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Showing posts from October, 2013

Sweet Distractions

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Woke up this morning all energized to hit the easel and finish off the half dozen oils I have in progress right now. I'm excited about all of them. 
Pulling on my socks though I turned my head to gaze out the window on the fog wrapping around my favorite maple tree. Damn but it was lovely! Came within an inch of dropping everything and starting a new painting. 


But I didn't. 
Sometimes I see paintings in museums by famous artists (whose work I usually admire) that seem unresolved to me. I always wonder about that. Once an artist has become widely recognized and widely collected, the prices for their paintings can skyrocket. And even unfinished work that only collected dust in the corner of their studio can become monetarily really valuable. 
Whenever you see a work where the artist managed to bring their vision completely to life it's thrilling. All artists, even the most talented, get stuck. If they're smart that's when they put their work aside for awhile and go on t…

More from Delaware Art Museum

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The previous blog post talked about the new exhibition of art from the Brooklyn Museum, American Moderns 1910-1960, now hangingat the Delaware Art Museum that impressed me so much last weekend. Wanted to share a few more of my favorites from this show. The image on the cover of the exhibition catalogue is an oil by Georgia O'Keeffe (Am. 1887-1986), 2 Yellow Leaves. In person the handling of the paint is stunning.

Look at all the little moves O'Keeffe makes to inject some asymmetry into the painting, for example the outer periphery of the larger, bottom leaf. On the upper left it's got touches of green and seems unscathed by the coming of Fall. On the upper right the artist changes her palette more towards warm sienna browns. That second side also looks like a bug made a lunch for itself out of some of the leaf's outer edge. 

There have been probably thousands of paintings of autumn leaves, but few have the visual surprise of this one. Notice how O'Keeffe understates …

American Moderns at Delaware Art Museum

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Exhibition catalogue for American Monderns 1910-1960 By Karen Sherry and Margaret Stenz. Brooklyn Musuem. Pictured, Georgia O'Keeffe's 2 Yellow Leaves, 1928

The job of artists is to see the patterns that lie hidden just beneath the surface of things. The visual environment that surrounds us is full of distractions, insignificant details and conflicting messages. Fortunately there are roadsigns pointing the way out of this murky confusion- the paintings by the best artists who've preceded us. I've spent a life time studying their work. It has taught me how to see on a deeper level. 
And it's an ongoing assignment. 




Last Saturday I spent the day at the symposium organized around the Delaware Art Museum's new exhibition American Moderns 1910-1960. From O'Keeffe to Rockwell, a show that takes an unusual and more broad sample of how modernism influenced American painters in the early 20th century. The work is entirely drawn from the Collection of the Brooklyn Muse…

Winslow Homer's World (Part III)

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This is the third of my posts about my visit to Winslow Homer's studio in Prouts Neck, Maine. My previous blogs on his studio can be found here and here.
Here's one of the crown jewels of the Portland Museum of Art, Winslow Homer's oil Weatherbeaten. Below are the rocks on the shore by Homer's studio in nearby Prouts Neck. Homer's vatage point was a bit more to the right and down closer to the waves than the spot where I took the photo. Even with the profoundly different weather from what Homer chose (the day I visited the studio was ridiculously clear and sunny) you can identify some of same rocks depicted in Homer's oil.





Looking north from Homer's shoreline.





And looking south.






Here is the single large upstairs room in the two story studio. The doorway opens out onto Homer's second floor blacony overlooking the Atlantic.





The docent from the Portland Museum of Art leading the tour explained Homer had these two fish mounted on his wall in his day. (Neither on…

What Winslow Homer Saw

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Wanted to continue the series of photos from my visit to Winslow Homer's studio in Prouts Neck, Maine that I began in the previous post. The studio has been extensively restored to match how it appeared in the artist's day by the Portland Museum of Art. Tour's can be booked through the Museum.
Above is the back of the studio with the addition Homer added as a  special painting room in the foreground. The Atlantic peeks through at us from the distance.




The view of the ocean from the 1st floor living room.



The balcony or "piazza" Homer had constructed to give him a panoramic view of the sea.




Shadows on the piazza. Below two views from that balcony with the Atlantic in the distance.











Homer's painting room. The Portland Museum ascertained that Homer had the wall painted this cream yellow color rather than white.








A secret behind any strong artist is mastery of his craft. Homer was no exception. He had a killer set of canvas pliers to stretch his linen canvas "just r…

Winslow Homer's Prouts Neck Studio

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My first encounter with art museums was on a fourth grade school trip to the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY (my hometown). We were shuttled through the museum by an amiable docent and stopped to hear her talk about some of the work on display. I remember only one painting from that first trip, Winslow Homer's oil The Artist's Studio in an Afternoon Fog above. I didn't know much of anything about Homer (Am. 1836 - 1910) but I knew this was what I thought a painting should look like. For a nine year old, I think I had pretty good taste.




Here's a photo of the same studio I took last Friday afternoon. My wife Alice and I were headed up to Acadia National Park in Maine to go painting. We took time to visit the recently re-opened studio of Winslow Homer in Prouts Neck, just south of Portland. The Portland Museum of Art purchased and completely overhauled and restored the property to match as closely as possible how it appeared when Homer was painting in it. Anyone who …