Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

An Open Letter to the Families and Friends of Filmmakers, Writers, Musicians & Artists:

February 1, 2011

My friend and colleague, Shane Tea French, posted the following note on his Facebook page recently. I felt it should be shared.

An Open Letter to the Families and Friends of Filmmakers, Writers, Musicians & Artists:

SO . . . .

Most of you know me. What do I do? In my eyes? I am a FILM MAKER. Above all else. All I do leads down the path to making  films that better the world, change lives, express emotions, transform the human tapestry. To me. That’s what I want to achieve and strive to be in my LIFE. While you all get to get married, something I have forgone in the goal of MY ART, and have children….I make movies, videos, etc. (My children.) And everyone VERBALLY supports me. “Shane, you are so talented.” Thank you.

I worked on a film called BURNING INSIDE, an amazing film I am proud to have been involved with. More than the shitty MAIN STREAM crap I suffered through in L.A. (GARFIELD, FLICKA, THE CAT IN THE HAT, etc…) and sold my soul to SCUM who would soon turn the theater experience to an utter lack of originality in remakes and 3-D that you see today. Everything that that place represented disgusted me to such a degree, I like so many others, some call us “THE LOSERS,” could not take it and came back to the EAST coast. Now I live with my Mom (like a slightly more social Norman Bates) who supports me unconditionally and try to make films on the weekends when not literally wiping butts at my day job.

I EXIST FOR ONE REASON: TO BE INVOLVED WITH AND MAKE FILMS. NOTHING ELSE. NOTHING ELSE WILL SATISFY ME. NOTHING ELSE TAKES PRECEDENCE. I AM AN ARTIST AND THAT IS MY ART. I CHOOSE MY LOVE OF FILM OVER HUMAN COMPANIONSHIP. HENCE: MY LACK OF WIFE OR CHILDREN. BUT: THE FILMS I DO MAKE ARE MY CHILDREN.

So, please. Acknowledge them. (Unless your kid is in dire need of braces?)

This is what I want to do with my life and have wanted since I was 14. I am 38 years old and still haven’t let this world BEAT ME DOWN. Me and my friends in CT made a film (“BURNING INSIDE”) that is one of the coolest and most proud I have ever been to work on. Would I recommend it to any of my relatives? Honestly. No. To my college friends? Most likely yes. To a film student. Definitely. (And I think you would LOVE it.) But whether you like it IS NOT the point. What I need to continue, WHAT WE NEED, as independent film makers, people who do this out of a GUT WRENCHING PAIN OF NEED, something you can’t control, something that pushes, punches, guides, destroys you, makes you move, gets you out of bed when there is NO reason to move: WE NEED SUPPORT! Whether you like what we do or not. IF you are a friEND or RELATIVE, I need you to donate $20 (if you can spare it) to BUY the movies we make so we can continue to get the funding for our next films we plan to make. $20 bucks? Is that a lot? Imagine it is a birthday gift? Imagine you are coming out to see a show. WE NEED THIS TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE DO AND NOT BE CRUSHED BY THE HOLLYWOOD MACHINE THAT GRANTS YOU WITH FODDER THAT CHURNS YOUR BRAIN TO MUSH AND MAKES YOU FORGET WHAT YOU SAW IN A HALF HOUR???! Most of you want to come home and dissolve into your couch. I DEMAND TO BE PUNCHED IN THE CEREBRAL CORTEX AND LEAVE A FILM STILL THINKING. THIS IS ART!

I was granted unlimited access to the behind the scenes making of this movie and shot an HOUR LONG documentary which is featured on the DVD. I made my OWN movie to go along with the feature film. THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR ME! THIS IS MY ARTWORK, the ARTWORK I CHOOSE to do in this world! THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE!!!! COULD YOU PLEASE SUPPORT ME AND PURCHASE A DVD SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE FILMS THAT DON’T COW-TOE TO THE MAINSTREAM WHETHER YOU WANT TO WATCH THE CONTENT OR NOT?! At the very least, my contribution/behind the scenes documentary  will show you that hard work, dedication, sweat, sacrifice, and the amazing people who go after their dreams and attain what should be unattainable by shear force of never giving in is a sight to see……And we have FUN doing it.

