Thursday, March 12, 2015

Don Stone R.I.P. (1929 - 1915)

Don Stone surrounded by our 2014 Monhegan Island workshop group in Don's Monhegan studio.
Don Stone is an internationally recognized artist, National Academecian and a local New England artist legend.  He passed away this morning and will always be remembered fondly as a hilarious, smart, generous, gifted, hard-working and influential artist.
He lived in Exeter, NH and had a summer studio on Monhegan Island in Maine.  I had the good fortune to have met Don and visit his studio a number of times and he was always funny, warm and very generous with his time and knowledge.  A couple of things I remember from my brief time with Don:
1) Visiting his Exeter studio and meeting him for the first time...I was still an illustrator and thinking of becoming an easel painter.  Don generously spent a lot of time telling me of his story transitioning from being an illustrator to fine artist and encouraged me to stick with it...he pointed to a book shelf filled with hundreds of panels of stacked paintings.  He pointed to them and said, "Thats my El-Stinko period"...they were plein air studies and they taught him how to really see like an artist..."We would get up in the mawnin and paint three by five o clock.  After a week, thats twenty-one paintings.    ..did that for years".
2) I would sometimes visit him in his Monhegan Island studio when I was teaching workshops there sometimes...I had heard when Don was younger, he met American painter, Aldro Hibbard   (Thats like a baseball player meeting someone like Ted Willaims or Joe Dimaggio)...Hibbard was a legendary artist hero to many New Engalnders.  Don recounted the meeting and said that Hibbard asked him what he thought the most important thing about painting was....Don replied, "Values"...Hibard paused, looked at him and said, "Value relationships" cool.
3) I would sometimes see Don on drop-off days at the Rockport Art Association, he always had a crowd around him..he was funny and there was often hilarious stories.  One of my favorites was Don walking into the prestigious Vose Gallery on newbury street in Boston...One of Americas oldest galleries, highly regarded and only exhibiting deceased masters at the time....Don fell to the ground, faked a heart attack and layer there as if he was dead...He opened one eye, looked up at the gallery manager and said, "Will you let me in now?"

I hope they do Don, you were certainly one of the good ones.  Rest in Peace.

Don's Obituary in the Boston Globe

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