Friday, July 17, 2015

Going Home

This past week I enjoyed a trip away from my studio. I revisited my home in upstate New York, near Albany.  I had a wonderful time revisiting the fields I ran in as a child, the hills I flew down on my bike and the lakes where I  learned to swim. While  catching up with a childhood friend, a suggestion to go see a Van Gogh exhibit at The Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA became an exciting unexpected side trip.
As we drove up Rt.43 from NY state to MA, I recalled the source of  my paintings! I had absorbed that land as a child and never left it behind.  More gently rolling mountains than the soaring ones I saw last month in New Hampshire and Maine, expanses of pastures broken by the now green swath of ski runs, with glittering lakes tucked into every turn. My head was on swivel as my hands painted the air.
   I entered The Clark and walked the Van Gogh exhibit. Painting after painting I saw work of this artist that I had never seen before. Sketches were next to paintings working out the rhythms of his brush strokes. I recalled a teacher once telling me that as students we never used enough paint and were afraid to leave a brush stroke. Van Gogh's work was stunningly the opposite of that!
As this exhibit ended I turned to the permanent collection. Homers, Sargents, Renoir,The Impressionists...gallery after gallery and I experienced a strong deja vu . I felt another pull of childhood long forgotten, as if these paintings had been my playmates, I smiled and enjoyed my renewed wonder of each piece. A quick text to my brother, and he  explained that I had visited this museum as a small child, with family long ago...perhaps the first thrust into my life as an artist recalled by going home....Helen

My favorite work by Van Gogh:
The Cypress

1 comment:

Alison Salmon said...

I would love to visit that gallery!