In 2018, the Ted Conrath project started, and I attended the River Arts Studio Tour to meet artists and learn about what they thought of his work, gain their advice on how best to serve his art, and to understand more about the creative process. Since then, I began painting and have felt extreme frustration, exhilaration and humility. And, while I showed my art this year at the River Arts Studio tour, it was the art and the artists that I experienced that made this year magical.
Eleanor Goldstein was atop a tall step-ladder when I entered her studio. As always, she was a flurry of movement, and no sooner than I had said "hello," I was helping her lay out several of her works for hungry tour-goers. Most that entered were artists themselves and fired off questions like fireworks. She answered them all, whether it was about price, technique, paint, layers, or inspiration.
In Eleanor's studio it is hard to find a piece of work you don't like. They are all stylistically different, but evocative and complete. If you are fortunate enough to come away with a piece of her work, it is indeed a day to be celebrated. Unlike most gifts you give yourself or that are given to you, a true work of art by a true artist is something that can only give more as time goes by. They become a part of you, a part of your home, and the artist, themselves, a piece of who you will be.
I had gone to her studio the day before. In her stead was her daughter, a strong, beautiful woman that exuded a kind, confident independence of spirit. I asked her what it was like having a force of nature like Eleanor for a mother. She thought for a hard minute, then replied with absolute clarity, "perfect."
Though we can't all be her children, we can try and add as much of her to our lives as possible. Just one piece can do that!
There is a yellow door on the side of a quiet, two-story building in the middle of Hastings and when you open it, you enter into a truly sacred space, a magical wonderland of art and peace. Stephanie Buck and her husband Robert great you so casually you'd think you had just seen them five minutes before. You pick up conversation with them just where you left it, even if it was a year ago.
Stephanie's art is magical, loose, and full of color. It fills the walls of the main room and the other adjoining rooms, that somehow remain tucked away from sight. Stephanie guides you in with a smile to a small table surrounded by several rocking chairs and Robert pours you a cup of wine.
You make eye contact.
Then you smile. You can't help it.............
While you came there to see her art, they only seem to see you!
Before you know it, you are soul deep in conversation that for lack
of a better word, is just real.
You forget about buying and selling and worrying and wars and politics and your Instagram feed. You are in that space... with them. It's like stepping into a room
with Marina Abramovic; you are present! When you do drift your eyes back to the art, the realization comes to you: they are healers. The paint, the color, the images; they might as well be the blood and skin of the Buck's. They have it open and exposed for you to experience when you enter through that yellow, wooden door. If you don't come away a better person than when you entered, you might just be beyond saving.
If this first year of art exploration has taught me anything, it is that art is much more than a picture. It is an experience. You have to connect with it and in some way to the artist. If you do, it will and they will engage you back. Then, the value of having a work of art in your
home far exceeds whatever price you might pay.