PLEASE SUPPORT ME. I DO NOT have the $$$$$ for advertising and I need to feel like what I am doing is not being ignored. If my friENDs and FAMILY don’t want any part of my achievement, then WHY would someone who doesn’t know me care either? THIS IS WHAT I’VE DONE WITH MY LIFE.

Very Sincerely, Shane Tea French

BUY THE DVD: http://channelmidnight.com/


Antietam

July 23, 2010

A few weeks ago I found myself standing in the middle of a picturesque field where 23,000 people were killed, wounded or missing in one day. Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD is the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, September 17th 1862. During the American Civil War  Confederate General Robert E. Lee, emboldened by recent victories, decided to move his Army of Northern Virginia into enemy “Northern” territory. He was met near Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg by Union Army Maj. General George McClellan and approximately 75,000 Union soldiers. McClellan had a perfect plan on paper. Attack Lee’s flanks to spread the Confederate Army out then drive through the weakened center with the bulk of Union Forces. Unfortunately for McClellan the plan wasn’t executed as well as it was written. The Union General was a bit trigger shy and failed to commit all of his forces to the battle, giving Lee opportunity to withstand the onslaught. When all was said and done at the end of the day the 12 square miles of battlefield, with such landmarks as The Dunker Church, Burnside’s Bridge, Bloody Lane and Miller’s Cornfield, were littered with bodies and flowing with blood from both sides.

Standing in that field where so many people died almost 150 years earlier I paused and attempted to put it all into context. Even now, as I sit in my air conditioned house typing on my computer with electric lights illuminating the room, I find it impossible to explain or comprehend the difference between what it is like now with what it was like then. I can write all the words I want but can anyone reading this truly feel, experience or understand what those men and women went through?  All I can do is simply reflect on a few of the remarkable people from that day:

A bugler, Private Johnny Cook, was awarded The Medal of Honor for his actions at Antietam. He was only 15 years old.

Clara Barton arrived on the battlefield around noon and while bullets whizzed overhead gave comfort and aid to wounded, suffering soldiers. One of them was even shot dead while being cradled in her arms. Nearly 20 years later Miss Barton would be the founder and first president of The American Red Cross. No small feat considering this was 40 years before women could even vote.

At only 19 years old Sergeant William McKinley was in charge of the Commissary Department delivering food and coffee to soldiers on the battlefield. He would later become the 25th President of the United States.

As I struggle to put “life in 1862” into context in my own mind I think about other aspects of the era that I have recently had occasion to come across.

Approximately 22 years before Antietam, Edgar Allan Poe published “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He died only nine years later, just 13 years before the battle. Poe was a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland which is only 65 miles from the Antietam Battlefield. I wonder, despite the young age of many of the men and women on the battlefield that day, if they were familiar with Poe’s work? Poe creates a morbid, creepy, scary and strange world in his stories. His tales are fiction but the world that he sets them in is not, though it is one that seems very far removed from The American Civil War battles that took place only 65 miles and 20 years from Poe’s home and age.

I have also recently had the opportunity to tour the Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston, CT. The Thomaston Opera House was built in 1884, just 21 years after the battle at Antietam. Walking through this beautiful, decorative and venerable building seems, again, to be a distant world from the one that existed while 23,000 people died or were wounded in the soil of Sharpsburg, MD. As the ghosts of soldiers wandered the, still fresh, scarred, fields of battle, a different variety of ghosts began striding the planks of the Thomaston Opera House.

