Our Memorial Show for our friend, the late Tom Buechner, has come down. It was a great success and we thank everyone who came out to see Tom’s work as well as the Tribute show of work by Tom’s paintings companions and students. We have been running a series of essays by those artists who participated in the tribute show and will continue to do for the next few weeks.
Today we feature Wilson Ong.
I grew up in a traditional Asian family working in a Chinese restaurant. Education and making something of one’s self were emphasized. As my interests and talents grew in the arts, my parents never discouraged me, but seldom encouraged me. Despite this I chose the path of an artist and have made my way mostly by my own self-reliance. Yet it has always been my deep desire to have an artist friend or mentor who could understand and encourage me as an artist and impart their experience and wisdom to me. I have met many artists in the past, but none that either befriended me or ultimately had time for me. Prior to moving to Corning I lived in Rockland, Maine. During this time I recall picking up an art magazine that included a prominent advertisement for an artist named Thomas Buechner. I recall how drawn I was with the featured painting of an armadillo. I thought that this was someone I struck an artistic chord with. Strangely enough I eventually moved to Corning, and through Lin Gardner, met Tom. He was, from the very start, kind and respectful. As he became more familiar with my work, he surprisingly treated me as a peer. He offered me respect not only as an artist, but also as a person. As we met on Saturdays to paint I was always intrigued by his stories of the past. Though I got to know Tom for only a few years, I could not help but feel that the void that I had felt, since I was younger, was filled. I would like to add that I am most grateful for Mary, for allowing others and myself to enter their home. I am also thankful that his children allowed countless artists such as myself to share their father.