Wyeth (2018) Movie Script

[ Film projector clicking ]

-He paints the soul,
not just an image.
-That was what was amazing
about my father.
He saw things that other
people just wouldn't see.
[ Creaks ]
-He had almost a painful
-The abstraction
in his pictures.
The fantastic
compositional sense.
And the toughness in them.
[ Pencil scratching ]
In some ways the sadness,
the meditations
on death and nature...
[ Thunder rumbles ]
...they're so 20th century.
-There's a darkness
to Andrew Wyeth's work.
There's a drama.
-If you really look at his work,
it's pretty scary stuff.
It's kind of like
a Robert Frost poem.
You could say it's some horse
in the woods with a sleigh
and the snow,
but really read it,
it's a hell of a lot more
than that.
-Make the hair on the back
of your neck stand up.
And you realize that something
more is going on in the world.

[ Bird caws ]

[ Bird caws ]

-Andrew Wyeth is one
of the most highly regarded
of American painters,
if not themost.
-Andrew Wyeth, leading
American artist,
is honored at the White House.
-This is the Whitney Museum
in New York.
Normal daily attendance
of art lovers, 500.
For a recent Wyeth exhibit,
the average was 5,000 a day.
Attendance records were broken
in Philadelphia,
Baltimore, and Chicago, too.
-In the '60s, Andrew Wyeth
was the very top artist.
-There is something in Wyeth
that appeals to the uninitiated
and the connoisseur alike.
He has a mass audience
that may be greater
than any other
living artist ever had.
-In a way, his popular following
was a curse.
-He had a huge audience,
he had many collectors,
and he was criticized for that.
-Poor Andrew Wyeth.
He has committed the final sins
against the art establishment.
People like his work,
and he's making money now
instead of 400 years
after his death.
-There were lines around
the block at the Whitney,
but that was also
the kiss of death.

-I first met the Wyeths in
the early '70s.
I came out to Chadds Ford
to meet Betsy and Andrew Wyeth,
and found both of them
very interesting people.
I think I somehow thought
Andrew Wyeth
would be more of a bumpkin,
or a hermit or a farmer type,
but what I found was somebody
who served me
the strongest cocktail
I'd had in a long time,
who made me laugh,
and I found his wife beautiful,
but also very clearly,
I was going to have to
win her approval,
because she wanted only
the best for Andrew Wyeth.
But I also came away thinking
this is a much more complicated
and interesting artist
than I think I know
from what's been
written about him in the past.

-One thing that stands out about
Andrew Wyeth's work
in contrast to the work
of most of his contemporaries
is that he grew up and lived in
two places and two places alone
during a long and productive
life as an artist --
Chadds Ford...
[ Bell clangs ]
...Port Clyde and Cushing.
The places that define his life
were these two
rural communities.
New York was the center
of the art world.
That was not Andy's world.
-Painting to me
is a matter of truth
maybe of memory.

-He had an extraordinary
Most artists struggle to
find themselves as artists.
Wyeth was raised from childhood
to be an artist --
Protected, cultivated.
I think of him
like an Olympic athlete.
N.C. Wyeth, his dad,
developed him,
trained him, encouraged him.
-He taught me everyday living,
seeing things around me.
Seeing the imagination of what
you can make out of nothing.
-N.C. Wyeth was a famous
classic illustrator.
He painted big,
bold illustrations.

-N.C. Wyeth moved to this area
in order to study with
Howard Pyle who had
a summer school in Chadds Ford
up near the Brandywine Valley.
Howard Pyle was known as the
father of American illustration.

People say his best student
was N.C. Wyeth.
Howard Pyle instilled
in all his students
a number of things that show up
all through the Wyeths,
and one of them is
the Brandywine Valley.
Just scrape the earth,
and you find the battlefields
and you find the blood
and you find the soldiers
and the powders on their
trousers from the Revolution.
-N.C. Wyeth was struck
by this area.
-"Among those misty grey
hills of Chadds Ford,
along the stretches
of those succulent meadows
with their peaceful cattle,
and those big sad trees,
and the quaint
and humble stone farmhouses
tucked underneath them,
there is that spirit
which exactly appeals to the
deepest appreciation of my soul.
To me, it is all like
wonderfully soft
and liquid music."

-N.C. Wyeth, very quickly,
within six years or so,
became very famous
as a western artist.
[ Indistinct shouting ]
[ Gunshots ]
Scribner's Books
was one of his major clients.
In 1911, they offered him
a commission
to illustrate "Treasure Island."
They were an absolute sensation,
and for the next decade,
he churned out
these Scribner's books --
all the classics --
"Robinson Crusoe,"
"The Boy's King Arthur."
-I think today we have
a much broader understanding
of N.C. Wyeth.
He has a reputation today
he didn't really enjoy seeing
in his own lifetime.
-He very much wanted to be
a painter, not an illustrator.
And in the first half
of the 20th Century,
that was a distinction
that almost everyone
in the art business made.
-"I want to be a painter.
I respect illustration,
but I realize,
keener than ever before,
the terrible rut I'm in.
A dangerous one, too.
I shall continue illustrating
by all means,
that has its commercial value,
my bread and butter,
but I want to be able
to paint a picture.
And this is as far from
the realms of illustration
as black is from white.
I want to paint a picture
with nothing but a soul.

-He was a generous man,
he was not a selfish man,
and you gotta be selfish
to paint.
His love for the family
overpowered him.

-He and his wife ended up having
a family of five children.
There were three girls
and two boys.
It was a very creative family.
Henriette, Carolyn, and Andrew
would become painters,
Nat, a chemical engineer,
and Ann, a composer.
-N.C. Wyeth thought
that creative adults
retained the spirit
of childhood.
So it was very important for him
to make that childhood
for each of his children
so incredibly valuable
through memory.
-N.C. had an ability to
transform ordinary occurrences
into bigger and better drama
than they might have
held themselves.
-The Christmases that he created
for his children.
He would dress as Santa Claus.
It wasn't the traditional
St. Nick that we know.
And he had
a rather grotesque mask.
-Old Kris, as we called him,
was to me a terrifying man.
He was a big man.
And I remember when I was about
8 years old lying in bed
and we heard stamping feet
on the top of the roof.
And I was terrified...
to the point that I wet the bed.
I just tell you that story
'cause that's how he believed
in exciting our imaginations.
-N.C. Wyeth knew that he
wanted to be very involved
in the upbringing
of his children,
and so he built this studio,
which is literally 25 steps
away from the house.
-I can just imagine
what a magical place
this must have been
as a little kid
to be running around
in these spaces
and to be able to see
what Daddy was painting,
because he often painted
very large-scale works
of figures that were
larger than life.
-The studio was full of props
that N.C. Wyeth needed
as an illustrator.
There are swords.
There are guns here.
There were a lot of costumes --
Robin Hood, King Arthur.
So these were all available
to the children.
Everything that could
stimulate their imagination.
-And I made up my own stories
of what was happening around me.
These hills became
Sherwood Forest,
the English countryside,
or the battlefields of France.

