Walking Magpie

On and Off the Leash

Chuck Forsman

Date Published :
June 2013
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Eric Paddock
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781938086113

In stock


People love dogs, and dogs love people. Walking a dog is one of the most visible and mutually beneficial manifestations of that bond. It is a ritual steeped in affection and obligation. It doesn't have a day off. It doesn't pay the bills or clean the dishes or do the laundry. Still, people and dogs alike gain the benefits of exercise, socialization, shared experiences and observations. Another benefit, often overlooked, is the pleasure of mutually indulging a trait that ordinary dogs share with extraordinary people: curiosity. This book is, in many ways, an ode to curiosity. Walking Magpie is about a dog and what a dog sees. It is also a work of serious photography by a well-known and pioneering landscape artist: Chuck Forsman, who, for more than forty years, has been a keen observer of the interface between landscape and culture as expressed through his paintings and photographic art. As a result, Forsman often goes to places that might not be on everyone's radar screen. In this book, Forsman took a camera with him during his walks with Magpie, the family dog. Often, these walks are in the neighborhood and surrounding hills where Forsman lives: near the Flatirons in Boulder. But Magpie joins Forsman on other adventures, from Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada to Florida, Ohio, and New York City. The intent is to turn these experiences into art. With each picture we sense mystery rather than clarity, questions about place rather than answers. We hardly can know what a dog knows, but with this book we can appreciate better what a dog sees and senses and experiences, helping the human and canine imagination to meld, at least a little. Walking Magpie is published in conjunction with a retrospective of Chuck Forsman's photographs at the Denver Art Museum in October 2013. Published in association with the Denver Museum of Art.

About The Author

Chuck Forsman was born in Idaho in 1944 and raised in eastern Oregon and northern California. He received his B.A. in art in 1967 and his M.F.A. in painting 1971 from the University of California at Davis. Forsman was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 and sent to Vietnam in 1968–1969, where he served as an illustrator and photo correspondent and earned a Bronze Star Medal. After Vietnam he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1970 and in 1971 began to teach painting at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he received three Faculty Fellowships and retired in 2008 as a professor of art. He has also received three National Endowment for the Arts grants, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and numerous other awards and honors. Forsman's work is included in more than twenty permanent collections, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Denver Art Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Knoxville Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nevada Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Princeton University Museum of Art, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Wichita Art Museum, and Yellowstone Art Museum, among others. He has three published books: Arrested Rivers (University Press of Colorado, 1994), a book of his paintings that are critical of the over-damming of the West; Western Rider: Views from a Car Window (Center for American Places, 2003), a book of black-and-white photographs taken throughout the West; and Along Buddha's River (2011), a self-published book of color photographs taken by Forsman and his daughter, Shannon Forsman, while they followed the Mekong River from near its source on the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. Chuck Forsman continues to produce paintings and photographs from his home in Boulder, Colorado, based on travels primarily in the American West and Southeast Asia. Mr. Forsman is credited with being among the first artists to link landscape painting and environmental issues.

ERIC PADDOCK since 2008, has been Curator of Photography at the Denver Art Museum, where he has organized solo exhibitions by Edward Ranney, Robert Benjamin, Garry Winogrand, Laura Letinsky, and Chuck Forsman, among others. From 1982 to 2008 he was Curator of Photography and Film at the Colorado Historical Society, where he curated more than two dozen exhibitions of seminal historical photographs. He is the author of Belonging to the West, and his photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Dogs by nature take indiscriminate interest. We cannot as their companions fully share in this, for reasons of social propriety and intellect and conscience, but their openness reignites by example the potential in us to feel affection for the world. Chuck Forsman's dog ranges enthusiastically through the often seedy little landscapes of a compromised America, but as we watch we escape a measure of our boredom and embarrassment with the country. Saved by a nose.

- Roberts Adams, photographer and author of The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs, 1964–2009

Between the wild and the domestic, there is the dog. Chuck Forsman's mutt, Magpie, lets us enter that betweenness where people and the environment cooperate and collide, a raggedy border where only a four-legged guide could walk unselfconsciously and an unmarked territory where only an artist could catch the complex scent.

- Rev. Gary Kowalski, author of Blessings of the Animals: Celebrating Our Kinship with All Creation

Walking Magpie is a magnificent book in which renowned artist/photographer Chuck Forsman and his cool companion-dog, Magpie, take us on a wonderful and beautifully illustrated journey into a wide variety of landscapes, with which many readers will be unfamiliar or surprised by, from parking lots, construction sites, and the spaces between dumpsters to spectacular wilderness, urban parks, and city streets. Far too many people today are alienated from nature, and this remarkable book, which could easily be subtitled 'Travels With a Man and His Dog,' will help us all to 'rewild' our hearts and reconnect with our incredibly interesting and breathtaking world. I love this book and find myself constantly going back to the superlative pictures and taking off on my own imagined journeys.

- Marc Bekoff, co-founder (with Jane Goodall) of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, author of Nature's Life Lessons (with Jim Carrier), The Emotional Lives of Animals, and Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Jessica Pierce)

Walking Magpie: On and Off the Leash is a 136-page compendium showcasing the black-and-white photography of Chuck Forsman. Enhanced with an informative introduction by Eric Paddock, Walking Magpie: On and Off the Leash presents visual imagery focused on what a dog sees, smells, and is drawn by canine curiosity to investigate. The premise of the project was quite simple, take a camera along when Chuck Forsman walked his dog in the neighborhood and surrounding hills near where they live, along with adventures in other parts of the country ranging from Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada, to Florida, Ohio, and New York City. The result is a compilation of truly impressive and occasionally meditative images. Walking Magpie: On and Off the Leash is a highly recommended photographic study

- James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

For more than forty years, Chuck Forsman has been a pioneering landscape artist whose paintings and photographs have engaged us and helped us to focus on environmental and land-use issues. Here, in Walking Magpie, Forsman shows us a layered continental landscape that is banal and beautiful, gentle and terrifying by turns. His eye for form, detail, and the occasional quiet joke―combined with Magpie's canine exploration and acceptance of the world as he finds it―challenge ordinary perceptions of 'landscape' and of 'community' and awaken in us a new sense of where and how we live.

- Eric Paddock, Curator of Photography, Denver Art Museum

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