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Showing posts from 2016

A Long Time Coming...Painting a New Oil for my Swope Art Museum Show

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Philip Koch, Truro Studio: Two Rooms, oil on canvas, 36 x 48" 2016
My brush strokes are always in a hurry. When I paint my hand is doing more slashing and scrubbing than smoothing things down and polishing surfaces. One might get the idea my paintings happen  quickly. Ironically they don't. Rather I take months to sort through the colors to get them just the way I want them. Sometimes I need to build up my knowledge of a source for years before attempting a major painting.
Above is one of my new oils. It shows Hopper's bedroom in the studio he designed and had built for himself in Truro, MA in 1934. At the left is one of the windows overlooking Cape Cod Bay, and through the door at the right stands his easel where he painted dozens of his world famous masterpieces. 
My painting will make its debut Feb. 3, 2017 in Terre Haute, Indiana at Swope Art Museum's exhibition Light and Shadow: Paintings and Drawings by Philip Koch from the Edward Hopper Studio. It's based on …

Preparing for my Exhibition at Swope Art Museum

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Above is the 12 x 24" oil I painted from drawings I made on location at the house that Edward Hopper worked from for his famous oil Route 6, Eastham. Hopper made his painting based on drawings he made on the side of the road. Route 6, Eastham is the keystone of the Swope Art Museum's Permanent Collection and is one of Hopper's best known paintings.


The Swope invited me to show my paintings that I've made of the interior of Hopper's Truro, MA studio during my residencies there and of the surrounding area in a show they are organizing, Light and Shadow: Paintings and Drawings by Philip Koch from the Edward Hopper Studio. The show will open Feb. 3 and run through March 25, 2017 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Here below is a view of my studio today with the new in-progress 60" wide version of my smaller oil well underway. Should be fun to see this hanging when it's completed in the same galleries in the Swope Museum with Hopper's famous oil.


Willard Metcalf: Celebrating Light and Time

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Willard Metcalf, The Golden Carnival, oil on canvas, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
I've learned the most about making paintings that celebrate intense sunlight from Edward Hopper (1882-1967), who had to have painted the brightest sunlight of any of the early 20 century American artists. But Hopper was picking up on a tradition of the light-loving Impressionist artists who'd gone down the path before him. 
Above is a landscape from my "first museum", Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery by my favorite of the American Impressionist painters, Willard Metcalf (1858-1925). It masterpiece of contrasting the warm ochres in the undulating hillside with the surprising cool blue-green hues in the water's reflections. It perfectly evokes the light of a late afternoon just as the sun begins to speed up its descent to the horizon. 

Metcalf, Winter Afternoon

Metcalf's penetrating eye absolutely nailed brilliant sunlight, painting it with a dazzling expressiveness and s…

Time Travel (and why I'm so busy in my studio recently)

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Philip Koch, Friday Morning, oil on canvas, 40 x 60", 1990. This was painted on Caves Road northwest of Baltimore, a place that strongly reminds me of the long driveway I would walk everyday to reach my school bus stop. It resonates with  feeling for me because of this.
You may have noticed I haven't added a new post in several weeks. The Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, IN is opening a major exhibition of my work in January. I've super excited about it and have been deeply involved with finishing paintings for that show. In the meantime here are some of my paintings from 1988-90.
As a break from standing at my easel I've been looking at images from some of my paintings from decades back that have been recently scanned from their 35mm slides to digital format. Gradually a comprehensive archive of my work is emerging.  It is wonderful to see these older paintings again as they all long ago were added to collections all over the country.


Philip Koch, Summer Morning, oil …

My Upcoming Showing and Talk at Highland House Museum in Truro Sept. 24, 2016

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This is Edward Hopper's 1930 watercolor of the Highland Light in North Truro, MA on Cape Cod. The painting is a masterpiece on a lot of levels. One thing I particularly love is how Hopper created a real drama of colors between his pale buildings and sky contrasting so sharply against the deep yellow ochres of his sun-drenched grasses. Hopper deftly included the sandy road in his foreground to break up what would have been a visually too empty field. By adding a note of less intense color in the bottom half of his painting he helps connect his foreground with the the painting's more pearly top half.
I'll be including a slide of this watercolor of Highland Light in the slide talk I am putting together for my event sponsored by Addison Art Gallery and the Truro Historical Society on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at the Highland House Museum in Truro. There will be a showing of six of the oil paintings I've made during my 16 residencies in Hopper's former studio in Truro. 
We…