All these imaginary things
floated through my mind.
[ Bird calling ]

-One of the things that most
fascinated Andrew Wyeth
was the amount
of World War I objects
that were here in the studio.
N.C. Wyeth did not go abroad
during World War I,
but he was critically aware
that he was not experiencing
the war as many artists did,
so he spent a lot of time
saving photographs
of the battlefields in France,
the trenches,
villages that had been
totally bombed.
[ Projectiles whistling,
explosions ]
[ Gunfire ]
-N.C. Wyeth also had in the
studio boxes of stereo cards,
two images taken by
a dual camera.
He would put these
in a hand-held machine,
the two images on the card
would come into focus,
so you would have this amazing
3-D image in front of you.
[ Propeller whirring, gunfire ]
There were human bodies.
There were horse carcasses.
[ Horse neighs ]
There was, of course,
all sorts of mangled machinery.
Really, the horror of the war
is absolutely displayed
in these images.
Young Andrew Wyeth
would sit in the studio here
and page through them.
[ Explosions, gunfire ]
-He collected
these small soldiers
which were made in Germany --
and German soldiers
and American soldiers.
-I can look at those soldiers
and remember the names
of practically
every one of them,
make up my own stories.

-"The Big Parade,"
the movie by King Vidor,
which he saw as a child,
he was deeply influenced
by that film.
[ Bombs whistling ]
[ Loud explosions ]
I, myself, watched it
at least 30 times with him.
He watched it probably
over 200 times.
So, you know, that's kind of
more than just liking a movie.
-The French girl trying
to find him in the crowd,
and the motion of the trucks,
and the gun carriages going,
and her figure there.
I thought it was very dramatic
leaving her lone figure there
against that rather --
that painted background.
But interesting, what you
can do with almost nothing.

[ Footsteps ]
-You know, you picked
a perfect day here.
This is the type of day
my father loved.
You know, cold and sort of
partly overcast
and not bright
and sunny and cheery.
[ Chuckles ]

-Chadds Ford is nestled in
a valley that has seen it grow
but it still has
its natural qualities.
There's still
an innocence to it.

-He loved winter.
He loved snow.
He liked the bareness of
the landscape and the quality.
He could see the bones
in the landscape here.
-My father's studio is really
these hills and these woods,
and it's not bucolic
and pretty, you know?
I mean, it has an edge to it.
There are bare bones.
The trees are dying.
That's what he adored.
-I may do a weed in the field
or a dead crow
or just leaves under the ice.
I know all of this background
and I sense all of this.
-As a young teenager,
after he'd accomplished
several remarkable ink drawings
of medieval soldiers,
his father realized
that he was ready
to enter the studio
as a student.
-"Dear Papa, Andy is showing
phenomenal ability in drawing,
which is beyond doubt
more than a phase."

"I may establish a man Wyeth
in my studio to carry on
after all."
-And he had a rather strict
that he insisted upon --
you had to learn to draw
before you learn to paint,
and, of course,
there would be dad the critic
to give him an immediate
Andrew, I think, said
when he was growing up
he was a little sometimes
scared of his father
because his father's opinion
seemed to count for so much.
N.C. Wyeth was an oil painter.
Tempera he tried his hand at,
as well,
but didn't like it as much.
-What is tempera?
Yes, well, it's been going
since the early Renaissance.
You have to have an egg.
You crack it.
Separate the yolk
from the white.
Then, you prick it.
And then you grind it
with your pigments
and a little water.
Andrew just took
to it immediately.
-As Andrew said, oil is powerful
and loud and bright colors,
and tempera is quiet.

Oil as if by Beethoven,
and tempera as if by Bach.

-He liked the dryness of it.
I think it matched
his own brooding quality
in some of his paintings.
-In a funny sense,
I think it's a reaction
against his father's work,
which was very bright,
very strong colors,
vibrant, and so forth.
-He did a painting,
one of his early temperas,
called "Turkey Pond."
It's just this wonderful
field with some trees,
with a figure walking away,
and he was very excited
about it.
And so he called his father
to come see it.
And my grandfather said,
"Andy, you got to put a gun
in his hand.
You have to have hunting dogs
in it," you know?
Completely missing [Chuckles]
what his son was doing.
And I don't think N. C. Wyeth
did that
because he was worried
that his son wouldn't be able
to survive as a painter.
"You got tell a story, Andy."
[ Film projector clicking ]
And as much as my father
adored his father's work,
I feel his paintings
were a reaction against it,
to say, "There is another way,
another voice,
and this is my voice."

-What other people say
about his work,
like the dark tones
and all that,
well, that's
more like a mystery.
That's not something bad.
It's something that gives you
space to dream for yourself.

When he was painting the earth
and the snow in winter,
you can't wait of what's
underneath in the snow.

Life after death.
Always, out of death,
comes life again.

[ Birds calling ]
[ Engine rumbling ]
-This is the house where
my father met my mother.
Ma's father was
a newspaper editor.
And he had heard of N.C. Wyeth,
and he called upon him
in Port Clyde.
And when he was there,
he met my father,
and he told my father,
he said, "You know,
I've got three
attractive daughters."
So, my father, on his birthday,
a few days later,
drove over here,
knocked on the door,
and met my mother.
-When they first met,
Betsy's sisters came with him
one day to the other peninsula,
where Eight Bells was,
which is where N.C. Wyeth's
house was.
Andy was showing them
the studio,
and Gwen had had
some art training,
and she was going on and on
about a painting.
And Betsy's kind of like this.
And he turned to Betsy
and he said,
"Miss James, which painting
do youlike?"
And she said, "I like that one."
And it was a tempera portrait
of Walt Anderson,
his great friend.

