The artist Robert Strong Woodward spent most of his life in Buckland – and in a wheelchair. At the age of 21 he was injured in a hunting accident in California where he was living. Paralyzed from the waist down he returned to New England where he was born, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and then moved to Buckland. It was his intent to make his living as an artist.
He was successful and many of his works capture the beauties of the New England Landscapes. I’d like to mention that he often came to Heath to paint our familiar landscapes. This year the Buckland Historical Society has put out its third Robert Strong Woodward calendar to benefit the Society. The painting above, The Golden Slope, belonged to Beulah Bondi, a famed Hollywood actress who appreared in movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, and TV series like The Waltons. The calendar is $20 and for sale locally at the Buckland Town Hall and Buckland Library, Boswell’s Books and Sawyer Hall in Shelburne Falls and Andy’s Pine Shop in Greenfield.
Janet Gerry, a Buckland native, has just published Artist Against All Odds, a biography of Woodward intended for older children. Actually, anyone interested in the history and beauty of the area will enjoy the book, and the story of one of its most distinguished citizen. It would make for a great family Read Aloud during the holiday season. Janet grew up living two houses away from Woodward’s house and studio, hearing stories of his life which she has translated into a true story for the whole family.
Artist Against All Odds includes photographs of the artist, and color plates of a few of his paintings. The book costs $14.95 and is available at Boswells Books and Sawyer News in Shelburne Falls, and the World Eye Bookstore in Greenfield. You can also go online to order the book.
The book and calendar made excellent Christmas gifts. You can (possibly) give yourself a present by leaving a comment here and entering a drawing for Right Rose, Right Place by rose expert Peter Schneider and 2 dozen CowPots made of composted manure for seedstarting. I’ll have the drawing on Saturday, December 12.