P Buckley Moss Blog – Out of the Ashes Young Neighbors Rise
Sue struggled awkwardly to balance herself on the bed as she wrestled with the large framed print by famed artist P. Buckley Moss. Young Neighbors had been in the family for so many years it almost seemed as if it had always been hanging in their home. Sue remembered when they brought the print home from an art gallery in Old Colorado City, where she and Bill first discovered the art of P. Buckley Moss.
Unsteady on her feet while trying to pull the heavy framed print off the wall, Sue felt compelled not to leave this favorite work of art behind. Art has a tendency to pull at your heart and serve as a reminder of all things that are special in a family’s life. Sue liked the simplicity of the image and it reminded her of earlier days when life with family seemed less stressful and chaotic. Their son, Bill Jr., had taken the piece to a P. Buckley Moss signing event and had the print personalize. This was their first Moss print and it held a special place in the heart of their home. She did not want to leave it behind just in case.
Sue and Bill didn’t know if the blaze would reach their property, but felt they didn’t want to take a chance. The firemen insisted they be off the premises within the hour. They loaded the cars with their animals and gathered all the keepsakes and mementos they could manage. Sue gave up on rescuing the big Moss print. It was too heavy and she couldn’t get it off the wall. She genuinely hoped that all of their actions were just precautionary and that they would return home soon to find nothing lost or harmed.
Bill opened the gates to their twenty acre property and turned out the donkeys and lamas. This was the only way for them to escape and survive the fire that was marauding its way through the Black Forest toward their home. Even their most stubborn donkey, Poindexter, knew when it was time to clear out as the fire moved ever closer. Bill loaded the two Yorkies and the cat into the RV and Sue took the three Dalmatians, Cooper Lanier, Emily Rose, and Alexandra in the van.
The Black Forest fire was devastating and everything in its path was at risk, including part of the U. S. Olympic team that was training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center located in Colorado Springs. The bikers tried to out run the flames barely making it to the backup car and escaping the deadly fire.
The fire started near Highway 83 and Shoup Road, roaring through the Black Forest ravaging over 500 homes and devastating more than 8,000 acres. Two people lost their lives in this wild fire that spread furiously until firefighters were finally able to contain it in late June.
The Black Forest was predominantly covered with pine trees making it highly flammable. The fire started on June 11, 2013 but didn’t make it to Sue and Bill’s home until the 12th; a day that completely changed their lives.
With dogs and cat in tow and the fire moving in their direction, they left their home and fled to a small motel. They were bound to a single room where they stayed for three months. They did not know what had become of their home and their property until their daughter got a call from the security company informing them that the house had burned to the ground and all had been lost. Later they learned that there had been no attempt to save their home as the driveway was too narrow for the fire trucks to maneuver. It just burned.
In spite of the tragic news, there was some good news to follow. The Black Forest Fire Donkey Rescue found all of their donkeys and lamas. Even escape artist, Poindexter, the last to be captured, was eventually returned to the couple. Bill moved a mobile home onto the property so he could live there, care for the animals and clean up the debris. The couple decided, however, not to rebuild on the site. Sue took the Dalmatians and headed for North Carolina where she could be close to their daughter and her family.
In North Carolina, Cooper Lanier, Emily Rose, and Alexandra began to settle in and make a new home. Alexandra was the oldest of the three spotted dogs. Sue remembers the time when Alexandra was about six years old and she decided Alexandra needed a little brother or sister to keep her company. This is how Emily Rose and Cooper Lanier joined the family.
Sue found a reputable breeder of Dalmatians puppies in Wisconsin. From Colorado Springs, where Bill and Sue lived to Wisconsin was quite a distance so Sue asked her cousin and sister-in-law if they’d like to take a road trip to pick up a puppy. All were in agreement that a little girl time was in order so they began a girl’s weekend out with a cross country trip, to choose a puppy sibling for Alexandra. Sue informed the breeder that if any of her other puppies were going to Colorado she would be happy to give it a ride on their return trip. As luck would have it, one of the puppies did have a forever home waiting for it in Colorado which made the trip even more worthwhile.
Once at the breeder’s they found a total of three puppies, including the one to take back to its Colorado forever home. Sue chose Emily Rose as the new addition to the family, but when they left with two puppies, Sue could not get the image of one puppy left all alone out of her mind.
When the girls returned to the hotel that evening, Sue called the breeder and asked if anyone had chosen the puppy they had left behind. The breeder said that someone had looked at the remaining puppy but no one had committed to taking him home. In the end Sue and her traveling companions went back for the last puppy. This pup, Cooper Lanier, as it turned out, has been the best dog the family has ever owned.
