“Live with the things which have meaning for you” — Anne Fredericks

Over the years, I have purchased art which now constitutes a ‘collection’. I appreciate things which are well-crafted, regardless of the medium. Clear line, clear colors, humor. I value art made by people who allow themselves to be seen in their creations. This means their work is not a copy of something else or art that is made to fit neatly into someone else’s predetermined ‘art’ box. I like artists who use their medium to express ideas or who are interested in putting their expressive stamp on a landscape or scene. Many of the pieces that I have collected have been made by artists who have subsequently become friends or who I know as a consequence of having purchased their art.

The first painting I bought was by a woman named Elaine Gifford. This small mixed-media piece is built around a hand-colored map and rubber stamped images of Indians. I found this image very evocative and comforting. It has traveled with me to my many homes, both permanent and temporary over the last 30 years. Even looking at it today, I get a sense of joyfulness and delight that never fades. I followed the career of Elaine and bought one other piece of hers but it was this first piece that I have always chosen to accompany me.

I read a story when I was a teenager about Helene de Rothschild and her favorite painting. When she traveled for any length of time or moved from house to house, she would remove this painting from its frame and carry it with her in an oversized magazine. The painting in question was a small Pierre Bonnard oil. (Bonnard was one of my favorite painters even then, He was the subject of the first monograph I bought in 1968 in a used book store). The mention of Bonnard drew me in. The owner was so comfortable with this precious object and so enamored of it that she wanted it with her. This spoke volumes to me about the intimate relationship one could have with a piece of art. That art should not be treated as a commodity, kept in vaults or airless, lifeless rooms, but enjoyed.

The art that I have collected over the years has given me great enjoyment. I have sculptures made of fabric and of stone, paintings, etchings, lithographs and photographs.

I have a number of found objects that I display in bell jars: hornets nests and bird skeletons amongst them, butterflies, turtle shells and stuffed birds that live well amongst the pictures hanging nearby. I find them beautiful. The thread that unites the different works is nature- in many guises. I find the works of others evocative-the way the artist approaches the subject-often in a manner quite different than my own. I enjoy the individual way artists have framed a view, manipulated their subject, used light. The work informs me, educates me, inspires me. It enhances my life, everyday.

It is only recently that I have been able to see the disparate things I have collected as a ‘collection’. Over time, it has become clear that the art I have ‘works’ together. The pieces complement one another: Tom Zetterstrom’s tree photos and Walton Ford’s birds, Lucy Gray’s portraits with Cynthia Atwood’s sculptures. (The women artists – so sexy!). These works are daily companions.. Paintings hang where I want to see them – in the bathroom, in the kitchen, valuable next to found, 21st century side by side with the 16th century or the 19th. They inform and delight me and help make my house a home. They also tell a story about where I have been, what interests me and what I value.