Lately, my life has been all about reconnecting. Reconnecting with old dreams to make new dreams materialize. Reconnecting with old friends to create new relationships. Reconnecting with my home state. Reconnecting with my art!
Several weeks ago my wife, Wendy, and I drove from our home in Michigan for a short visit to New Jersey and New York. The drive took us through some beautiful and inspiring areas in New York, with woods, hills, winding roads, and open space.
We stopped in Bethel, New York, which provided a breath of fresh air and a journey into the past. This is where the most famous rock concert in history – Woodstock – occurred in 1969. I was 16 years old when it took place. This was a very fitting place to be in regard to my artwork. It was a connection point to my past that brought me full circle to myself and to my friends, old and new. To me, it represents the roots of where I am now.
Back in 1969, I was just beginning to develop my yearning to be a full-time working artist. The pop artists of the time, most notably Peter Max, poured out color and imagery to millions of people, but especially to a young, impressionable teen who dreamed of being a painter. Those vivid images, that prompted my own imagination, lived on inside me, creating an insatiable desire to paint, draw and create. That desire never left but the practical side of making a living guided me on a path towards financial stability while setting aside my brushes. I painted every now and then and kept ideas in a folder for the next 40+ years, but full-time art was still a dream.
I had always wanted to stand on the ground where Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and so many other phenomenal musicians had played. I had always wanted to be standing where half a million young people had gathered for such a spiritual “happening”. Now I was here! I had always wanted to be a full time working artist. Now I am here!
Reconnecting with my home state led me to reconnecting with my authentic self – the person I was before all of the complications of an adult life. In 1986, I had moved away from my home state of Michigan to make a life for myself on the west coast. I left my closest friends and high school classmates. Returning in late 2012, I was lucky to be reintroduced to high school friends (and their spouses) to start blossoming friendships that hadn’t occurred after school because of my move to California and then Washington. I am very, very thankful to have struck up these friendships, specifically with Michael, Helen, Neil, Karen/Steve, Lynn/Jeff, Karen/Keith, Cheri/Henry and Joyce/David. They, along with Kristi and Dale, have been so very supportive of my new journey! It’s also been very sweet reconnecting with my lifetime close friends Gary, Charley and JoAnn.
While at Bethel, I took several hundred photos in preparation for my next painting, Apple Jack. That painting will, yet again, symbolize reconnection as it will be my newest painting but the reflection in the jack will be of the land where 500,000 young people swayed and danced and witnessed the greatest music concert of all time...46 years ago.
Thanks, Wendy, for suggesting that we go to Woodstock. You are always so right!
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KHA Exhibiting at ArtPrize 9 at J.W.Marriott Hotel