Saturday, September 7, 2013

When Autumn Blushes...

On location in the village of Rockport... Grout's Garden

When the allure of Summer suddenly fades... and Autumn first blushes, the heart of the plein air painter palpitates with the same sense of excitement and anticipation as the geese clans... now rafting into larger gatherings all along the St Lawrence River. They all gather... adults and young for the last stage of their preparation to migrate southward to far off and warmer wintering places.For the young, newly born here on the shores of the St Lawrence... they have never seen these places. Their "honked up" frenzy of excitement is orchestrated by their elders... who better understand the ardour and grave danger of the long trek lying before them. Constant communication is an absolute... as they fly at great height in formation over cornfields and marshes studded with gun-toting hunters hidden in well camouflaged blinds... decoys laid out... ready to spring into action when unwary young drop too low... too prematurely due to fatigue, hunger and rest.

In my mind, each year.. I wonder. Do the geese understand or have a concept of "Home"... such as mine? Is that the driving force? John Keats wondered too:

"I do not know where the geese go when they leave the River in fall, or what they do when they are wherever they are in winter, or which of their residences seems more real, or more like home to them, or if they have a home at all, or if they feel generally at home in all the world."

But John Keats and I both felt and understood that our shared sense of "Home" was always embedded here amongst this archipelago of Thousand Islands... and that sense of "Home" and belonging never ceases to fuel our imaginations or sense of creativity- he in words... and mine in my paintings. This Truth is recorded on the inside cover of the hard cover edition that I was given by the Keats family. It is not at all a shiny, new edition... but rather appropriately a "recycled" copy... a copy stamped WORN, SOILED,OBSOLETE-  WITHDRAWN from the San Joachim Valley Library System. It had been discovered... rescued and was redirected into my grateful hands by Peter Frost, Grandson of John Keats and his "Gal Friday"/ Soul Mate Kelsey Boesch on the West Coast of the USA.

The inside cover reads as follows:
This copy of this book "Of Time and an Island" is for Bruce Sherman- a fellow river rat who understands as we do that "as soon as we return to the river, we feel as if we had never been away."Our father has written the book and you Bruce, have captured the meaning in paint."

Vicky (Keats) Frost
Magsy (Keats) June
Chris Keats

This book and its inscription mean the world to "Me." No monetary or art award, or jury's appraisal satisfies me more than this mouthful of words. The Universe knitted or lives and souls together in one single meeting... and it shall keep us so over our life times. That is the way of the River. Once bitten... River blood runs in your veins and you are instantly related to all inhabitants along its shores. All of us feel that communal sense of "Home"

The weekend following this one... a migration of another sort will descend upon the rustic and beautiful village we live in. The 3rd Annual Rockport Plein Air Paint Out is being staged by our Rockport Development Group in support of plein air enthusiasts who are interested in coming into the Thousand Islands region to paint and share fellowship.

This year, we have lined up some new and exciting features for this year's event to include an opportunity on Friday to travel to by cruise vessel... and  paint on the grounds of the crown jewel of the Thousand Islands.... the world-famous Boldt Castle, located on Heat Island, NY. Water taxi trips to three other beautiful island sites are also offered on Friday. On the Saturday evening, The Rockport Cruise Lines is offering all artists a one hour complimentary sunset tour of the islands. Following the cruise there will be an evening dinner and a water colour painting demo by respected Rochester, NY river artist, Paul A. Taylor. Could you fit it in?... I'd be happy to help you with making it happen.

Registration is FREE!... and can be done totally on line as shown in the brochure that I have posted here! This event is an inexpensive, artist-friendly event, filled with painting adventure and above all,  great fellowship... food and an opportunity for an unforgettable adventure in a world class UNESCO Heritage location. Check us out at our web site!

Good Fall Painting... to ALL!!! 

Below are but a few of the sites that are available for you to see... visit and paint !

On Pine Island... "The Head"... writing sanctuary for John Keats

The Cornwall Lane and Pub... great food.... drink... and painting material all about its grounds

The Gananoque Boat Line vessel passing by "The Head" under the white pines on Pine Island

Cruising thru' the island archipelago... a new adventure around every corner! Cameras... a MUST!!!

 Benson's Rift cottage... one of a myriad of summer places tucked away quietly along the cruise route

 First sight of Boldt's Castle, Heart Island, NY... Time stands still and the splendour holds one breathless here... no matter how many times you have seen it!

The Power Station on Heart Island... a play place for a child's imagination !


  1. Hi Bruce, I'm sometimes envious of people, like you, who feel an attachment to a special place they can call home. I never seem to have had that feeling. I am always drawn to hills and wild places, but it doesn't matter where they are. My mother always had a bit of Gypsy restlessness about her, and I suppose I have inherited those tendencies. Maybe in the end, the freedom compensates for the lack of roots.

    The plein air Paint Out sounds exciting. I hope the weather is good for it and that you get lots of visitors.

    All the best,

  2. Good morning Keith!... "You"... need not feel envious of "Me"... or of my expressed sense of "Home."

    Roots... or no roots... aka Home... "Freedom"... in one's mind and soul is at the very root of one's sense of peace and belonging. You and I are indeed brothers... soul mates if you will... in this regard!

    We worship in that same cathedral... "Free"...each in his own to express what we see and feel as we journey.... with absolutely no need for comparison!

    I am so blessed ... to call your Friend and peer! If only the world could understand and operate with this blend of peersonal freedom and tolerance... what could the world become?

    I wonder....

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. I'd be surprised if I can ever get up there, Bruce. But I do have to say your home has stolen my heart. How beautiful and oh so breathtaking. I hope you have a fabulous success! If you are ever of a mind to share your photos to allow for some far away artists to paint, I'd sure love. At least 3 or 4 of these have my fingertips itching! But first I guess I need to practice my harp today and get going on a still life I have to do for an assignment.

  4. Good Sunday morning Sherry!... Thanks again... for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

    Whether or not you are ever able to visit this area... my photos and my paintings can be used to learn from or create by any artist or friend. After all... I began my painting voyage of discovery copying those artists that I first admired... ever so loing ago now. They were my first mentors!

    Does that relieve the "itching sensation in your fingertips" at all? If so... get at it! Stop the "harping" immediately... HA HA!!... and pick up those brushes and paint away!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,