The warm sun was beating through the windows of my car as my friend Sheila—a fellow arts and crafts lover—and I hit the road for Bennington, Vermont, and the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival. This annual event has occurred in Bennington during the first weekend in August for five years. The crowning jewel of the annual, three-day Bennington Arts Weekend, the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival (put on by Craftproducers) is a vibrant event that draws locals and visitors alike to the gateway of Vermont.
Painter Tracy Lévesque was born in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts and credits her rural childhood for her abiding love of nature and its prominence in her artwork. Lévesque studied Graphic Design at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and received a double BA in Theater Arts and English and American Literature from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. While her early work depicted realistic scenes, she “quickly abandoned realism,” she writes, “for a more impressionistic, symbolic style that spoke more to the psychological realities of human existence rather than the more conventional interpretations of them.”
Lévesque will return to Craftproducers Stowe Foliage Arts Festival in October, 2017. Come to the Festival at Topnotch Field on Mountain Road in Stowe to meet this incredible Artist and see her paintings in person. Besides original paintings, she will also have prints and gifts featuring her work available for sale.
As a child growing up on his father’s 165-acre dairy farm in Whitinsville, MA, Rick Libbey learned to appreciate nature and all living things. In 1981, after moving to New Hampshire, he had his first encounter with moose – ironically in the wilderness of Maine, where he had been invited to a friend’s remote cabin. The encounter would prove to be life-changing. For thirty-five years, Rick has returned twice yearly to that remote lake in Maine, dropped by float plane, to photograph moose from a kayak. Due to the frequency of his visits, he has come to know some of the bulls and a cow moose and their calves, watching them grow to adulthood. Every encounter is documented with a photograph as well as notes Rick takes in his log book.
Rick started his business, MooseMan Nature Photography in 2003. His love of wildlife and photography has expanded to include eagles, loons, fox, bears, and all animals of the woods and waters. It is with a great deal of respect that he approaches any of his subjects, studying them from a distance and slowly working his way closer, studying their behavior and earning their trust. By reading the animal’s body language, Rick knows when to not approach or back away if necessary. This is key for capturing some of these remarkable images. In these photographs, one can feel and appreciate the sense of calm and trust in the subjects.
Rick will only be Exhibiting at Craftproducers summer show – the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival in Bennington – this year, as the Autumn will find him back in Alaska searching out more incredible scenes of the wild.
One of the most important messages Rick wishes to share is that of gratitude. To be out in the quietness of early morning watching as the sun rises, or later, as it sets, is at the same time grounding and uplifting. Humbling, and awe-inspiring. He considers himself a very lucky man to be among nature doing what he does. He hopes you enjoy his labor of love.