My capacity to comprehend the hell of Antietam increased only when I learned that it was the first battlefield in U.S. history to have been photographed before the dead were buried. Alexander Gardner took a number of photos of the battlefield just 2 days after the fighting had ceased. His images shocked and appalled viewers around the country, this was the first time the reality of war would seen by folks who had not participated. Until this point visual renderings of war were usually painted, often glorifying battle or at least, by the very nature of the artistic medium, giving a few degrees of separation from the terrible reality of war. Gardner’s photos really hit home. Today, despite the graphic on screen violence we see every day, these photos still pack a punch. It’s interesting to note that Gardner made use of a new photographic technology called stereography. Two lenses take simultaneous photographs and when the pictures are observed through a special viewer the image appears to be in 3-D.

A LONE GRAVE ON BATTLEFIELD OF ANTIETAM

CONFEDERATE DEAD ALONG THE HAGERSTOWN PIKE

CARNAGE AT BLOODY LANE

DUNKER CHURCH

A Painting by (Union) Captain James Hope depicting the "Artillery Hell" of Antietam. Notice The Dunker Church on the left. Despite depicting actual battle, this painting is clearly less powerful a representation of war than the Dunker Church photo preceding it.

“There Was A Young Man With No Head…”

May 18, 2010

Hello Family, Friends, Colleagues and Fans,

BIG News today! Our second film, “BURNING INSIDE” (which just had a hugely successful World Premiere at the Connecticut Film Fest), is NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD and Digital Download through our distributor at Channel Midnight http://bit.ly/BI-CM .

It is now time for us to mobilize our army and find an audience for this film. We hope you’ll help us in that effort.

There are a number of ways to help:

1) Forward this as an e-mail to EVERYONE on your e-mail list. Sure BURNING INSIDE was described as “a raw and grinding midnight movie” (Deadline Magazine) and “A challenging and altogether harrowing experience” (Shock Cinema) but you never know who might appreciate that kind of thing, or forward it on to their friends too. (It was also “highly recommended for lovers of smart films.” (fearzone.com)

2) MAKE MONEY! Become a Channel Midnight / BURNING INSIDE affiliate and earn 10% (almost $2 per DVD!) of every sale made with your personal link! Go here for details: http://bit.ly/CM-Affiliate . If you have a moderately trafficked website, blog, facebook, or twitter this option could be pretty darn lucrative. (make sure to put your affiliate link in this e-mail before you forward it on). (If you need assistance setting up the affiliate program, please e-mail me. I’ll be happy to help.)

3) Quick Copy and Paste for Twitter and Facebook (feel free to replace the link with your affiliate link, or customize however you want):

Check out my friend @nathanwrann new movie BURNING INSIDE now available on DVD and Download http://bit.ly/BI-CM

4) Join our Facebook, and twitter pages and repost, retweet, share, “like” and spread the word through social networking: www.facebook.com/burninginsidemovie www.twitter.com/nathanwrann www.twitter.com/channelmidnight http://www.facebook.com/pages/Channel-Midnight-Releasing/101936676513987?ref=ts

5) Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003MHMU88 and write a review! (It’s amazing how important reviews on Amazon are.)

In short, it’s all about the numbers, the more people that know about it, the more successful it will be.

If you are a member of the PRESS please contact me at nw [at] daltongang-productions.com for press releases, press kits and copies for review.

THANKS EVERYONE!

We truly appreciate and rely on your support to help get the word out about this film.

Nathan Wrann & Kimberly Dalton

Dalton Gang Productions

p.s. We’re still fighting for that Audience Favorite award from the CT Film Fest (we prefer to call it the Best Audience Award). So please go to http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280 and vote 5 stars for us.

What the critics have to say about BURNING INSIDE:

“impressive…writer-director Nathan Wrann unleashes an unsettling psychological mystery, imbues his story with a unique look and pace and works wonders… a challenging and altogether harrowing experience for discerning horror fans.”

