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Art as an Adventure

Tony Foster Blurs the Lines Between Creative Work and Play

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Eventually, in the artist’s own writing, I was able to find the thread that attached me to this story. Here it was that I found myself able to evaluate the truth of his work, not in the knowledge of art, but through my own intimate familiarity (at least in this part of the world) of where he sat when he created it. And, just as importantly, the routes he took to get there—the pathways trodden, hills climbed, and rivers floated. Although unable and unqualified to write about his art, by reviewing his paintings and reading his diary notes, I realized that I have walked the same trails, stood on many of the same windswept ridges, and stared the same fires to sleep in the river camps. Often with the very same companions, albeit sometimes as much as 20 years apart. There I found a knowledge and a kinship that qualified me to judge, if not his work, then the truth in the work he presents.

Although we had journeyed only once together (Grand Canyon river trip in 2000), over the years and miles our paths had crossed and re-crossed many times. I discovered that Foster painted scenes along the Salmon River that I grew up with as a boy, lakes that I had camped beside and mountains I had climbed as a young man, and many of the rivers, peaks, and valleys of the West that have been home to me. All, captured, rendered faithfully and made alive by Foster’s art.

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