Monday, October 14, 2013

Winslow Homer's World (Part III)




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 one looked particularly happy).





In first floor painting room the Museum has on display one of Homer's sets of watercolor pigments. When one thinks of the artist's remarkably brilliant watercolor paintings, the modest and utterly ordinary messy paint box is a surprise. Somehow I realize I unconsciously imagined something more elegant. You realize that in the right hands, real magic grows out of even the simplest of materials. They sure did here.






The Museum has several Homer quotes posted on the studio wall upstairs. One I liked in particular was "When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway." 






Homer only moved to Prouts Neck in Maine in the second half of his life when he was already well known. Far from being remote, the peninsula was becoming a popular tourist destination sporting several large hotels. Attempting to discourage casual visitors to his studio, Homer had this sign posted outside warning of "Snakes" and "Mice." I love that someone years ago had the good sense to hold onto his crudely lettered sign.





My tour of the Winslow Homer studio coincided with a painting trip up the coast to Acadia National Park so I could do some landscape work out in the field. The Maine coast gets noticeably wilder there than in relatively quiet Prouts Neck. Given the drama Homer could inject into his oceans, I can only wonder what he would have done with the more radical landscape farther north.

Here are three new vine charcoal drawings I did on the trip (out of a total of eight pieces). My favorites will be used as a basis for oil paintings back in my studio. Each is 10 1/2 x 14" and are done in vine charcoal.












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