– Steven Puchalski, SHOCK CINEMA

“BURNING INSIDE is a raw and grinding midnight movie, unsavory grim in parts then slowly contemplative.”

– Marcus Stiglegger, DEADLINE MAGAZINE

“There is an awareness of filmmaking as a storytelling medium at work here that you will not find in a multiplex… A wholly original and daring piece of cinema. It’s rare that acting, cinematography and editing work in such perfect harmony to create something this unique… Highly recommended to lovers of smart films.”

– Greg Lamberson, FEAR ZONE

Available now, the BURNING INSIDE DVD includes:

• 120-minute feature film

• 12-part featurette containing more than one hour of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews

• Collection of trailers for BURNING INSIDE and other exciting upcoming releases.

The DVD is now available for purchase at Amazon.com or directly from the Channel Midnight shop or for rent at YouTube. More streaming and Video-on-Demand options are on their way.

For more information, visit channelmidnight.com

Hello, I’m Henry.

March 30, 2010

Once again Bad Lit finds the coolest damn videos.

In Mike Everleth’s latest post he writes about a screening of Nosferatu (1922) at an upcoming film fest. The twist is that the silent film will be accompanied by a live dj (from Evolution Control Committee) spinning vinyl soundtracks from other movies. Mike writes up a more in depth description (complete with date and time) and embeds a sampling of the movie with the soundtrack that you should check out here. Although I have to say that some of the music is a little too on-the-nose (the James Bond theme from Dr. No as Harker escapes out a window using sheets) it is, ultimately, a really neat idea.

Coincidentally I was thinking about ways of enhancing potential screenings of a future project (possibly related to my “Light Reading” post the other day) by having live accompaniment of a minimalist soundtrack. (Potentially subconsciously inspired by the on-stage musicians in Ethan Hawke’s incredible recent Off-Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s “A Lie of The Mind“?)

You might hear more about this later.

Nosferatu (1922)

Film Promotion… Rube Goldberg Style

March 25, 2010

One of my RSS feeds and daily spots to visit on the web is Mike Everleth’s excellent underground-film blog, Bad Lit.  Yesterday (March 24th, 2010) he posted a great blog about on-line underground film promotion. He touches on the current Facebook/twitter follower-building school of thought but focuses mostly on the general ineffectiveness of current underground film promotional websites to actually do their jobs and promote a film. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s a lot of chatter online these days about the need for filmmakers to promote their films on the Internet. This chatter typically translates into the need to send out massive amounts of stupid Tweets and irritating Facebook updates. If you do those things, the theory goes, you’ll build an interactive “community” around your film online and generate interest that will build as your Twitter and Facebook profiles gain more followers.

As a whole, I agree with him. I really, really do. The general conversation in the indie film/DIY/DIWO/Self-Distribution world is about to seismically shift from “Distribution” to “Promoting” and Mike does a great job of comparing underground film websites with a model that currently seems to be working: WebComics. However, there are inherent differences between feature (or short) filmmaking and webcomics that prohibit promotional film websites/blogs from having the same interactivity that webcomics have.

A good webcomic will put 1 or 2 pages up per week. That means that it is the job of the comic creator to post NEW content regularly. At the same time the new content is posted the comic creator can also post a blog commenting on what they have posted (like Jason Brubaker does with the excellent webcomic ReMind) I think it’s a great model. In contrast a feature filmmaker can’t post 1 or 2 scenes per week (if they do it’s now a web series (Like Wreck & Salvage. series Mike mentions) and not a feature or short film). So, either “special feature” content needs to be posted on a regular basis or it gets posted when there’s “news,” which in the indie film world is usually bunched up into busy spurts with months of “inactivity” between.

