Monday, January 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello


This is my wife Alice yesterday out in Hagerstown, Maryland with my oil painting Beneath the Pine at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (WCMFA). We were there to attend a reception and the drawing for their annual Museum Raffle. They were giving away my oil to whomever had purchased the winning ticket. As it turned out it went to a dedicated Museum volunteer who I'm told has an excellent art collection. An artist can't ask for a better home for one of his children. But, we had to say goodbye to the painting.

It was an older piece I'd painted just a few hundred yards from my studio back in the 1980's. Then last fall I'd gone back into it to clarify the picture's color and to carve out a deeper space. As I've written about on this blog before, this working method seems to click for me. This time too I was able to boost the painting up to a higher level. So I'm sending it out into the world in the best shape possible. To my new collector, welcome aboard. And to the painting I'll say behave yourself and have a long, long life. (What a pleasure to have some children likely to live 500 years. or much more with a little luck). 

Speaking of saying hello, here's what's on my easel this morning in the studio.

Like the previous painting, this is a canvas from a few years back. It's From Day to Night, oil on canvas, 36 x 72" and was originally painted in 2003. It was displayed in solo shows I had at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA and at the University of Maryland University College that year. After that I took it out of circulation and let is rest. For the last few years we've been eyeing each other, trying to decide what comes next.

A couple of blog posts ago I showed the small oil on panel study I had just painted as a potential guide for how I might work back into this painting. You can see it resting on the easel just in front of the big canvas. Mostly I wanted to re-arrange the layers of clouds to achieve a more delicate balance. And I wanted to restrain the color in the sky as well. While I don't want to say too much about this as the art gods might be listening (and they love to punish artists who get to far ahead of themselves), it's going well and I'm hopeful to complete it shortly. It may make its debut this July when my traveling exhibition,
Unbroken Thread: The Art of Philip Koch opens at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia.

We on the East Coast of the US had a big snow last week. I stole a photo off of the WCMFA Facebook page (that I suspect was taken by their inveterate in house photographer and Assistant Curator, Jennifer Chapman Smith). I really liked how it showed the Museum right after the big snowfall.  



The WCMFA is building an enclosed glass roof over their interior courtyard. Just a couple of weeks ago the steel beams were hoisted into place. Here's how they looked yesterday. I was surprised how high up the glass ceiling will be. It's going to be a delightful addition to the Museum


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