Painting in the Edward Hopper Studio
Good weather and a smile from the Muse helped me do a ton of good new work. Above is Hopper's easel holding instead of his masterpieces three new vine charcoal and pastel drawings I did while there. His easel, by the way, is nothing special- it's the type still available today from art stores. Like everything else, Hopper worked with ordinary tools, materials and subjects, yet very often produced things that were magical.
Above is my wife Alice standing next to the 10' tall north facing studio window in the studio's painting room. That and the high ceilings give the room a steady bright daylight all day long. It's frankly a beautiful space. Hopper placed his easel just to the right of the window when he worked, as that's the spot where glare from the late afternoon sun could most easily be avoided.
Below is a photo Alice took of me walking in a brisk wind along the beach Hopper used to swim at, usually alone, during his summers on Cape Cod.
In a couple of blog posts back I was talking about Hopper's oil Rooms by the Sea in the Yale University Art Museum, and how Hopper took many liberties with the actual facts to make his painting more expressive.
Here below is the actual corner of his painting room, with the dutch door opening toward Cape Cod Bay. On the left is Hopper's bedroom. Look at how cool the walls are in the photo below as they all face north and never actually receive direct sunlight. And notice how he's changed the door itself to attach to the other side of the doorway. This lets his sunlight splash across his enlarged wall uninterrupted.
I want to show you a lot more of the photos I took of the studio and surroundings. And I want to share with you some of the new work I did while up there. For me, who has been moved so often by Hopper's achievement, staying and working in his studio is a big shot in the arm. The next few blog posts will look at Hopper and his legacy more.
Addendum to Post:
I had an interesting exchange with Lisa Petrulis, the Curator of the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, IN concerning the whereabouts of one of the houses Hopper had painted on Cape Cod that became the oil Route 6, Eastham, one of the jewels of Swope's Permanent Collection. The former Director of the Swope felt the source for Hopper's masterful oil
was a house and barn located on the northwest side of the Route 6 traffic circle near Orleans, MA, just at the edge of the town of Eastham. I sent along a photo I took of that structure to Petrulis, thinking this was probably the source for Hopper's painting. No slouch she, Lisa Petrulis sent me the following photo of another house a bit north of my candidate that is now The Painted Dog Bed and Breakfast. Here's the photo:
If you compare the painting and the photo you have to conclude this is Hopper's source for what I have always considered to be one of his very best paintings. Typical of the changes to Cape Cod since Hopper's day, there's been a lot more growth of the trees that by the end of the 19th century had been all but cleared from Cape Cod for firewood and building. Now the Cape is gradually losing that open desert-like appearance featured in so many Hoppers.
The Swope Art Museum by the way is a real treat, with a Permanent Collection that's unrivaled when it comes to Regionalist painting of the early 20th century. They have in addition to Hopper, great work by Charles Burchfield, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and a killer Paul Manship sculpture. The Swope is a great regional museum. I've had the privilege of having had two solo exhibitions of my own paintings there and served as the juror for their annual regional juried Wabash Valley Exhibition. And they were one of the first art museums to add one of my paintings to their Collection. If you're anywhere near central Indiana, you owe it to yourself to visit.