As a filmmaker I would love to be able to put up a behind the scenes clip every day that I’m on set. But at the end of a day that usually extends past 14 hours, blogging just isn’t on the schedule. Having a producer around that is willing to document the “making of” (Like the Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then blog he links to) would be a Godsend. I don’t want to diminish her blog, I’m sure it’s fantastic (haven’t had time to read it yet) and I’m sure she is very busy during the course of the production but when you’re the writer/director/camera/production designer/editor etc etc blogging isn’t conducive, and can be a bit distracting actually. Looking at her blog I see that there is only 9 subscribers, I don’t know if that is reflective of the overall readership but if it is, considering the ample amount of time that she has put into it, I’m not sure what the cost/benefit analysis would say about that effort.

Another issue (for lack of a better word) that I have is that creating an interactive website to promote a film is the beginning of a Rube Goldberg machine. Follow me here: I’m making a movie that I’m going to want to promote. So I create a blog/interactive website to promote the film. I get 1 or 2 random hits per day. So I create a facebook page to promote the blog/website to promote the film. I get a hundred or so friends (mostly people that already know about the film). So I create a twitter feed to promote the facebook page to promote the blog/website to promote the film. I get a bunch of followers, and still only a dozen random hits per day. So I create a youtube account to post videos that I tweet about to promote the facebook page that was made to promote the blog/website to promote the film. Then I make a press release to promote the video I just posted on the youtube page that is also mentioned on my twitter feed to promote the facebook page that promotes the blog/website that was created to promote the film. A couple of web magazines post the press releases and I get a few more followers to my twitter feed that was made to promote the facebook….. I think you see where I’m going with this.

Like I said I agree with Mike. Web presence is definitely a major part of building awareness and finding a way to use it successfully is the golden ticket. Looking at other models from other arts is definitely a good place to start (people started comparing the indie-music scene and indie-film scene about a year ago or so). Looking at what they do successfully is as important as seeing why it’s successful for them and if the same successful properties will apply to indie film. Maybe the solution is to have “press” on set every day of the shoot, rather than just one or two days, and let them do the content for you.

This is a great conversation to have. Does anyone have great examples of websites/blogs that you frequent that have helped you to be aware of a film that you might not have otherwise known about? Post the link in comments. And make sure to visit Bad Lit for the whole article.

This blog was directly inspired by Bad Lit.

p.s. @MikeEverleth thanks for the RT of my tweet of the facebook post that mentions the article in Fangoria about the launch of the Channel Midnight website which will be distributing my film BURNING INSIDE.

“You Might Have Noticed”

February 8, 2010

Brand new interview with me up at Colonel’s Crypt

Check it out if you have 20 minutes to spare (I’m typically long winded).

The Spirit of Pure Disaster

February 7, 2010

Last night I went to Never Ending Books in New Haven, CT, to see acoustic singer-songwriter, folk-noirist and friend Shandy Lawson play his penultimate solo show. Shandy’s set was a great mix of tunes alternating between somber songs about death and upbeat songs about death. I’ve been a fan of his for about ten years now and his songs have been a great influence on my recent projects (especially Burning Inside) not only in the subject matter (one of his songs in particular I want to adapt to the ‘big screen’) but also stylistically in the way that he tells dark stories about not-so-bigger-than-life characters.

It’s a dreadful march as we approach his final solo show, his annual “Songs From the Sofa” birthday performance, March 26th at Books & Co in Hamden, CT. After that date his guitar and voice will be gone and missed from the singer-songwriter music scene. Fortunately we can continue to listen to his recordings, but any lover of live music will agree, it’s just not the same. I urge anyone in the Hamden, CT area to check out his final show. You won’t be disappointed.

Although he won’t be playing live anymore Shandy won’t simply be disappearing into the ether. He’s a great writer who has turned his attention and dark stylings to writing novels. Hopefully it won’t be long before these are published and begin finding an audience. He’s also formed a non-profit organization to fill a gaping whole in the Volunteer workflow. Volunteer Transport was created to provide assistance to people wanting to travel to perform hands-on volunteer work but were hindered by the cost of transportation to the affected areas. It’s a great and desperately needed service.

