Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A lifetime of learning to see

I mostly see the world in paparazzi-photo-like flashes. In the rush to get on to the next task, I often observe my surroundings in quick snippets with only the destination or "to do" list in mind. Every once in awhile though, a particular sight or vista will freeze me in my tracks. A "wow" and a few deep breaths later, I am saving a mental picture or taking out the phone camera. I love art that captures this beauty and will probably be in a lifetime quest to try and figure it out.
There have been many fantastic artists working and living in the Hamptons over the years. In September of 2002, my husband and I took a plein air workshop with Casimir Rutkowski in Montauk. We had seen the class advertised in the East Hampton Star. Around a dozen painters met up in one of the Park parking lots in Montauk and followed Casmir down the Ranch Road to the bluffs and beach overlooking the ocean. We were to the east of Eothen, Andy Warhol's former Estate. The Estate was still for sale at that time and a parcel of land had been donated to the Nature Conservancy. We were on that land, within sight of the Warhol cottages.

Casimir Rutkowski was an East End artist from the 1970s until his death in 2005. It was wonderful to paint with him in a favorite painting spot. We all set up our easels and began to paint, with Casimir bouncing from one student to the next offering advice and encouragement. I asked, "How do you decide what beautiful view to paint?" Casimir proceeded to draw with his pencil on the back of my canvas with cerebral commentary regarding the energy of the object and space.

I proceeded to squint and dab, staring at the ocean until I started seeing little stars. Thankfully I brought a hat and a bottle of water! Here was my first plein air attempt. Thank you, bless you, Casimir!
Below is a photo of Casimir's painting of Shad Bluff Montauk - inspiration!
To find out more:


  1. FABULOUS start to what I know will be a beautiful art filled blog..
    Putting it in my favorite list immediately

  2. Wonderful start to what will be a great blog!


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