Boston Artist, Robert Cormier, 1932-2010
When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear ~Buddha
It is with bittersweet fondness and appreciation that I remember my mentor, Robert Cormier. He was a brilliant portrait artist, an inspiring teacher, a great storyteller. Bob was eccentric and quirky, but masterful in his communication of aesthetic ideas. He had intention in his work and the most delicate touch with a brush or pastel.
I met Bob as an instructor at Vesper George School of Art, where he taught until its close in 1982. He had begun teaching portrait classes at The Copley Society in the evenings, which I attended. I became entranced with his artistry and with the medium of pastel. As Bob’s following grew, classes moved to Fenway Studios. And then the opportunity came to work with him full time. It required daily commitment and a studio in the building. Four of us moved without hesitation to share a small studio in the Fenway Studios building.
We practiced the sight-size method of cast drawing then progressed to still life painting. There were also Sunday plein-air forays and figure drawing sessions in the evenings. We exercised methods from the French Academy, gradually sharpening our technical skills amid anecdotes of Annigoni, Madame Simi and Florence Foster Jenkins. It was this embellishment that I loved about Bob. He delighted and intrigued me with tales of a lost tradition of painting and a life lived on the cusp of a vanishing era.
Robert Cormier showed me a way to see and inspired me to search, to continue building on what had been already accomplished in traditional painting. He shaped me by who he was, a generous spirit and a true artist. By mimicking his habits of mind I attempted to absorb his philosophy and his uncanny ability to analyze the visual world and choose its most expressive aspects.
Bob Cormier was my role model, my mentor. I hear my voice say his words when I teach. I sense his spirit as I gaze out my windows at Fenway Studios. I note his empty chair at The Guild of Boston Artists. I will always remember Robert Cormier with gratitude; I owe him much.
Boston Artist, Melody Phaneuf is well known for her evocative still life, landscape, and portrait paintings. Her paintings are regularly on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street; at Fenway Studios, Boston by appointment; and North Shore Art in Gloucester from May through October. Phaneuf ‘s paintings have been exhibited at The National Arts Club in New York City, Galerie Herouet in Paris, and with Art du Monde, in Japan.
Melody The Artist Home, founded with photographer and color specialist, Martha DiMeo, features Phaneuf’s original oil paintings on tumbled marble tile murals and beverage coasters, fine art prints, and handmade note cards.
Make Your Life a Work of Art~
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