No, I’m not leaving, even though I don’t spend as much time on this blog as I used to. The goodbye is to my friend and teacher, Jack Beal, who passed away almost two weeks ago. Jack was an amazing person, and an amazing artist. Considered by many to be the father of Contemporary American Realism, he was a painter to be admired.
I first met Jack and his wife, painter Sondra Freckelton, when they began to offer art workshops at their farm in Oneonta NY in 1990. They were painters whose work inspired me as an art student in the 1970’s, and I was thrilled and a little nervous to meet them. They put everyone instantly at ease with their warm welcome, and some of the people I met there, I am friends with to this day, even though we live scattered across the country.
The painting you see above is one that I did after my last trip to the farm in 2005, it is of the guest room where I slept, in an alcove off of Sondra’s studio.
I learned so much from Jack and Sondra, and I owe a great debt to them. My paintings are the better for having studied with them, and I am a better person for having known them. Jack’s health was not good the past few years, but Jack, being Jack, managed to surprise everyone several times and survive into his 80’s. He was not always the easiest person to be around, but he was honest in his enthusiasms and generous with support.
He lived big, and is gone too soon. We will miss you.