~“Cloudsmith”~ Remembering Geoffrey Hendricks - 1931-2018
Geoffrey Hendricks, an American artist and university professor, internationally recognized for his paintings of sky and his blending of visual and performance art, who made his summer home in Inverness County for more than 50 years, has died.
Hendricks was 86 and had prostate cancer and congestive heart failure. He died May 12th at his home in New York City, with his family at his side.
Hendricks first found his way to Cape Breton in 1954, the year before the Canso Causeway was built. He had just graduated from college and hitchhiked up from Vermont to visit his younger brother, who was attending Carmelita Hinton’s summer camp at Sight Point.
The land and the people of Cape Breton made a strong impact on Hendricks. More than a decade later, in 1964, he and his wife, Bici Forbes Hendricks (now Nye Ffarrabas), returned and purchased a farm in Colindale, north of Port Hood, from Willie and Katie Ann Gillies.
The changing skies over the hilltop farm were an inspiration for Hendricks. He converted part of the barn into a studio, and making paintings of the sky became a central part of his summers. Over the years, the farm also became the site of gatherings and performance events – including a day of dance, music, and art on his 80th birthday.
Charlotte Miller of Mabou, an art editor, remembers that celebration fondly. She first met Hendricks when she was young, because her father, Bill Miller, was one of his art history teachers, and Hendricks was an occasional visitor at their home in Maine. She and Hendricks reconnected through the Inverness County Centre for the Arts years later, and renewed their friendship.
“He was such a sweet guy,” she said.