artist residency ~ April 2001
Weir Farm National Historic Site is Connecticut’s only national park and the only one in the country devoted to American painting. It has been continuously used by artists since 1882. This was the former home and workplace of the celebrated painter J. Alden Weir, leader of the American Impressionist movement.
With friend, Childe Hassam, Weir founded the influential Ten American Painters, the first American art movement to look inward—examining everyday experiences and appreciating nature found close to home. The Farm drew other artists of note as well; John Twachtman, Albert Pinkham Ryder and John Singer Sargent; who came to paint, fish and bond.
Today, the Farm remains virtually untouched by inappropriate development. The landscape is rolling with meadows, criss-crossed with stone walls, forested with dense woodlands. Still preserved are Weir’s home and studio, and adjoining property is managed by The Nature Conservancy.
*some bits borrowed from the Weir Farm Official Map and Guide and other text from the Weir Farm Trust.
Weir Farm: 144 Views
In April, 2001, I went to Wilton, Connecticut, for an artist’s residency at Weir Farm. The farm was the weekend home of American Impressionist, J. Alden Weir, and is the only National Historic Site dedicated to an American artist.
I was there three weeks and painted everything I saw; inside and outside, growing things, woodland creatures, furniture, stone walls, groceries, tools, weather, me, Weir Farm folks, and old photos in books of Weir, his wives, and fellow artists, Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent.
I painted 144 blocks of wood, 2 ½ x 5 inches each, and fit them together to make one
2 ½ x 5-foot piece.
Each block had to feature a different image, so, needless to say, the last 3 dozen were a “challenge” (I use a polite word here rather than the crass one I use often and more naturally).
The entire thing is
actually two halves
joined together to hang
and then unjoined for
a brilliant moment in
engineering that took
about a year to think of.
I love this picture
because it puts me back
in that time and place,
so beautiful and meaningful, even without television.