I started working for Tom Buechner in 2002 as one of his studio assistants from Houghton College. When I painted with Tom and other painters on Saturdays, I would pick an object or two to paint from his overflowing still life shelf. I am interested in painting everyday objects like these power cords, but painting them in unusual juxtapositions, or in a different context than that in which they would normally be encountered. When taken out of their normal context and painted on a still life shelf, I find that everyday objects can become characters on a stage, and take on anthropomorphic qualities. Tom was often amused by the objects I would pick to paint, but he always encouraged me to paint more and to stay away from the computer!
I miss the many conversations that we had after painting. Tom’s many interesting experiences, intellectual curiosity, and wisdom made conversations with him interesting and enjoyable. He could be encouraging, critical, and funny at the same time. I came to Corning expecting Tom to be an excellent painting teacher, and I was not disappointed. Over time though, he became more to me: a mentor, an advisor, and a friend that I miss dearly.
–John van Otterloo