Paintings from my Burchfield Residency

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Philip Koch, Upper Story: Sunlight, oil on panel,  12 x 24", 2016. I painted this from the building in downtown Buffalo that Burchfield used as the center- piece of perhaps his most famous watercolor, Rainy Night.
Here are ten of my oil paintings that I've finished so far from my time as the Artist in Residence at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY. Most of them will be in the show I'm having opening at Courthouse Gallery Fine Art in Ellsworth, ME on Oct. 1st. The oils were begun at different times over 2015-2016 when I was making repeated trips to Buffalo, to work at Burchfield Penney and in areas where the painter Charles Burchfield went to paint his landscapes. 
One of the things that most struck me on the Residency about Burchfield  was how often he would take great lengths of time to complete his paintings. Sometimes the evidence was in the numerous preparatory drawings he would execute to help him with his major paintings. Other times the dates on indivi…

Three New paintings: Hopper, Maine & Burchfield

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Philip Koch, Eward Hopper's Painting Room, oil on panel, 20 x 16", 2016
Painting well is a little like developing a green thumb. You can't rush a painting into completion. They reveal themselves to the artist only gradually. All we can do is water and nourish them. Often several paintings will come to completion all around the same time. So it is this week in my studio. Here are three newcomers to the fold.
My painting above was done from some drawings I made during my previous residencies in Edward Hopper's studio in Truro, MA. It is a view looking from the studio's small kitchen down a short hall and opening into Hopper's large painting room. In the distance at the left is the easel Hopper used to paint many of his world famous masterpieces and at right is the dark walnut desk where he and his wife Jo would pay their bills. 
Initially I had centered his easel right in the middle of the painting room but it didn't feel right in that spot. Instead I moved it…

Upcoming Philip Koch Exhibition at Swope Art Museum

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One of the galleries at the Swope Art Museum
Susan Baley, the Director of the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana is arranging the programming for the Museum's 75th Anniversary in 2017. As part of that the Museum will be featuring my work in a solo exhibition:
Light and Shadow: Paintings and Drawings by Philip Koch from Edward Hopper's Studio,  January 20 - March 25, 2017.
The Swope is blessed with a world class collection of American realist paintings from the first half of the 20th century. The Museum's first Director, the painter John Rogers Cox, purchased them for the Museum.  He had a good eye and was able to buy important pieces for his new collection before their prices reached today's stratospheric level. 



The Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana
The 75th Anniversary programming will focus on the Museum's permanent collection and connect it to some contemporary artists. Perhaps the keystone of the Swope's collection is its masterful Edward Hopper …

The Myterieous Beauty of Edward Hopper's Captain Strout's House

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This is one of my all time favorite paintings, a watercolor by Edward Hopper, Captain Strout's House, Portland Head from 1927. It's in the collection of the venerableWadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT (founded in 1842!). The light and color of the painting are amazing. Yet I always sensed there was something beyond that but I couldn't put my finger on it. I think this painting points to how playful spontaneity and unconscious thinking makes the art happen.
In our kitchen each year we always have a wall calendar that features Hopper paintings. One evening as I was scrubbing a frying pan I paused and glanced up at the calendar. That month featured a big reproduction of Captain Strout's House. My eye fastened on the far watery horizon and a mental alarm bell went off. The water to the left of the house was way higher than the water level on the right.  They didn't come close to lining up with each other. How could this be?
Looking a little longer I realized my eye liked…

Happy Birthday Edward Hopper

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Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea, oil on canvas, 1951,  Yale University Art Gallery

Woke up this morning and realized it was the birthday of the artist who inspired me to become a painter. Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882- May 15, 1967). Many years ago as a teenager I had all the usual concerns of someone that age but visual art wasn't one of them. My parents subscribed to Newsweek magazine and as I thumbed through a copy I stumbled across the mysterious painting above. Though I'd never heard of Hopper I remember thinking to myself "Now THAT'S a painting!" A seed was planted.

Philip Koch, Cape Cod Morning, oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 50", 1994. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. A painting I made of a building in  Wellfleet, MA just south of Edward Hopper's studio on Cape Cod.  Without knowing Hopper, I don't know if I ever would have let myself paint a subject like this.
It's ironic how someone you have never met can prove instrumental in shaping your life. Year…