Artist Robert Niedzwiecki brings work to Baltimore Woods
By Karen Jean Smith
“I paint the woods because they invite me and reveal beauty to me as they do to all who are quiet and listen and look,” Artist Robert Niedzwiecki said.
The artist reveals his appreciation for our Eastern Woodlands in paintings of forests that are soon to be on exhibit at Baltimore Woods Nature Center. Work will beon display through Oct. 25, “Woods” will be on display in the Art Gallery of the John A. Weeks Interpretive Center at 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus.
In addition, the show will be available for viewing on Monday through Friday, 9 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 to 4 p.m.
There are no admission or parking fees, and all art work will be for sale.
The paintings in this exhibit span the seasons, allowing the viewer an opportunity to enjoy the depictions of the forests at their own favorites time of year.
They are all rendered in oil paint, giving them a luminosity not quite possible with other media. Visitors to the exhibit may especially enjoy a painting of sunlight as it passes through the trees, a portrayal of fine stems of dried grasses as they rise above the shadowed snow or a depiction of glistening water flowing through the forest.
Niedzwiecki’s process is in large part sensory-driven.
“One of the first rules in learning to draw” he states, “is to forget the name of the thing that you are drawing and see it fresh and new as if you have never seen it before. When I draw in the woods I try to forget everything, quiet my mind and just observe.”
For him, a visit to the woods is a profound sensory experience as well as an opportunity to learn.
He enjoys taking in the scents after it rains, the light that dapples the forest floor on a sunny day, the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the cool touch of the water in the stream.
Add to this his artist’s appreciation of all of the shapes, colors, forms and lines that are everywhere repeating and varying their rhythms, and you have the formula for paintings that pull you into the forests themselves.
Having grown up in Central New York, Niedzwiecki has enjoyed being in the woods ever since he was a young boy. He can also recall being in love with creating art.
His first encounter with what he describes as “the magic of painting,” occurred at the age of twelve when, with a stroke of his watercolor brush, he articulated a fold in a piece of cloth.
He was hooked.
His life however, did not follow a straight path.
He graduated from the Air Force Academy and served his tour of duty in Tucson, Arizona after which he returned to painting and pursued formal art training at Purchase College outside of New York City.
There, he especially appreciated Sewell Sillman’s and Leonard Stokes’ emphasis on the formal elements, and the need for clarity and sensitivity in seeing reveal new truths to him even now, thirty years later.
As the best teachers will tell you, Robert Niedzwiecki continued to learn (specifically about painting and drawing) by teaching students the foundation skills at Onondaga Community College and at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, where he has had a lasting impact.
In 2010, Niedzwiecki left teaching and returned to where he had started at the age of twelve: searching, studying, and expressing his thoughts about our world, including the forests of Central New York, in paint!