Monday, January 12, 2009

Kudos to artist
John Buxton

Greenwich Workshop artist John Buxton won third prize in the International Artist Magazine competition in the People and Figures category for his painting, The Fording Place. The competition will appear in Issue 64, December/January 2009 and will include a description of the artist’s inspiration, design strategy and working process.

The popularity of Buxton’s artwork and the importance of the 18th century Eastern Woodland frontier can be noted in John’s inclusion in premiere Western art events in 2008 such as the Autry National Center’s Masters of the American West, and the 2008 Eiteljorg Museum’s Quest for the West where The Fording Place was sold and where three additional Buxton paintings were featured.

The artist lives in western Pennsylvania, which formed part of the western frontier in the mid-1700s where the French and English traded with natives, including tribes that made up the great Iroquois confederacy. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he pursued a successful illustration career of 31 years before becoming a full-time historical painter. “Right here in my backyard, so to speak, so much has happened that influenced the course of a developing America of the 18th century. How could I not want to paint it?”

John Buxton is famous for his detailed historic accuracy. Everything from the obvious (clothing, weapons, accoutrements) to the subtle (posture, body art, jewelry) is carefully researched and then rendered. “I had really enjoyed working with the book division of The National Geographic Society,” says Buxton, “where I learned their belief in going the extra mile to be sure, through research, that the artwork is as correct as possible — that it will stand the test of time.” The subtext in some Buxton paintings is the inevitable result of Native American and European/American cultures mixing. Native people became more and more dependent on benefits and comforts gained through active trade with white men.

The Fording Place
It is summer in the Iroquois territory and a small group has set up their temporary camp on the banks of a river, where the fish and game are plentiful. At the end of the season the men and the women will move to higher ground, where more permanent camps keep them out of reach of the winter floods. While women took care of camp chores, men spent most of their time hunting or preparing to hunt, if not preparing for war against some neighboring group. The men of The Fording Place set out across their river in search of yet another unknown daily adventure.