Listening to One's Paintings

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

Philip Koch, Still Pine,  oil on panel, 12 x 12", 2015


  1. I love The Sonnet I. It is very calming and I love the use of the complementary colors.

  2. Paintings take their own time don't they? I thought it was just that I had not been at it long (even though I knew of artists who just could not stop - after years- like Charles Burchfield.) How do you ever let them go?

  3. Hi Lisa. I figure as long as the artist is making the piece better there is no limit to how long they can work and re-work a piece. Burchfield had an amazing knack for re-working things without overworking them. I personally find re-working something almost always works if it calls out to me loudly enough to come and make the cahnges it feels like it's asking me to make. It's of course a terribly subjective matter. And every artist has at least a few pieces that refuse to improve no matter what.


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