Written by Susan Miller on Thursday May 28, 2009
I was familiar with the work of Jean Richardson long before I even knew that a woman named Jean Richardson produced it. It was U.S. 10th District Circuit Court Chief Justice, Robert Henry who told me about her and put us in contact with one another. I was excited to get the chance to meet this nationally known artist and she could not have been friendlier or more down to earth. As it turned out, Ms. Richardson was familiar with our program, “Gallery” and was happy to have us feature her.
That is how I found myself in her studio one chilly February morning watching as she started a fire to warm the room then standing by her side as she began a new painting for us. It would be one of her signature large, abstract horses.
We spent two days with Ms. Richardson in the studio she had built next to her house. We started the first day with her interview. I like to do interviews with the artists first and I talk to them about everything. This is my one chance to record their story. I don’t pre-produce my segments. Until I have interviewed my subjects I have no way of knowing their story, so how can I start shaping one beforehand and expect it to be true?
I always work this way. Others might have different strategies that work best for them, but this is mine. It is during the interview that I see the beginnings of the story’s shape. But even then the story changes and evolves. Many times people reveal more of themselves after the interview is over because they’re more relaxed. I have often told videographers to keep the cameras rolling surreptitiously if a conversation continues after the “formal interview”. It is only afterwards that I tell the subject what I have done and they always laugh. I never air something that the subject does not know we got on camera.
I consider myself blessed to have this job. It is my work with Gallery that puts me beside great artists like Jean Richardson if only for a day or two. I hope you enjoy her segment, “The Subjective Horse” on the April edition of “Gallery”.