Monthly Archives: August 2007

Stepping out with art

Rowe Pond in Fog
Mill Pond in Fog, Rowe, Mass. — May 2005 by Ellen Blanchette

I want to thank everyone for their kind words. Your support means so much to me. It is surprisingly difficult to step out into the world with your art. I don’t think most people realize that. All my fellow artists here do, and that has been so helpful to me. When we make art, whether it is painting, photography, writing, any of the arts that are done alone, it is a personal and ultimately very private process. Taking it out of the realm of a private pleasure and sharing art with the world, that seems to require a certain kind of courage. I can be very bold and sometimes even loud in my opinions yet with much of my artwork, it’s been something I’ve kept to myself. It has been so helpful to me to get to know other artists in my community, giving me a group of people to whom I could turn with questions but also getting to hear their own struggle to find their way in a world that claims to appreciate art while really offering very little actual support to artists in the development of their own businesses.

I want to acknowledge here Amy Shapiro and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation in Greenfield, Mass. for offering the business course for artists last year. I wouldn’t be doing any of this without the knowledge and gift of community that program gave to me. Suporting the development of arts in the community has become a central concept here in Franklin County. Other communities around the country are also beginning to see the value of investing in the creative economy.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words here. I especially want to thank Diane Clancy for her work on the development of this website, and her continued encouragement. And patience. This is a process I look forward to sharing with all of you.

I hope you continue to enjoy this site and make your comments.

Ellen Blanchette

Daffodil Hill

I was looking through my photographs, trying to decide what I would like to share with you, and found this one from 2003 from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. This hill was planted with daffodils in October of 2001 after 1.5 million bulbs were donated to New York City as a memorial to those lost in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Daffodil Hill

The donations were made by Hans van Waardernburg, a Dutch bulb grower, and the Dutch Consulate, plus various other growers here and abroad, as a gift to the city. The idea was to provide something uplifting, a memorial to those who died that would endure over the years and remind us all, every year, of both the endurance and sacrifice of the people of New York City. Volunteers from all over came together in the fall to plant the thousands of bulbs throughout the city in parks and communities, and in the spring they bloomed. Still grieving, the people of the city were indeed uplifted and comforted by the sight of these bright yellow flowers appearing everywhere, along city streets, in boxes outside Fifth Avenue shops, and in the city’s many parks and gardens.

Paul & Dave at daffodil hill

This photo is from a visit to BBG in 2003 with my son and his friend. I had moved out of the city by then, to Western Massachusetts where I live now. Coming back to BBG was definitely coming home to me. I had worked as a volunteer in the Herbarium for several years and loved watching the garden change with the seasons. Most people go for the festivals or events but working there gave me an opportunity to see it all through the winter and early spring before the visitors arrived. And what I saw was a garden that offered something new all year round, with grasses that turned into huge fans of white plumes along the frozen lily ponds, and mallard ducks that made their winter home there, sitting in that little bit of water in the otherwise frozen stream that flowed from the pond in the Japanese garden. If you visit this site often you will likely see more of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens as I spent a lot of time taking pictures there. It is a true treasure.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog! I am so looking forward to sharing my photos and thoughts with you. I hope you’ll feel free to exchange ideas with me and say what you think in a frank and courteous manner. I’ll be sharing a variety of photos and some stories to go with them. And I’ll occasionally get into writing about things I care about in the world, life, and yes, politics. I will try to be objective and informative about what I say. Thoughtful reflection on the issues of the day is something I think is lacking in our public dialogue, so I hope to find a way to encourage that here. Thanks.

— Ellen Blanchette