Edward Hopper's Truro, MA studio, Sept. 2016
This week I brought some new paintings done from my most recent residency in Edward Hopper's Truro, MA studio into Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville, DE.
Two of the paintings are a actually a tribute to the very first Hopper painting I ever saw- his wonderfully strange oil of the corner of his painting room in the Truro studio (see below). It made a huge impression on me as a teenager and prodded me to begin thinking about becoming an artist myself.
Philip Koch, Truro Afternoon, oil on panel, 14 x21
inches, 2017 (this one oil will be available at the
Gallery Oct. 12).
Philip Koch, Rooms by the Sea: September II, oil on canvas,
28 x 42 inches, 2017
Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea, oil on canvas, 1951,
Yale University Art Gallery
I've learned unexpected things over the years I've stayed and worked in Hopper's studio. One is that an artist has to conduct a wide-ranging search for the subjects that open the internal doors wide to their creativity.
Hopper designed his Truro studio himself and over the course of 30 years painted many of his most admired works within its walls. For most of the paintings he made there he chose subjects well outside the studio's walls.
When he did directly refer to the studio the resulting paintings weren't straightforward depictions of its rooms. He would borrow certain features of the setting, but radically rearrange them. He used it as a springboard to make paintings that suggested a state of mind rather than a literal place.
Philip Koch, Truro Kitchen oil on canvas,
40 x 30 inches, 2017
For me the studio itself is a wonderful and poetic subject.
Light pours through its windows and spaces in ways that have inspired me to make all sorts of paintings of its interior. My oil above, Truro Kitchen, is the view from the spot where Hopper most liked to work at his easel. It looks from the grand painting room down a short hallway and into the kitchen. The far window is just above the kitchen sink and looks out over Cape Cod Bay. Hopper no doubt gazed out at it daily as he would rinse out his coffee cup.
Philip Koch, Morning at the Route 6, Eastham House,
oil on panel, 12 x 24 inches, 2016
One other new painting is the rooftop view above that I made from sketches of the same building Hopper painted back in 1941 of a house just down the road from the studio in the town of Eastham.
Edward Hopper, Route 6, Eastham, oil on canvas, 1941
Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN
Since Hopper's day the house has become all but surrounded by tall trees, but this view of the main house is still open from the road. I painted it in brilliant morning sunlight in contrast to Hopper's choice of the last light of the day.
Here I am in September 2016 working in Hopper's big painting room on the smaller oil that would lead to my painting Rooms by the Sea: September II (above). Looking over my shoulder in the distance, hopefully approvingly, is the easel Hopper painted on.