Jack Balas, 2017; CHRISTINA'S
WORLD (THE DAY I MET ANDREW WYETH) (#1460)
watercolor and ink on paper, 22" x 30"
The day I met Andrew Wyeth, I was all of 19 and on a road trip through Maine, camping, hiking Katahdin, driving the fishing villages along the coast, sleeping in my car. Wyeth was my hero. I'd read his father N.C.'s letters and found the old man's studio in Port Clyde, so there I was sitting on the porch, a sketchbook on my lap drawing a pine tree, when all of a sudden a dog walks around a corner, followed by its owner, Andrew himself. If I said anything beyond being drop-jawed and wide-eyed, all he said was, "Great place to work, isn't it?"
Back in the 40's, when Wyeth painted
the nearby Olson farm in his famous "Christina's World,"
he propped a ladder against the house the woman is gazing at from
across the expanse of dry grass. I used to wonder what that ladder
was doing there and what it was supposed to mean, since I, like
many people, think of ladders in terms of either going up or going
down. But today, all these many years later, when I look at the
autograph scrawled along the top of my drawing, I realize it's
there too to go across. They're all- we're all-there to go across.