Here are some additional photos from our trip out to Washington State to attend the gala reception Mia Meredino, the Musuem Director, and her staff at the Clymer Museum of Art organized for their showing of the traveling Unbroken Thread: The Art of Philip Koch exhibition. This is the fifth venue on the show's seven museum national tour. It continues through March 27. The Clymer Museum proved an unexpected delight with beautiful exhibition spaces, elegant high ceilings and very professional installation all around. We couldn't have been more pleased with the warm hospitality we received from all we encountered (is it true that West Coast people are just nicer than we jaded East Coast types?).
The Museum is named for the famous illustrator and painter John Clymer who was originally from Ellensburg, WA. Clymer was probably best know as the artist who painted 80 Saturday Evening Post magazine covers, nearly as many as the East Coast artist Norman Rockwell. A large number of his paintings are on always on display at the Museum. It will be celebrating its 20 anniversary next year. If anyone is in the area, the Clymer is definitely worth a visit.
Mia Merendino also organized a well attended artist's talk and reception over at the Art Department at Central Washington University the night before the Museum reception. I taught painting at the University back in 1972-3 and this was my first return to these old haunts. Much fun.
Driving out from Seattle to Ellensburg we passed the above vista. It got me thinking about the turn my painting has taken in the last dozen years towards a more romantic and dramatic vision of nature. My year living out in Ellensburg was my first exposure to the more extreme scale of the western mountains. Though its influence didn't really appear in my work at the time, I think it was cooking away slowly in the back of my mind, only to emerge much later. Very often it takes time, sometimes a long while, before one can integrate a new experience into one's creative work. Looking back on my trip the last week, I realize Ellensburg, Washington played a much bigger role in my imagination and my painting than I'd realized.
Here I am in the Clymer Museum standing between The Birches of Maine, oil on panel, 40 x 32" at the left and West from Monhegan, oil on panel, 28 x 42" on the right. While at the reception, attended by some 250 visitors, at least a dozen people commented they thought the work had been painted in Washington State. I see their point.
And above I am standing next to Equinox, oil on panel, 30 x 45", a painting where I had consciously put in a far distant set of snow capped mountains direct from my Western inspired memory banks.
The Clymer Museum has a great set of street level display windows for their gift shop. They are displaying the catalogue for the Unbroken Thread show published by the University of Maryland University College and written by the art historian Eva J. Allen.