Late last spring I met up with Forrest in Santa Fe where we filmed the Santa Fe Interviews. One warm evening we went out on Canyon Road to a gallery benefit. We had some difficulty locating the host gallery and had to ask directions. It was a real lesson in the high esteem to which folks hold Forrest.
After walking this way and that for awhile we found a young gallery owner out sweeping dust off her immaculate porch and asked her where Medicine Man Gallery was located. Since it was after the time when most galleries were closed for the evening Forrest complimented the woman on her work ethic and shop hours. She smiled and asked me who we were, probably thinking we were from the IRS or something. As I pointed at Forrest I said, “This is Forrest Fenn.” My lord! You would have thought I was introducing her to Mark Ruffolo. She (I’m not making this up) actually swooned. If you don’t know what swooning is you need to watch some Beatles concert films. Forrest is a legend in Santa Fe and his gallery is still revered at mythic scale even though he sold it 25 years ago
The reason we were headed to this particular gallery that evening was because the main event was a beautiful bronze by renown artist, Veryl Goodnight. Veryl is the artist that created “The Day The Wall Came Down” which celebrates the reunification of East and West Germany. The “bigger-than-life” sculpture was a gift from the American People to the People of Berlin and lives in Germany. A second lives in Texas at the George Bush Library.
I was entirely out of my realm at a Canyon Road gallery event but Roger and Veryl took the time to make me feel welcome. Very, very nice folks indeed. The following note from Veryl appeared in my mailbox soon after the Newsweek story hit the streets. It is titled, The Real Forrest Fenn.
The painting was certainly inspired by the trip, but it was inspired even more by a recent “lesson” Forrest had given me about composition and paying more attention to line when I was painting. I have been a professional artist, mostly as a sculptor, for over forty years. Forrest didn’t have to take his time to speed up my return to painting. There was nothing in it for him as he no longer sells art, but he did take his time, and did so with so much sincerity, that he teared up as he pushed me up the creative path.