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Showing posts from April, 2015

If Watercolor Doesn't Kill You It Will Make You Stronger- Part 1 Winslow Homer

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Winslow Homer 1836-1910
Next month I've been asked to deliver a slide talk at the annual dinner of the Baltimore Watercolor Society. My title for the talk is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it's an acknowledgement that watercolor can be the trickiest of painting media. But my big point will be that seeing the work of some previous masters of this delicate medium teaches how to enjoy our eyes on a deeper more satisfying level. 
Three of the most important American watercolorists are Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield.
Let's start with Winslow Homer, who is photographed above wearing a natty three-piece suit that I bet he never wore to paint in. 

Homer's watercolor Stowing Sail, (1903, Art Institute of Chicago) was the first painting I ever saw. My parents had a framed print of it hanging over our sofa. I distinctly remember as a 3 year old connoisseur I used to lie on the carpet and study it. I figured it wasn't very good. 

Obviously, I thought, if Homer …

Listening to One's Paintings

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Philip Koch, The Reach, oil on panel, 10 x 15, 2015
Sometimes things take a while to unfold. 

I've always found I do well when I've let time pass and return to paintings weeks or months after I've made them to see how I can understand them differently. Often they seem to softly call me back and whisper in my ear about changes they think will make them more clear and focused. Usually when I listen to them things get better.


Philip Koch, Edward Hopper's Parlor, Nyack,  oil  on panel, 12 x 9", 2015

I've been working happily in my studio the last few weeks on a focused project of revisiting some oils from last year and adjusting their colors. Lights and middle tones are getting some new emphasis.


Philip Koch, Sonnet I,  oil on panel, 6 1/2 x 13", 2015

Here are a few from the group I've been working on. Some of them will serve as the basis for some new large studio oils.


Philip Koch, Frenchman's Bay, oil on panel, 6 1/2 x 13", 2015




Philip Koch, Frenc…

A Southern Inspiration for Some Northern Paintings

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Philip Koch, From Day to Night,  oil on panel, 6 1/2 x 13", 2015
Sometimes the Muse just comes and whispers in your ear with her blessings and her marching orders. Happened to me last month.
My wife and I had taken a few days to tour Virginia. We hit  the Nichols Gallery in Barboursville that carries my paintings and visited several Art Museums (that's me with an Edward Hopper at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk below). The Chryler was new to us and was a big surprise. I had no idea of its amazing Permanent Collection. Came back full of energy and determination to do a whole lot of new paintings.


A driving trip to visit new art museums can blow some cobwebs out of one's head. And we had a ball. 
My painting at the top of this post is a re-imagining of the Penobscot Bay in Maine, one of my favorite painting themes. There's something about the coast of Maine that feels like I've stepped out of time. When I paint it I often fall in to a fantasy that I'm painting the b…