I am spending some time in Halifax. Yesterday (Thanksgiving Sunday) went sketching with new friend Tom. Certainly a treat to meet and get to know an artist who had been a huge inspirational influence in setting my direction as a painter and helping me to make the decision to become an artist in the first place.
Tom's attitude, ideas and knowledge is as sound as the quality and source of the subject matter of his images. The truth to, dedication and core emotional values underlying what he does is refreshing counterpoint to the frenetic shifting values of the postmodern. As well, the reinforcement of sense of place in art (and which Tom has, through his drawing on the specific, and through his influence on eastern Canadian art, certainly made manifest) is an issue which I have lately begun to feel challenges and impairs through its absence, a lot of emerging and current production.
Tom has a dry wit and a pleasant and comfortable nature which is refreshing. Even his occasional jibes and criticisms are delivered in a forgiving manner. He is a man comfortable in his own skin, and comfortable with the position he holds in the arts. One thing quickly obvious on first conversing with him is his knowledge of art history and his wide ranging appreciations. This is an area in which I identify completely; being understood as a "realist" painter does not limit one's own broad areas of influence, hidden or obvious.
I guess this is a funny time in my life. It seems that there is coming to be the closing of a large circle of experience; perhaps this is a necessary part of my path before moving on. I mean energy is restless and inspiration develops from and expresses new ideas, which are the result of change. It seems that through Virgil, and Tom I am beginning to see from a more mature position my struggles and enthusiasms of the last 3 decades. Not that there is the need to turn a new leaf, but a sense of the need to consolidate power and expression on a different plane emotionally.
So yesterday Tom loaned me some paint and a few brushes and we went out to the shore road and spent a few hours in the sun on the beach. I did a sketch of Tom painting. Some insight into his world and magic.