Often, after featuring someone’s work in The Artist’s Magazine, we are able to stay in touch with him/her after the article has been written, edited, produced, and has found its way into the hands of our readers. Fortunately, watercolor artist Gregory Strachov is no exception. Recently, he shared a “Norman Rockwell moment” with us, and with his permission, so I share it with you. ~ Cherie Haas
“It was four in the morning and the last day of the art fair that I was involved in. The galleries are very slow and the news about the Euro possibly falling will certainly cause another downturn in the States. These are hard times and the media does not make it better as they repeatedly remind even the wealthy to feel poor and to not spend.
“I made some sales at this event and was glad to be there but the last day is always difficult because exit strategy is on every artist’s mind. The chaos of breakdown after the show ends, the dismantling of all displays, the storing of art for the trip home and all that’s involved brings most artists near the site early. The closer their vehicle is to the site, the easier it is to cart all items and to load them in the trucks for the return home. To facilitate this, I was at the site at four in the morning in order to make my claim for a choice spot to park my truck.
“The air was very cold and the sun was not even close to rising. There was a stillness in the air and the homes, and the street had a lesson waiting that I will never forget. I took my hand cart out and loaded it with the briefcase, the cooler, the thermos with hot coffee and other things that might be needed to do business that day. The cold was penetrating so I put on a wool ski hat low over my brow and a warm but old Carhartt jacket and began to push the cart down the deserted street toward the show site. In the distance, there was a figure moving toward me. It was a man, with a wool type cap pushing a cart away from the show site. We were moving toward one another on that cold morning not unlike a vignette that Norman Rockwell would paint. He was homeless, pushing his collection of finds. We slowly passed one another with enough light to notice each others’ nod of acknowledgment. During our passing, there was no visible difference between us and I continued toward the show vowing that I will never forget that moment.
“There are many moments in my life that I will never forget. I can close my eyes and clearly see holding my wife’s hand as we waited for her anesthesia to begin before watching her being wheeled into the operating room to remove the breast cancer. I will forever remember the sound of the plane shooting its machine guns through the roof of my house in Venezuela when I was five years old and held by my beloved grandmother as she sheltered me under a table. I can feel my adrenaline and heartbeat when I recall putting my skis over the edge of the door of a helicopter during sunrise and above the cloud layer in Italy before freefalling onto a glacier to ski from France to Italy in a solo journey near Mont Blanc. I will certainly never forget Dr. Louis Zona calling me a few months ago to inform me that I was to receive the Butler Institute of American Art Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Art.
“There are many things that I will always remember. Things that define how I feel about life and my place in it.
“But I hope that I will never forget pushing a cart down the middle of the street and exchanging glances with another who was pushing his cart as we passed one another during one cold morning in Pensacola.” —Gregory Strachov
Strachov was featured in the July/August 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Click here to read his demonstration of a western landscape in watercolor, and more.