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Showing posts from January, 2017

The Best Cat Painting Ever- John Sloan's oil Green's Cats at Delaware Art Museum

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John Sloan (American, 1871- 1951), Green's Cats, oil, 1900,  Delaware Art Museum
Earlier this week my wife Alice and I stopped in at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington.  As always happens when I visit there my eye was caught by one of the Museum's early oils by the famous Ashcan School painter John Sloan, Green's Cats.
Remarkable for its liveliness, the painting just nails the inimitable personality of felines. Quite an accomplishment when you consider it's almost completely devoid of any details.  Sloan has chosen a view where the cats have turned away, hiding from us their distinctive eyes and whiskers. Typical of cats, they seem oblivious to our presence. 



To learn a painting's secrets I often like to turn it upside down.  It helps one see just how Sloan arranged his painting to make it express its "cat-ness" so powerfully.  For starters, Sloan expanded the scale of the two cats to completely fill his canvas. There's no question that they, rather…

Getting Creative- Rooms by the Sea from the Hopper Studio

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Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea, oil on canvas, Yale  University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

The first painting I ever paid attention to as a teenager was Edward Hopper's Rooms by the Sea. It was reproduced in a issue of Time magazine that I saw when I was about 15. Like a normal teenager I paid little mind to fine art. But the painting with its mysterious contrast of a door opening right into the sea stopped me in my tracks. I remember thinking "Now that's a painting!" 
In 1983 I had the good fortune to become friends with the owners of the studio in Truro, MA where Hopper made this painting. I began a long series of residencies in the studio and started my ongoing series of oil paintings of its interior. Here's the corner of his studio that inspired Hopper's Rooms by the Sea.


Hopper was a master at rearrangement. He moved the door from the left side the doorway to the right and lengthened the empty white wall. Most critically he moved the sun to shine directly…