Thursday, March 3, 2011

An Artist's Way: My Art Colony Along US 68 Part I

It probably started with thinking about the Wyeths and their beautiful setting of Bucks County. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in an art colony!  At one point, art colonies abounded, particularly in New England.  I was reminded of this on a trip to Dartmouth, visiting the Hood Museum of Art, where there is an excellent collection of American art; a lot of it produced in those New England art colonies. One particular painting caught my eye (and continues to draw me in via the excellent catalogue).  That painting is entitled Below Mount Monadnock, painted by Abbott Handerson Thayer. Apparently Mount Monadnock was a favorite subject and situated close to the "burgeoning" art colony of Dublin in New Hampshire.  I have images of Thayer setting out on painting expeditions and stopping to speak with his fellow art colonists about their current projects.  If only I could work in such a setting!  Then one day, this happened--
      I was at my studio at Carnico and took a break to walk Carly, the dog.  It was a short walk, I just walked up the hill and down toward the point, and there were Jim and Ottis.  Ottis had brought a painting for Jim to look at.  Jim restores art as well as doing some framing and making his own original art.  The painting was one that Ottis had collected when he bought art to sell in his furniture store. Ottis is an amazing artist himself; the most experimental artist I know.  It is very liberating to be around him and his work!  Hmmm, I thought, maybe I do live in an art colony.  Jim's wife Katie is a first-rate needle artist and she has recently taken up weaving on an impressive loom. Between their home/studio and mine, is the home/studio of Derek, the mastermind designer of my website: I don't have to travel far to have paintings framed or to have a chat with my website guru! Then a couple of coves over is Brad, who worked hard with others to start the Courthouse Square Arts Guild in nearby Carlisle.  Brad is a fossil artist!  He finds a lot of fossils along US 68 and creates some solid compositions with his found treasures.  March lives down another point and she makes gourd art, using  Native American techniques. Across the lake is Kay, who exudes creativity in her dress and in her collage work.  Her husband Raymond, makes fine furniture in an amazing workshop with a view like you wouldn't believe. No doubt, I am leaving many people out--but I'll get to know them, as Brad is planning an Art of Carnico exhibit. This is just Part I. Finding our place on Lake Carnico has made possible my archipelago-like art colony. I want to tell the story of  all these islands of creativity that enrich my artist's life.

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