If you’re looking for something a little different than what you’re used to, or if you already appreciate singer-songwriter music I recommend that you check out Shandy Lawson’s work, all of his albums are available on iTUNES.

I highly suggest:

Elias The Blaster

Die Before You Sin

Threads of Jacke Dupree

Shandy Lawson at Never Ending Books 02/06/2010

Shandy Lawson at Never Ending Books 02/06/2010

A Brave “New World”

January 29, 2010

I finally joined the iPhone horde.

First thing I did was download and watch Terrence Malick’s “The New World

The movie never looked so good. This is, no doubt, the way it was meant to be seen.

Reciprocating

January 22, 2010

I was looking at my stats the other day and noticed that people were finding their way to my blog from a site that I go to often for ideas and information but was unaware that was linking to me.

The site is http://newbreed.workbookproject.com/ and is, essentially, a collection of independent filmmakers blogging about their experiences, ideas and plans for making their way through the independent film world from development, through production, festivals and finally (mostly DIY) distribution. The blogs really cover a wide range of topics that affect independent filmmakers from how to act at and what to expect from film festivals to how to make and sell merchandise for your film. The specific blog that linked back here is one filmmaker’s (Ben Hick’s) blog about “The Idea That Could Revolutionize Independent Film“.

You may initially think that only independent filmmakers will find the site interesting but I assure you that film fans will find a great deal of usable insight as well. It’s no secret that independent films are quickly disappearing from the normal chains of distribution. Distributors aren’t picking them up, theaters aren’t screening them, stores aren’t carrying the DVDs. But this is where film fans can learn how to find independent, self distributed films. Read these blogs and look at them in reverse. You’ll be able to see what filmmakers are doing to get their films out there (whether it’s Todd Sklar’s traveling road show of touring movies or T-shirt distribution to independent stores) and ultimately learn where to look for them. So when you see an ad pop up in your Arts/Alternative Weekly newspaper for an indie film playing for 1 or 2 nights you’ll know where they’re coming from and how desperately they need you to go to their screening.

There’s that old movie cliche where the super-sleuth needs to “think like a thief” to catch the thief, well independent film fans are going to need to start thinking like independent, DIY filmmaker/distributors in order to catch an indie film and The New Breed is a great place to start.

(Another great resource is Ted Hope’s Truly Free Film blog.)

The Passing of an American Artist

January 17, 2009

On January 16th 2009 Andrew Wyeth died, at the age of 91, in his sleep. 

Andrew Wyeth is one of the most well-known American artists of all time. His works were both loved and loathed because of their accessibility to the public. He was a realist painter which lead to his popularity in the U.S. (we ‘mericans don’t like things too ‘artsy’ ’round here. see also: Hemingway) but also was the main fuel for his detractors who referred to him simply as an ‘illustrator’

If you’re not familiar with Andrew Wyeth please click here here and here to learn more about him.

I was first introduced to the works of Wyeth a few years ago (don’t ask how long ago, I’m not good with time) when my wife, Kim, and I were flipping through the fine art prints at Michaels Crafts in Milford, CT. We had a newly bare wall and were looking for something to adorn it. As we’re flipping through hundreds of the prints at opposite ends of the bin I paused when I came across a haunting image of a woman lying in the middle of a field, wearing a pink dress, propping herself up with her right arm. Her face is obscured as she is looking away and across the field at a large, dark house on the horizon. Her left arm is extended and her hand is in the grass. Immediately this painting struck me. Who was this woman? Why is she in this field? Did she just wake up? Does she know where she is? Did she take a nap in the field? Is she happy? Sad? Despite the haunting feeling of the painting, the woman in the field seems to belong where she is. There were so many question that this painting raised as I stood there looking at it. It sucked me in. I should have pulled it from the bin at that point, but there were so many other prints to look at I noted the location of this one and continued to flip through. 

