This is one of the saddest pictures. At first glance it’s full of life. The beautiful, panoramic painting of a Vermont vista complete or nearly complete is on the artist’s easel awaiting his return. Other recently completed paintings are awaiting an upcoming show, perhaps marked on his calendar hanging on the back wall. Unfortunately, the artist was never to return.
It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of my cousin the artist, Brian Sweetland. A tragic accident in which he fell and hit his head, took from this earth a kind-hearted, gentle soul and an immensely gifted artist with extraordinary talent. I wrote in a prior blog about how he helped inspire me to become an artist. I wrote how he had studied under a master and painted plein-air in Vermont, year round.
It is a supreme compliment to an artist, when other artists look up to them and admire them. Such was the case with Brian! His tremendous intellect, love and compassion for others, along with his masterfully soft touch with a paint brush made Brian a revered artist and a beloved man. The painterly quality of his Impressionist landscapes is sublime and instantly recognizable as a Brian Sweetland painting.
In my humble opinion, he was a genius at capturing seemingly common subject matter in an awe-inspiring way. Take for instance an old tractor in a field, or a few cows in a pasture, or a white wheelbarrow. His works are treasured and now cherished by all who are fortunate enough to own them.
The Manchester Journal newspaper wrote a tribute to Brian entitled Remembering Brian Sweetland that I thought was eloquently written and worth sharing. It gives you a little insight into who Brian was on a personal level. He was so much more than just a talented artist.
The first original oil painting we ever bought was a Vermont landscape at Brian’s first major exhibit in Middleburg, Vermont in 1980. We were newlyweds at the time and thirty-three years later it still holds a prominent place in our dining room.
I’ve shared a few of his works with you, but there are many, many more gems out there including creative still-lifes and exceptional portraits. He was a master and I believe he will be considered one of the greats of American Impressionism.
Thanks Brian for your encouragement, your inspiration and for the wonderful legacy you left behind for all to admire. You were one in a million. A true “Painter’s Painter”! You will be sorely missed…