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Home » ARTS AND CULTURE » NEW HAMPSHIRE » The Arts and Artisans of New England
     BY: Peter Malyshev
The Arts and Artisans of New England

By Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr. | June 28, 2012

Mike F. Bisceglia discovers the rich artistic culture prevalent in New England.

BY & COPYRIGHT: Peter Malyshev

As I travel extensively about the country, I gather many Americans outside of New England believe people here to be stiff and abrupt.   In short, not nice folks. I guess the thought may be that I was a nice guy escaping the area.   Nothing I say can convince anyone that the angry myths about the horrors of the region were just that...   angry myths.

It is next to impossible to live in this wondrous region and not feel genuinely good about our lives; our relations with others; and our art.   From my perspective, the art of the region is the region.   It is a living canvas, a spectrum of colors, and a cosmos of shapes, temperatures, and textures.   In a conversation with my wife prior to moving here, I said, 'If a person cannot be creative in some form or other here, his or her heart stopped beating a very long time ago.'

Here, it is very common to come upon someone sitting by the side of the road, or on a stump, or on a stonewall busily engrossed in sketching, painting, or penning something caused by the vista at hand.   New Englanders and those who visit the region try to capture the sights, the smells, essentially, the feeling of the area in some form of their human production.

Route 1A meanders along the coastline.   As it passes through Rye, New Hampshire, bending around a small marina nestled in among large granite boulders.   Faded wooden buoys bob in the water marking the entrance to the spot.   Gulls spiral overhead.   The smell of the sea is fragrant.   In short, it is a very charming bit of New England.   From late spring through late fall, artists and would-be artists search out just the correct angle to capture their vision.   I have seen the same sailboats depicted by thousands of people in thousands of ways. All of the artists smile as they produce their labor of love.   New England truly does bring out the best in people.   It shows in their personalities.   It is communicated in their souls.

BY & COPYRIGHT: Peter Malyshev

My wife likes to drag me along to arts and crafts shows any and everywhere she finds one.   I dutifully grump a little, but the truth is I really enjoy going.   I am always amazed at what regional folks can do with just about anything they may find lying about.   They turn ancient fenceposts into birdhouses and yardsticks into stools.   I'm always a little saddened after I go to one of these events thinking, 'I just tossed away a batch of those.   I could've made a windmill.' My second thought is, 'Get real, buddy.   You hardly know which end of the hammer to hold.'

After my momentary remorse, admiration for the artists and their labors takes over.   I spend hours examining the photographs, paintings, carvings, sculptures, and what-nots at these festivals.   My wife spends more time trying to drag me out than she did dragging me in.   Truthfully, I can't get enough of those events.

BY & COPYRIGHT: Peter Malyshev

I may not have the best taste in art (My wife might say, 'Yeah, you got that right.'), but I do know what I like, and I do marvel at the abilities of so many everyday folk who produce such great stuff.   New England has centuries of famous artists, and folks here make art a vital part of their lives.   If they're not doing it, they're certainly looking at it.   And that's very good.

My advice: Find a local artist sketching a tree in mid-October.   Feel your pulse begin to slow? Watch the artist lather the work with the vibrant fire colors.   Feel your shoulders unknot? Watch the artist shade the bark on the trunk.   Feel your breathing begin to deepen?

Think watching is great? Grab up a brush and daub it on some canvas.   You're feeling a lot better already.   Aren't you?

All of the pictures that illustrate this article were generously supplied by talented artist Peter Malyshev.

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