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Showing posts from April, 2016

Koch Invited for a 16th Residency at Edward Hopper's Former Studio

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Photo taken by Philip Koch of Edward Hopper's
 S. Truro, MA studioi n the early morning sun.
I'm a fortunate artist. 
Over the past year I have been the Artist In Residence at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY. On repeated visits there I've studied Charles Burchfield's painting and preparatory drawings at close hand as well as painted out in the landscape locations where he chose to paint. I've gained a far deeper understanding of Burchfield's methods and how his approach to the landscape changed over differnent stages of his career. Particularly valuable was a side trip I made to visit Burchfield's Salem, OH boyhood home.

Yesterday I received the invitation to have a 16th residency in the former studio of Burchfield's friend and fellow painter Edward Hopper in S. Truro, MA on Cape Cod. As an artist myself who originally was inspired by Hopper's work to turn from painting abstractly to working as a realist, the chance to work in the spac…

The Cat Story Behind This Painting

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Philip Koch, Lizzie's Day, oil on canvas, 18 x 16", 1980

Above is an oil I look at with wistful recollection. Hanging in my hallway it greets me when I come home. I did it on location in the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore. I had started it during a string of exceptionally beautiful Fall mornings. It went well and I decided to add something to anchor the empty forgeground. I persuaded my then girlfriend Alice to model for me out at the park that coming weekend. 

When I met Alice she had emerged from a difficult period in her life and had even had a close call with a life threatening illness. Through these times she explained to me that she had felt the most comforted by, of all things, her cat Liz. Unfailingly devoted to Alice, Liz would always end up near her, offering that mysterious companionship that cats can be so good at. Liz of course would listen and to Alice's mind, Liz understood.

The same week I was working on the Arboretum painting Liz took seriously ill. Upon ex…

Here Comes the Night

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Charles Burchfield, December Twilight, watercolor, 1932-38 Wichita Art Museum


Edward Hopper, Automat, 1927, Des Moines Art Center

Charles Burchfield and Edward Hopper, two of the giants of realist painting in 20th century America exhibited together in the same art gallery in New York and had a long term friendship. Despite the marked differences in their vision, they deeply respected each others painting. 

Both of them elevated times of day to play a key role in their paintings. Here are two paintings that focus on darkness- while very different each has its own intense poetry.  Ironically Burchfield's watercolor, while the spookier of the two, contains less black than Hopper's strangely empty storefront window. 

Intriguingly at the top of their paintings both artist employ a repeated pattern to create a recession into a far distance, Burchfield with his rows of low clouds glowing dark red and Hopper with his reflected saucer-like light fixtures.

Both artists are adept colorists.…