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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Thursday, March 08, 2007
  Genevieve Hamlin
Recently, on a whim, I googled the name of an artist who made a powerful impression on me when I was a young girl--Genevieve Hamlin, whom I learned from my web search was quite a well-known sculptor in her day, a member of the Philadelphia Ten group of artists. She was a friend of my grandmother's, and I was taken to visit at her country home when we lived in upstate New York in the mid-60s. It was my first encounter with someone living a truly art-centered life.

My memories of that day are of an old woman (she'd have been about 70 then--certainly ancient to a 12 year old) with a brisk, no-nonsense demeanor, who seemed somehow at least as energetic as my much younger parents. She showed me around her barn-like studio (which probably was a barn, though I don't exactly recall) full of stone sculptures, let me ride her horse around the corral and play with her dogs, and critiqued with impressive seriousness several pen and ink drawings I'd brought to show her. This visit opened an exciting possibility to me, that someone could really be an artist, in the sense of having that as the central fact of daily life--that you could live to be old surrounded by your art, and your horses and dogs in beautiful surroundings. After I met her, I could--and did--clearly imagine myself leading Miss Hamlin's life, or something a lot like it.

I talked to my 82-year old mother recently about all this...she has only a hazy memory of that visit, and had no idea that it had meant so much to me. Now as a busy working artist myself, I realize how generous Ms. Hamlin was that day with her time and attention, and my mom and I both lamented that I had not written her a note of thanks while she was still alive. But perhaps it's only been clear to me as I've entered my own mature life how strong a vision she presented to me that day. In any case, for me there are two lessons that come out of this memory--say thanks when you can, and be good and generous to young artists.
 
Comments:
I just googled Genevieve Hamlin and your blog came up. She was my grandmother's cousin and something of an awe-inspiring mystery in our family. We have a few of her pieces. It was nice to read your encounter with her - nice also to know where the artistic blood comes from. I am also an artist and arts educator - I hope to live up to her spirit!

Judith Bell
 
Judith--I loved reading your comment--isn't the internet amazing? The day I visited Genevieve Hamlin will always stand out in my mind.
 
I enjoyed reading your comments about Miss Hamlin! I was 14 in the mid seventies when I met her at her hilltop home in Afton, NY. My high school librarian was taking sculpting lessons from her and when I indicated an interest in doing the same I began taking lessons as well.I remember well the barn full of amazing sculptures, her simple home filled with all things to make and create art, and her white horse. She was an inspiration to me and a character I will always remember fondly.
 
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