water trails, politics and the attention that brings. there is also a wonderful botanical garden run by - you guessed it - millennials, and an impressive art center. Most would agree that support of the iowa visual arts needs work. the greater metro population is now near 500,000, but there are really only about five galleries. studio space is hard to find, but there is the prospect of a 200+ artist studio building conversion happening downtown. People are definitely trying, and the iowa arts council has the refreshing attitude of actually getting the grants out to area artists by developing relationships with them and giving workshops on applying for those grants. (they even answer their phones.) Many of the smaller towns and the rural areas that make up the majority of iowa are struggling, and have been for decades. young people leave and don’t return, and corporate agriculture has gobbled up hundreds of small farms that supported families. health care and grocery stores can be hard to get to; bus service died out years ago. a few towns have gone so far as to offer free land to build and live on in those struggling areas, like the land grants of the 1860’s. some counties now have literally dozens of hog confinement systems, and puppy mills are hiding in barns across the state. air and water pol-
lution are enormous problems and people have had no legal recourse. big ag rules all. iowa is struggling with a pipeline company trying to come through, just like in the berkshires. it would cross most of the state’s waterways, and then the Mississippi. all of that said, i watch what is happening in the little town where i grew up, and it is very encouraging. there are young people coming in to start interesting businesses and they are getting a tremendous amount of support locally. volunteerism is huge - folks get together to paint the businesses on the courthouse square, and the holidays are a wonderful time of celebrating what they have accomplished. (this is beginning to sound like an ad campaign for “Move to iowa” so enough of all that.) When i lived in the east, i never stopped missing the sky, the light and the oak savannas of the tall bluegrass prairie. now it’s a short drive away. being on the prairie and listening to the wind and birds always gives me hope and returns me to myself. i’ve gotten attached, in spite of myself. lindy, have you been showing your work? If so, where have you been exhibiting? Lindy: in 2014, the art center here had a festival called art Meets Fashion (halston was from here and there was an exhibit of his clothing designs along with his pal Warhol’s work from the permanent collection). i was selected, along with twenty other artists, to do downtown window displays with that theme. so with that in mind, during my art residency at the arboretum i constructed three kimonos from six-foot cyanotypes
of native plants. these were printed on fabric i made from Japanese paper in the traditional manner (the Japanese historically made waterproof clothing out of paper using plant-based powders, and i worked in this way).
Do you have any future plans for showing your work? What aspect of it would you like to introduce to the public eye at this point? you did mention portraiture as something you were interested in bringing back. Lindy: coming up in June there will be an exhibit of my western work at Moberg gallery in Des Moines. none of it has been exhibited in almost twenty years and some never - so i am looking forward to that. the prints selected will be quite large and will be pretty dramatic. i really pulled back from any exposure for quite awhile, including pulling out of the Manhattan gallery that had represented me for eight years. talk about burning bridges! i really thought art was over for me. some friends convinced me to join Facebook two years ago, and for fun a few months ago i started inching my way out there into the void by doing weekly posts of a western image and a botanical. it’s a small but devoted group of people that enjoy the posts and comment on them. i like the feedback; plus it’s been very gratifying and interesting to be in touch again with people i hadn’t heard about in a long time, particularly in the berkshires, and friends i made in the west through working on the book. Praise Facebook. continueD on next Page... the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 11
right now i’m working with a friend in colorado to get a website up and running. several other things have been in my mind for quite some time. one would be to buy back the rights to the book. it was very badly printed and i would like a chance to reprint it with some artistic control and have it done right. secondly, i have a lot of negatives of berkshire artists and other creatives, shot in the 90’s. i would like to have an exhibit in the berkshires of some of those images. i would also like to teach. having been invited to speak at a number of college photography classes, i’ve been struck by the fact that nearly all the students have never seen handdone work. their experience is only digital, and they are fascinated by historic processes and the hands-on aspect of them. another thing on my to-do list is about 50 rolls of film sitting in a lead case. i would like to find an institution to take the western negatives when i’m gone, as well as those from the berkshire series. there is good material there for future historians.
What processes and ways are you executing your work that require you to go either in a classical style, or an experimental style? Lindy: the botanicals were very experimental in the beginning, then more traditional as insecurity set in. now i’m back in an experimental phase, doing pastel cyanotypes. the documentary work by its nature has always been much more classical.
linDy sMith, curt Pate, Montana 1994, PlatinuM Print
linDy sMith, Mary's Porch Massachusetts 1994 PlatinuM Print
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I love your western cowboy series. Were you trying to capture america the way it was - and the way it is? Lindy: When i was working on the project i wasn’t really thinking about that, either way. it never occurred to me that it could become a book. i had picked up a camera again after a long hiatus and was just taking pictures of a culture that interested me. i was trying to not be an obnoxious outsider, not get in anyone’s way or get thrown off the back of an animal going up a mountain or down a switchback. trying hard to absorb the highly specific and subtle tradition that is the working west, and not embarrass myself too much by my lack of knowledge. if i could do it over again i would insist that there be more images of women. i know so many inspiringly strong and tough women in the west, something that is taken completely for granted there. i would concentrate more on that. i would also use a quieter camera out in the field! the hasselblad has an annoyingly loud shutter and it makes it hard to shoot unnoticed, by man or beast. besides which it’s huge. and heavy. and very temperamental - famous for freezing up in remote locations. it’s a studio camera, after all. What was i thinking?????
Do you work in color and black and white? how would you decide which to use? Lindy: i still prefer black and white for the documentary images. My early heroes were edward Weston, Dorothea lange, Walker evans, Margaret bourke White. no color there. the purity of black and white in a good
print will always give me a thrill. the botanicals do what they’re going to do. the plant chemistry interacts with the chemicals coated on the paper and alchemy does the rest. tones can be anywhere from gold to brown to red to black to almost pink. they are a law unto themselves.
What is your favorite photo that you’ve taken, and why? Lindy: i photographed lucien aigner (Life magazine photographer) for The Artful Mind when he was in his 90’s. i asked him that very question. he was annoyed with me and said, “is that the best question you can ask?” now i get it! it’s an impossible question to answer. the best images become your children and your friends - who can choose? however, i can tell you about the photographs that had the biggest impact on me, early on. the first was edward Weston’s pepper. i could not believe what i was looking at. i was in high school and it sent me into a new universe. another was the image of georgia o’keefe’s hands by her husband alfred stieglitz. tonally it was one of the most beautiful things i had ever seen, something i could never hope to duplicate, although i have tried in platinum. also, a nude in the sand by Weston. again, i could not believe the range of tones and light i was seeing, even in a reproduction. these were my inspirations and what i will never achieve. What are the challenges you face today as a photographer? Lindy: living in the digital age. the pace of life. the lack of depth in conversation. still loving black and white. Physical limitations.
linDy sMith, tWo horses anD tWo Mules
What were some challenges you successfully made it through in your early photography days, and have since mastered? Lindy: light leaks, always! Water problems. temperature issues: the heat in my first darkroom was pre-set at over 80 degrees and everything i did was fogged. not yet mastered: the pressure to conform coming from myself and others. it’s okay to be different but you’re still supposed to fit in (and be able to make a platinum print that looks like one…). altering your course because of the opinions of others. Is there something you always ask yourself just before you press the button? Lindy: is this the right button?
have you gone along with the new technology? In terms of cameras, ways of printing? Lindy: My response to technology for the most part has been to head in reverse, to alternative historical processes. that is what speaks to me.
So lindy, tell us about your childhood and family life in Iowa. Lindy: My parents were teachers. My father taught chemistry and physics and showed me how to develop film in the lab at school. he gave me a little brownie camera when i was seven. i was sick a lot, so drawing sort of took precedence over picture-taking. My mother always made sure i had art materials by the bed. Pastels, colored pencontinueD on next Page...
linDy sMith courtyarD West texas PlatinuM Print
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cils, paper. she liked to sit by the heat registers in the winter and design floor plans of houses. i would draw elevations of those and fill them with highly colored furnishings done in pastels. When i was in high school, she paid for a raku class for me at iowa state university and would drive me the 45 minutes each way to attend. that is when i learned to love all things Japanese (and to be grateful for my mother’s belief in self improvement). i wanted to go to art school but my parents were firm about me getting a liberal arts education and wanting me to get a teaching degree. i started college at the university of northern iowa and was kicked out of my first photography class. a story for another time. i wasn’t happy there at school; most of the girls in my dorm had never been out of iowa so it felt very insular. i saved money and entered a summer program in France, got there and sold my return plane ticket. i worked at a nightclub making crepes and doing dishes to make money to stay on, enrolled in the foreign students program at the university and took ceramics classes at an art center. i would get very annoyed letters from my father saying my vacation was over (my mother at this point had stopped writing, after her final “it’s time to stop playing around and get back to work.”). Meanwhile i had two jobs and a full course load in addition to the ceramics classes. it turned out i was a bad potter, and i was feeling a lot of hostility from French students at the nightclub (this was during vietnam and they didn’t like americans), so after a year i started applying to colleges back in the us. in a telegram, bennington college in vermont offered a hefty scholarship, so off i went.
linDy sMith, Dave anD yoDi, Montana 1998
linDy sMith, sack race WyoMing 1998 straight West: Portraits anD scenes FroM aMerican ranch liFe
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how did you grow and change with your work when you lived in the Berkshires - ways that might not have been possible elsewhere? Lindy: having migrated to the berkshires after living in vermont: i was working in a store on north st. in Pittsfield, back when it was very prosperous. Merchants actually paid to have nice window displays. the woman who had been doing the windows where i worked left and i was offered the chance to do them. it was like being a kid again, building fun stuff, and i was off and running. i knew i needed to know more, though, and when i heard there was an opening at england brothers department store in the display department, i applied and was hired. the head of the department was a hungarian canadian who had lived through the worst the Depression had to offer. he was so frugal that we worker bees had to straighten used nails and hang paper towels to dry for re-use. We made nearly all the props ourselves. i worked full-time there for four years and did freelance windows nights and weekends before going off on my own. there were two or three other people doing interesting windows around the county as well. People were fascinated and appreciative, and for a number of years, display was an important art form in the berkshires. the opportunity to learn display, which was dying out in other places, was a product of that time and place, and i don’t think it would have happened somewhere else. there was also the factor of empty mill space in housatonic, where i lived. i was able to have a whole floor above the lumber mill (there was no heat or elevator and the toilet came much later, so the rent was minimal). i would put in long days making props, then install them at night when the stores were closed. it was hard work and i pushed myself way too far - i know i was seen by some as brittle and a pain in the ass. but when i think back, this is what i see: i had been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that was already causing me problems. i started a business with no capital but my own energy and ideas. i was hauling raw materials up stairs, finished props down stairs, loading, unloading, climbing ladders, crawling around windows among strands of
fishing line like a contortionist. keeping track of the business side as well as the creative, and working nonstop for years. on my own (berkshire painter and friend kris galli - we met at england brothers in the display department - helped install for a couple of years but she was busy with her own work, too), no spousal support, scared i wouldn’t be able to keep going. no wonder i got cranky. looking at it now, i realize i thought of the windows as a gift of sorts that i could give: something fun or beautiful that made someone’s day better. i hope people who were around then remember them and forgive me if i wasn’t always smiling…. lindy, what is the key attribute that allows you to take a photo? Lindy: a fluttering in the stomach. recognizing a moment i’ve been waiting for.
how has photography influenced you as a person? has it changed your perspective on nature, animals, objects, history? Lindy: as far as the botanicals go, i often think of them as a sort of educational tool. so many people see wild plants as mere weeds (as i did), when in fact they may be natives that are in danger of being lost to development or being overrun by invasive plants. When people ask me about the plants in the images, they usually say they will never see weeds in the same way again. regarding the western work: i could go on about that for way too long. the ten years i spent photographing in the west influenced me in just about every way i can think of. the landscape and light, the way of life and values: self reliance and integrity, respect.
