Freak of the Week ~ Bernard Greenwald

Freak of the Week is a frequent Thursday blog feature right here at where I conduct a virtual interview with a friend or acquaintance.

1. Who are you?  What do you do?  What is your line of work?  Tell your readers a little about you, and your history. Please clearly state your name, business name, address, telephone, email, website and business hours of operation so they can be included in the blog post.

I am Bernard Greenwald, a painter. I live @ 24 Fisk Street Red Hook N.Y. 845 453 6580

How do you know Crispina?

I met Crispina through my wife, Elena, who loves to make things with recycled fabrics as Crispina does.

I make paintings based on the landscape in the Hudson Valley. My primary concern is color and how it expresses light passing through where we live and travel. The paintings depict rural and urban environs, and roads and cars since it is from a moving vehicle a contemporary person usually absorbs the landscape.

I draw on large plywood panels on site, usually propped on the roof of my parked car, freely interpreting what I see into an image most conducive to the use of  color . The color, often applied as flat areas of  acrylic paint, is added  later in my studio. It usually takes 4 or 5 days to complete a painting.


2. What is your current passion?

Lately I have been painting the Meade Orchard, which is a few miles North of our home. I park along Route 9G and as cars and trucks speed past, across the road an Edenic scene lies before me. I see fences, sheep, crops laid out in rows, varieties of fruit trees, the horizon, clouds and a glimpse of the Catskills. If I am standing too close, the farm dog creeps up to investigate me.


3. Who/What has been most influential in your current work?

I have been making paintings for many years so there have been a lot of influences.  They include the teachings of Josef Albers; also  Matisse, Picasso and the Cubists, George Inness, Persian miniature painting, Giotto, Titian, Tintoretto, newspaper cartoons, other teachers in the history of art too numerous to mention. Jazz music with its culture of free improvisation also has influenced my work.


4. What keeps you on the path you have chosen?



5. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

Art comes from art. Its taken me so long to arrive and my current level of fluency, I want to get down as much as possible in the time available to me.


6. Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

I go to the gym and also practice the cornet. We have a Klezmer group which meets every Monday night. I shop for food. I read 3 newspapers every day.


7. What is one of your most transforming memories?

Loss of my father as a young kid and the appearance of my own sons and daughter in my life.


8. Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

I play a silver, key of “C” Buescher cornet with a gold washed bell, probably around a hundred years old. I wish I knew who played it before me.


9. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

When I was in art school in Philadelphia, I passed a junk store on Walnut Street.  In the window, in a frame with cracked glass, was an etching I recognized as a Rembrandt, his wife Saskia as the “Great Jewish Bride”. I bought it for $18.00, about half my weekly budget then, and took it to the print curator at the Art Museum who authenticated it. Years later, as a worker in the Yale Art Gallery, I got help washing and reframing it. Its a treasure of mine which I see every day.


10. If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?

There are so many starving people in the world today. I wish I could feed them.

I had a nice chat the other day with a woman I did not know on the next exercycle at the gym. I could see she was studying a musical score so I asked her about it.  She was preparing to sing, in Russian, in the chorus of an opera. We compared the musician’s life to a painter’s life.


11. What is your favorite color?  Why?

In my world, one color simply does not exist on its only becomes real in the presence of other color.


12. What is your favorite travel destination?

I love the short step across the threshold of my studio. I love to see what happened overnight when no one was there.


13. What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months?

I am going to have my second knee replacement surgery in September. When I recover, I will frolic like a young goat, and make more paintings.


14. Tell about how you imagine the world might look in 10 years.

I’m not sure I wish I knew.


15. How are seen in your community?  What is your role?

I am the curmudgeon with the colorful splashes of paint on his clothes and arms.

Bernard is showing at BINGO! for the month of August.  BINGO!, is a professional gallery space featuring work that muzzies the boundaries of art and craft, housed in the former Bingo Hall on the lower level of our church.  New shows are hung the first of every month with openings coinciding with Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk when light refreshments are served and live music is performed.   Open hours are Wednesdays and Fridays 10-4pm or by appointment. (email or to set up an appointment).


Funky Klezmer music will be performed at Bernard’s show opening, on August 2 by Bernard, his wife Elena, and a couple friends beginning at 6:30.  Come, appreciate, look and listen!