Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thomas S. Buechner, 1926 - 2010

Thomas S. Buechner

Tom is no longer with us, but his presence will be lasting. He has touched many, many people.  He had a long career as the head of the Corning Museum of Glass and was an active member of the community, but he especially touched the painters with whom he generously shared his passion.

West End Gallery is presenting an exhibit of his work, some previously unseen, and a tribute by artists who painted with him. Downstairs will feature his work, and upstairs with show work by over forty artists. The opening is Thursday, October 14 from 5-7:30 p.m.

"Smoke", shown above, will be included in the show. That darn cigar was always present, so I thought it appropriate. In addition, my painting of "Innkeeper's Doorknob" will be shown upstairs as part of the tribute to Tom.  He encouraged me to go ahead and paint the filigree detail, which was a challenge for me, and a door can be a metaphor.

"Innkeeper's Doorknob"
10 x 8 Oil

I am grateful I was able to spend time with Tom during the last year.  We became friends.  Our friendship started when I made his portrait for my In Their Studios photo essay, and then I took a painting workshop with him, which led to him inviting me to paint with him and Lin Gardner on Wednesday afternoons during what turned out to be his last six months.

He would work on his stuff while we worked on ours.  Some days when he didn't feel up to painting, he would read while we painted.

He has lots of rules -- don't ring the doorbell, don't track in winter slush on his refurbished studio floors, don't interrupt his nap, let him speak, stop at exactly 5 p.m.--- but we adapted easily.  The camaraderie more than made up for any conforming we had to do. 

We enjoyed feisty conversations about everything  -- from local politics -- to how best to help struggling artists we know --- to the "right" way to hold a paint brush  --- and how he should stop picking on the way Lin and I like to bring a lot of stuff with us to paint with him. He found my toothbrush holder for my paint brushes particularly peculiar.

I fondly remember one of our conversations.  We were sitting on his patio in the sun while he smoked his cigar and I showed him a group of photos I was considering for the basis of a new series of photographs, called Beyond The Path.  I was stuck and wanted his opinion. 

One of the images in the series was this tree  -- the Buechner tree next to his garage.  He said how intrigued he was that he had never observed it in this way.  And then, sarcastically said that he'd have to charge me for use of it!  So, I said I'd have to charge him back for some prints I had just made for him.  That was our banter.

What I will really miss about Tom is the opportunity to talk to him about what he thought of things.  In turn, I felt like he cared what I thought, which is a gift I will always appreciate.  But the more interesting thing to me is that he gave the same gift to hundreds of people.  He was very generous.

Tom in his studio

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Barb for sharing this. Talking with him, and missing all the arguments we would have had are what i miss too. See you thurs. Jeff