A Reflection of Nature
Robert Trudeau’s love for painting dates back to his early years and time spent watching his mother sketch in fields and work with oil paints. Back then, his work was in pencil and crayon translating the rolling shapes and colors of his northern Vermont upbringing. While serving in the Navy during World War II, Bob Trudeau spent his free time visiting the museums of Europe and developing an appreciation of the works of the Masters. Following his discharge from the Navy he entered the school of Architecture at RPI where he studied design and furthered his interest in the arts by taking a class in watercolor. While attending RPI Bob’s father passed away. With his mother widowed and unable to drive, Bob stepped in to drive her to art classes in Lee, MA. Here his mother painted with a group of artists working with charcoal and oil. For seven years he made the commute from Latham, NY to Lee, MA, overtime picking up a paintbrush himself to start working with the group using a medium familiar to him: watercolor. After his mother passed, his painting took a back seat to the work at his architectural firm. Every so often he was able to find time to pick up a paint brush in the evenings or to sketch when traveling around Europe. In 1992, upon retiring from the Robert Louis Trudeau Architectural firm, he began to find more time for his hobby. In 1995 he began painting with the Colonie Senior Citizens under the guidance of Mrs. Lillian Hynes. Some of the work completed during that time has been exhibited in area hospitals, nursing homes, and colleges. When asked to describe what inspires his technique, he cites his northern Vermont upbringing and the environment. He tries to mix his own paint colors and forms to reflect nature, stating, “I see my work as a collage of brush strokes dispensing color on paper to react to a well-designed composition. These compositions are generally inspired by natural forms or interpretations of forms that represent elements of our planet.” During the summer Bob Trudeau’s art was on display in Shaker Pointe’s Activities Studio, his various techniques depicted through the lifetime of the colors as seen through his own eyes.
“My Favorite Piece is the Next One”
When asked to recall a favorite piece or technique in a series, Bob Trudeau quoted the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, “My favorite piece is the next one.” He elaborated by saying, “Painting is like a poetry of rhythms, composition and thoughts just flowing onto the page, all different.” Each piece hanging on the walls of Shaker Pointe has a story. He points to the depiction of a bright yellow tulip that he painted in reference to his wife, Mary Lee. He explained that Mary Lee was on the Tulip Queen Court for Albany’s annual Tulip Festival held each year. The colors convey a happiness and joy evoking the feelings associated with the coming of springtime. Another painting reflects the colors of a lake with the sun reflecting so that you are transported to a hot and hazy summer day. Since moving to Shaker Pointe Bob says he is kept busy with all the activities held here and meeting new neighbors. When referencing the other resident artists Bob proclaimed that there are many talented minds living at Shaker Pointe. One neighbor specializes in sculpture, another in oil painting, and another in watercolor. He states, “They are all very interesting and unique individuals, I enjoy talking about art with them.” Painting he explains, “Is a great way to express feelings graphically instead of verbally. It’s time consuming but worth the mental challenge.” Bob Trudeau prefers time spent in solitude to focus on his work, but enjoys interacting with other residents in the Activities Studio. If you’re around Shaker Pointe on Wednesdays at 1:30, you would witness a small meeting of the minds taking place in the Activities Studio. Here artists of all levels come together, converse and maybe complete a sketch or two.