After awhile I met up with Kim at another end of the bins and watched as she flipped through the prints, until she paused. She stopped on an interesting painting of a  dog sleeping on a bed. The room is plain and grey and none too inviting yet the dog looks perfectly comfortable sleeping deeply near the head of the bed. This painting, titled ‘Master Bedroom’ by an artist named Andrew Wyeth, captured the same essence as the woman in the field.

We separated again as we looked through the bins of Van Goghs and Picassos and Munchs, Dalis and Hoppers. After awhile I finished looking through the prints and went to find Kim. There she was standing at the first bin staring at Andrew Wyeth’s ‘Christina’s World’, the painting of the woman in the field. The painting that I had spent minutes staring at and my entire time there thinking about. The painting that chose us.

Later that night I hung ‘Christina’s World’ on the wall above our couch. And have seen it there everyday since. For years I have contemplated the story behind it. To me the woman looks young, her faded lobster-shell dress a striking pink against the grey sky, brown field and black house. What was she doing there? this painting held some sort of mystical power in its perfect proportion, detail and unanswered questions. I knew nothing of the artist until Kim and I vacationed in Port Clyde, Maine years afterward. 

My brother invited us to a long weekend at a cottage in Port Clyde, Maine. We’d spend the holiday gorging on lobster and visiting the lighthouse from ‘Forrest Gump’. During the drive to Port Clyde, as we got closer and closer, to our destination we began to see signs boasting “Andrew Wyeth” prints at many of the roadside country shops. It seemed that Andrew Wyeth was quite popular in this area of the country. I can’t remember exactly how we discovered it, maybe a AAA Travel Guide or maybe a tourist pamphlet from a convenience store but during the drive Kim started reading about the Andrew Wyeth connection to the area. Cushing, Maine, a town neighboring Port Clyde had become his second home when he split time between there and Chadds Ford, PA. We also discovered that the area has an Andrew Wyeth museum, we would definitely make sure to take some time to visit.  

The last day that we were in Port Clyde we went to the Andrew Wyeth museum in Rockland. If I remember correctly there were two separate museums, one dedicated solely to the Wyeth family and one with a Wyeth specific exhibition of early works, primarily water colors, as well as some of his other works displayed among other paintings. The museums are within walking distance of each other and were a wonderful experience. Prints, pictures and on-line images can never capture the true beauty of an actual work of art so seeing some of his paintings in person was really breathtaking. While at the museum we discovered that the very house where ‘Christina’s World’ was painted was nearby, in Cushing, ME. We got directions to the house and drove, drawn by the same energy that originally drew us to the print we hung years before. 

Walking through the rooms where Wyeth had painted while living with Christina Olson and her brother Alvaro was a truly emotional experience. Something about the rooms, being in the actual locations that were the settings for so many of Wyeth’s paintings is very affecting. So much so that the attendants at the house carry boxes of tissues around. It is a common experience for people to spontaneously begin crying.

Unfortunately ‘Christina’s World’ is not hanging in the museums at Rockland but it can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. One of my goals this year is to see it in person. 

Having visited the physical location where ‘Christina’s World’ was painted and where the painting is set, as well as learning the backstory behind the painting hasn’t reduced the mystery of it for me. I know the real world inspiration for it yet the painting stands alone, is a work by itself, full of stories and feelings and energy.

Andrew Wyeth, though he passed on yesterday will live on, immortally, through the energy of his work.

I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there, I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show. 

“I think anything like that — which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone — people always feel is sad. Is it because we’ve lost the art of being alone?” – Andrew Wyeth

christinas_world.jpg

'Christina's World' by Andrew Wyeth

 

Kim outside of the Olson's house in Cushing, ME where 'Christina's World' was painted.

Kim outside of the Olson's house in Cushing, ME where 'Christina's World' was painted.

 

Me at the Olson's house in Cushing, ME where 'Christina's World' was painted

Me at the Olson's house in Cushing, ME where 'Christina's World' was painted