And I think Andrew knew,
at that moment,
that this girl knew so much more
than he felt his father did,
because no one was encouraging
him in tempera painting.
She said, "You know, Mary,
when I was being courted
by Andrew Wyeth,
it was a wild,
passionate courtship.
I received letters
from him every day.
Sometimes two a day.
They had drawings in them,
and I came home
and we were married.
And then we went up to Maine.
And we had fun on a boat
for a little while,
and then -- pshoo --
right back into the studio.
And I realized, then and there,
I came second to his paintings.
Painting was his life.
And I had to choose
to be with him or not."

-My father had absolutely
zero interest
in money or possessions.
And so she took all those
elements out of his work.
I think, when he started to have
a degree of success and whatnot,
she made sure that it wasn't
going to impinge
on what he wanted to do,
and all he wanted
to do was paint.
-Andrew Wyeth would not be
Andrew Wyeth without Betsy.
-At the young age
of 18 years old,
Betsy became Andrew's manager.
-She was self-taught.
When he had a dealer,
Robert Macbeth,
it's interesting to see
some of the early letters
of this young 18-, 19-year-old
questioning the commission
that they were paying
on some of Andy's work.
-What a pair they were.
Oh, my God.
Whoo. What a force!
[ Chuckling ] Gosh.
-She was the one that was
very strict on him,
forced him to, as she would say,
"work on it
until it couldn't be better."
I think that charged him.
-He was very dependent
on her eye.
-He would bring a painting home
and show it to her proudly
and hang it on the wall
in the mill,
and they would work
on a title together.
In that painting that he did,
the interior,
where the old couple
is in the bed,
I got to be there to watch
this process of titling it.
His would be something
like "Morning Star" --
there's a star out the window,
a planet rising or something.
And Betsy walks
around the corner,
from the kitchen,
and she looks at us
and she looks at the painting,
and she says, "Marriage."
And as soon as
she said "Marriage,"
Andy and I looked at it,
and the whole painting --
voom -- just changed.
It went from being a painting
about two people in bed,
with a window and a landscape,
to how difficult
a relationship could be.
I mean, she was a master
at finding that thing
that broke it
into another realm.
-And it was
all her own thinking,
and she would just do it.
"It's going to be done,
it's going to be done this way,
because I say so."
[ Laughs ]
What a remarkable
sort of partnership
my mother and father were.
I mean, they both were
two halves
of this remarkable whole.

It was my mother that,
shortly after they were married,
said, you know, "You don't
want to become an illustrator
like your father.
I mean, come on, break away."
-He was offered,
Andrew Wyeth was,
a contract to be an illustrator
for "Saturday Evening Post,"
and N.C. Wyeth, I believe,
wanted him to accept it.
-N.C. Wyeth was, um --
[Chuckling] was a man
to be reckoned with.
Very, very powerful individual,
But my mother was also.
-And Betsy Wyeth persuaded
Andrew not to accept it,
because he would then follow
in N.C. Wyeth's footsteps
and be tortured by the fact
that he could never
get out of that box
called an illustrator.
-My father and his father,
N.C. Wyeth,
were very, very close,
but my mother never got along
with N.C. Wyeth.
She, you know --
She took Andy away from him.
-I think, you know,
when he married my mother,
you know, he needed the freedom.
He adored his father,
but I think
it totally set him free.

-I am just stunned
by his technical expertise.
He is such a fabulous draftsman.
-To see his hands actually
go through a drawing,
he was like a conductor
with a symphony.
-Andy could paint the wind.

-"Dear Andy,
Well, I've had a great feast
on your mounted watercolors.
They look magnificent.
And with no reservations
they represent the very best
watercolors I ever saw.
This remark from your old dad
may not mean much to you,
but I believe what I say
and I'm certain I'm right.
You are headed in the direction
that should finally reach
a pinnacle in American art."
-When Andrew Wyeth's work
was first seen,
he had a watercolor
show in 1937,
when he was all of 20 years old,
-"Dear Henriette and Pete,
What better thing could I do,
on our birthday anniversary,
than to write you
the phenomenal news
that Andy's exhibition
of 23 watercolors
were completely sold out before
the close of the second day.
Well, now all this
does set me up.
God damn it, Chadds Ford
has started something.
Now let's finish it."
-He was a bright
and rising young star.
-For the first 10 years or so
of his exhibiting life,
he was an artist
to keep your eye on.
He had very high success
in selling,
but also critical success.

-"My dear Henriette,
The bulwark of my stay here
this summer
will be Andy's accomplishments.
His watercolors have
so definitely advanced
into an impressive maturity.
Some that he's done
in the last few days
are acutely abstract.
Their impact upon anyone
whose sensitiveness lies
beyond romance and drama
makes it hard
to hold back tears.
What magical power that boy has!
I am at once
stimulated beyond words
to a new, purer effect
and plunged into black despair."
-My grandfather
was terribly proud of him,
but I think there was a certain
competitive thing, too.
I think my grandfather
became very depressed
about his own work.
And here was this son
having shows in New York
and selling out and doing
very sort of exciting things.
[ Film projector clicking ]
-He meant a great deal to me,
and we had a marvelous time
And he was a terrific --
not just as a father
but as someone to talk to.
You know?
And I think having him taken
away so quickly and abruptly,
it really jolted me.
[ Train wheels clacking ]
[ Train whistle blows ]
[ Train rumbling ]
[ Rumbling fades ]
[ Wind rushing ]
-He was up in Maine
when N.C. was killed.
[ Bell tolls ]
The day of the funeral,
Andy wanted to see his father,
wanted to spend
some time alone with him.
And Andy said to me,
"I went into that room.
The windows were open,
and I saw the light
come across my father's face,
and the wind out the windows
blowing the leaves."

Tears are starting to well up
as if he's reliving it.
He says, "I had to do that --
to spend time with him.
And seeing the beauty
of the wind,
the light across his face.
This is what I'm trying
to tell you.
Paint your life history,
do the things
that mean something to you."
And I'm crying now,
and he's crying.
[ Film projector clicking ]

"Do the things
that are your own."

"Paint your life."

-He described to me going,
and seeing his body aligned
and this chest
that finally was still.
And here, the stillness
of the hill right behind it.
So -- So this hill meant
so many things to him.

-I think that it changed me
from just painting pictures
into painting
a reality with an edge,
with a meaning.
His death really gave me
a meaning to paint.
It's a strange thing.

