I am vacationing in New Orleans for three weeks. I feel a bit ungracious to be complaining but my fingers have been itching to begin the painting I left planned on my easel in my studio at home. It is another for my series on mountain life and will join the three completed since the summer: “Swimming Hole”, “Sunday Morning”, and “Parade”.
I am feeling the influence of Thomas Hart Benton and Reginald Marsh very strongly. Both were American Scene, Regionalist, figure painters about whom I have written before. As far back as my student days at the Cleveland Institute of Art my lyrical line was noted as similar to Benton’s, however, no one at that time, not even I, was aware of my interest in the community life of an area.
In the last two years, since completing my series on “Music In the Mountains” I have been overwhelmed with visions of the life I see around me. I interpret this visual phenomena to mean that it takes me a few years of being in a place to begin to see the habits of behavior typical to the area. I have lived in the Catskill Mountains for seven years and I begin to see the traditions peculiar to my community. I now view “Music” as the beginning of a series, “Mountain Life”. Now I feel that in addition to Benton and Marsh, I have a kinship with Grandmother Moses and our own Nellie Bly Ballard, known as the “Catskill Grandmother Moses“. I would love to see our paintings exhibited side-by-side.
The sun is shinning here in New Orleans and I cannot help but compare my physical surroundings to those of a Sunday morning at my home in the mountains.