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Rhythms of Land and Sea: New Paintings by Anne Boucher
June 15 - July 24, 2004
Cotuit artist Anne Boucher has never followed the beaten path. Growing up in Detroit, she was the child who ran away from home her senior year and who didn't go to college. In 1974, she visited Cape Cod for the first time and impulsively returned here to live only a week later. Disliking instruction, she taught herself to paint simply by painting and looking at other artists' work. And when it comes to finding patches of the unspoiled Cape she fell in love with 30 years ago, she leaves the beaten path in the most literal sense. "To seek out the really quiet spots -- the best way to do it is to just head out and get lost," she says. (right: Anne Boucher, "Swan on Mill Pond," 2004, watercolor on paper, 14 x 18 inches)
Although she doesn't paint on location, Boucher spends so much time walking, bicycling and exploring outdoors that memory -- aided with the numerous photos she shoots -- takes over when she's back in her studio. "If you're out there 70 percent of the time and in the studio 30 percent of the time, you're really an outdoor painter," she says.
Many of the paintings in this exhibition are of Truro. Although she's no longer with the group, Boucher was the founder of "21 in Truro" and continues to rent a cottage on Corn Hill every October. In the summer, she seeks out places of hidden beauty along the Pamet River in her kayak. "I'm just so in love with it up there," she says. "I go up there at least once a week. That's sort of my meditation -- to take 6A and just end up up there." Or sometimes her husband, landscaper Mason Boucher, gives her a call from wherever he's working, saying, "You've got to see this spot."
Although she grew up in the inner city, Boucher's parents bought a 40-acre farm north of Detroit when she was about 8. It had eight horses, two ponds and plenty of trees for her to climb. Then, as now, she was outdoors all the time. During her sophomore and junior years, she attended Cass Technical High School for its exceptional commercial art program. There, she went through an intensive drawing regimen. "I had a good four hours a day of drawing," she says. right: Anne Boucher, "Tumbling Roses -- Truro," 2004, acrylic on panel, 23 1/2 x 31 inches)
Boucher moved to New Jersey after high school, but soon discovered the Cape while visiting friends in Wellfleet. She initially lived in Dennis, took a factory job and fancied she might become a potter. Then she took a pottery class and, she says, found out she wasn't good at it. But she discovered her talent for watercolors around 1980, when she took a painting trip to Nobska with her sister, Nancy Philo Oleson, a watercolorist who was living in Boston. "I was hooked," Boucher recalls. "I loved it." She began taking care of children so she could stay home with her young daughter, Erin, and took the youngsters along as she explored galleries and studied other artists' techniques. She began painting in acrylics only four years ago, when the summer weather was so muggy that her watercolors were taking too long to dry between layers. Fast-drying acrylics provided a solution, and she quickly mastered that medium as well.
Boucher excels at capturing the Cape's crystalline light, and many of her recent works reveal her fascination with dramatic cloud formations. As a watercolorist, she considers herself a "purist" -- that is, she relies on the unpainted paper (never opaque white paint) for the white areas of her pictures. Speaking of white, she's spent countless hours observing the swans on Mill Pond in Marstons Mills. The beautiful birds are, she says, "the perfect foil for lighting and backlighting."
Boucher also takes the road less traveled in marketing her work. She and Mashpee artist Christie Velesig operated the Teufel-Velesig Gallery in Cotuit for a short time in the mid-'80s, but decided they'd rather paint than run a gallery. For the last six years, Boucher has had considerable success in selling her work at the Old Selectmen's Building in West Barnstable, which she rents out for a week a couple of times a year.
She is already a favorite with visitors at the Cahoon Museum. She has participated in several group shows here, including "21 in Truro" (2000), "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" (2002) and "Freshly Painted Houses" (2003). Two years ago, one of her pieces set a bidding record at our Great Brush Off! art auction.
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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.