[ Bird caws ]

-Andy explained this one time
early, early on,
coming up over the hill
and you see this little farm.
And he felt like, you know,
he was in Switzerland,
just seeing this little farm
nestled from the hill.
There's a intimacy
about this place,
there's a magic,
the excitement of the unknown.
-This farm, he'd walk over here
from our house,
which is just over the hill,
and just disappear
into the Kuerner world.
-The Kuerners were tremendously
forbearing neighbors
in that they just let Andy Wyeth
come and go, like a ghost.
I mean, he liked it that way.
-Growing up you would see
this figure coming in and out,
which would be Andy,
observing him living his life,
and him observing
us living ours.
-He didn't really want
to upset their daily life.
And they just let him creep
through the house
and then disappear.
I think he really enjoyed
that voyeuristic aspect.
It was fabulous freedom for him,
and a sense of his own domain,
where he could be like a fly
on the wall and watch them.
-When I lost my father
in an accident,
right near where Kuerners lived,
and I regretted so that
I hadn't done his portrait.
And Karl reminded me
of my father in many ways.
Karl was a much more
Germanic-looking man,
but they both had that tough
quality, Germanic power.

And I realized that here
was my father still alive.

See, I needed to stay
around that location
of where he was killed.
It took on a strange quality
of color to me and mood.

-Karl is a man of
hog-butchering and hunting,
of guns and knives
and no nonsense,
a man of the land.
-He wasn't just
a Pennsylvania farmer to me.
I mean, I'll be there
alone in that house,
and now, all of a sudden,
a shot will ring out.
[ Gunshots ]
And it's Karl maybe hunting deer
or maybe he was just
And you'll go into his house
and you'll see these rifles
slung on the wall.
There's a military feeling.
-Karl was a former
machine gunner
in the German army.
And, all of a sudden, it was
as if one of his toy soldiers
had come to life,
because there was Karl Kuerner
with his helmet and his medals
and his coat and his scars
and his battle stories,
willing, in his broken English,
to speak to Andrew Wyeth.
-And that was totally
part of Wyeth's imagination --
the violence that
lurked in his past,
that then somehow enacted itself
in Karl as a hunter.
That latent violence
fascinated Wyeth.
He always loved to sort of
poke at the dark side.
-And I think that if you look
at the paintings
of Kuerners of mine,
you'll begin to sense
it's not a quaint farm
where they work in the garden
and they milk their cows.
When they slaughter a pig,
it's -- it's brutal.

And I was attracted by this.

[ Birds chirping ]
-There are very few places
he did this in.
He never traveled.
[ Goat bleats ]
Never went to Europe,
you know, to paint.
He wanted to totally tune in
to something
that he could comprehend
and not look at as a sort of
an interesting scene to paint
or an interesting, you know,
landscape and so forth.
He wanted to get deeper
and deeper and deeper.
And then this --
And he'd get thrilled.
I mean, he would tell me
he couldn't sleep at night,
to get back there the next day
to work on something.

I mean, we're talking about
50 years of it, you know?
Wouldn't you think he'd maybe
look for another farm?
No, didn't interest him.

And with Kuerner,
even after death,
he then did the painting of Karl
lying on this hillside
as a drift of snow.

[ Wind blowing ]
[ Waves washing shoreline ]
[ Bird calling ]
[ Calling continues ]

-Maine, to Andy, was like
the surface of the moon.
Harsh, but it was

-Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania,
there are big stone houses,
big trees, and whatnot.
My father always said, which I
think is absolutely true,
that in Maine, it's as if
a wind could come along
and just -- wshhh --
blow everything away.
People are hanging on
And to my father, that contrast
was important to him.
-To me, the appeal of Maine
is utter simplicity.
The people that live here
work off the land or the sea.
-I used to help him
a great deal.
I had a dory rowboat,
and I'd row him
around these islands.
-I think Walt was
around 13 or 14
when I first knew him.
And I began to paint him
in watercolors.
I did an early -- one of
my earliest portraits of him.
I didn't look at him
as something picturesque.
He's just full of the devil,
and we spent more
and more time together.

He's actually my closest friend
up there.

-The Olson House sits
atop a hill,
overlooking the water --
the Cushing peninsula.
The Olson House is
a national historic landmark,
and the reason it's a landmark
is because of the work
that one of America's
most important artists
did over a 30-year period.
-For a number of years,
that's all I painted in Maine,
were the Olsons.

I could just pour
all my thoughts,
my imagination ran free,
because the house
was full of, to me,
ghosts of the past
of New England.
I mean, it was unbelievable.
They were seafaring people,
the Olsons.

[ Film projector clicking ]
-The Olsons were poor.
They were sustenance farmers.
Everyday life was
an extraordinary challenge.
-Christina was not
emotional outwardly.
She was perhaps as serene
as anyone I have ever known.
And she had great poise
and self-confidence,
so that one forgot
the fact that she was lame.
She -- There was no
self-pitying in her.
-Christina Olson suffered
from a still not entirely
diagnosed neurological disease
that gradually, over decades,
deprived her of
the ability to walk.
But by all accounts, she was
a stubborn and proud woman
who refused to use a wheelchair,
and towards the later
years of her life,
literally had to
drag herself around,
inside and outside the house.
-I don't think she thought
of herself maybe as a cripple.
I don't think
she liked that word,
and I don't like it either,
to describe her.
She just accepted things
as they were
and made do with what she had.
-When my mother was 8 or 9,
she wandered up
to the Olson House
and introduced herself
to Christina
and she'd end up
braiding her hair
and helping clean the dishes
and so forth.
-I knew since I was 10
that Christina needed me.
Her polio hadn't
crippled her yet,
and she was very tall,
very thin, delicate.
Absolute lady.
I'd do her hair,
coiled around her head.
Always dressed in pink or white.
When walking, she'd lean on me,
her bones hitting
against my young bones.
-She was a great friend
of Betsy's, my wife,
who had known her
as a little girl,
which was a great opening
for me.
And I didn't have a studio
at that time.
We were building
a house in Cushing.
And I asked the Olsons
whether I could use
one of the upstairs rooms,
which was deserted, and I did,
and that was how it all started.
-When he grew up, his father
was painting surf booming,
and living in Port Clyde,
which is a fishing community,
and so forth.
And she really introduced him
to another side of Maine.
-Andy first met the Olsons
on his first date
with his soon-wife-to-be
Betsy James.
-The moment I saw him,
something went "boing!"
He looked different
from anyone I'd ever seen.
He stayed for lunch
and talked about things
I'd never heard before --
the light
that came in on the floor.
I never thought I'd find anybody
that would feel that way.
[ Film projector clicking ]
He wanted to see this area,
and I thought,
"Hmm, this will be fun.
I'll take him down
to Christina."
I wanted to see if he would go
inthe Olson House.
A lot of people won't.
The smell and odors.
I judge people by it
without saying anything.
He walked right into the kitchen
to meet Christina.
Was terrific right away.
So natural.
He got by the first hurdle.
We were married a year later.
It's as if he hypnotizes you.
He completely enters the most
secret part of yourself.
-I always think it's so
interesting that my mother,
young Betsy James, who was 17,
she takes him
to the Olson House.
It was hardscrabble
existence in that house.
No electricity, no water,
no refrigeration.
You know, she's sitting
on stacks of newspapers
that she'd urinate on,
and just the smell...
You know, it was --
it was a lot to take.
But he took to it like that,
and -- and look
what he produced from it.