Now settled into her new home, in a new state and waiting for Bill, Sue began to think of all of the possessions that were lost in the fire. Like the lonely little puppy that was nearly left behind, Sue could not get the framed print of Young Neighbors that she desperately tried to save, out of her mind.
Sue says, “There is a certain freedom that comes in not having possessions and you’re not missing things right away….” but eventually Sue began to grieve the lost of the P. Buckley Moss print that meant so much to her and her family.
Sue began to focus all her energy on trying to find a replacement for the print that had long ago become part of a sold out edition. The Young Neighbors image, which for so long had hung above their bed seemed to parallel their lives. She and Bill were now starting a new life which is the theme of the image in their fist and favorite P. Buckley Moss print.
Sue scoured the web. She researched P. Buckley Moss and began to looking for the image in hopes of replacing the print. As Sue discovered, however, replacing a print that had been sold out in May of 2000 wasn’t an easy task.
As Sue searched the web, she stumbled across the web site for Canada Goose Gallery in Waynesville, Ohio which has the largest inventory of rare Moss prints in the country. Sue contacted Canada Goose Gallery, hoping they might have the large Young Neighbors print available. After some research it was discovered that neither the print from the original edition or any of the artists proofs were available. With the help of the Waynesville gallery and in working with the P. Buckley Moss organization, it was decided that the image would be printed in a small edition of Artist’s Proofs in a new, and more technologically advanced printing process called giclée.
With Moss, the Artist’s Proofs are a small edition of prints that are always held in the artist’s private collection and she can, at her discretion, decide to release them to the public. The first Artist Proof in the giclée process would replace the offset lithograph that had been destroyed in the Colorado fire.
The anxiously awaited special edition was printed. Arrangements were made for framing and pick up at the Waynesville, Ohio gallery. In their 49 years together, Bill and Sue never boarded a pet. They often took their pets with them or arranged for a sitter to care for the animals until they returned. This time, however, they found they would have to take the three Dalmatians with them. Alerting the gallery, they explained that Cooper Lanier, Emily Rose, and Alexandra would be traveling with them and that they would have to ride in the rear of the SUV on top of the new print.
Bill specified very exacting measurements and explained that the finished framed piece could not be larger as he would be making a cover to fit over the framed print to protect it and cushions for the dogs would be placed on top. Cooper Lanier, Emily Rose, and Alexandra would have a comfortable place to travel during the long trip from Waynesville to North Carolina.
Arriving later in the day on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the couple and their Dalmatians were lucky to find a parking space fairly close to the gallery. Sue and Bill hesitated taking the dogs inside, but were encouraged to do so by the owner and staff. The dogs enjoyed the visit and gave their paw prints of approval to the new version of the familiar family friend, Young Neighbors.
The framed Artist proof fit snugly under the platform Bill had made to keep it safe on the return trip to North Carolina with almost a half inch to spare. The Dalmatians relaxed on top of the platform in their padded bedding.
The Canada Goose Gallery was delighted to be able to help Sue and Bill find a replacement for their print and restore the family memories with this cherished work of art by P. Buckley Moss.
The digital image of Young Neighbors has been published, pristine, perfect color and is extremely accurate to the original watercolor. Ten Artist’s Proofs were created at the time this small edition was produced and the last of this edition of ten is available at Canada Goose Gallery in Waynesville, Ohio.
Call for details in obtaining one of these artist proofs: 513-897-4348
Young Neighbors – This iconic image is typical Moss depicting one of the artist’s classic figurative Valley Style scenes produced at the height of her career. Like many of Moss’ early images, symbols are an important part of the artist’s work and many of them are religious in nature.
In the history of art symbols are often used to represent hidden meanings behind the visual elements often communicating profound messages. In Young Neighbors the young Plain woman is an archetype, an earth mother who carries eggs in a basket to symbolize fertility, new life or resurrection. The Plain man holds objects that are no less symbolic; the apples in the basket represent the “fruits” of labor and also indicate a strong work ethic.
The spirit house or generic house is based on Moravian-style architecture that the artist has painted without either doors or a roof representing a symbolic spiritual dwelling. The circular format, a composition often used by Moss that originated in the Italian Renaissance, represents the circle of life creating a porthole through which the image is viewed. Most interestingly is how Moss uses visual space; note the figures have stepped out of “their” environment into that of the viewer, a common technique in Moss’ style.