What thoughts repeat in your mind on your life as an artist that you would like to share? Lindy: if an artist falls in the forest and there is no one to hear, is she still an artist?
linDy sMith, WyoMing ranch Dog PlatinuM Print 1996 straight West: Portraits anD scenes FroM aMerican ranch liFe
Do you remember your first great photo - one you loved taking while in the Berkshires? Lindy: there are so many from the berkshires. several stand out, though. one is of crispina ffrench, sitting on the loading dock of a train depot in housatonic. she is wearing some of the clothing she designed and has closed her eyes against the sun. another would be of Marlene Marshall, seated in the open window of her studio along the river, palette knife in hand. also bart arnold, his profile defined by the paintings mounted on the wall behind him, his cat Wally at his feet. suzie hardcastle seated on the floor, draped in one of her glorious bedspreads, that enigmatic smile on her face. all wonderful memories of fascinating people.
Thank you, Lindy!
linDy sMith custoM hat shoP WyoMing 1997 FroM My book straight West; Portraits anD scenes FroM aMerican
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Denise B Chandler Fine Art Photography
housatonic River #2,©Denise B Chandler, 2014
EXhiBiting and REpREsEntED by:
BECKEt WooDs, photogRAph
EDWARD ACKER PHOTOGRAPHER
• sohn fine Art gallery 69 Church st., Lenox, MA
• 510 Warren street gallery 510 Warren st., hudson, nY The Good Purpose Gallery 40 Main Street, Lee, MA Invitational Group Show February 12 - 22
eleanOr lOrD artist
Time flies. Get pictures.
EdwardAckerPhotographer.com 16 • 2016 FeBruary the artFul MInD
510 Warren street, huDson, ny
Mary Carol Rudin
February 6—28, 2016
“a laDy’s back - reD”
Artists’ Reception: Saturday, February 6 • 3-6pm 510 Warren Street, huDSOn, neW yOrk
FriDay & saturDay 12 - 6, sunDay 12 - 5
518. 822. 0510
Annual Valentine’s Jewelry Trunk Show
Pola Oslo Designs with
Join us at the gallery for a weekend filled with a lavish array of beautiful, unique handcrafted jewelry and spirited refreshments! Friday, February 12 from 5-8pm Saturday, February 13 from 1-7pm Sunday, February 14 from 11-3pm
LAUREN CLARK FINE ART
25 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA
FRONT ST. GALLERY
Still life by Kate Knapp
classes! classes! classes! Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in housatonic and thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field. also available for private critiques. open to all. Please come paint with us!
gallery hours: open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home) Front Street, housatonic, Ma
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it’s artfulmind cooking at
NANCY LEE interview by Harryet Candee
Harryet Candee: tell me about the birth of elIXIr, your café in Great Barrington. nancy lee: although i had been planning on a cafe/tea salon in my future, it was on the back burner, and i thought it would remain there for quite a while. i had been a struggling single mother for many years and was still coming out of that time in my life, working hard to get beyond debt and create the healthy lifestyle i helped many others achieve. From that, i wanted to create something. i had developed my landscape design business, and had always been doing private cooking. it somehow usually worked out that i had plenty of landscaping to keep me busy in the summer, and private cooking jobs would appear just in time for the winter. For the past several years, every time one of my cooking clients tasted my food, they would ask why i did not have a place where people could come and experience this food, as there were no places serving truly healing foods—and delicious at that. i had so much encouragement from so many people that i began thinking seriously about, at the very least, being open to the possibility of having another café. i say another because about fifteen years ago i had a café in new york state, but lost the lease as i was entering the third year. it was too expensive to try to relocate at that point, so i had to say goodbye to it. it was devastating to me to lose this place, because it meant so much to me and i had put my heart and soul into it.
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in the larger picture though, i had more growing to do. For me it is always about my own inner growth and development as a soul experiencing this human journey. i decided to go see the business counselor who i had seen for my other cafe, to see if he might talk some sense into me. he asked me what i was waiting for, as far as opening another place. i basically said i was waiting for my life to be in perfect order. We both laughed. i began pursuing this vision. Did you have a rocky road for launching? Nancy: of course. it took a year to get the doors open and, once opened, i was faced with so many challenges. it’s still rocky, but i am more used to the rockiness.
have you had to be creative to make this dream come into manifestation? Nancy: absolutely. i put everything i had that would have taken me through the winter and put it into getting a space, and then i raised capital by selling meal subscriptions to people i knew were supportive and would benefit from this type of food. that is the very short version, leading up to an amazing family that i was connected with who made a larger investment at the eleventh hour, which made the launch possible.
your sign says you are a restaurant/tea salon/elixir bar. Can you tell me what you serve and when? Nancy: Well, i serve 100% organic, vegetarian fare— breakfast, lunch and dinner, thursdays through Mondays, and on weekends i offer a brunch. that would be the restaurant aspect. i serve a wide variety of loose teas by the pot—this is the tea salon—and i make healing elixirs. i am also an herbalist and wanted this to be incorporated into the vision.
What is an elixir? Nancy: an elixir can be hot or cold and has any number of healing ingredients to address the specific needs of the person who orders it. although we make personalized elixirs, we also offer a full array of healing elixirs that people can choose for themselves. We also serve fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, and our own kombucha drinks. What is your healthiest dish? Nancy: all of the food here is healthy. Food when prepared properly is healthy. the purpose of food is to nourish us, keep us healthy and functioning and to heal us when we are out of balance.
What is your most popular dish? Nancy: that is tough to say… i think the curry dishes are very popular, as well as the dinner dishes, which are dif-
ferent every night because they are based on what is available from the growers i use. i use a lot of spices and fresh herbs to create the personality of the dish.
how long have you been a chef, and where did you learn to cook? Nancy: i became a vegetarian when i was fourteen, and began studying first under macrobiotic chefs, then had a variety of apprenticeships in and around cambridge and boston, with many styles of cooking from various ethnic backgrounds for several years. then i began cooking privately. i was mainly cooking for people with illnesses, and then with the herbal influence broadened my cooking and my knowledge, and especially my intuition.
So then, what is your philosophy of food? Nancy: i believe that everything is energy and vibration. the chef’s state of being vibrates at a certain level and that vibration goes into the food that is being prepared. those who eat that intentionally-prepared food assimilate a higher vibration that ultimately can lead to a higher consciousness.When people eat this way they have more clarity and make better decisions for their lives. and this
ripples out to the family, the community and the world community.
So, how did you decide on the atmosphere for elIXIr? What sort of place did you want it to be? Nancy: i did not want it to be confused with a coffee shop, where people sit with their laptops and where the pace is more frantic. For me, a tea salon atmosphere has a slower pace, with time for reflection, conversation and especially the time to truly experience the tea and the food. i have a selection of books, magazines and board games, as well as art supplies for children (and adults if they wish to use them). i understand the need for devices in this modern world, but i think people really appreciate a place that frees them from that for a while, a space that can seem timeless. What are some of your future plans? Nancy: i hope in the future to be growing many of the herbs, edible flowers, fruits and vegetables on my property, and to create an apprenticeship program. i started something called the berkshire herbalist collaborative, and we have been meeting at ellixir once a
month for eight months now. i am hoping to bring herbalists together to create something that will serve our berkshire community, and that will support our individual projects as well.
are there other services that you provide? Nancy: i do continue offering my healing foods programs with private clients. i created a 21-day restorative cleanse that i guide people through, and i prepare all of the juices, herbal infusions, smoothies and foods they need while on this cleanse. i used to go to people’s homes; now they come to elixer. on the days elixir is closed i often have workshops that either i lead or others lead, in their area of expertise. i am happy that the space is utilized for these things as it creates community, and the whole reason i am doing this is to serve our community! 70 railroad street great barrington(next to the triplex) 413.644.8999 / email@example.com elixirgb.com / fb page elixir
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artists or movements or techniques. there was no context. i might have heard of some of the big names like Picasso or da vinci, but had no information about them, and definitely no instruction about their process/methods. i was beginning to come into my own at this time and was ready for new knowledge and a challenge. i “borrowed” a book on Michelangelo from the library and started to copy his drawings as my way of learning line, form, anatomy and composition. this was late into my junior year of high school. i spent the summer with this book copying nearly every page. i was in awe of his technical ability and sheer output because i had never seen anything like that before. the renaissance produced giants. During my senior year i had the opportunity to travel to italy and see many of these works in person like the sistine chapel, David, and the Pieta on a school trip. i might not have known at the time, but looking back, i believe i was drawn into the drama that can be conveyed with the human form. in a time when most people were illiterate, paintings were used to convey stories, myths, proverbs, and history.
