Sit down, have a beer…

Black Bass Hotel Bar Downstairs

I first encountered Jean Childs Buzgo through one of her paintings, naturally. It was a painting of a table at the Café at Rosemont, the charming restaurant north of Stockton that recently closed. It was a favorite of many, especially for weekend brunch, and will be sorely missed.

The painting was actually one of a series which began with a painting that Jean did for her husband of their favorite table at the café, named aptly, “Our Spot.” Seven more paintings followed, each named “Our Spot” for different tables and booths at the restaurant. And each captures the warmth and hominess that made the restaurant so popular.

Cafe at Rosemont, Our Spot#1. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo
Cafe at Rosemont, Our Spot#1. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo

Although Jean does beautiful landscapes and still lifes, I was drawn to her paintings of bars, restaurants and inns in the Bucks County and Lambertville area. Each makes you want to enter the picture, sit down and order a drink!

Lambertville Station Canal Side Bar. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
Lambertville Station Canal Side Bar. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.

Although I usually write about food, I wanted to showcase Jean’s work on Bucks County Taste because she captures the feel of so many Bucks County food places. We met – at a coffee house – to discuss her work. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

BCT: When did you start painting?

JCB: I’ve been painting since 2007-8 and had no formal training as a painter. My background is in packaging/graphic design. But living around here, in Bucks County, it’s so beautiful, I decided to start painting. I’ve taken workshops with several local painters, including Robert Beck, John Ennis and Gordon Haas. Beck, in particular, has been a great teacher and mentor. Each has generously imparted technique and knowledge.

Black Bass Hotel Bar Downstairs. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
Black Bass Hotel Bar Downstairs. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.

BCT: I’m curious. How do you choose your subjects?

JCB: There is a moment of inspiration – I can feel the painting, visualize it. I might have been to that place a hundred times but suddenly I ‘see’ a painting. It’s a vibe, definitely. There’s a certain energy, a visual energy.

I have to love the place – no, I don’t have to – but it shows when I do. I usually paint things that are special to me. I like painting places that bring people together, places that revolve around good food and drink. Oh, and you can tell I like beer!

River Horse Hop-a-Lot-Amus Beer. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
River Horse Hop-a-Lot-Amus Beer. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.

BCT: You’ve also started a blog.

JCB: Yes, but I’m not a writer! I just wanted to express what I was thinking and feeling when I painted.

Here’s an excerpt from the blog:

“I have been painting daily it’s just that I’ve been painting larger and the paintings take longer. This new one, just finished today was worth photographing at this point. However, I am toying with the idea of darkening up the interior of the coffee house. I don’t know that I ever feel a painting is done. There’s always things that I think could be improved, no matter what. But you just get to a point that you’re just tired of it and you don’t want to belabor it. That would negatively affect the work. I will say that I went out of my way to get a coffee today and it’s all due to this painting! Guess I should start another beer portrait soon since it’s the weekend! So here it is, finished or not:

Lambertville Trading Company Interior. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
Lambertville Trading Company Interior. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.

BCT: What’s next?

JCB: I’m always learning. I’ve taken little pieces from the instructors I’ve had. I look forward to all the possibilities ahead. There’s a lot out there to paint.

See more of Jean Childs Buzgo’s work at her website, www.jeanchildsbuzgo.com

Blackberry Picking at Snipes Farm. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
Blackberry Picking at Snipes Farm. Copyright Jean Childs Buzgo.
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