Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tall Grass

I planned this blog post to be about the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, and while it was an exhilarating experience, some things happened during and since that I need to talk about.
As the show opened, the Festival’s featured artist Don Rambadt stopped by my display to chat. Don’s knowledge of art and the skill with which he plies his trade are truly remarkable. I respect his opinion and when he had such nice things to say about my work, he nearly left me speechless.
The two days following the Festival were spent with sculptor Paul Rhymer. It was the first occasion where I’ve spent much time with Paul and it turned out to be one of those experiences that changed the way I look at the world. When Paul originally invited me to spend a couple of days with him, our plan was to simply do some duck hunting. It sounded like fun and, truth be told, I really wanted to take the opportunity to pick Paul’s brain about his art. As it turned out, the duck hunting was less than stellar, but still a lot of fun… and Paul is like a brother I never knew. We spent a considerable amount of time driving from one place to the next and it gave us a chance to talk about a lot of things… from art and business to life in general. We discussed the Birds In Art exhibit we had both attended in September and Paul quizzed me about the plein air painting workshop held after the opening weekend. I told him how much I learned in those four days, but the best part of the entire experience was the privilege of spending time with James Coe and Larry Barth each evening.
The second morning of our hunt, celebrated sculptor Walter Matia joined us in the marsh looking for wood ducks. We never fired a shot, but after breakfast Walter invited us to drop by his studio that afternoon. So we did. What a treat! I’ve admired Walter and his work for years and it was an extraordinary experience to peruse his studio and talk with him about art. I tried my best to keep my mouth shut and just listen to every word.
By the end of that day, I’d watched Paul pour several bronze castings and spent several hours helping with a huge monument sculpture of a big horn sheep that will be unveiled in Tulsa in February 2012. That evening, exhausted and happy, I sat with Paul and his wife Carolyn having pizza and drinking beer. Paul smiled at me and said, “Jim Coe, Larry Barth, Don Rambadt, and Walter Matia… you’ve been walking in some tall grass lately.”
Tall grass indeed my friend. Tall grass indeed J


Kelly Singleton said...

What a treat indeed! Sounds like an awesome time spent with awesome artists :)

Kathy Foley said...

An especially heartfelt post, Jim. I still remember your "story" upon receiving that first Birds in Art "big envelope." What a trajectory it's been. I love the thought of so many Birds in Art-connected friends in one room, studio, car, duck blind, or anywhere! All best, Kathy

Jeff said...

Hey Jim,
Wow I'm happy for you that had such a great experience.For sure you were in awsome company.
Yes,"Tall grass indeed my friend", good for you.
I only question this
"I tried my best to keep my mouth shut and just listen to every word", HA.
Good for you my friend, well deserved indeed.