Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ken Bucklew - A Most Remarkable Man

In the course of a lengthy career a newspaper reporter meets and talks with many men and women. Some are good, some are bad, a few are truly evil. On rare occasions, if he's lucky, he may even meet someone downright amazing.
Take Ken Bucklew. He's an artist, but there are a lot of them around. Not quite like Bucklew, though. He paints birds and animals and landscapes and all include every tiny bit of detail. Not the Thomas Kincaid type of idealized pictures but the kind with warts and wens - leaves with holes eaten by insects, trees misshapen by time, boards withered with age. It's a rare Bucklew painting that doesn't include a bird, a butterfly or an animal because at heart he's also a naturalist. If he finds a feather he files it away so his colors are exact.
A great talent, obviously, but there's a lot of talent around so why is Ken Bucklew amazing? Because when I wrote a story about him for Outdoor Indiana magazine back in 1984 he said, "I drop my brush a lot."
Ken Bucklew was paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a diving accident the summer after graduating from high school. He had already shown remarkable ability as an artist, but after the accident neurosurgeons told him his plans for a career in art were an unattainable dream.
So he spent every possible minute in physical therapy sessions. Eventually a little movement returned to his arms and hands. He asked for his brushes and paints and created some child-like daubs on paper. He kept working at it until he was able to take a few steps on his own and over time even became able to drive a car.
But the feeling never returned to his hands and feet. "I can tell if I'm touching something," he said, "but in the dark I have no idea what it is." Touching a gooseneck lamp, he added, "I would know this was metal from the clanking sound."
And yet he paints with unbelievable detail. Good enough to have his work on duck stamps and to have sold paintings to commercial firms, including McDonalds. We bought one that is typical of his work - an old barn with a few deer nearby on a misty morning. He drove a hundred miles from his home in Spencer, Indiana to deliver it personally.
Call up his name on Google and you'll find more than 27,000 entries. Click on the first few and you'll see some examples of his work, see the remarkable detail that makes it seem you could step right into the picture. Remember one thing, though: Ken Bucklew wants to be known as an artist, not a handicapped artist even though he drops his brush a lot.


Blogger shelagh said...

Hi Dick,

Of course, I just had to Google Ken Bucklew and visit his web site. Ken's artwork is truly amazing. The colors are clean and bright, and the detail is astonishing. Looking through his collection of work is very humbling when taking into consideration how much effort has gone into each painting. I can thoroughly recommend that anyone reading this post should click on the following link and be inspired:

Ken Bucklew's web site

6:18 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

His work really is amazing, Shelagh. So is the man himself - stoic in the face of adversity, uncomplaining, determined to forge ahead despite the doubters. You don't encounter many like him.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Pam Cooper said...

I was a student of Ken's in the late 80's. He really is a great artist, teacher and person.
His work is admirable and is highly deserving of his success.
He taught me a lot as an artist. I only wish I could be so gifted. . .

9:41 PM  

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