Michael rousseau interview by Harryet Candee photography of Michael by Lee Everett
Michael, you have studied art a rISD, studied oil painting on your own, and have had the opportunity to travel to europe in search of ways to gain knowledge, study and follow techniques and skills in visual art. at some point you discovered Michelangelo and the Italian renaissance period. tell us how you came upon your interest in the Old Masters of this time period? What exactly drew you into some of the styles and history of this often thought of as dark, richly ornate, religious period in time? Michael Rousseau: ok. let me put this in order, because that sounds so glamorous. i discovered Michelangelo in
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high school at the library, on my own. i still do quite a bit of my learning and research at the library. after high school i attended three different colleges and graduated with a bFa in illustration from rhode island school of Design. Fast-forward to 8 years ago and i started to teach myself oil painting and art history in depth. i decided to begin at the renaissance and work my way forward. Four months ago i traveled to europe to see some of the paintings i so admire. i’m still learning and discovering new painters and artwork all the time. how this began? in high school, my art education was very basic and i do not recall learning about art history or
Did you find any interest or value in listening to music or learning about composers and musical instruments akin to the renaissance that helped round out your art making palette? Did you enjoy reading any works of literature related to this time period while journeying? about craftsmanship as apposed to fine art? Or in religion, philosophy and science? What discoveries did you make that you can account for? Michael: lots of questions here. i’m not particularly interested in learning about composers or musicians of the renaissance, nor literature written at the time. i find the paintings, sculpture and architecture to be the subjects that speak to me the most. i enjoy reading biographies about the people who made these pieces. craftsmanship is very important to me and i am constantly on the search for information about the working methods of painters i admire, both living and dead. For instance, i now prefer to use Walnut oil as a medium in my paint, something i learned from da vinci, because of its stability and consistency. i also adopted a limited palette with mostly earth tones because they are stable and produce a warm tone, which i really enjoy. i learned the science and alchemy of pigments and colors. any piece from this time period is now 500 years old; there is definitely something to be learned about longevity and craftsmanship. craftsmanship is the art many times. i have always been interested in philosophy, science and religious iconography; i believe they reveal the state of human understanding at the time. how did you enjoy the experience of painting the same way they did during the renaissance? I understand it wasn’t just copying; it was serious undertaking of dissecting layers in which the masters worked. What were some of the techniques you learned that fascinated you? Michael: i am not working in the same way. i am working in a modified way that fits my ideas. this modification came rather quickly. For instance, i do not grind and mix my own pigments, nor do as much underpainting as i used to. old Master style painting is only one way of using the medium. the magic of painting is all of the varied ways that it can be applied to reveal new ways of seeing and describing our world. the way John singer sargent painted was completely different and just as informative, but in a new way. My aim is to learn as much as i can by absorbing and applying many different techniques. some of it is “just copying” because i am trying to learn from it. it is a methodical dissection though. the same way a musician learns by playing a piece of music note by note. What i learned? how to build stretchers, how to stretch canvas and linen, how to prepare the surface for painting, underpainting, fat over lean, color stability, mediums and their properties, glazing, varnishing, chemical structure of pigments, brush differences, layers, fugitive colors, optical mixing, bravura strokes, warm and cool, etc. this could go on and on, but it is what you do with it that matters.
By any chance, do you think these ways of painting are now considered Out of Style by artists and collectors? It’s been a long road of discovery in the art world since the renaissance. So many styles have developed and taken the forefront since then. Michael: i don’t paint to be a style or a fashion and i’m not really in the world of collectors. i think this type of work, painting what you see accurately (realism), never went away and is actually coming back into vogue in the collector’s world and the capital “a” art Market. “style” is often a flash in the pan in the art world. it seems that style is celebrated over substance too often. there is something to learn here, don’t get me wrong, but good quality work never goes out of style. van gogh had substance over style, yet his style is unmistakable. the painters who continue to work realistically know this. it is alive and well. it might not get the spotlight at the big art fairs, but people are becoming more aware that this is the work that stands the test of time. People understand quality, craftsmanship and substance.
So, now I have to ask you, what artwork and styles did you work in after moving away from Medical illustration and literature studies, but before your discovery of studying the Old Masters, like Michelangelo? Michael: let me get people up to speed: i studied Michelangelo first, but mostly as a draftsman, and in high school. i actually avoided painting for a long time because i didn’t feel confident with color, nor a brush. it seemed foreign and i preferred the control of pens and pencils. i entered college as a double major in Medical illustration/english literature. i left both fields after two years before transferring to rhode island school of Design to study illustration. My interest in the old Masters was rekindled after i began oil painting, about 8 years ago, and never was an influence in my college years. i don’t know why, but it wasn’t. My work has taken many different shapes and looks over the years. Prior to working in oils,
Michael rousseau, JuDith beheaDing holoFernes: 24" x 36" oil on linen
i was doing abstract work inspired by stained glass and chance mark making with acrylic. i built a contraption to spin canvases at high velocity. Prior to that i was making digital art with scanners and vectors. i made a digital portrait series of rock n’ roll stars. i wrote and illustrated a book about the constellations and their origin myths, including the 12 signs of the zodiac, designed to glow in the dark, so you could take it outside as a field guide. i painted murals in california. i was a graphic Designer. i was the art teacher at two high schools. but here is the big change: about 8 years ago, i happened into a conversation in which the dominant argument was that the only “real” art was figurative based oil painting. everything else was decorative, easy and forgettable. Mind you, i was not working in oils at the time, and this statement enraged me. i remember saying to myself, “i’ll show you, asshole, that i can do that. i can paint in oils too.” the next day i started working in oils. i had avoided them because i didn’t understand how to use them and they can be formidable and unforgiving. in the hierarchy of painting, oil painting is at the top. yet once i accepted the challenge, i became hooked. this sparked a very intense self-guided exploration into the history, science and materials of oil painting; a journey that i’m still on. if that conversation didn’t happen, you would not be reading this. the thing that keeps me working is that i want to make the best painting i can possibly make. every time i make one, i feel i fall short, so i try again. this means technically and in my ability to communicate an idea. you might have learned your foundation skills and techniques such as perspective, shading, foreshortening, proportion, composition, the works via the human form. have you studied drawing from a live model? how did it fit in to when you were on your path and discovering the importance of creating art? Michael: it is important to learn foundation skills prior to learning the human form. it can be too complicated other-
wise. on my first day of drawing at college, i was greeted with live model drawing. in fact it was two models! it was very avant-garde. i like anatomy and understanding how things are constructed and what lies beneath the surface to create form. i like to paint skin because of this. i enjoy the sensuality and sexuality of it, but i am really drawn to the form and how light interacts and reveals the surface and underlying structure. i love the sleek lines and curves.
What part of the human form do you have the most challenging time with composing? hands are the most difficult for me; they are like bodies only a concentrated version, and— double the work! Michael: this depends on what i’m painting. hands are difficult for sure, but capturing a likeness for a portrait painting is very challenging. i can’t draw/paint something until i understand it. this means sketching and observing it until i know how it works or is constructed. if you don’t have the underlying structure correct, nothing will work over it. you can’t build a house on a poor foundation. Would you define Classical realism your pastiche at the present time? What exactly is Classical realism to you? Michael: i have never thought about how my work gets labeled or placed in context. i don’t think that i fit the classical realism movement fully. i share some of their philosophy with beauty and craftsmanship, but i deviate by introducing imagined elements, combined sources, unfinished passages. classical realism celebrates order, beauty, harmony and completeness, and work derived solely from direct observation, whereas i use photographic references when i need them. We also share mindful contemplation when working, meaning the hand, the eye, and the mind are working in perfect unison. continueD on next Page.... the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 21
I see your interesting oil paintings are filled with twisting symbols and images of the past and the present of world history. What are you communicating to the viewer, for example, in the painting, Dying Slave? this one fascinates me. Michael: i don’t give myself away so easily, and this will be no exception. Dying Slave is inspired by a Michelangelo sculpture, which was to be used as part of the tomb complex of Pope Julius ii. at the time, i was basing paintings on classical sculpture and incorporating tattoos to push the narrative further. i had decided early on in this piece to use tupac’s iconic “thug life” tattoo. i started to add latin and italian phrases, da vinci’s vitruvian Man, tribal signs, etc. in an effort to give more personality to a rather generic figure. i imagined what kind of tattoos a person would want in 1514 (the year it was completed). there is a languid death happening in this piece. Death when the body appears to be in its prime, strong, dominant, yet comfortable letting it all go. there are beliefs, truths, secrets written on the body that will die when the flesh does, a metaphor for slavery of the body/mind. Mind you, i’m giving you the ingredients, not the finished story. i rather enjoy the descriptions that viewers generate, over my reasoning for making something. i would rather know what it means to you.
Would you not answer this question, if I said I feel that these painting somehow tell me the artist is struggling with an uncomfortable frame of mind? Michael: When i make a piece, i allow myself to go as far as possible to get a result. i am not afraid of where my mind is capable of going, and in fact, i encourage it. i get to see what i’m made of. i need to surprise myself too. i think a certain “uncomfortable frame of mind” is necessary to make things in the first place. it is quite strange really to devote so much time and energy to produce paintings. i am quite comfortable while i’m working because i feel confident and productive. i actually struggle more when i’m not making work. that is when my mind really gets “uncomfortable.”
Speaking of uncomfortable works of art… Do you find some of your art being offensive to some viewers? and, honestly, do you care? I am not offended. I am fascinating and intrigued, but there are those who might feel different. Were there any reactions to your paint22 • FeBruary 2016 the artFul MInD
ings, out of the ordinary, that you are aware that were shown at the St. Francis Gallery? It is a gallery, but formerly a church, if that has anything to do with anything. Michael: the general public has not enjoyed many of my pieces, and honestly i don’t really mind anymore. When people do not like something, it is very telling of their person and state of being. if everyone liked it, it would be boring. art should challenge you. it should enrage you. it should make you weep. it should make you think. it should haunt you. it should inspire you. i believe that is the purpose of it. i cannot control how people will react to my work, but at least i can elicit a response and i’m out there making something new. For instance, some people don’t like my gun paintings, while others love them. We all have issues and hang-ups. get over yourselves. enjoy it while it lasts. at the st. Francis gallery, i was asked to hang “tattooed Jesus” and it went over quite well! it was fantastic to have my “Jesus” painting in an actual church! i don’t do things to be sacrilegious or rude or just to poke. i am interested in something deeper. i was posing a question and an alternate storyline.
