Dan Gardner has worked in Colorado Springs as a physical therapist for almost 30 years. He graduated from Colorado College as an English major and went on to earn his Masters in Physical Therapy. A lifelong reader, he designed this project to bring attention to his “classic” books.
I’ve always had a book in hand. You never know when you would be caught in a line or have a little free time.
I’ve also recently taken up painting just for the fun of creating. I’ve always appreciated how artists can draw you in to their created world, similar to a great book. The way that Van Gogh makes you want to lick the paint, or the way Rothko compels you to want to climb into his color fields.
As I was re-reading Huckleberry Finn last year, I decided I would spend the year re-reading classics.
I decided to come up with my own classics – the books that most impacted my life. I challenged myself to read my top 52 books in a year – one a week.
Finishing Huckleberry Finn, I felt the need to capture the book in some way. I sat down and painted
a scene from the book that stuck with me – trying to capture in color and form the essence of what had captivated me.
So, that was the new challenge – 52 books with 52 paintings in 52 weeks. As the creations mounted,
I hung them in our living room. Visiting friends and family would view the new installments and try to guess the books. This led to great discussions. Why this and why not that? Why this author? Why this scene? Everyone seemed to have their own opinion on which books I should be selecting and why. It became a game to see how many works you could guess from just viewing the paintings.
It took me the entire year. A year of reading and painting and being absorbed by the process. As
I finished this project, I envisioned hanging it somewhere that would continue to spark conversations about books, similar to what I was fortunate to experience during the creation.
I was delighted when Pikes Peak Library 21c agreed to showcase this project. The ultimate venue for continuing the discussions.
The show has been arranged so that one could try and guess which book inspired the painting. The quotes from the books are with the paintings to give some idea of what struck me during the reading. The other label offers the title and author and a brief explanation on why I chose that book.
It has been a great year of “classics”, Enjoy.