Tracing the Soul of the Work

“Probably the best film on an artist and his work that I’ve seen”

-Richard Boyle, 

Art Historian and Author


In late summer of 2008, Dale Schierholt was introduced to the then 97 year-old artist Will Barnet and, after a lengthy discussion on the porch of his Maine cottage, the two decide they would begin work on a film. During the following month, Schierholt shot the initial footage for what would become, Tracing the Soul of the Work. Over the next few months they stayed in touch while Schierholt searched for and found funding to continue the film. In the spring of 2009 the filmmaker traveled to New York, where he worked with the artist at his home and studio in the famed National Arts Club. Over the course of the next year they continued to work together in New York as well as Maine where, as he had done with so many other young artists throughout the years, the teacher in Will Barnet guided Schierholt through the philosophy and motivations of nearly 90 years of the artist’s work. The resulting film reveals not only an intimate portrait of an acclaimed artist and teacher but a beloved human being as well.