Jun 4, 2013

Remembering Vollis Simpson

Vollis Simpson 1919-2013. Photo: Dick Sonnen
God rest his soul, Vollis Simpson died in his sleep at the age of 94 last week. He was one of the most famous artists I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Considered a folk artist, I’m not sure he viewed himself as an artist. I think he had a compulsion to weld together and paint structures that looked and acted like outlandish, whimsical farm windmills. I don’t suppose any artists does art for the goal of “making art.” I think we attempt to create things that ultimately are uniquely ours, that bring fulfillment to us as we create them, and hopefully, bring pleasure to others when viewed. It’s icing on the cake if an artist can make a living this way.

I am honored that I could spend time with Vollis and happy that I could do two paintings en plein air at his Whirligig Windmill Farm. Click Whirligigs to see the second painting I did that April in 2011. Later that year, I paid another visit to Simpson, this time with my talented Minnesota photographer friend, Dick Sonnen. Photo above.

Whirligig Windmill Farm, 24 x 36" oil on canvas
Vollis in 2011 with my painting

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