-He did several
paintings of her.
There was just something
that he saw,
and said, "I just
have to do this."

The old farmhouse
and the way she lived.
And I think
Andy's sometime amazed
that people can survive
in the condition they might be.
Just like her, with no legs,
and you know,
crawl on your stomach
for 65 years,
and do your own work
in the kitchen.
-What Andy chooses not to depict
is the kind of social commentary
that other artists
might have chosen.
He does not really reveal
the depth of poverty
that were part of
everyday life here.

Part of it, I think, is
a respect for the people
who were his friends.
-The Olsons became
part of our family,
or more importantly,
we became part of theirfamily.
It was a wonderful experience --
they had this enormous house,
these amazing people.
-We had a marvelous time
Sometimes we wouldn't say
a thing for hours,
and then we'd talk.
She felt very easy with me
and, I think, enjoyed it.
But there again was
that communion of what --
it wasn't what was said,
what wasn'tsaid.
-She was wonderfully
motherly and whatnot,
and would bake biscuits
and so forth.
And yet, you know,
to most people,
she looked like a witch.
I mean, she was this
sort of amazing face --
this enormous nose and so forth.
-She had that eye.
And everywhere you went,
why, that eye would go with you.
And I mean, it was really
kind of frightening.
-Alvero was a man
of very few words.
-The brother was sort
of anonymous.
But just very, very kind.
And then when they let my father
paint through the house,
it just opened up everything.

-And again, it's this world
that my father then
sort of morphed into,
as he had done in Pennsylvania,
I think, with the Kuerner farm.
And...it was magic.

-I often feel if I could
only be not there to paint.
Just a pair of eyes.
I mean, I'd be working
on Christine,
and Al would come in,
step right in front of me,
and get eggs.
I mean, as if I...
You know?
"Oh, Andy, there he is,
sitting there."
You know?
Which is just right.

-I saw her crawling out
to a little truck garden she had
next to the house one day.
And it dawned on me,
what a terrific, I mean...
And I went home
and made a quick notation
of this idea
of Christine in the field,
the house in the background.
And several days went by,
and this kept building
in my mind.
-"Christina's World"
is a picture
that's actually kind of hard
to look at anymore,
because it's become such an icon
that to come to it fresh,
it's almost impossible.
But that, in a way,
is a sign of its strength,
that, over decades,
people come back to it,
generation after generation,
and find it haunting.
Even people who don't really
know the story of Christina.
-It's enjoyed because
there's a spectrum of emotions
that it can release.
And that might be loneliness,
it might be yearning,
it might be something
that's lost
that can never be seen
or rescued again.
It can look like
somebody's dream --
a nightmare, maybe even.
This woman seen from the rear,
moving herself up towards
a little haunted house
that's on this
very strong horizon.

-A woman longing for something.
Some people pick up
that she's crippled.
Some people don't at all,
and just think she's yearning.
I think it's a painting
which so many people
can get free association
with it in an extreme way.
-I knew she had been up
to look at it, though,
because I could see
where the dust
had been swept along
with her body
as she crawled up.
So she knew what I was doing.
-It's a very odd painting.
Everything is
incredibly sharp focus.
It's this crystalline world.
I mean, here you have
a wisp of her hair blowing,
and then, up in the barn,
you know, half a mile away,
is a shadow
of a swallow flying by.
You know, it sure ain't realism.
And that's what I think lifts
it into just another world.

[ Film projector clicking ]

-I grew up with
a young colored boy
who I played with for years.
He was really my closest
companion as a small boy.
Lived over the hill.
And he was remarkable.
And I found he had
great imagination --
much more than
the white boys I knew.
-One of Andrew Wyeth's
closest friends in childhood
was David Lawrence, who was
a young African-American boy,
who brought him
to this part of Chadds Ford.
The black community here
was called Little Africa,
which may sound charming now,
but it really reminds us
of an era
when neighborhoods that were
mostly populated by black people
had derisive nicknames
given to them by whites.

It was because of
this insider introduction
Wyeth was able to access
these people
for portraits and for paintings.

-I didn't paint them because
they were black people.
I painted them because
they were my friends.
And I've always felt
that the blacks have been
painted very poorly.
I'm not saying that
I've done it well,
but I think
they've been caricatured.
Big lips, big eyes.

-So, we're here at the ruins
of Mother Archie's Church.
By the middle of
the 20th century,
it was being used
as an African-American church.
The congregation
dwindled to a number
that really couldn't
support it anymore.
And it was converted
into a residence.
Different people
that Wyeth painted
lived for a time in the church,
as they did
in different makeshift spaces
around the area.
-We got along the same
as sisters and brothers.
In this place
you call Chadds Ford,
we got along the same
as sisters and brothers.
Andy painted a lot of colored
people's pictures around here.
A lot of 'em.

-By the 1960s, Wyeth was
painting Tom Clark a lot.
When Wyeth started painting him,
Tom Clark was a kind of
old and wizened fellow.
In "Garret Room,"
he's a very still figure.
His head is turned away
from the viewer,
and we can't really tell
if he's awake
or if he's sleeping
that eternal sleep.

