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Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams at Ogunquit Museum of American Art Part II

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  Philip Koch, Maine Islands, oil on panel, 7 x 17 1/2 inches, 2021 This is the post second in a series looking at the 15 paintings currently in the exhibition Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams  at  Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine (through July 19, 2022). Think for a moment on your life. So much is in flux. What have you learned? You face sweeping changes. Some things have been lost. And yet other things in us feel permanent.  Some stand firm like rocks resisting pounding surf. There are parts of all of us that feel exactly as they did when we were six. I have a near addiction to painting waters and shorelines.  Growing up right on the shore of Lake Ontario I feel naturally at home on the edge of the water. But there's something more to it. The way the land holds its place while the waters, turbulent or gentle, never really stop moving. I think we sense the currents both of change and permanence mirrored by the water hitting the shoreline. How often people fall into a reverie g

Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams Exhibition- Ogunquit Museum of American Art

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      New Day , oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, 2022 Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine is presenting Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams  from May 1 - July 19, 2022.  Theresa Choi, the Assistant Curator at the museum, selected works for the show with a focus on themes of islands and shoreline.  Ogunquit Museum comes with an important link to my personal history. Early in my career seeing work by Edward Hopper made a powerful impact on me, inspiring me to change from painting abstractions to working as a realist. The Ogunquit Museum has hung my paintings in the same gallery space where in 2005 they showed the oils Hopper painted on the grounds of what would become the Ogunquit Museum. Here's one of those canvases- Hopper's Sea at Ogunquit  from 1914, a view painted from life directly behind where the museum stands today. My wife Alice and I made a special trip from Baltimore to Ogunquit to see that 2005 show of Hopper's work. You can stand and gaze on the same rocks that lie

Magical Roadmaps

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Philip Koch,  Northland Birches, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches, 2021 Have you ever had a one of those dreams that seemed magical, that when you awakened left you with unusual energy and optimism? Most likely we all have. Last night I had one- a fable of swimming beneath the water to make remarkable discoveries. What these dreams mean matters less than that we enjoy and value them. They speak to us through a parade of images and shifting emotions. Sometimes with real power. Art has this in common with dreams. If you look at fifty paintings there will be one or two special ones that strike a chord within you. They're the ones you want to go back and look at again. Just what it is about these paintings that gives them this enchanting quality is nearly impossible to put into words. Yet the feeling they give us is unmistakeable.  When you're struck by one of those exceptional paintings I believe it mirrors a part of our unconscious side that we normally can't see clearly. It'

Drawing and Painting Ogunquit, Maine

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Philip Koch, Narrow Cove, Ogunquit , oil on panel, 12 x 16 inches, 2021 Above is my new painting of the Maine shoreline just in front of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. It was painted in my studio based on the on location vine charcoal I drew when my wife Alice visited the museum in October (see below). For decades I was painting outdoors with my oils and a French easel. Working like that brought a lot paintings I am proud of.  Just as important I learned so much about what it means to see creatively.  More recently I'm doing more painting in oil in the studio with the aid of vine charcoal drawings that I bring back indoors from outside excursions. Philip Koch, Narrow Cove Ogunquit, vine charcoal, 8 x 12 inches, 2021 For me the real purpose of making paintings of the outside world is that they invite us to explore our inner world. In a strong painting unusual shapes or unexpected chords of color will touch us down deep.  They awaken a language of energy and feeling that we may

Cats Hate Water

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  Philip Koch. Truro Afternoon, oil on canvas, 28 x 42 inches, 2021 Here's one of my new paintings. It's based on a small oil I painted on location in Edward Hopper’s studio in Truro, MA. The view is of the corner of the studio’s painting room that inspired Hopper’s oil Rooms by the Sea from 1951 (now at Yale University Art Gallery). I have a long history of painting this corner of this room. It really started when I was much younger. Idly sunning myself on a lounge chair on the patio of my home, I was flipping through my parents’ copy of Time magazine. I was a typically preoccupied teenager, uninvolved with art. Coming  across a photo of Hopper’s  Rooms by the Sea I did a double take.  The painting powerfully evoked the feeling one has of gazing out at an expanse of open water. The vast waters of Lake Ontario were a big part of my life (since I was 3 1/2 we had lived on its shore, first in a rental house and then moving (on my 4th birthday no less) into our lakeshore h

Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College (Part II)

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Marion Boyd Allen (1862-1941), Portrait of Anna Vaughn Hyatt , 1915 Continuing with a few short comments about paintings that especially struck me on my visit to  Maier Museum of Art  at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. Sometimes you come across an artist whose work is so strong it makes you wonder why they're not better known. That's how it felt seeing Maier Museum of Art' s large oil by Marion Boyd Allen,   Portrait of Anna Vaughn Hyatt.     The figure of Hyatt is powerful and looks assured as she sculpts a horse and rider. It seems so fitting that the Maier Museum acquired this painting at a time when Randolph College was an all women's school.                       Installation view of the museum gallery with the Allen painting in a commanding position.     John Sloan, Sun and Wind on the Roof , oil on canvas, 1915 Ever since I studied painting in the same studio where John Sloan taught his class at the Art Students League of New York I've  had a spot in my he

Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College (Part I)

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Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg , VA I had the wrong major in college. Fortunately the campus art museum (Allen Memorial Art Museum) woke me up to what I was meant to do- paint. What a powerful impact even a smaller museum can have on a young artist. That's part of why I drove down from Baltimore to the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College  in Lynchburg, VA last week. They have an Edward Hopper landscape I needed to see (more later), but I was intrigued by what I'd seen  of their collection on-line as well. Thomas Cole, Corway Peak, New Hampshire,  oil on canvas, 1844 I'm a little different from many contemporary artists in that I've always looked for insight and inspiration from the artists who've gone down the path before me. When you're starting out you need guidance.  Allen Art Museum's giant color field painting by Larry Poons pushed me to explore what color could be made to do. I painted dozens of brilliantly colored abstractions