February 2006 – Artist of the Month
Scenes of the Fox River and Others
Nick Freeman has been drawing, painting and otherwise enjoying the scenery in and around the Fox River Valley since moving to the area more than 20 years ago. The river, he feels, is a subtle and beguiling presence in the lives of local residents that is often taken for granted. He is attracted to its less well-known by-ways and finds that an early morning canoe trip or a mid-winter stroll along its banks often yields unexpected visual delights. A glimpse of a heron in flight or signs of a beaver's recent activity along the river's edge are compelling antidotes to the daily demands of modern life.
The other subjects represented here hearken back to a long history of genre painting, especially popular in the Netherlands during its golden age. The tradition of depicting daily life in all its quotidian familiarity is one the artist believes is equally relevant in today's world. Representing common roadside scenes or familiar activities is a way of documenting our true selves in a medium that, by its nature, promotes self-reflection.
Freeman's working methods employ an eclectic mix of traditional and modern tools. An emphasis on solid drawing and time-tested oil painting technique is fundamental to the artist's process. At the same time, photography and digital manipulation are called into play at various stages of a painting's development.
The artist currently resides in St Charles with his wife and three children. Up until now he has assiduously avoided showing his work in public. This exhibit is the first time most of these pictures have been given permission to leave the house.