Sunday, September 20, 2009


We recently took down the habitat studio at SCENIC HUDSON's Poet's Walk Park , Redhook NY. The paintings had weathered quite well and the color for the most part still vibrant . I want to thank those of you who left their comments either on the studio or in the comments box. There was a diverse range of response to the shed , some positive some very dismissive . What I found interesting were the notions of nature and natural surroundings in which there were many points of reference to an object in the landscape. For the most part we are culturally imbued with notions of beauty or natural beauty with out a point of reference . But I'll get back to that later. Amidst this interesting and somewhat polemical range of comments we found that the creatures in the park had quickly adapted the studio to their own needs .

We found that in the rafters both hornets and yellow jackets had built extensive nests . Above the one window ants had found enough cellulose and moisture to build an extensive home. A small field mouse had established two abodes for herself and her young , one in the floor and one behind some of the artwork on the work bench. Below the habitat floor around the footings was a nest of garter snakes who were glad of the shelter. A boston creeper or similar ivy had started to climb the north side and the studio was surrounded by the various plants now growing in that field . A testament to how "Nature " adapts to changes sometimes better than humans ?

So back to those comments ,.... my musing about this come from our whole relationship to what we perceive as natural . The park at Redhook follows the tradition of classical romantic ideas in respect of landscape. Wholly european in origin with exponents such as Capability Brown in England and Downing at the turn of this century in this region. A walk in the park where we come across an object , a folly placed to intrigue , a vista , a bridge over a stream ,.... a moment to reflect or comment upon in the our course of walking. BUT this groomed landscape was created in europe by the centuries of clear cutting , building fleets of frigates for the Navy and scaling machines to lay siege to some castle ,.... and building houses .

The fields we now walk in, all along the Hudson were for the most part Forested . From this fine exponent of the classic park at Red hook we have a grand view of the untamed mountains of the Catskills a beautiful juxta position to the rolling 'tamed ' fields . The small studio shared this view with many a visitor to the park , yet for some its placement there seemed an afront to the natural beauty surrounding it rather than a compliment , both were shaped by human hand ,.....
save the mountains . Our notions of beauty in the landscape groomed by generations of classical romantic painters who ultimately influenced the Hudson River School . During the height of this Painting school , the views were being pock marked by the rise of the Industrial Revolution ,...the very Railroad that brought these painters and poets up the valley tore through many land masses and mountains in order to be built.

Many of these fine Estates in the Hudson Valley were built from this new wealth and fueled the new age of Industry and Urban dwelling .... a wonderful counter point to the landscape in the growing slums of the Lower East Side of NYC ?

Meanwhile the old residents of the habitat sudio have had to find new dwellings in their 'natural ' Habitat . Some may return to the studio at its new location in the Park next Spring .We'll see ...

In the meantime enjoy the view , and I'll be reading more comments left for thought and contemplation at the old studio at Poets Walk Park , Redhook NY.

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