In our world today, don’t you feel that interpreting how we see things through artistic means, our right? the painting, “the texter”, is actually a finished canvas by you on modern culture. In some ways, it looks like you took the classic model pose and added a true slice of modern life to it. In some sense, it’s not timeless. not – permanent? What can you tell us about this painting that reveals your take on reality as you see it to be? Michael: i specifically wanted to do this piece as a classic pose with a modern twist. this painting came about because of the pervasive texting that occurs constantly in our society and how it makes the people in the physical company feel. Personally, i often feel shut out when people are texting. Maybe it is jealousy? anyway, my aim was to depict a girl in an open pose, dressed as if she is at an event, but lost in her phone and therefore shut off from the present moment. she would be approachable if not for her phone, like a wall has been put up. it is a very classic “s” pose and i spent a lot of time with my model figuring out the best way to represent this. there is a very subtle way body language changes when a person is engaged with their phone and they disengage from the moment. What i
Michael rousseau, la Petite Mort: 24" x 48" oil on linen
like about this piece is that it becomes more about the viewer than the girl in the painting. she is never going to look up from her phone, yet the viewer can look away. People have commented how sad it is that she isn’t paying attention to the moment and is missing an opportunity. i think that is fairly astute. this painting is a reality. So, the darker side of life paintings that you like to explore must somehow be related to your philosophies on life? Is this possible? Michael: i am naturally drawn toward subjects that are more somber and “dark” – which i equate to beautiful, rich, deep, and warm. it is closer to my philosophy of life and death, which reminds me of impermanence and how vast our experiences can be. even my skin paintings have a degree of darkness to them, a seductive quality, an animalistic road to follow. i like things to be a little unsettling, because life is. there is also something tantalizing about “forbidden” and “taboo” that piques my curiosity. Don’t get me wrong though, i have a good sense of humor and i’m very playful- it isn’t all doom and gloom. i laugh at myself. i’m a romantic at heart and i like to be arrested by beauty.
taking a look back to your growing up boyhood days in Pittsfield, and about…. through college, you were an english literature major. What book do you consider the best? Michael: i was only a literature major for my first two years of school. this was a result of the reading habits i was developing in high school. there is no “best” for me, but the most fascinating and influential book that really opened me up was No One Here Gets Out Alive. it is the biography of Jim Morrison. this book turned on my lights and showed me the darks. i came across it during my junior year of high school. While not a major piece of literature, it introduced me to subjects like shamanism, nietzsche, the beats, blake, French symbolist poetry, music, the greeks, mysticism, philosophy, etc. and sparked a voracious appetite for reading. When i entered college, i was a double major in Medical illustration and english literature before changing schools and focusing on illustration. i used to memorize poems and paragraphs from books and copy sections that were meaningful and inspiring to me into notebooks. i did this more than i kept sketchbooks for drawing. i knew more about books and
authors than i did about artists and paintings.
What was it that you mentioned to me, about burning your journals? I found that an interesting form of sacrifice. a way to gain an objective is when one sacrifices, maybe, it wasn’t a sacrifice to you? Michael: it is sacrificial. i am releasing the energy. after a sketchbook/notebook is complete, i have often set them on fire. this doesn’t happen right away. i will go back through books for years to take out the ideas, bit by bit, but after i have mined all of it, i release it. it is cathartic. i think it enables me to move ahead. i’ve done it with old drawings too. Was there anything you got out of your reading that is applicable to your art making today? Did anything you read ever set your standards of what may or may not be “good” art? Michael: i don’t like using “good” or “bad” as descriptors because they are too basic and make it sound like there is a hard division line or threshold to cross. to me, it is a result of hard work and dedication and it takes years. i do believe in inspiration and talent, but it really comes down to dedication and work ethic and being true to your vision. the more you do it, the more likely you are to make something decent. i enjoy reading biographies of people who dedicate their lives to something, whether it is painting, music, literature, nature, science, etc. What i repeatedly get back from all of this is that i have a ways to go. there have been, there are, and there will be thousands of more talented people than myself. i will never be as good as they are or were, but i can try to make the best work that i am capable of producing. they have shown that it can be done.
Why is having a studio so important for you, and for anyone for that matter? It’s almost like a tOOl. Michael: the studio is a tool. it is my cave where it is me against me. it is instrumental in my process and i must feel comfortable in it. it allows me to keep momentum too. i can have multiple projects happening at once. environment is so important. to be surrounded by things we are inspired by, what would some of those things be for you? Michael: the proximity to world-class collections and institutions like the clark or Mass Moca, and the ability to go to new york or boston for a day. i also need quiet time too without distraction, like the woods. i hike often. i also like the night. Would you ever consider moving to a big city, or has that thought never crossed your mind? Maybe, you once lived in a big city, if so, what was that like for you? i have lived in big cities. to me they are nice places to visit. i prefer quiet and the natural world. cities demand too much of my energy (and my money).
are you bound to the Berkshires by choice? Michael: Pittsfield is my hometown. i moved back here for specific reasons, and i am slowly fulfilling those. it is my choice to be here. i have established an amazing network of friends and connections that i was never able to achieve anywhere else i lived. i consider the entire berkshires my home now. it is an excellent base.
a teacher can teach anywhere. you are also an art teacher. It must be enjoyable to some degree because it allows you to be amongst the community, out of isolation, a break from studio time. refreshing and possibly the opportunity to learn while you teach. how do you find teaching to be? Michael: i have a Master of arts in teaching (k-12) degree from rhode island school of Design. i taught high school art for four years outside of boston and in burlington, vt. i taught Motion graphics, Photoshop, intro to art, Drawing i & ii, advanced Placement art, and Darkroom Photography. i really did enjoy it and feel that i am a natural teacher. contnueD on next Page...
Michael rousseau, Dying slave: 24" x 48" oil on linen
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Michael rousseau, reverence oF the gorillas: 32" x 32" oil on linen
i like sharing my knowledge and finding a way to inspire, challenge, and surprise my students to surpass what they continueD on next Page... think they are capable of. i like introducing concepts and developing techniques to make art making accessible to all. i left teaching because i was getting serious in my own practice and felt it was better to treat myself as the student, so i decided to start teaching myself. i think i’m ready to teach again after all i have gleaned.
Do you have a sharp memory of your childhood school days? I bet teaching art has changed in big ways. Can you think of how this may be true from your experiences? Michael: i have a horrible memory. sometimes it surprises me though. My high school art education was very basic. We drew pictures, did a little painting, some collages, but no real learning. i never studied another artist or looked at art critically. We might have gone to the museums once in a while, but many of the “teachable” moments never occurred. as i grew and matured and learned, i realized how much was not presented to me in my schooling. this was a major reason why i wanted to teach. i know the classes i taught were more than “just” art classes. i showed them science and had them use math to develop proportion and geometric design and architecture and patterns. We looked at nature. We watched movies and talked about computer graphics and listened to music and made album covers. i taught them how to see the world and how to translate it. We explored history and art through time and cultures. We researched paintings, we went on field trips, we drew in the hallways, and we drew outside. We worked collaboratively and independently. but most importantly, i gave everyone of my students the ability to develop and use their
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own voice in their work. What do you find children having a real strong interest in that is beneficial to their growing up in a world that is changing so quickly and not always in positive ways? Michael: every generation thinks the world is going to shit. it will not. your life might go that way, but the world will keep on going long after you and i are gone. it is too bad that history repeats itself so often. children with imagination are the key to the future. children with a sense of wonder who question the status quo, who develop empathy. they will breed wisdom. children who are interested in knowledge, who are not afraid to be smart. americans seem content to be uninformed. knowledge is power.
What sort of curriculum do you teach? If you had to create your own curriculum in art, what would it consist of? I always thought art history was essential for every kid in every grade. Michael: see above. i feel that now i have an enormous arsenal of information at my disposal and feel i could teach many subjects. of course art history is important. all history is, but equally important is what is happening noW. it is a wonderful time to be alive. Do you show the children your paintings as examples of technique or just for a better bonding? Michael: i would show them my work on the last day of class for the year. i would bring in a bunch of my work, set it up all over the room, and let them ask me any question they had. that was how we would spend our last day together. During the school year, i always worked along-
side my students and i always did a demo piece for every lesson, usually live. i never drew on a student’s work because i don’t believe in that, so i would draw next to them and describe what i was seeing/doing as i went along.
Do you remember any funny or amazing comment one of your students have ever made on either your art, or in general? the things kids say! Michael: My memory is horrible, i’m sure there are tons of stories, but i don’t remember anymore. i’m kind of comfortable in this bliss too. how early should a child start to familiarize himself/herself with the foundations and appreciation of art? Michael: i believe everyone has an innate sense of art at a young age. all children have wild imaginations and like to draw. it is the adults that are the problems. I think that there are a lot of negative diversions that can creep into a child’s life, - that’s aside from boredom. how would you come up with a plan to keep kids interested in art, and not run off down some alley? Michael: i am fine with them running off down an alley, as long as we use that alley as a springboard for an art project! how can we transform that alley into a work of art? can we add motion-activated lights? Projections? Mosaics? a mural? a garden? Make this alley a story about your life- tell me what you are running from/toward? is it brick? is it glass? is it covered in graffiti? What does it say? tell me what you think of the state of the world today on the walls of this alley using symbols and words. on one side put the good, and on the other
happy with the responses from the many visitors. i was pleased with the way it looked in the space. i think it complemented it. that is the kind of venue i envisioned when i was making them. i think people enjoyed it because they were able to touch the pieces as well.
the Work zone PhotograPh by lee
put the bad. it is my firm belief that everything is a teachable moment. Do you have your own kids? Michael: not at the moment.
So, changing the subject here! how was your art received at the hotel on north? It was abstract, and fit on the walls beautifully! Michael: thank you. it was very well received and i was
Did you feel it to be a refreshing change to your dark themes? Michael: in a sense, yes, but i felt like a mad scientist while making them though. it was very industrial and a bit toxic. i wore a double respirator and gloves for weeks while making them. i enjoy the physicality of making things. it is important to note that they were produced while i was making my other work. i tend to go off in a completely different direction suddenly. i like having the ability to follow an idea, no matter what it is, to a result. it keeps me fresh and i am very comfortable with most media. again, i was doing abstract work before switching dramatically to realistic oil paintings! Who knows what i’ll switch to in the future. What happens when you have a dry spell and cannot get into the mood to paint? Do you make yourself
Michael rousseau, the texter: 32" x 48" - oil on linen
sketch, or see a great movie, go walk somewhere, talk to someone, go to the city and I dunno – get drunk… ? Boredom is my enemy, but having to want to draw but it’s jarred – it could be worse than boredom…. I’ve destroyed many drawings in my time! What about you? Michael: i do all of these things and more. i do these things while i’m working, too. Painting can be a very lonely endeavor, so i try to do as many things as i can so that i am not too alone all the time. i will take a “dry spell” as a sign that maybe i have exhausted a particular direction and it is time to step away. When i’m on a roll though, i am 24/7. Many of my paintings go through phases where it seems nothing is working and it can be discouraging, but my job is to fix them and it is very satisfying to bring them back. 2015 was my least productive year of painting. nothing was coming, nothing was interesting, nothing was exciting and i wasn’t very happy personally. i would still go to the studio most days, but i wasn’t really “showing up”. usually i try to experience life, distill the info, and put it into a painting, but 2015 had some hard lessons to learn. i squeezed out one last piece in 2015, a funerary type self-portrait called “Decorating the holes left in life”, because it felt like that. it is the closest i have come to truthfully describing and continueD on next Page... the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 25
What kind of impact would you like to make on the community and beyond the Berkshires with your art?
