On Tom Buechner/ Lennolee Spraker

Touch-- Lennolee Spraker

I painted with Tom on and off for about thirteen years.  It was often just the two of us in the studio on holidays, and I would have the opportunity to ask him any questions I might want answered, and he was always honest and generous.  One day I asked him how many of us he had filled in the blanks in our art education.  I was astounded when he answered, “Oh, Lennolee, I would have to think,well over two hundred.”

The question that he answered that I most want to share with others was, “How did you do it Tom, with all of the responsibility that you had, how did you maintain the energy to attain the goals in painting that you did?”   He answered, “Oh, really, most people defeat themselves long before they get started.  They pick some lofty goal, select a day to accomplish it, and never get started”.  He said, “Success lies in taking many small steps toward the goal”, and he proceeded to tell me how he worked. He said that he would sit down in front of the painting with a nice glass of wine and a favorite cigar.  He would pick out the most disturbing part and jot it down on the small pad he always carried.  That would be the starting point for the next days work. It might take as little as fifteen minutes to correct, but, if that’s all he felt like doing, he would do that and go no further. He said, “This is the important part. You have to allow yourself to be glad of it”.  I pointed out that I doubted that he ever stopped painting after fifteen minutes.  He shared, “Not now, but in the beginning that was the case, when he was a young artist.” He said, “You see it takes up its own energy, and when that happens it just is part of who you are.”

      I feel so blessed that Tom recognized that what he knew of the mechanics of painting was unique in this modern world, and that he felt compelled to leave the legacy of classical painting behind.  I’m so glad that our stars crossed in such a way that I had the chance to study extensively with him.  For me, it was truly a dream come true




One Response to On Tom Buechner/ Lennolee Spraker

  1. judy birch says:

    What a lovely piece to share, applicable to so many endeavors! I’ll have the image of Tom, the cigar, the glass of wine, in front of his canvas all day; the notion of small steps.
    nice. j

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