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Showing posts from June, 2018

Quick Visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art

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Thomas Wilmer Dewing. Lady with a Fan, oil, 1911
My wife Alice and I took a break yesterday and spent an hour at our Baltimore Museum of Art. I hadn't been to the BMA's galleries in months as last winter and spring I was busy in my studio finishing up paintings for Burchfield Penney Art Center's current exhibition of my work in Buffalo, NY (thru July 29). As our time was limited we headed to see some of our old friends.

Above is one of those distinctive and ever so slightly weird painters who I love. Thomas Dewing delighted in painting languorous women in expensive gowns. They seem wraith-like and lost in a world a bit removed from our own. Fortunately Dewing was a master at posing his sitters and their gowns to generate fascinating silhouetted forms.  I always get a sense that there's a mist in the rooms he painted, but it heightens the pensive mood he creates.

Speaking of mist and atmosphere, how about this John Kennett painting below.



John Frederick Kennett, View of …

Edward Hopper's Sailboat

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Edward Hopper, Lee Shore, oil on canvas, 1941
Shortly before he died my father taught me how to sail. I was about 9 or 10. As a result I have a tremendous bias in favor of any painting with a sailboat in it. And I've painted quite a few myself over the years. Edward Hopper was also one to sail back to his own memories when he wanted to make a painting. Above is his 1941 oil Lee Shore. Naturally I like it almost too much.
Hopper drew on his boyhood memories for the painting, choosing to place a turreted house almost precariously near the water. Very likely he was remembering a similar house from his boyhood that still stands just a few blocks from his family home in Nyack, NY. As in the Lee Shore painting, in real life it's perched so close to the waters of the Hudson River it looks like it could fall in.


Philip Koch, Turret House: Nyack, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, 2015

Back in 2015 I made a trip to Nyack to paint. As the weather proved too rainy for extended painting sessions …

Same Place / Different Worlds

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Philip Koch, Blackberry River Forest, oil on canvas, 55 x 44 inches, 1994. The on-site study for  this studio oil is just below.
Introspection is a good and useful tool. Yet often we find out something new about ourselves when we're looking outside at the world.
This struck me as I looking at a group of my earlier paintings of white birch trees. All four were based on two stands of birches in Norfolk, CT. 
I had set my French easel set up alongside a hilly country road. If looked to the left an older growth of birches backed up against a heavily wooded mountainside. That forest looked impenetrable and the heavy older birches were bent over. They had lost many branches in  storms. Yet they stubbornly survived. You sensed there was a long history here.



Philip Koch, Blackberry River Forest, oil on panel, 25 x 20 inches, 1987. This was painted on location.



Philip Koch, Near the Blackberry River, oil on canvas, 48 x 60  inches, 1987
From the same spot and looking to the right a very diffe…