Michael: there are many talented people working in and around the berkshires and i am happy to be able to contribute my small part. i hope to reintroduce beauty in whatever form it takes. We live in a “throw-away” society and i want to rekindle the awe that arises when people make beautiful things that can speak to us and slow us down. i want to show that invention, intellect, homage, intelligence, craftsmanship, sensitivity, and creativity is here. Maybe it will inspire someone else to pick up a brush and do something better. another aim is to reintroduce art history to a new audience by incorporating it into paintings as a tool to learn from. Can you describe a real life situation you have been in that inspired you to do art? Michael: like where something directly inspired me on the spot? hmmn. it might spark an idea, but by the time it goes through my mind it might be archived or modified or repurposed for another piece. chuck close said “inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” For me and for countless others, inspiration comes from the process, while i’m actively making something. i think you have to be immersed in it in order to see the possibilities.
What is the significance of the painting, ‘reverence of the Gorillas’? It is quite beautiful. Michael: thank you, harryet. the simple story is that i was doing a body or work on animals and was thinking about evolution, intelligence, 2001, religion, enlightenment, Planet of the apes, and combined them into this piece. it has three characters like the proverbial “see no, hear no, speak no evil”, but it is a loose interpretation. there are many potential narratives, but the one i like is we are witnessing the gorilla on the left suddenly becoming aware.
sharing something in my life.
Does Facebook hinder or help the art community you think? Michael: in my humble view, it helps tremendously. i am able to get my work in front of many more people this way.
Michael, do you have any expectations for 2016 and beyond for your art making? What would you like to see accomplished? Michael: i would not say that i am a superstitious person, but i don’t like to talk about the future or expectations out loud. i have personal goals that i would like to see accomplished. For one, i would like to travel more in 2016. let’s leave it at that. i expect a lot from myself and can be extremely demanding of myself, so my expectations and the reality of a situation can be very different. it isn’t whether i fail or come up short; it simply means that i’m not there yet.
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Michael in stuDio
PhotograPh by lee
Michael, what has been a seminal experience for you? Michael: i think rejection has been a seminal experience for me in my life. being left out of situations, relationships, shows, parties, conversations, etc. all had an effect on me growing up. it makes you scrape the bottom of things, question yourself, and develop the hunger, or fade away. in retrospect, i turned inward and mined these experiences, the good and bad, and transferred them into my work. rejection allowed me the time to examine myself and learn humility and empathy. i learned early on that i don’t fit in a specific crowd or wear the latest fashions or subscribe to trends or logos. i developed my own identity. i followed my own bliss. Can you give us a quote that you favor? Michael: achievement dissolves the sweetness of pursuit.
Michael, what to you is most rewarding about being an artist? Michael: i’m not big on the word “artist” with a capital “a.” i’m a painter. the most rewarding part is having the ability to continue to make things and to answer to myself. More than that though, is what it took me to get to this stage. the years of learning, experimenting, failing, reading, solitude, looking, thinking, thinking critically, the education that i gave myself, that i still get, all of these things are rewarding. it has shaped how i view and interact with the world. it hasn’t been all roses and there have been times when i quit everything out of desperation. i still fail often and have to pick myself up because i push myself down, but it has now become my lifestyle. Maybe it makes me interesting, but i’ll leave that up to any reader who has made it this far into the interview. ha!
everybody is an “artist” today, so cliché! What is your opinion? Michael: i think the visual arts usurped the term, and it is cliché. to me it has become such a broad term that it doesn’t actually describe anything. it used to be that painting, drawing, sculpting, carpentry, pottery, etc. were all trades. People studied and learned these skills from others, but they were not treated as celebrated “artists” like we use the term today. they were no different than blacksmiths, musicians, masons, or tailors. they are creative types who have imagination, talent, and skill and are able to use these gifts to create works that have aesthetic value and enhance the world in which we live. it is how you think and what you do, a spirit. art with a capital “a” is how most people perceive the term now, yet i find this term to be vulgar and pretentious. anybody can be an “ahhtist” because it doesn’t actually describe what you do, except state that you have an ego. be specific and above all do good work.
Michael at the canvas, PhotograPh by lee everett
Michael rousseau, autuMn: 36” x 48” oil on boarD
Michael, do you strive to be original with your art making? I find it a big world out there, so many artists, I can’t seem to think there is nothing original left! Michael: original isn’t the right word because everything is inspired by something else, and it is relative. no one lives in a bubble. “new” is a better word. When i say “new” i also mean new for the maker, because it didn’t exist before you created it. you don’t know what it will be until you put in the time to make it. What matters is being true to your own vision, because that is what is original and generates “new”. My work is inspired by many different sources, it is what i do with it and how i absorb, filter, process and execute that matters. i have to listen to what the piece is telling me, too. it is well beyond words. striving to be original is a popularity contest or a fashion trend. it is not a reason for art making. think of it on a larger scale though. We are all collections of ideas, influences, genetics, etc. We are the ingredients, the atoms. We will react with what we come in contact with, but think about the thousands of other ingredients you will never come in contact with! imagine the possibilities! get out there.
From your experience at making art, what is your overall view on how to be an artist? Michael: how? i cringe whenever i see those “how to be a…” books or articles. there is no shortcut or 5 bullet points. in my experience people learn by doing. My painting style does not produce instant gratification. it is earned. For me it isn’t about the paintings once they are finished either. they are like a skin that i have shed. they represent a moment in time, but that time has passed and the painting is the record. i’m on to the next thing and evolving. i’m trying to make something better than my last attempt, to be more honest with myself on this journey. i think you have to be born with something that is a little bit different too, something that can’t be learned, but can be enhanced. Practically? by repeatedly going to the studio and trying to make something, listening to what is happening during the process, adjusting, growing, and seeing the process through to completion, and doing it again. by failing, picking yourself up, being your own worst critic, being humble, and being hungry. you will make bad decisions, you will make lousy paintings, but you have to in order to
improve. see the world, don’t simply look at it. read, learn, absorb, listen. it isn’t “good” or “bad” that matters, it is whether you have satisfied and challenged yourself. now put it away and go do it again. Thank you Michael!
to see examples of Michael’s work, visit his website at: mrousseau.com. or find him on facebook. also go to Dottie’s café in Pittsfield, on north street to see Michael’s paintings in March and april 2016 •
the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 27
Planet Waves by Eric Francis
you can have a formula for success, though it requires that you focus many different talents and capabilities simultaneously. the one that stands out is using positive vibes rather than power to persuade people. one way to do that is to get people turned on by what you want. this may seem self-centered, but it’s really saving people the trouble of originality while they get to contribute to something larger than themselves. therefore, i suggest you know your objectives and know what’s appealing about them — and make a point of both feeling good and being open. in many respects, the more radical your plans, the better. by that i mean that the more you are challenging yourself and others to think in a different way, the better. there is another piece to this, which is about ethics; or rather, teaching ethics. Focus on doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. this notion is starting to become popular, but it remains mostly an idea because the skills are not readily available. yes — what i am saying is that people need both teachers and examples for how to do the right thing: how to be devoted, honest and faithful. there remains the question: is it possible to teach ethics? that’s debatable, but you may find yourself needing to do just that. start by setting the best example.
relationships, family matters and your professional ambitions are showing up on the astrological radar right now, though there is a common theme: can one person exercise property rights over another? this seems like a ridiculous question here in the age of political correctness. of course they can’t! that’s just wrong! but the problem is that people do, and often in ways that are not accounted for. Many of the social behaviors we take for granted involve some measure of this, even if it’s just an underlying assumption or two. one place to start the discussion is with jealousy. although this is lauded as the token of true love, i would propose that it’s the thing most antithetical to love. Jealousy wears many masks, though from a metaphysical perspective i can say this. if you look at the way the topic of death is handled in any relationship, you will have a way to make transparent the many other themes associated with jealousy. is it even spoken of? is it bargained with? is it something that makes you feel more alive (because your time with anyone is finite) or is it something that sends you into control mode? these normally difficult topics are unusually accessible right now. and if you have the courage to bring them up, or to go with the conversation when it arises, you will learn vital lessons to last a lifetime.
GeMInI — start paying attention to financial matters. it could pay off, and it could also save you a lot of hassles. What exactly happened the past two months? Do the forensics; for example, study your bank statements. yet the real highlight is on shared resources and investments. there are clearly opportunities available, though to get to them, you may need to go back over some points of disinformation that entered your consciousness recently. you might have the feeling that you don’t want to know the truth, but you will directly benefit from knowledge. More to the point, the more information about your own affairs that you’re working with, the more independent you will feel from the influences of others. this is crucial for you now — it is perhaps the deepest ongoing theme of this long phase of
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For february 2016
your life. you need to not be under anyone’s thumb, or under their financial thrall. that doesn’t mean that mutual support, or being helped by someone, is out of the picture. this really is a question of power. the problems begin when one thing becomes another, and that thing is not questioned. What seems like sex, for example, can often be seen, more truthfully, as a matter of money and consequently of power. the first step toward transcending this is being absolutely honest with yourself about what you’re experiencing and how you feel.
the trick to making the most out of the current extraordinary astrology is to consider your wildest and most visionary plans, and then condense them down to some tangible concepts. you don’t even need to act on these ideas yet; you just need to know about them and take the time to get clear. For what may be the eleventy-first time in this column, i suggest that this be in writing, in a notebook; to wit, not on some kind of digital device. and i suggest you write in pencil, to have in your body that all plans are subject to revision and improvement. Part of the tangibility factor, the thing that makes your ideas real, is having a physical relationship with them. you also want to think in a non-linear way; that is, to have the ability to scribble and sketch. i don’t know what this is about, but it’s big. let that aspect not stop you, remembering how many great things were first sketched on napkins and paper bags. you must remember how moved you are, and then go right to the point of the humble beginning — and stay there for as long as you can. Many stages of this scenario will unfold over the next two years, and right now you’re at the most important step: understanding your concept. or, you might say, becoming your concept.
leave room for a little madness in your life. leave yourself room to cut loose, and be a bit bacchanalian. real mental stress sets in when people are wound too tight, or become obsessed by control. you need to loosen up, however you define that, though i would say that you need something better than alcohol. you need to feed your imagination and get into that space where you really can share yourself with others, and receive what they offer you. generally this is called intimacy. but i don’t mean it so much in the sense of pure fidelity as i mean it in the sense of an experiment and a celebration. to go there, you may really need to convince yourself to relax, and set aside any concerns related to work or health. you are already doing what you can, which may mean that you’re doing quite enough. What you would benefit greatly from adding is the quality-of-life piece, which may feel like a throwback to a much younger age. but that is who you were, and in many respects it’s who you still are. What you have now that you didn’t have then is a degree of confidence. your self-esteem is much stronger. it’s true you built that on your accomplishments. you’ll appreciate it more if you take a breath, slow down and play.
seen one way, it would seem like the challenge you face in a relationship is not being swallowed by another person. you might be worried you’re trying to ‘be like’ them. yet i would propose that the challenge is taking advantage of a good example when you have one. now, there may be many examples around you at the moment, and some are
better than others. yet there is one that stands out, someone with some wisdom, experience and independence, who may be more smitten with you than you think. indeed, the more intelligent the potential suitor (or suitee), the more likely their feelings are to be deep and authentic. if this is not a romantic situation, it could also be a close friendship or partnership based on learning. you are especially open to new ideas now; but closer to the astrology, you are open to being reminded what you already know. one thing you may know is not to be hung up on the seeming outcome of any human encounter. you have no need to plan, speculate or control. no need to make a head-trip out of anything you feel, wondering what it might mean. Just cup your hands into the waterfall of life and drink up. humanity is in the midst of a long, chilly winter of discontent. some hydration will do you good.
you’ve been through many seasons of changes that seemed beyond your control. this has, many times, left you wondering the degree to which you’re really safe, living here on our strange old planet. yet your solar chart is describing a scenario where you feel right at home, not merely despite all the intensity but thanks to it. said another way, you’re learning to feel safe in the midst of nearly constant change and adaptation, and if you have not felt that way so far, you can take a big step this month. We could say as an understatement that the libra charts have been intense, particularly starting in 2012. but really, the story of your life is the story of the world. it’s just that you’re getting it in a particularly focused way. lest you feel tempted to believe that your life is especially challenging, consider the possibility that you’re particularly gifted at adapting to such a rapidly changing environment. this puts you in a position of leadership, because you’re accustomed to territory that people are just getting used to. yet you have an added benefit: discovering some unusual source of nourishment in the midst of this all. you’re likely to be in a position to affirm that deep personal investigation, going through changes and, most of all, standing on your own foundation, are actually worth the fuss.
