Friday, September 13, 2013
After several tries I have been juried into the North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester. It’s an honor for me, being a north shore boy, born and bred. My parents grew up in Essex and my grandparents lived there until their deaths, so the artists of the association were all around us. My mother’s parents had a large painting by Howard Curtis (a long-time NSAA member) hanging on their wall as far back as I can remember. Howard taught art at Gloucester High School and was a good friend of my grandfather's, who also taught there. The seascape above was a house-warming gift to them back in the 40s. I have to think that subliminally the painting inspired a young Stevie Simpson to be interested in art. I'm sure I pondered the wonderful grays of the foggy scene while eating Thanksgiving dinner in their living room or resting in the cool of their (1) giant air conditioner after helping them pick blueberries in August.
I went to college at Salem State University and the kind of art that was produced and encouraged by the NSAA was sneered at (a little) by the academics who taught me there. Modern art was the driving force in the 70s and realist landscape paintings weren't the coolest thing to be making as the time. Fortunately, most of the professors themselves were making realist art (with a twist) in their own studios so I received a great foundation in drawing and painting.
In a way I feel like I'm coming home again. I did my art experimentation (among other things, ha, ha!) in college and came back to the realist landscape anyway. It feels good to be home.