James Loper was
mentally challenged,
and he would take
these long, rambling walks
through the countryside
around the Wyeth compound.
-This James Loper painting,
His clothes were all old
and fishhooks,
and he was looking up
to the left.
Over his head was a sickle,
and over the sickle
was a white sky.
And unless you were stupid,
you knew what he meant.
I think that's symbolic
of the condition
of the black man
in the white world.
-Willard Snowden was
a hard-luck alcoholic drifter.
The Wyeths gave Snowden a place
to live in the old schoolhouse
that had once been
Andrew's studio.
-He'd been around here,
living in my studio for a year.
I'd made
a lot of drawings of him
to get through to this man,
who was a remarkable man,
had a little problem
of drinking wine.
-Snowden was an alcoholic.
And he constantly needed
to feed that disease.
And Andrew was really
amenable to that,
sometimes using liquor as a way
to get Snowden to sit for him.
He would promise to drive him
to the package store,
before or after those sittings.
This is a complicated thing.
I think that this was emblematic
of how Wyeth treated
people around him,
treated his subjects,
treated his friends.
He was nonjudgmental.
He didn't try to change them
or set them
on a more "correct" path.
He thought of these people
as folks who were struggling
with various challenges.
-One morning, I came here
and I could tell by his lips,
were sort of damp, you know,
and I started drawing.
Actually, it was
right in this spot.
I took this piece of paper
and I'm sitting there,
and he came up and he sat.
He drew his chair up close,
and he was fascinated
by what my hand was doing.
He got sort of hypnotized.
And I did the portrait of him
just here, looking down.
And if you'll notice the wine,
the dampness of his lips
and there's a slight smile,
-In paintings of Snowden,
sometimes we see the ravages
of alcohol
directly affecting his body.
We can see him in these
slightly compromised situations.
Wyeth painted him without
his knowledge, occasionally.
Wyeth both does
a really beautiful thing
in showing his subjects
as they are,
but it's also sometimes
really painful to look at
when you know the stories
of these people's lives.
He was really interested
in finding the dignity
that his subjects had,
and expressing it,
no matter how difficult
their lives were.

Andrew Wyeth was in
an important 1940s exhibition
at the Museum of Modern Art,
called "American Realists
and Magic Realists."

-He was accepted
among the avant garde.
His work was shown
at the Museum of Modern Art.
He was seen as a magic realist.
-His big moment was when
the Museum of Modern Art
decided to buy
a painting by him.
That was in '49.
Of course, that was
"Christina's World."

So, this looked, at the moment,
that Andrew Wyeth
was entering into dialogue
with all the great
modern masters
that the Museum of Modern Art
and he was being integrated
into what was seen
as the most important collection
of contemporary art
in this country.

-I want to express my feelings,
rather than illustrate them.

Technique is just a means
of arriving at a statement.

-There comes a moment,
mostly in the '60s and '70s,
where abstract art
becomes the definition
of what contemporary art is.
-Modern artists don't try
to mirror or illustrate
the new, complex world.
But like the artists of any age,
they cannot help expressing
the basic assumptions
of their time.
-It's the era of de Kooning,
Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock.
-I don't work from drawings
or colored sketches.
My painting is direct.
-It's always been the
responsibility of an artist
to examine what is in the world
at this moment.
An artist can't afford to be
a sentimental commentator.
-And in that climate,
Andrew began
to look old-fashioned.
-But some very few artists
still find a means
of personal expression
in the traditional
and the familiar.
Such a painter is Andrew Wyeth.
-In the art world,
Andrew Wyeth was thought of
as a regionalist
or sort of a down-home painter.
Maybe just the populism of it,
you know?
Because he was so popular.
-There was a sense
that he was easy,
that the reason he gathered
these mass audiences
for his exhibition
was because he was accessible.
Members of that audience
could understand his art
and be moved by it
without having to
work very hard.

-That's when critics
really started to slam him,
that, "Oh, he's this popular
with the common man,
then he can't really
be taken seriously."
-"Christina's World" --
the painting hangs
in the Museum of Modern Art
in New York,
and a million people a year
look at it.
-There was also,
in that notion of shallowness,
this sense that Wyeth
played to his audience,
that he wasn't subtle enough
or nuanced enough.
-Is it possible
for an artist himself
to say how he would like
to be described,
if you could write
the definitive statement?
-It's very hard
to put it into words,
but I'd say my whole aim
is to try to do a portrait
of the things that emotionally
mean a great deal to me.
-I don't feel he's
a 20th-century artist.
He doesn't leave anything
up to your own imagination.
-It's like a typical
poster artist.
Norman Rockwell.
Beautiful pictures,
but no emotional feeling.

-While that may have been
the view of high-art criticism,
the fact is
he had a huge audience,
he had many collectors,
and he was criticized for that.
-And Wyeth was sort of picked on
as being the poster child
of the reactionary realists,
I don't think he felt
that was fair.
-I think all I can say to people
is, go out and
look at my paintings,
and do they get more out of it
or would they rather
have a photograph?
-I came up with this word
for the critical dispute.
I would call it the Wyeth Curse.
It was people judging him
without looking at him.
And also people
judging his audience
as if somehow the audience
that went to Andrew Wyeth
would not be the audience
that would then turn around
and go see an exhibition
by Jackson Pollock
or Willem de Kooning.
And those seemed to me,
in the '70s,
to be kind of fallacious grounds
on which to make
a critical judgment.
-I think it was
disappointing to him.
-He cared.
I'd go over to his house,
and some reviews
and articles had come out,
and he'd have them all spread
out on the dining room table.
-He could recite
every bad account,
and I said, "But look
at all the great ones."
He'd say, "Yeah,
but look at this one."

-He was so hurt when the critics
would simply take it
for face value
and call it photographic,
because it never was.
-When "Groundhog Day"
was purchased
by the
Philadelphia Museum of Art,
it was the highest price ever
paid for a contemporary artist.
That almost created
a certain kind of resentment,
among bohemian artists
who were starving in garrets,
that Wyeth was so successful,
that he was making
thousands of dollars
for realist paintings.
It somehow rubbed
against the grain.
And so where Wyeth had actually
been swimming along
with all these other painters,
he suddenly was made into
an opposition.
It wounded him,
and he really
was driven into retreat.
And what he did was run
to Chadds Ford and to Maine
and just make
his own world for himself.

-The enviable thing
about painting is
that you can continue to paint.
It really has no real effect.
It's not like theater, where
they close the theater, film,
I mean, you know, bad reviews
and so forth.
He kept on painting,
which, of course,
drives the critics mad.

