In conjunction with our ongoing Memorial Show for the late Tom Buechner, we have been running a series of essays that were written by artists who painted and/or studied with Tom. These essays accompanied an accompanying tribute show consisting of work by these artists that hangs in the upstairs gallery at the West End. The show ends November 12.
Today’s entry is from Linda Gardner.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to paint with Tom Buechner. I had only painted with him for a few weeks before he became ill.
When my friend, Barbara Blumer, and I first were invited to join him in his studio I felt very honored, but scared at the same time. I had only been painting for about a year and felt quite intimidated by the thought of painting with “TOM BUECHNER!” I finally built up the nerve to give it a try and I asked him to “please be kind to me” since I understood that he could at times be a tough critic.
When we first walked into the studio, we saw Tom at his easel, smoking his cigar and listening to opera. He made us feel very welcome. After getting past my initial anxiety, each week became more and more enjoyable. Tom was very kind to me. He allowed me to paint quietly in my little corner of the studio, but every once in a while he would come over, stand behind me, then gently place his hand on my shoulder and make suggestions or give me words of encouragement. My regret is that I didn’t take him up on his offer to paint with him sooner—but I am happy for the time I did have with him.
My painting for this exhibit is the one I painted with Tom. When he declared it finished, I put my brush down. I have since looked at it
and think about other things I might do to improve it, but Tom’s voice keeps echoing in my head “IT’S DONE!”.
Tom was a dear friend and an amazing person. Over the years he shared his time, his talent and his studio with many painters. He lived and breathed painting.
Although Tom is well known for many accomplishments in his life, the purpose of this exhibition is to honor him as a friend, a painter, a teacher, and a mentor. I will miss seeing him, and especially seeing that twinkle in his eyes…
Thank you, Tom.