With Mars moving slowly through your sign right now, you’re unusually persuasive and are endowed with some serious, deep-down drive. this is, therefore, a great time for you to make some choices about what is actually right for you, because you have the energy to make any necessary adjustments. the whole theme of this year is threading the needle between your motives, your deepest values and your actions. there is no longer room for cognitive dissonance or neurosis. you simply must act in accord with who you are. Doing anything else is no longer an option. astrology that develops from april through July is all about going deeper into those already-deep values and motives, but you are likely to discover what you already know. you can save yourself time by having confidence in your knowledge, without needing to relearn anything, whether it’s the hard way or the easy way. time, as you know, is your most precious resource, and it keeps moving even when you sleep at night. i suggest you live as if you have an honest relationship with life’s many uncertainties, and its finite nature. this alone will be the thing that motivates you to make the changes you need to make, to say what you must say, and to do what you must do. the realer you get with yourself, the happier (and more productive) you will be.
SaGIttarIuS — let your fears inform you.
you might try an exercise where you transform them into some kind of opposite outcome. imagine that each worry or concern is really an explication of what might happen in the best possible outcome, but reversed. For example, “i fear my partner might leave me” would translate to something like, “this could be the best relationship i’ve ever had,” or, “i am ready for the right relationship in my life.” all fear has a source, and i would propose that it’s a kind ego reaction to your currently incredible creative potential. however, apropos of understanding and working with that potential, remember that at the moment, building your life is in part about what you’re adding, and partly about what you will be subtracting. this is not about going forward in all directions, or the nonstop bull market. nor is it about magical alchemy. What you’re doing is more like an industrial process of experimenting, synthesizing and putting in the time and discipline to get something like the result you’re looking for. Don’t be attached to one outcome — there are better things possible than what you might be imagining. yet underneath it all, both the objective and the result is confidence in yourself. this is not about a test but more about a process of temperance: of gradually conditioning yourself to be in actual possession of the strength you know you already have.
CaPrICOrn — you can now be the bold, lusty being you’ve always wanted to be. Forget your carefully groomed image. Forget prim and proper. life is not a pageant, nor is it an integrity contest. anyway, if you associate integrity with being real (that’s the standard, in this astrology lab), then be a real goat. that means mischief, and accessing your somewhat devious/deviant side, and considering anything potentially edible; you don’t know until you try. but most of all it means throwing your image to the four winds. basically, you’re a prisoner of how you think you appear, which you will only discover the moment you decide, even as an experiment, that it doesn’t matter. the sensation of cracking out of your shell will feel so good, you will wonder how it you could have ever waited, or what you were waiting for. the best discovery is likely to be that as you are real with people, you will discover that they are real with you. you have the power to subvert the social media public relations department in the simple gesture of connecting your voice, your words, and your facial expression with your feelings. this will liberate so much energy that you’re likely to do something like make a film, write a novel, foment a revolution or get out of whatever you think is drag-
ging you down. is freedom dangerous? you will have to see.
ward the exterior world rather than your inner experience. therefore, take the time, care and effort to maintain your inner focus. know how you feel at all times. Pause and assess your inner weather. track your currents, your tides, your appetite, your libido and your dreams. Pay attention to yourself. the more that’s happening in ‘the world’, the more urgent that is — especially for a Pisces. one other thing: hang out with people who nourish you. if depleting people are buzzing around, put out the Do not Disturb sign, and stick to the people who show up with food, love and music. ~eric Francis
Whatever you’re doing or working to succeed at, turn your soft side to the community. you are in one of those phases where you must be gritty and serious in order to get the job done, to establish yourself or to go to the next level. but make sure the public aspect of what you’re doing is all compassion and empathy. think of Fred rogers, who was at once the central figure in Mr. rogers’ neighborhood and at the same time one of the pioneers of both public television and children’s television. on camera, people met Mr. rogers, the gentle and kindly friend to the kids. off camera, people had to work with a shrewd developer, director and businessman. he never confused the two roles, and you would be wise to know which scenario you are in at any given time. What you’re doing requires an all-wheel-drive, brass bolts (and perhaps balls) approach. yet community relations is where you will actually make contact, and your skill will determine the degree of success you are able to attain. Work on this as a special topic, and develop it as a distinct skill. study people who are very, very good at it and learn everything you can. When you write for the public, make sure you rewrite until your message and presentation are smooth, clear and auGreat thentic.
PISCeS — a constellation of forces is now aligning in your favor. if you can keep your focus from day to day, get enough rest and eat actual food, you’ll be able to make great strides assembling the many parts of the whole you’ve been designing. this will call on you to be at your best in every skill you have, as well as to attend to both one-onone and group relationships. you have everything you need, you have momentum and you have some significant cooperation. using your resources wisely has two parts — the wisdom piece and the actual use piece. Put it all to work intelligently, and remember who is doing the coordinating. yet one interesting fact of your charts is the extent to which the scenario is directed to-
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the artFul MInD FeBruary 2016 • 29
clinton sMith glass artist
Clinton, first off, something very basic… how in the world do you get the flowers and little objects and images inside a paperweight? Please explain, as I think many others wonder about this as well! each paperweight combines delicate glass elements with the beauty of a crystal dome encasement. elements featuring flora & fauna are made by a process called lampworking. this includes using colored rods of glass and a torch, which melts the glass so it may be worked into the shapes and designs desired. after the elements are made, they are assembled together into a composition to reflect the environment in which i want to create. next, glass crystal gobs encase the assembled design in a kiln. the crystal mass, including the assembled design inside, are formed into a spherical shape with tools, torches and a hot oven called a glory hole. Finally, the paperweight is cooled very slowly in an annealer from 960 degrees to room temperature for 40 hours, then the bottom is ground down to a polish and the paperweight is signed. Most people are shocked to find out that everything is glass. everything.
With my experience watching the Fellerman-raabe’s working in the back with their furnaces and long cutting glass tools, I understand that to melt glass to a workable form, it has to be heated to thousands of degrees! So, this actually could be considered one of the hottest art forms around! also, the most dangerous. I’m sure you work well with all of glass’s dangers, including when glass is hot and when it shatters into tiny
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have you ever had a serious injury while working with glass? i’ve been burned a few times. it’s all part of the nature of glass. i have a bad scar on my arm that will always be there, from 15 years ago, from a 940-degree oven. Working with glass has its hazards, but since it’s become second nature at this point, you get over the pain and the heat pretty quickly. how do you get glass to have color? i buy pre-made color. i can buy it in powder form, solid rods and frit glass, which is like the consistency of sea salt.
pieces. With all these boundaries you need to work within, what most fascinates you about working with glass? it is actually about 2100 degrees. very hot. i enjoy the fluidity of glass and how i can encapsulate a scene from nature in crystal and preserve it forever.
It can also be very heavy to work with, like a marble sculpture, but that being said, can you sculpt into glass like you can with stone? glass can be very heavy, especially at the end of a pipe. a piece of glass that may be four lbs. can feel like twenty lbs. at the end of a blowpipe. to sculpt with glass is more like working with taffy or honey. it’s tricky, as it cools down very quickly while i’m working with it. once i start, i cannot stop until i’m done. i can’t take a phone call or check my e-mail, or else the glass can crack or shatter. interruptions can be challenging when you work with glass. it can be dangerous as well.
how many years does it take to be close to a master level in this form of fine art and craft? What are some of the set standards for being considered a master craftsman/artist? that’s all relative. it depends on the individual artist. i
have pushed myself as much as i could throughout the years, often working during lunch breaks and after work to make my own glass. the more you put into glass (or any work) the more you get out of it. that being said, after seventeen years i don’t consider myself to be a master. i think that may be an antiquated term these days, reserved for the old glass masters of Murano. i consider being a modern day master to be doing clean, consistent, quality work.
your studio sounds wonderful, with two floors on your property where you live! When you rise and shine in the morning, and are not going to your other glass job in ashley Falls, what does a day consist of for you, working in your own studio? What kind of hours do you put in? We live a busy life, so this can change week to week. but generally, i work for myself on nights and weekends. i may spend a whole day lampworking elements and another day encasing the paperweights. on a lampworking day, i spend anywhere from four to ten hours creating a design. sometimes when i draw a creative blank, i take a walk out in the woods behind our house to gather some fresh air and inspiration from nature. i often come back to the studio with a handful of wildflowers and leaves as well as a mental image of the various frogs and newts i might have seen. sometimes, i stop when i am mentally and physically finished for the day, even though i might not really be finished. the work is very precise and small and i wear jeweler’s goggles to see the fine details of the elements that i am working on. on days when i encase the elements into crystal… that’s a hot day. all of the ovens and torches are on and it is a physically exhausting day. the encasement process of the paperweight takes roughly 45 minutes to do. it is a careful process and any deviation or slight mistake can result in losing the piece to cracks and bubbles and deformation of the elements inside, which makes it not worthy of display or sale. i usually encase two paperweights a day, as encasing any more than two is exhausting, and i cannot run the risk of ruining one from a simple mistake.
