1 July

The Mansion Activity Room: Two Terrific Artists Are Offering Us Some Classy Paintings For The Walls

by Jon Katz

I’m meeting this weekend with two very gifted artists who have each agreed to donate some of their work to the walls of the new Mansion Activities Room.

Matt Chimian agreed to donate some landscapes yesterday, and today, artist and poet Jackie Thorne of Glens Falls, N.Y., agreed to send some of her original and beautiful pastels (see below.)

I’m meeting Matt in his studio at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. He’s got two paintings in mind and we’ll also look through some of the landscapes.

The realist landscape artist Matt Chimian has generously agreed to offer some of his paintings to hang on the new wall of the Mansion Activities Center.

Shelly Newman, a blog reader, saw his work today and bought one of his pictures, “The Art Of The Bottle,” now showing at the National Bottle Museum at Ballston Spa.

The photo Shelly bought is the one at the top of the page. Chimian’s work is rich and varied.

Chimian is a passionate and prolific landscape artist who calls himself a Prosaic Realist. He is well known and sells a lot of paintings and has a studio with an open house most Sundays.

He is always alone when I see him, standing in the rain or snow or on a street corner, painting the ordinary world.

We live in a world filled with bright and shiny objects each competing for our attention,” he writes on his blog,  “and like anyone else I consume images, especially on screens; I resist and find my refuge.

Always right there in front of me, that moment of focus
with nothing to distract, and get to the truth of the world
beyond the canvas.

Slowing the world down is how I want to live and painting is direct action, it plays out in its own time-limited only to my own internal clock; I need no other filters or processes, and there is no cheating, it’s truly enmeshed in my life.

It doesn’t feel like winning, there are no trophies or prizes,
celebrations are rare, but the inner satisfaction is huge.”

I relate to Matt’s style because he seizes on the small and ordinary and mundane images of life and reminds us that they are familiar and comforting and important. They also tend to be ignored or overlooked by the “art” world.

I try to do this in my photography. Matt has found a special niche for himself and his work.

(Painting by Jackie Thorne)

Matt lives in Cambridge, N.Y., and haunts every road, street, and hill in our country in every kind of weather every day.

He is a true creative to the core. I’m tickled that a blog reader has already bought one of the paintings, the sale was all done online.

I should say that Matt has a lot of beautiful paintings for sale on his website; they range in prices from $2,000 to $200.

There are some genuine bargains there; Matt has a lot of paintings in his studio and storage room.

I insist on paying (or trying to) him for any paintings he’ll give or sell us; we’ll hash out the details Saturday morning.

I met Matt at a Christmas party five or six years ago, and we had lunch but haven’t seen or spoken to one another since. Men.

He popped into my head while we struggled to figure out how to get some first-class art on the Activities Room Wall with limited funds.

I called him, and he didn’t need to think about it or hem and haw. Sure, he said. I’d love to help.

People like that keep me hopeful about our world.

This morning, I called another gifted artist, the poet and painter (and nurse) Jackie Thorne, who has shown her work in Glens Falls, N.Y., an hour or so north of us, and lives there.

I remember seeing one of her beautiful paintings online, and it stuck in my mind. It would be the perfect painting to hang on a Mansion wall. It is soft, beautiful, and calming.

I hope to meet with Jackie over the weekend; she also has agreed to provide two paintings to hang on the walls of the Mansion Activities room.

Jackie hasn’t decided to sell her work yet; she will be showing her pastels and watercolors in a local art association in Glens Falls soon.

I’m excited to be bringing this art to the Mansion walls.

At the same time, we’ve ordered two big cork boards so the residents can show their art on one of the biggest walls, anything they want to put up.

These two artists are first-class; their work will add a great deal to the new Activities Center, and all that remains is some negotiating (I insist on paying something to artists) and getting some frames.

The Mansion leaders are serious about this room, and  I’m taking them at their word. So far, so good.


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