Friday night we had an opening reception for my latest exhibt, Philip Koch: Contemporary Landscape Paintings at the Carbon County Cultural Project in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The town is in the southern Pocono Mountains, an area I hadn't known well, and discovering more of its considerable charm was an unexpected benefit of my trip up there.
Here above is me and my wife Alice standing in one of the two gallery spaces CCCP devoted to the show. Behind us are to the left Memorial, oil on panel, 18 x 36", 2011 and From Day to Night, of the same size, medium and date. (You can see most of the images much enlarged by simply clicking on them).The latter painting is a reflection on the passage of time. It was inspired by a long week I spent in Camden, Maine overlooking the Penobscot Bay and wishing the persistent rains would abate. They finally did in the late afternoon of my final day there. The painting is as much about hope for a clearing sky as it is a report on what actually happened.
The show was handsomely installed by Anna Gosselin (below) who is managing the gallery this summer. Anna is studying in the architecture program at the Savannah College of Art and Design and has been with the gallery for a number of years.
Above are Anna, my wife Alice, and Joan Morykin who oversees all of the CCCP's programs including its classy restaurant Flow, musical performances, and running art workshops.
Here below on the left is Caves Road III, oil on panel, 28 x 21, an important painting in my development from the early 1990's. It was painted from life on a forested road that reminded me so much of the long wooded driveway that led to the home where I grew up in upstate New York. I was working in the winter and for one of the first times was taking a more imaginative stance with my basic color choices- in this case the grey-violet shadows in the trees. I liked how this turned out and was encouraged by the success to pursue a more personal color sense in subsequent paintings.
In the middle is Banner, oil on panel, 24 x 18", 2011. It's done entirely from my imagination and owes much to my many painting trips to Cape Cod as well as memories from when I was a boy on the Lake Ontario shore. Perhaps my most vivid memory of my youth was watching the trees stirred by the strong breeze off the water. They seemed to have mastered the art of combining elegance and strength. Who wouldn't want more of that in one's life?
And on the right is North Passage, oil on panel, 18 x 24", 2011, another work entirely from my imagination. It draws from my many experiences in the Adirondaks, the Green Mountains, and the marvelous peaks of Acadia National Park where Alice and I honeymooned in 1982.
Below is me standing with perhaps the best received of all the paintings at the opening reception, Last Light, oil on panel, 20 x 30". This was one of my ealier entirely invented paintings.
Below is a series of works on paper that I use as a preparation for larger studio paintings and as artworks in the own right.
Here is Victor Stabin, the artist who converted the 19th century stone factory building into the CCCP complex. He's showing his respect for the evening's events with his animated gesture. Victor is a wonderful painter who has an extensive collection of his paintings and prints on permanent display in the building. One of his works is reproduced at the end of this post.
And here below at the left is my friend Joseph Sweeney, a talented Philadelphia landscape painter who was instrumental in bringing my work to the attention of Victor Stabin and Joan Morykin so this exhibt could happen.
Above on the left, Memorial is actually based on a plein air oil study done on the summit of Cadillac Mountian in Acadia National Park in Maine. I've been painting there regularly since '82 as it is one of my all time favorite motifs. The title comes from the sad departure of our daughter Louisa's old cat Clifford, a frequent visitor and boarder at my studio who we had to put down the same week as I was finishing the painting. I was surpised at how badly I missed him afterwards and chose in my mind to dedicate this painting to him. The decision helped me feel better, and I'm sure Clifford, up in cat heaven, appreciated the gesture.
I always intend to get great photos of the entire show (this is only one of rooms that held my work) but in the crush and excitement of talking to all the visitors we seem to always forget until the opening has wound down again. But it's good when openings are too busy.
Finally here's one of Victor Stabin's paintings, Secret Life of Turtles.