Monday, October 23, 2006

The Artists' Gathering

Monday, October 23, 2006
Pardon my hiatus from BOTB. I've been busy all weekend feeding a flock of starving bird artists that showed up at our doorstoop Friday night.

Julie is a member of a small cadre of nature artists, all of whom are friends. Most of these folks started out as bird artists, painting illustrations for books, magazines, field guides. But many of them have now transitioned into other subject matter, or have changed media, and they love to get together to share their work with each other and (more importantly) to hang out and have fun. They hold "The Artists' Gathering" about once a year at one of their houses. This year it was our turn here at Indigo Hill and eight artists joined us for the weekend, coming from near and far.

So that Julie could fully engage in and enjoy the weekend, I volunteered to do all the cooking and facilitating for the weekend. It was a lot of work but I realized two things afterwards: It was an honor to host such an array of talent in our home and it was a privilege to handle their care and feeding.

The art was shared in a variety of ways. I set up my laptop and a digital projector and we watched slideshows on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Many of the artists also brought sketchbooks, small originals, limited-edition prints and giclees, and printed works in books and catalogs. Each artist takes his or her turn showing their work while the rest make comments and ask questions. And it's not all just ohhing and ahhing (though there is plenty of that). Several times an artist would show a piece and say "I'm just not happy with this," or "I just don't feel finished with this. Do you have any suggestions?" and the comments would get very insightful and interesting. These artists are friends and colleagues and they welcome constructive criticism. They want to know what they've done wrong in a painting and sometimes it takes another artist to see it.

I've always been in awe of the ability of the fine artist. And it was a rare treat to share my space and our farm with this group of world-class talent. I would not be at all surprised if someday in the future, this group is considered as an influential "school" of thought among natural history artists in the same way The Bloomsbury Group is to literary circles or the Hudson River School is to landscape painting.

In the next several days I will post images of the gathering and some of the works of the participants. For now I'll simply share a photograph of the group during our long Saturday morning hike over these southeastern Ohio hills.
The Artists' Gathering (standing, from left): Mike DiGiorgio, Jim Coe, Debby Kaspari, Cindy House, Julie Zickefoose, Phoebe Thompson, Shila Wilson, Brenda Carter, Linda Barth, Larry Barth. Front row, kneeling: Liam Thompson (orange hat), Barry Van Dusen, Chet Baker.


On October 23, 2006 at 8:37 PM Susan Gets Native said...

Too cool that a group of artists can get together and enjoy each other's art, and actually want to hear critiques. So much for the idea that artists are high-strung, all-too-sensitive types!

On October 23, 2006 at 9:11 PM Sally said...

So you cook, too? Where do I get one like you?

On October 24, 2006 at 8:53 AM dguzman said...

I'd like to see some of Chet Baker's art! No doubt it's running bennehs and such.

On October 24, 2006 at 2:19 PM Patrick Belardo said...

Wow, very cool. I have a print of a Mike D. painting on my wall of my office. It's an awesome Resplendant Quetzal.