love art, unless you first love what art mirrors.” – John Ruskin
sight in our small town. So familiar are
his works to our family that years ago, when we were viewing Monet’s haystacks
at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, my son informed the docent that they reminded
him of David Strom’s grain bins. I’m not
sure what the docent thought.
schoolers, The Hive, asked about the
huge paintings by David that hang over our meeting table, I thought it might be
a good thing to have him come and speak to the students. The Hive meets at a local coffee shop in the
back room. We get together twice a month
with the students doing most of the work at home. When we come together, we have a grand
conversation about what we have read, written, and thought. We finished an
inspiring morning of discussion, noticing the connectivity between Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Mason’s Ourselves, and the U.S.
Constitution. The maps and microscopes,
journals and hydras were tucked away. It
was time for our guest.
has fueled his imagination, how he loves the grain bins on farms and how they
turn into huts in his mind. Then we jumped
in our vehicles (it was 10 degrees outside) to visit his airy studio, fashioned
after an old chicken coop with light streaming in the windows along the
roof. He played a record of Laura Nyro
while he spoke to us which gave the room an upbeat, 70s vibe.
to his notes for the fifth time. He
slowly described his creative process to us as he showed us piece after piece
of art in various stages. We learned
that sometimes he works on a piece over the course of decades. He advised the students to look at things
from different perspectives, to persevere with an idea, and to read widely.
possible is important and inspiring. It
is something we hope to incorporate much more of at The Hive. Knowing that the man who runs the Hallmark
store and arranges flowers for a living is also an accomplished artist can’t
help but give them a different view of how art might fit into their lives. It makes for wider living.
special painting. It was his first oil
painting done as a 15-year-old in 1965. The painting was of my present home,
some thirty years before I knew it existed.