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Showing posts from January, 2014

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Part II

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Last week I was out at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD. First time visitors often can hardly believe such a powerful Permanent Collection could exist in such a place. A few days ago I wrotea blog post about their newly renovated Singer Gallery and some of the work on display there now. Couldn't resist mentioning a few pieces hanging in the adjoining gallery in a show from the Museum's Permanent Collection. 
Above is a stunning small oil on paper by Albert Bierstadt (American born in Germany 1830-1902), In the Rockies. Probably painted mostly from direct observation, Bierstadt's oil shows us a masterful use of silhouetted mountain peaks for  emotional impact. The artist tones down all the contrasts in his warm colored foreground, urging us on as our eyes scale the crisply etched cool bluish cliffs. Bierstadt tells you where he wants you to look.




Thomas Cole (Am. 1801-1848) Study for "The Voyage of Life: Childhood", oil on canvas. 
A genera…

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts' New Singer Gallery

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Yesterday I drove out to Hagerstown, MD to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Their Singer Gallery (above) has recently been renovated and reinstalled. For years it had been hung in "salon style" with rows of paintings stacked close upon each other. Now there are a new floors, walls and lighting.  And it's gone the other direction to showing only a few select pieces in a more open and sweeping presentation.  I love the new look of the Gallery.
Here are a two of the pieces on display now in the new Singer Gallery.
Sewing Girl by Charles Hawthorn (Am. 1872-1930) is a personal favorite. Hawthorne does a skillful balancing act between a smokey olive green background and the sharper cool greens in the woman's blouse. In person the color relationships of these greens to the woman's hair is exquisite. Hawthorne makes all his colors seem to quietly flicker and fluctuate. Worth a trip to the Museum right there.






Also in Singer Gallery now is the Museum's impressiv…

Sometimes a Bad Fall is a Good Thing

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Deep Forest Pool, oil on panel, 30 x 40, 2011
Sometimes setbacks are good. As a boy, I often suffered a forced separation from my friends. Let me explain.

In my neighborhood riding bikes was big. Unless there was snow covering the roads it was the default form of play for my friends. For hours at a time they'd ride bikes. If one wanted to fit in, this was the place to be.

When I was six I got my first two wheeler- it was too big for me but my parents figured I'd grow into it. The only place I could practice riding the thing was our steep driveway. Instead of paved asphalt it was covered in crushed stone that was really too rough to ride a  bicycle over.

I walked the bike half way up the driveway hill and with a deep breath pushed off. Within seconds I lost my balance and went down hard, ripping through one of the knees of my pants and taking a gouge of flesh with it. To this day I still can see the little scar it left of my right knee. I was spooked and unfortunately stayed that w…

Unlikely Friends: Hopper & Burchfield

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Edward Hopper (Am. 1882-1967)


Charles Burchfield (Am. 1893-1967)

On the surface the paintings of Charles Burchfield and Edward Hopper look very different. I feel they were both chewing on the same bone, but from opposite ends. Much of what I do as a painter myself owes a debt to the lessons I've gleaned from studying their work.

Burchfield's often over-the-top exuberance is always tempered in each painting by a conscious pulling back. He loved laying down networks of patterned strokes, but he knew just when to stop.

Hiswatercolor below bustles with energy. The three building couldn't look more different. To that he adds conflicting patterns in rippling water, spindly tree branches, and powerlines. Yet how careful he is to include quiet and empty passages in the water and sky.


Burchfield, February Thaw, watercolor, circa 1920 Brooklyn Museum of Art


Without these quieter places where we can rest our eye we would find his paintings overwhelmingly active and would turn away. Who wa…

Studio Visit Magazine Part II

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Ascension, oil on panel, 40 x 32", 2008
In the previous blog post I talked about the just published Studio Visit magazine Volume 24 that features two of my major oils. It offered some background on my large oil Inland.  The second oil featured, Ascension, has an intriguing back story as well.
In 1976 I made my first trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts and was floored by its long expanses of undulating dunes. The spaces seemed so open that I felt I was painting the whole of the world as I worked there. They called out for big horizontal compositions. 
A few years back I had one of my big Cape Cod panoramas hanging in my dining room.  A decorative mirror hung on a wall adjoining the long painting. It caught a reflection of the painting from an extremely oblique angle, causing it to appear squeezed into a vertical format. My wife Alice spied the image in the mirror. She loved how it looked and called me to see. 


The Morning, oil on linen, 42 x 84"  at Art Essex Gallery, Essex, CT
The tra…