[ Wind blowing ]
-I remember, one time,
I was out there in Chadds Ford.
I get there early,
and it was snowy.
And I look out the window
of the granary.
I see Andy walking in the snow.
And I see him stop,
and he's looking down.
And he looks down
at this dead deer in the snow.
And he's just looking at it
for 10 minutes.
[ Wind blowing ]
He looks,
his hands behind his back,
the way he always walked,
and he looked down.
And eventually...
he walked back, got in his Jeep,
drove on to the studio.

-He's really an artist
who works from memory.
And I think it's
a mischaracterization of him
to just call him a realist.
He doesn't operate
like a camera.
He's making stuff up.
He's manipulating reality.
He always admired
the abstract expressionists
and felt kinship with them.

Looking at his work,
you can see the splashiness,
the expressiveness of his work,
that has a lot in common
with Franz Kline.

Number two, there is
this surrealistic bent,
which is deeply modern,
and then there's a very strong
abstract style
that he's working with.
If you look at a painting
like "River Cove,"
which is really organized
like a Mark Rothko --
big simple shapes,
the sense of the
two-dimensional pattern
on the surface
of the painting --
he has a really keen sense
of the surface,
which also makes him
a real '50s painter.
-One of the awful things
the critics say is
that he paints
every blade of grass.
It's like Jackson Pollock.
If you get up close to it,
it is not every blade of grass.
It's a strange woven pattern.
-He was tapping into
the rhythms of nature,
so he looked at the grass,
he got it,
it was just --
pop, pop, pop, pop, pop --
the brush just danced across
the surface of the painting.
-There's something very odd
about his paintings
in that all the air
is sucked out.
There is no atmosphere.
If you think of
"Christina's World"
and the little house
way in the distance,
in real life, that would be
foggy and a little blurry
and out-of-focus,
way in the distance.
No, because
there is no atmosphere,
which gives you a sense
of strange isolation.
-I don't think
people begin to realize
how complicated
his compositions are.

He can often
do things off-center.
He can have a house
out on the left,
with just fields to the right.
Or the famous one of the boy
running down the hill,
where you've got
all that emptiness,
and then this little
energetic, dark figure
that is racing from the hill.
His aerial views,
his worm-eye views,
his ways of featuring windows
and doors up close,
so that it's a frame
within a frame.

He would say,
over and over again,
that he liked to turn
his paintings upside down
and judge the composition
by what he saw.

And if it didn't have
the strength of composition,
then it wasn't yet
a good painting,
as far as he was concerned.
-When you're looking
at these paintings,
I think you have
a sense of unease, almost,
of restlessness, of depth,
even if you don't know
the stories.

This is the Kuerners' kitchen.
"Groundhog Day" was begun
in this room,
and it started
with him having lunch here
and just seeing
the fall of light,
the sunshine
across the wallpaper.
That just
struck his imagination.
And as he himself later said,
"I left and went up on the hill
and sat on the hill
and looked down on the house
and started to make sketches
from memory."
-And I sat up there
and I began to think
of that kitchen way down below.
And that's when I began to dream
about what I wanted.
I wanted you to feel
the enclosure of the building
and yet the country outside.
-So, after imagining
the whole concept,
he came back.
By this time, Karl had gone.
And he started
to sketch Mrs. Kuerner
seated by the windowsill,
and the family dog, Nellie.
They became part of
this galaxy of the painting
that he gradually simplified.
He made dozens and dozens
of drawings
as he tried to think about,
"What is the key image here?"
And it boiled down
to just the empty table
waiting for Karl to come home.
-Karl was off at a farm sale,
but there was his place, set.
It's more of a portrait of Karl
than almost if it had been
him being there, you know?
Knives were very important
to him, as a man.
I mean, cutting up animals,
and he always
carried a knife with him.
I think there was a fork there,
but that didn't interest me,
'cause I wanted to express
this real person.
-That's that sense of imminence
in the painting.
And then there's this strange
story of the dog --
you know, the nasty dog.
It was a guard dog.
-The log outside of the window
with that tooth,
like the fangs of the dog,
really became the dog
so that I could eliminate
the dog.
I realized that I was
overtelling my story,
because there were the sharp
teeth of that German shepherd.
-So, if you're looking
out the window of the painting,
there's this scary log
staring at you
that looks like it's about to
come charging into the kitchen.
That sense of violence
in the very dog
and in the Karl Kuerner
who's not there anymore
is part of the restlessness
of this painting,
because on the one hand,
it's so serene,
and then,
the more you look at it,
the more there are
these unsettling aspects
that can't really be explained.
And they're part of
that distillation
of how he came
to make the image.

-One of things I greatly admire
about Andrew Wyeth
is his staying on course.
Andrew was very confident
in his technique.
He never took outside advice.
We who are scholars
are beginning to recognize
that there are even places
where the curse
never did him any harm.

-[ Speaking Japanese ]
-[ Speaking Japanese ]
[ Applause ]

-Japanese art historians
and museum curators
have never really understood
what goes on in this country
around Andrew Wyeth
and have always honored him
but also just been
magnificent audiences.
-[ Speaking Japanese ]

-The Japanese and their love
of finding meaning and feeling
in landscapes,
feel that Andrew has been
theirAmerican painter,
because that is
the kind of aesthetic
that they honor and look for
in their artists.

-[ Speaking Japanese ]

-American artist Andrew Wyeth,
who is known
for powerful paintings
of tenderness and mystery,
turns out to have kept
the biggest mystery so well.
-For 15 years, Helga was
the secret occupation
of America's best-known
living artist.

-I think it was a scandal
partly because he'd kept
all of this work secret.
And everybody was titillated
by the idea that he had
a whole body of work
that he was not
telling his wife about,
not telling the rest
of the world about,
and that there were
a lot of nudes involved
and a beautiful young woman.
So that, in itself,
was a kind of soap opera.
-The day that it broke, we had
"USA Today," "Time," "Newsweek"
just zeroing in
on the farm here
and wanting to know
all about this.
My father said, you know,
"I'm sick of this.
I'm going to get rid of them.
I'll be back in 15 minutes."
Well, an hour goes by
and, uh, he doesn't show up.
And finally, he comes back,
and I say, "Where were you?"
He says, "I'm gonna be
on the six o'clock news!"
Couldn't resist.
[ Laughs ]
-A large body of work
on one subject...
-Over and over, he drew her.
-You had asked about
what Chadds Ford was like.
It wasn't as wild as Maine.
-The Wyeths have not explained
the mystery.
-They went out to their island
to get away,
and there were
helicopters going over.

