First Plein Air of 2010 by Wilson Bickford


It has been "unseasonably" warm here in northern New York the past several days. Temperatures have been in the 60's, which is practically unheard of for March. The forecast says we can plan on this break not lasting and we'll be back to reality next week.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I hauled out my travel easel and paints and headed out for something scenic to paint.

Pictured here is the result of my little field trip. This is a spot located just a very few miles down the road from me. With the snow melting and all the run-off, this spot was "percolating." Just rushing water! This is the view from the bridge, which is where I set up shop. It's a secondary road, so traffic is minimal and I managed to squeeze into a safer perch behind a guardrail.

Though most of the "ground snow" is gone now, there is still a lot of snow and ice around the river and nearby banks. This particular view is hemmed in with lots of evergreens and cedars and the sunlight that was bathing them resulted in some vivid greens. It was eye-catching and I couldn't have found a nicer spot to try and capture.

I got most of this down and recorded on the spot and finished the closer bark trees when I returned home. I've been waiting all winter to get out and do some painting, so this was a great opportunity for it. I hope the good weather holds on a little longer.

Boat People - A Painting by Nobody


I was extended an invitation to donate some art for an auction benefiting the survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Of course I was more than happy to contribute my talents, so I didn't hesitate to accept.

The painting I've created especially for the fundraiser is entitled Boat People. I wanted to create an image that could perhaps provoke a discussion about perceptions regarding the so-called less fortunate, inhabitants of small third world countries. The pain and agony of Haiti's suffering now pull at our heart. But it wasn't long ago that many saw them as "boat people," illegal immigrants ferrying to America for a better life in makeshift boats.
Boat People, mine is a portrait of humanity. Boat People, because regardless of the tragedy du jour, we're all in the same Boat, People.

Perhaps this painting will serve as a small reminder after the ruble has been cleared, and normalcy of life resumed, of our human commonality. Perhaps the money raised will make someone sleep more comfortably and contribute to rebuilding needed housing. Perhaps our combined efforts of community will, inspire others to know that each of us in our own way can make a difference.


What will be your Artistic Legacy? by Wilson Bickford


Have you ever wondered how your art will survive the ages? I don't mean just the actual pieces of art you've created, but also your "reputation" as a bona-fide artist. I know it crosses my mind from time to time.

Hey, we'd all like to be remembered after we're gone, wouldn't we? Artists have a unique opportunity to leave their "stamp" on the world. Have you ever seen the paintings of the dogs playing poker? Sure you have. Although there are other people "borrowing" that theme today, the originator of that idea was Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. He was born in 1844 in Antwerp, NY, a mere 15 miles from my home where I've lived all my life. The fact is that I had never known that until a couple of years ago when I saw an article in a local newspaper. His work became very popular in the early 1900s.

Although I have seen his "dogs" on calendars, posters and even wall tapestries, I had no clue that he was a northern New York native.
Though most of us have never heard of, or would recognize his name, there's no doubt that we're familiar with his work and he left behind a legacy which will endure for a much longer time to come.

His work is still popular in the print market. Some would say that's a small accomplishment, but is it, really? To leave something behind that endures and takes it's place in history and popular culture is no small feat.

I admit, it doesn't carry the clout of Da Vinci and his Mona Lisa or Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, but Mr. Coolidges' work will carry on, none the less. Will you and I be fortunate enough to reside in posterity's memory?
Maybe we should consider our future impact when we sit down at our easel, chisel that sculpture or write that poem. We certainly don't know where the chips will fall, but I think it's important to do the best work we possibly can because it will be the ultimate record of our existence.
I have an idea,............... how about pigs playing hockey?

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