Edward Hopper's Sailboat

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 with oils I opted to work instead in vine charcoal and made the drawing below from the turreted house by the River. Back home I turned to the drawing to help me make an oil painting.

Philip Koch, Turret House, Nyack, vine charcoal, 9 x 12 inches, 2015

I would have liked to make a composition that included both the turret and the open water of the River, but these days a dense cluster of trees have grown up that blocked that view. Maybe I'll return to this idea sometime down the road and work more out of my imagination.


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