are you fully engaged in working on your own glass art to sell at the various galleries and through your website, in addition to working for Gartner Blade? What have you created recently and had a good response to? i’ve been working with glass full-time since 1999. i have been selling my paperweights made with schott crystal since 2011. schott crystal is the finest glass material to use for this type of technique. it is formulated specifically for this paperweight process, and it can cost over $100 in crystal to produce one paperweight. today there are fewer than twenty artists worldwide who use schott and produce these types of paperweights. it is a rare and special type of art with a specific clientele. My clients gravitate to my frogs, lizards and wildflowers. i am also known for my strawberries and peaches. i have recently created a “storytelling series” which showcases a whimsical scene such as a boy and a kite, or a Dalmatian barking at a squirrel or
for a clientele who buy the pieces from galleries worldwide. i am proud to be a key member of their team. i usually work three or four days a week for them.
has all this glass art become your main obsession? as an artist, i think it is important to master one medium, as oppose to being a “jack of all trades.” i did not set out to become a glass artist, it is just something that happened in my late teens, early twenties, and i stuck with it and made it mine. at this point in my career, i wouldn’t change mediums to painting or sculpting, or carpentry, as i wouldn’t want to rewrite my career. that being said, i certainly love and appreciate art in many forms and take advantage of what all the berkshires and beyond have to offer, as far as museums and galleries go.
a cat chasing a mouse. these are so much fun and have received great response.
have you studied the history of stained glass and sculptural glass? What in our history would you say has inspired you the most? i haven’t delved too far into stained glass, but all types of glass interest me, at the very least. i have studied fused, pate de verre, sculpture, blown and obviously lampworked and paperweights. When i was younger, i was really interested in venetian glass, which still interests me. i admire the delicacy of it. it wasn’t until i assisted Paul stankard at a gallery demo, when i really got into lampworked paperweights. as far as history goes, i really admire antique French paperweight artists for their technical and artistic skills, which far surpassed other glassmakers of their time.
What are you presently working on for Gartner Blade? that is a lovely name. gartner blade is a glass studio located in ashley Falls. it is not open to the public. there are three of us, sometimes four, so it is a very small studio. but we produce high-end, large-scale vessels, sculpture, oil lights, lighting and vases
these awards you are receiving could get to be an everyday affair if you keep doing something right! What might that something right be? i think one of the things i’m doing right is staying focused. i have made this my life and career. there is no second job or Plan b. this is what i do, and i have to make sure it works. another thing i did right was to marry my wife. she is good for my career, as she does all of my marketing and promotion as well as business management. she works a minimum of ten to fifteen hours a week on my business when we are busy. Photography, websites, newsletters and gallery orders are all parts of our business where she works in partnership with me. besides helping with my glass business, my wife also teaches visual arts at Monument valley Middle school in great barrington, so she is pretty busy. i’d say we have very busy and rich lives. but we always take the time to play hard. the three continueD on next Page...
clinton sMith, PaPer Weight, glass
and you’ve worked for Gartner Blade for more than a decade. that is a very good track record, I must say. as far as your character as a person goes, are you generally a very determined individual? i’ve been with gartner blade for over thirteen years now. as far as glass goes, i am very determined. glass isn’t an easy thing to do. especially paperweights. When i started in 1999, there wasn’t much information online and i would order old vhs tapes and old books and study them relentlessly. i would work during lunch breaks. it took me many years just to get the basics and the processes down. today, there are great schools and workshops you can take, but a lot of it depends on skill, talent, patience and a determination. you can’t put in nothing and expect everything. time and practice are everything. a lot of it is trial and error. there is no info online about this. as far as lampworking, i am mostly self-taught and have developed my own technique. it took me a few years to figure out how to make the fuzz on a bumblebee, for instance. i do not have post-secondary education in the traditional sense of college. all of my experience is from hard work, time and dedication.
you were awarded the 2013 niche award for lampworking in Philadelphia, Pa. Congrats! What did you present to them that got you this award? the niche award is one of the highest honors you can receive in the high-end craft industry. the piece that won was entitled “yellow and orange late berkshire summer.” i went to Philadelphia for the ceremony and festivities. gartner blade also won an award that year, so Danielle blade and myself went onto the stage together to receive our awards. it was a highlight of my career.
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artist and i was very eager and enthusiastic about glass. i told him that i loved working with glass so much and couldn’t imagine not doing it seven days a week. i couldn’t stop thinking about and doing glass. he laughed and told me things would change. as much as i love glass, things do change. For the better. you get older and fall in love and get married and have a family. all of these things have improved my art and quality of life. i look forward to the occasional day off with my family even when there are orders backed up. i’m only human, and i need to recharge like everyone does. My son is now three years old and the days are limited before he grows up. What is it that keeps you ambitious to keep creating? the plant and animal kingdom are endless and there is always a new species being found or new things i didn’t know about. the learning and exploring never ends.
clinton sMith, glass
of us stay pretty busy with the arts and culture that the berkshires has to offer. We love to visit museums, especially MassMoca and the berkshire Museum. We also love to see live performances and attend community events such as third thursday.
Do you start a project with an actual pencil sketch? More often than not, i use my dry erase board over my lampworking station to plan out ideas. but i do keep a sketchbook as well. i also work from books and images found online, as well as real life matter from the backyard. Clinton, what are your artistic goals for 2016? Many years back, i started experimenting with blown/paperweight combos. i would blow vases and a foot and create a paperweight as the stem. i revisited this idea in 2015 and would like to continue and expand upon it for 2016. i currently have several of these combo pieces in galleries and they have received acclaim and attention. Do you study any other forms of art that could be inspirational for future art work? Or do you stay in your own ballpark? i can always find inspiration from other forms of art. inspiration in the berkshires is plentiful, with the museums, nature, culture, and food. it’s not hard to find. you just need to be aware and involved in life. i do enjoy many other art forms such as photography, drawing and sculpture in particular.
how in the world—again!—do you get air bubbles out of a piece of glass, if they are not to be a purposeful element of the artwork? can you place air bubbles in certain places? or is it random, no matter what you try to do to change the science of this material? the first thing i do is to try not to get air bubbles. this requires a great deal of practice. When i was starting, i had a multitude of bubbles and that was one of the technical problems that had to be worked out to improve on overall quality of the paperweights. When i was in my early twenties, i worked in a production glass factory, where we would make low-end glass paperweights. in these paperweights, we would incorporated specifically 32 • FeBruary 2016 the artFul MInD
placed bubbles for aesthetics. With the two of us in that production studio, we could make about 120-150 of these paperweights a day. that is the difference between fine art weights and low-end production weights. it takes about 14 hours from start to finish for one of my weights. Many low-end production weights are now made in china, eliminating many of the first studios where i had worked at the start of my career. a bubble in a high-end paperweight is not a good-looking thing.
Can you tell us one of the best and most joyous experiences you’ve had while working under one of your teachers? as i have never been to college, i didn’t have teachers, but i do stay in touch with other glass artists that i’ve admired over the years. early in my career, i met a prominent glass clinton sMith, PaPer Weight, glass
you’ve had quite a lot of recognition with your paperweights—I had no idea there were actual paperweight associations! What are these organizations all about, and how do you benefit from your affiliation with them? Painters and other artists also have their own organizations, but what do you see as their purpose? We are members of the national Paperweight association as well as the new england Paperweight association. the members range from the hardcore enthusiasts with hundreds of high-end modern and antique paperweights in their collection to the curious collectors who may have just picked up one or two from a local flea market. everyone is welcome. the goals of these paperweight collectors’ associations are to educate the public and provide a common ground to meet worldwide, nationwide and in local chapters. i have had the opportunity to speak at several of these chapters’ meetings and was sponsored by a dealer to speak at the texas Paperweight association in 2014. i have also spoken at the Delaware valley Paperweight collectors association, the Wheaton arts Paperweight Festival in new Jersey, and the celebrate the Paperweight event sponsored by l.h. selman in chicago. i love these events as i can really tell my story in presentations and lectures and i can show my latest work. one of the best parts is connecting with the collectors and other artists. the glass community is great! especially in new england. it’s like if you know one other glass artist, you know them all. We are all a friendly bunch connected by a common, near-impossible career choice. no one is afraid to share his or her glass “secrets”—unlike in the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries in Murano italy, when glass blowing was secretive, and revealing techniques was punishable by law by the cutting off of a hand, or death.
Do you find that incorporating elements from nature has given you many challenges? I mean, the shapes from nature must be difficult to work with since they are so random and free-formed… is this true? nature is my favorite subject matter by far. that being said, it is challenging. it took me many years to work on getting the toes of frogs correct, for instance. i am a stickler for making them look accurate. i like my wildlife in the paperweights to look as realistic as possible. i think that is one of things i am most known for—getting reptiles to look realistic. another example is getting the veins in in the leaves to
with people who have a similar occupation. We are all open with our tips and techniques with each other and willing to share and collaborate from time to time. i enjoy being a part of this unique and creative occupation. What would you say makes working in glass unique, and not found in other mediums of art? glass is an unusual medium to work with. it is challenging and expensive and very few people on a whole do it. that makes it special. if you can stay with it long enough and have the talent, you might just make something beautiful.
clinton sMith, glass
look right. and the seeds in my strawberries. once i figure something like this out, it’s like a light bulb goes on, a technical breakthrough of sorts, as there is no documented way to do these things or to study them. Is glass blowing an entirely different entity in glass artmaking? there are a few dozen plus different glass categories under glass art. lampworking, blown and paperweights are just three that i combine.
Can you give us an idea of some of the styles in which you can create art from glass? In painting, there is abstract, cubism, expressionism, realism, etc… it all depends on what the artist wants to do with the glass. you can have abstract forms with glass sculpture, blown glass or fused glass. i like realism in my paperweights, with a sense of imagination and a pop of color. i think you can apply any art genre to the glass art world. you can take it as far as your imagination and technical know-how will allow.
are antique glass paper weights considered to be in a different category than present-day ones? how is the value of an antique glass paperweight figured out? and, was the process much different back then as opposed to now? yes, they are. the tools that the artists used were similar but the technology has improved, thus making it more accessible to get better results with better materials. some collectors will only collect antique weights and some prefer modern. the value is determined by the rarity, the artist, technical value as well as the subject matter inside. i believe the highest price ever paid for an antique weight was about $256,000. some modern weights can auction or sell at $40,000 and more.
