Robert Bohné, Big Timber

Big Timber, oils, 2019, Robert Bohné

The Artist, Robert Bohné

Many people ask me when I started painting and I often wonder to myself, “When did you stop painting?” Bob Bohné has essentially been an artist his whole life: studying, practicing, teaching, experimenting, drawing, painting, woodworking, making music, coaching, coaxing, and encouraging others to be artists, too. Like me, Bob had a long career in the corporate world, including defending co-workers as a union rep, and balanced work life with his creative drive to someday be an artist, full time. Recently he said to me, “We should treat this like a job, and work on art everyday.” Here’s the thing, Bohné already is driven to work every day, often late into the night, to create artworks that express his passion for fine art with skill and a keen eye; he is an artist. 

Even while working on the railroad, Bohné studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, as well as earning his certificate in arts and aesthetics from the Barnes – de Mazia Program at The Barnes Foundation, and now that he’s retired he has redoubled his efforts to improve on his education and life long practice by making art on a daily basis. By keeping his art pump primed with drawing, painting, teaching and study, the artist is living his most authentic life. The artist’s studio is an ecstatic mess of paints, brushes, canvasses, frames and works in progress; a great lesson I’ve learned from Bob is if I feel the need to clean my art space I’m supposed to be making art.

Exactly five years ago, after a messy major surgery, Bob encouraged me to join him and his plein air painting group and start landscape painting again after a long lapse. Since then we have been exploring and documenting the Philadelphia region by painting outdoors, rain or shine, in the heat and cold, every week, all year. As an organizer, Bohné can detect when a fellow artist needs to be pushed through self built barriers and develops plans to make the creative block walls collapse and allow creativity to flow, dam up overflowing doubt, and create a clear path towards confidence. As a teacher, he offers words of encouragement and simple advice for improvement; sharing and teaching is a great way to improve your own skills, by offering kind and generous critique the artist hones his own craft. As an art collector he seeks to understand what makes an artwork resonate with line, light, space, and color, and like the great Dr. Albert Barnes, he is passionate about balancing artworks and objet d’art in pleasing combinations in order to stimulate his own artistic sensibilities.

In a sweet synchronicity, Robert Bohné is having a one-person art show at Church Street Gallery in West Chester, PA, the gallery is celebrating their fifth anniversary. Bob and I share an art mentor, too, Francis Tucker, a great painter and teacher, who encouraged both of us separately in our different worlds to follow our dreams, to not give up, to practice and learn daily, to be sharing and caring about creativity and the pursuit of beauty, and to know that the practice is it’s own great reward.

Robert Bohné, Church Street Gallery, 12 S Church St., West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Opening Reception: May 3rd, 2019, 5:00pm.

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