In 1850, four years before Henry David Thoreau published Walden, Susan Fenimore Cooper, of Cooperstown New York, published a book entitled Rural Hours. Susan was a daughter of the novelist James Fenimore Cooper. Rural Hours however, is less of a novel, and more of a descriptive journal, with particular attention paid to rural life, and detailed observations of the natural world around Cooperstown and Otsego Lake.
The name-sake for this art exhibition has been aptly chosen. Like Susan Cooper, the artists on display here have taken immeasurable care and precision in the depiction of the landscapes that surround them. This body of work is representative of not only the countless hours they have spent learning their craft, but also a lifetime of immersion and careful observation of the natural world that we live in.
If you ask Mark Tougias how long it took him to make one of his paintings, he will respond: “Fifty years,”. Certain mastery of medium, technique of artistry, and compositional intuition can only be gained through an extended devotion to a project.
Rural Hours has become an important work of environmental literature as a result of its effective recording and conveying of all the subtle detail and beauty in nature. The paintings in this exhibit will also live on, as a record of the natural world that we have had the privilege to experience in our lifetimes.