What is the finest kind of glass for you to use? how accessible is it for an artist to acquire? i use schott glass, which is the best crystal available to glass artists for paperweights. unfortunately, schott has had its problems in the past few years. it decided to cease production on a very specialized formula of glass that the paperweight artists need. We were able to raise a third of
a million dollars to convince them to make more glass for us, and then they had a major fire in their factories. While most of us ended up receiving our glass in the end, the future of using schott in the paperweights is unknown and most likely limited. how would you compare working with glass to ceramic, or plastic, or any other materials you would like to make a comparison with? glass is unlike any other medium. you work with gravity and time. the most similar comparison by a long shot would be working with clay on a wheel, since gravity plays a major part in that as well. has your art-making seeped into your private life, or do you leave it behind when you leave the studio? it’s inevitable. When you are an artist, there is no fine line. it’s what i do. life and work merge. When we are on vacation, we are looking for new galleries for representation. are you an avid gallery exhibitor and supporter of your fellow glass artists? yes, i have representation in over twenty high-end galleries in the us. the glass artist community is small, and many are very supportive of one another. it’s nice to make friends
how would you sum up your life? how does it interweave and enrich your family life here in the Berkshires? i have lived in the berkshires for ten years. katie and i used to visit on weekends and then decided to move up here from connecticut, as it seemed like the place we needed to make our home. the culture and natural beauty of the berkshires fits our lifestyle and our artwork. i am inspired by the land around me and everything the region has to offer. We are happy to raise our son, charlie here. this is a place where some people can only imagine living, and we are lucky enough to make it our own.
What does your dream glass project look like, and is it realistic for you create? there are so many things i would like to try in glass. Many of them require different equipment that i do not have, as well as an extra set of experienced hands. there is so much to discover and so many new possibilities in glass. if i have unlimited time and funding for equipment, that would be my dream. but that, again, is a dream. i would love to create huge mega-magnum paperweights, that would be an amazing goal.
clinton sMith, PaPer Weight, glass
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StePhen FIlMuS coMMissions
this favorite berkshire hillside, loved by a boston couple, was commissioned to mark their special anniversary. giving a gift of art like this ensures that the essence of a special time and place will endure and give pleasure for years to come. “the commission process is collaboration between artist and client. Whenever possible we visit the site together and discuss the elements of subject, color, form and the “feeling” of the scene. the next step for me is to create a detailed color sketch that reflects the client’s vision and gives them a good sense of how the finished artwork will look. at this point the commissioner can give input and suggestions as i work toward the final design. “lastly, i simply do what i know how to do - i sit at my easel and paint.” stephen Filmus is represented by J. todd gallery in Wellesley, Ma. he is presently exhibiting several landscapes at the bennington center for the arts and his work can also be seen at his studio in great barrington by appointment. Stephen Filmus - firstname.lastname@example.org / 413-528-1253, www.stephenfilmus.com
FrOnt Street Gallery kate knaPP, Portrait
Pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…..abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. Painting classes continue on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and thursday mornings out in the field. these classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. all levels and materials welcome. Private critiques available. classes at Front street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. Perfect if you are seeking fresh insight into watercolors, and other mediums. a teacher for many years, kate knapp has a keen sense of each student’s artistic needs to take a step beyond. Perfect setting for setting up still lifes; lighting and space are excellent. Peek in to see! Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell).
Gourmet organic vegetarian fare with an international flair!
10am-8pm Sunday, Monday & Thursday 10am-10pm Friday & Saturday Closed Tuesday & Wednesday 70 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA www.Elixir.com email@example.com 413. 644. 8999 Everything is always, lovingly and consciously prepared, with fresh organic ingredients!!!
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Mary CarOl ruDIn a laDy’s back—reD, Mary carol ruDin
My painting is an inner exploration. i try to set a challenge for myself and see how close i can come to a picture that feels successful. looking at my website you will find i continue to explore various topics as well as mediums. the still life above represents an effort to capture the qualities of the elements in the picture. My challenge is to convince viewers that they are seeing the diverse textures of glazed pottery, food, a metal knife blade, wooden knife handle, spoon handle and table, as well as cloth. sometimes a metaphor, a symbol, a phrase, or a quip provokes an image that i decide i want to try to express. using identifiable things i add subtext to suggest a story to the viewer. My painting titles are also meant to lead the viewer closer to what i am trying to say. travel also supplies images that i want to express. trips to india left me with images of brilliant color which i decided to capture in a more abstract way; i wanted to put many bright colors on a canvas. that may also be the approach i will take to capture my upcoming trip to cuba. it will reveal itself as i have that experience. in los angeles i studied drawing and water color at brentwood art center and ucla extension. i also studied with landscape painter John strong, and abstract painter ilana bloch. in new york i have studied at the art students league and chelsea classical studios in Manhattan. in 2010 i moved to new york city and in 2011 made a home in great barrington. i want to witness the masters of past and present and i am fortunate to be able to visit many galleries, studios and museums. studying artists of different historical times is a look into every aspect of a particular era and an opportunity to see the changes, continuity, discord and repeated themes of life. these experiences feel like building blocks that i can use, discard or reassemble in my work. i continue to paint when i am in Manhattan as well as in the berkshires. both places are endlessly rich in inspiration and wonderful talented people. Mary Carol Rudin - www.mcrudin.com https://www.facebook.com/marycarol.rudin firstname.lastname@example.org
“Be the change you want to see in the World.” - Gandhi
Please God not Van Gogh! Part ii
the poor restaurant manager listened to rose in silence because he had nothing to say, and did not even have any idea what she was talking about. rose went on and on taking about her favorite subject, and now and then the manager ventured a timid question, just to indicate that he was listening. but for coromo it was a different matter entirely, the conversation was causing an earthquake in his mind, a mind unacquainted with a single idea about what is and what is not art. and you must never forget if you want to know what coromo was like, that he was very religious. Walking away from rose and the manager to the kitchen he muttered to himself, “having eyes i saw not,” casting in biblical terms these confusing new ideas. First of all coromo had never considered a judgment about a picture in any other terms than its detail, its accuracy, and the amount of time it took someone to do it. according to this measure, he judged his own pictures to be the worst. on the other hand, he could see that rose was dismissing those highly detailed works of those old masters for reasons he never would have considered. they were rejected by her because they were not ‘truthful,’ somehow. but his pictures were not truthful, he thought, what is truthful about a striped bus full of tourists with dogs’ heads in the windows, painted by someone who seems to have the palsy. he decided it was impossible to figure out so he put it out of his mind, and decided to just take things as they came. he was having very good luck with his new occupation of painting. he was very popular with two strange old rich lades, so who knew what the future held for him. little did he know or even suspect that the distant ephemeral art world of which he knew less that nothing was peopled with scores of strange rich old women. to say the restaurant manager was uncomfortable while talking to rose would be an understatement. First, the work he had put into decorating the dining room had been dismissed with ridicule, and after that he had to listen to rose’s long, self-indulgent lecture on art and design. suddenly his irritation found an outlet and he turned his attention to coromo, whom he began to ridicule with an outpouring of fake admiration. “coromo here,” said the manager to rose, “is our local artist. he has done a series of superb paintings, and i was thinking about recommending him to be an artist-in-residence at the resort. he could give instruction in painting
and drawing to our guests who are always looking for classes to sign up for. you should see his paintings. you would love them.” coromo knew that the manager hated his paintings and thought he was a fake as well, so he understood that everything said about him was simply said in jest. rose, however took the manager at his word and immediately asked him if he would show her his paintings. he refused this request with an outpouring of humble excuses saying, “the manager is just kidding about my paintings, they are nothing at all, just little things i do in my spare time.” but rose was not to be put off, and coromo had to promise to bring all the paintings he had at home for rose to inspect the very next day. that night when he went home he took a copy of Janson’s, art history, with him, he found a copy of the book in the resort library. although he expected no good to come from showing rose his paintings, still, there was so much he did not understand, he thought anything might happen. that night he looked at every image in the art history book, giving special attention to the color plates. he looked at the artists rose had mentioned with admiration, all of these were toward the end of the book in a chapter on post-impressionism. the artists she had criticized were in the earlier chapters. he could see clearly that the postimpressionist painters drew things out of proportion and used color in an arbitrary way just like he did. but those post-impressionists managed to distort their figures and employ odd colors in a way that was very different than the way he did. it was as if they could have done it all realistically, but chose not to because they had some different obscure purpose. he finished looking at the art history book, set it aside and had a look at his pictures with a fresh eye. What he saw seemed utterly incompetent to him. by comparing his own work to the pictures in an art history book, he was doing the worst thing a new artist can possible do, especially in this day and age. but what is there to learn for new artists by looking at the pictures of someone like Picasso too carefully. Does one ever hope to be considered a follower of Picasso? that would be a deadly title. there is a reason there were followers of rembrandt and followers of Michelangelo, because they worked in a tradition the arc of which lasted a hundred years so there was something to follow. all modern artists are one-of-a-kind; if they are not oneof-a-kind they are nothing at all. so to copy, to follow. to even ‘learn from’ others is a serious mistake. coromo could only proceed when he decided to close the art history book and forget about it all together and fortunately that day was not far off. but for the moment he had to decide what to do about
the command from rose vanDusenberg to bring all of his painting to her the next day. What would she make of his paintings? Would she ask him if some village idiot did them? Purple horses, pink bicycles, a black and red striped bus with dogs looking out of the windows, dogs with faces half yellow and half orange. he had only one painting of which he was proud, and on which he placed all his hopes to be taken seriously. it was a religious picture of christ being taken down from the cross. he knew rose liked the paintings of gauguin who was also a painter who used color in an arbitrary way. but what if it was not arbitrary? What if those real artists had access to theories and ideas which he could not understand, or even come across so as to be confounded by them? in short a feeling of inadequacy tormented him. but he had no choice, he had to take has medicine and subject himself to criticism from someone who obviously knew all about paintings. as you might guess, rose loved almost all of coromo’s paintings except for his favorite. she set them on the floor against a wall of the restaurant all in a row and for about five minutes she said nothing at all. after those five minutes she picked up one of the pictures and set it apart from the others. then she rearranged the others into sets of two or three, like a person arranging their cards in a poker game. all the time rose looked at coromo’s paintings she held her chin in her hand in a meditative pose, and with her other hand she held her elbow. now and again rose massaged her chin with her thumb and forefinger. coromo was on edge the entire time. since he had no self-confidence (at least when it came to his pictures) he thought everything she did was an indication of her irritation and rejection of his little pictures. now it is a well-known fact among people who buy and sell pictures frequently that when a person rubs their chin with their thumb and a knuckle of the forefinger it means that they are about to purchase the picture they are looking at. if perchance they ask a question about the picture they are contemplating while rubbing their chin, the dealer knows there will be no need to offer a discount, because the sale is as good as completed. Perhaps you do not believe me about prospective purchasers of paintings rubbing their chins before they purchase pictures, but you can subject the theory to a test: go and buy a picture, and see if you can complete the transaction without rubbing your chin first. you will not succeed, you will rub your chin despite yourself. rose however did not decide to purchase any of coromo’s paintings, instead she invited him to choose a wall in the dining room and put up all of his pictures. she suggested he not put them all in a row, but to scatter them all over the place. the only painting she had misgivings about was his one religious picture, coromo’s favorite. ~ richard britell
isn’t it the time to be or not to be getting your name out there? Why not advertise! 413. 854. 4400
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