When I was a little kid, I had three loves…drawing, my camera, and the weather (okay, the Red Sox were a close fourth) …but the greatest of these was the weather. I knew early on that “when I grew up” I really wanted to be a “weatherman” so that is the direction that my brain and circumstances led me. Although some of my friends and even some teachers used to say things like “you draw really well” or “you ought to go to art school,” my “left-brain” focus prevailed as I thought about college. I concentrated on math, science, and engineering at Northeastern and then meteorology at MIT, shunning most “liberal arts” courses. Thanks to Don Kent at WBZ-TV, I was fortunate enough to land my first broadcast job right out of MIT, then spent most of my adult life as a television meteorologist. I was earning a living at something I loved, and that was good. But there was also that “right brain” yearning to do something creative that would pop up from time to time, and so with encouragement from family members, I decided it was time to go back to school…this time art school!
Living and working in the Boston suburbs during this period, I was fortunate to be close to the DeCordova Museum School in Lincoln. There I pursued drawing and pastel painting, mainly portrait and figure studies under the late Dudty Fletcher. Dudty was a marvelous woman who taught me valuable lessons about life as well as art. I also studied clay and wax sculpture under the late master sculptor Peter Abate, and spent many hours over many years at the DeCordova.
After moving to Cape Cod following my “retirement” in 1993, I continued my art studies at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham and at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, studying under nationally known artists Lois Griffel and John DiMestico, and learning the art of original printmaking with Copley Master Joyce Zavorskas. Shortly after moving to Littleton, NH in 2004 I opened my “North-of-the-Notch” Studio & Gallery in an old Tannery building on the shore of the beautiful Ammonoosuc River. Immersed in the sounds of the river and surrounded by the awesome beauty of the White Mountains, I am motivated and challenged, as any painter or photographer would be, to produce unique works of art.
My photography requires that I always pay attention to composition, and that I be on the lookout for new ideas, new ways of observing all of nature and recording the incredible beauty of the North Country. I have often hiked in the White Mountains including the Presidentials and Mt. Washington, and have never failed to experience that incredible exhilaration upon emerging above the timber line. And while clouds and storms in the mountains present a special new panorama almost daily, clouds everywhere have always intrigued me and I have photographed thousands of them over the years. And while clouds and big landscapes comprise a major part of my work, I also have found great joy in turning the lens around and focusing on the minutest aspects of the natural scene. My extreme close-up photography has made it possible for me to look at abstract art in a new way, and has indeed provided the inspiration for two group of works that I call “Atmospheric Abstractions” and “Abstractions from Nature.” My left brain accepts these images since I know they are based in reality, but my right brain at the same time recognizes them as valid works of abstract art.
I hope that you will find something in my paintings, original prints and photographs that resonates in you.
Bob Copeland 2010