-To an outsider looking in,
there's a story
unbeknownst to them
that draws them in
like a magnet.
-Just the daring of this show.
The explicitness
of some of the images.
-The show is sensational.
I don't care
what the critics say.
-That story was then twisted
into a manipulation.
-There is endless speculation
that it was all
a publicity stunt.
-He was accused of having done
the whole thing
in order to create headlines,
and that the secret
was not a secret,
it was a conspiracy.
-I don't know if I told you
about him sharing with me
why he did the Helga paintings.

He said, "I needed
to be away from Betsy
and have some space."
-He was so happy
not to ever pay bills,
not to ever sell prints,
not to do any of that.
Betsy took care of all of that.
Betsy wanted to see
whatever he painted that day,
do the catalogue raisonn,
number it, and so forth.
-Why did you keep the paintings
a secret?
-Because I'd been
painting houses, barns,
and all of a sudden,
I saw this girl,
and I said, "My God,
if I could get her to pose,
she personifies
everything I feel.
And that's it.
I'm not going to tell anyone
about this.
I'm just going to paint it."
-He wanted to fulfill his soul.
He needed just to do that
for himself.
He was always producing.
No artist wants
to be taken for granted
that you produce --
produce for the sake
of producing.
You'll never, never produce
anything good
if you don't have something
you paint for yourself.

-When word of the Helga
collection came out,
that was really shocking
to her.
She looked at me,
and she said, "Did you know?"
And I said, "No.
I had no idea."

200 drawings and watercolors.
The rest were framed temperas.
I kept seeing these
and looking at her,
and looking at her
looking at the paintings,
and thinking,
"What is she thinking?
How can she separate her emotion
from the real appreciation
of the paintings?"
-It unsettled her,
the fact that I never told her.
And it still bothers her.
But she realizes that
she's living with a man
that's wrapped up
in my painting.
-Meanwhile, Helga felt betrayed,
because he promised her
that he would not let them out.
-How prepared can you get?
You don't know what's
going to happen, you know?
I was never made for the public.
I really wasn't.

-So, you have two very
different personalities.
Betsy was extremely controlling.
Helga was extremely adaptable.
If he wanted to go down
the ravine in the winter --
One time he told me she carried
a dead deer up a hill.
So she would just do
whatever he said.
Betsy would argue.
-He took what I had to say,
and I took what he had to say.
It's a mutual thing.
You sense it, what he needs.
There was no question about it.
You just did it naturally.
That's a gift.
-It was something
that I was doing,
and my imagination --
I painted every minute.

-Being able to paint Helga
gave him
all of this magnificent energy
he never had before.
He was actually able
to double the work.
-I was a force.
Don't you see?
I gave him confidence.
I didn't have any doubts.
-Many of the things
he was doing concurrently
are related
to these Helga works.

-Betsy -- she has
a sense of order.
She can't stand chaos.
You have a collection
over 15 years,
and she always wants to know
what came first,
second, third, fourth.
What helped her deal
with this whole thing
was to put everything in order.
And that was the only thing
that grounded her.
She was so big
to rise above it
and really appreciate the works
for what they were.

-The Helga pictures have
some extraordinary,
beautiful paintings.
They are not only fabulous,
in terms of their technique
and the quality of the painting,
but the composition,
the subject matter,
they are really
striking pictures.
So I think they're some
of his finest paintings.
And now that we're
at a distance --
20 years, 25 years away --
I think we can see
the excellence
in these paintings.
There's still, of course,
an erotic story
that's unavoidable.
That's potent in these pictures.
But I think we can also see them
as great paintings.
-I think every painting
has a mystery to it
that only the artist
and the subject know...
that will never be shared
in reality.
-We danced and we laughed
at the whole world together.
I think he rediscovered
the whole world in himself.

-When you know something
and feel it
and have a love for it,
my God, do it.
Don't let it go by.

-Andrew Wyeth
got up in the morning
and went out and made drawings.
[ Chuckles ]

He spent the entire day walking,
exploring, sketching, thinking.
I think he was an artist
24 hours a day.
-It's like
you're being a child again.
You can do what you want,
and you can do what you love.
How many people in life
get to do what they love to do?
-I've never met anyone else
that was alive in the world
the way he was.
-He painted up until the end.

Oh, gosh.
when he was dying in bed,
in the upper bedroom,
someone said, "Come here, look."
And he was asleep,
but his hand...

-He was drawing, in the dream.

-His final words to me,
when we were saying goodbye
and I leaned down
and he pulled me in
and looked at me
right in the eye
and said, "Give them hell."
-I'm so glad he lived past 2000,
because it was a sea change.
And they had a "Rediscovering
Andrew Wyeth" session
at the big national convention
of art historians.
And the young people threw aside
all the horrible criticism
of their seniors,
and looked at Andrew Wyeth.
He got to participate
in nine years of that,
of hearing people
look at him anew.

-We're in the gallery
of the exhibition
"Andrew Wyeth In Retrospect,"
at the Brandywine River
Museum of Art.
This exhibition being seen here
and on the West Coast
surveys seven decades of one of
America's most iconic artists.
We really see this exhibition
as a chance to reintroduce
Andrew Wyeth
to a generation of museumgoers,
and to the people
that already know him,
really help them dig deeper
into this remarkable artist's
-I just wish now
that he could see the reviews
coming in for the Seattle show
and the Brandywine
"In Retrospect" show.
Because they're amazing.
-I think we've moved beyond
the easy opposition
of realism and abstraction
which I think was the story
back in the 1960s.
And I think it's now
possible to see him
as just a different way
of being modern.

-He painted his own backyard.
When you paint what you know
and what you know with truth,
that love is universal.
-Wyeth's pictures
always capture people.
They stare at them
and just roam around in them.
When we did the exhibition
at the museum,
it actually was not unusual
to find people in tears
in front of the paintings,
and paintings
that weren't overtly sad.
It opened up memories in people,
and I think that's one
of the powers in his work,
is that the emotion
that he banks into the picture
allows people to unlock
emotion of their own.

-If you look at the light
on the corner of the wall
in the window
in "Groundhog Day,"
there is nothing, anywhere,
in the history of art,
about art --
no words compare to what he did.

That sunlight traveled
eight minutes from the sun,
came through the atmosphere,
through that window,
and struck the side
of that window frame
and that wall.

And he got it.

-But you see how important
it is to be in a surrounding,
and breathe it,
and then it happens...
if you're lucky,
and you're perceptive enough
to catch it.

I'm really painting my own life.