Showing posts from January, 2012

Reading Public Museum

I literally stumbled into a fabulous show a couple weeks back. I was driving back from visiting the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY where I'll be having a show and giving an artists' talk at the end of March. Stopped in the Reading Public Museum (I love that name) in Pennsylvania and saw their big  American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists' Colony exhibition. Unfortunately between organizing the show at the Hopper House Art Center and writing an article on my traveling museum exhibition Unbroken Thread for Fine Art Connoisseur magazine (which I finally finished today!), I haven't had time until now to post about this amazing show at the Reading Museum. It is drop dead gorgeous. Drawn entirely from the Museum's Permanent Collection, it is simply one of the strongest painting shows I've ever seen. That's the good news. The bad news is it ends January 29th. Maybe if you drop everything...
Above is a knockout painting by the Boston Impressionis…

Hairdressing and Other Lessons at the Delaware Art Museum

Last week my wife took a day off from work at the mental hospital (literally) and we drove up to Wilmington, DE to visit an old friend, the Delaware Art Museum. We had lunch with Saralyn Rosenfield who's the Museum's Studio and Family Programs Manager and who was a former student at my art school, MICA down in Baltmore. She was delightful to talk with and persuaded me to bequeath my untold millions to the DAM just as soon as my ship comes in.
As a painter I find nothing puts winds in my sails like studying the works of great artists who've gone before me. DAM's got an amazing collection that has held my interest for years. Above is a Charles Burchfield watercolor Wildflowers and Coke Oven Smoke painted in 1917 and then reworked some years later. Look at the foreground where Burchfield goes a little wild with repeating the arcing rhythms in the jumble of plants. It could have looked repetitious in a lesser artist's hands, but Burchfield saves the day by contrasting w…

"Three Things You Didn't Know About Edward Hopper"

I'm having a small show that's different than what I usually exhibit. The Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY invited me to hang a selection of oil paintings I've done during my thirteen residencies over the years at "the other Edward Hopper House," the studio he designed and had built in S. Truro, MA on Cape Cod.
If you know me as a painter you realize this is an invitation to me to start fiddling around with some older paintings. It's funny to some people that I'd start painting again on an oil that's been around for a few years. But my batting average doing this is good, so I can't help myself.
Above is just such a painting, Morning, Truro Studio, oil on panel, 14 x 21", 1995, except that it's now 1995-2012. Looking closely at the piece as I was deciding what to include in the upcoming exhibit it just felt like it needed to have its tonal contrasted pushed a little harder. So I gave it a little push it got stronger. 
The painting …

Memorial Art Gallery Purchases Two Koch Drawings

The art museum in Rochester, NY, the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG), just purchased two of my vine charcoal drawings for its Permanent Collection. This brings full circle my years as an artist. In the fourth grade I was taken on a school trip to MAG. It was the first museum I had visited. And though I didn't know it at the time, it had a profound impact on me.
Above is my drawing Monhegan Dawn, 7 x 14", 2006, one of the new acquisitions. It was drawn from life on Monhegan Island in Maine early, as the title suggests, one morning. The view is of Manana Island, essentially one huge dome shaped rock that shelters the tiny Monhegan harbor from the open sea. 
I grew up just outside Rochester on the shore of Lake Ontario. One of my favorite things to do was studying the Lake. While it was often very rough, I loved the times were when the lake calmed and the breezes blew out from the shore over the water. It's surface would take on the look of a shifting abstract painting. My parent&#…

Edward Hopper House in the Moonlight

Saturday evening I was up in Nyack, NY at the Edward Hopper House Art Center attending a talk by the set designer James Youmans. He was a great presenter. His talk got me thinking that both set designers and landscape painters have the same job- to lend a sense of personality to an empty space. I think in the back of the mind of any realist painter is a sort of imagined theater stage waiting to be populated with buildings, forests, mountain ranges, you name it. I know I think that way.
Leaving the Art Center, which was the birthplace and boyhood home of Hopper, I walked to my car parked on the side street and slid behind the wheel. This is the view that confronted me through my windshield. The nearly full moon had just risen and was brightly reflecting in the second floor window of Hopper's house. Hopper must have seen just this scene dozens of times growing up. Certainly he drank it in deeply, as the feeling of it kept coming back in so many of the oils he was to paint in subseque…

Let It Snow!

I sometimes wonder if I'd have become a landscape painter had it not been for winter. When I was a kid growing up along the shore of Lake Ontario just outside of Rochester, NY, we used to get tons of snow. I know as one of my jobs was shoveling our long driveway. Maybe we always dream about our childhoods. I sure do, and often the dreams revolve around my old home in deep winter. 
There's often the complaint that winter isn't as colorful as summertime. For the life of me I don't know what people are talking about when they say that, as I've always felt just the opposite. Snow blanketing the landscape turns all these amazing shades of blue, violet, cream yellow, absolute stark white, and a zillion shades of grey. And there is ALWAYS super high contrast of darks and lights.
Above is a Rockwell Kent that's new to me, with what strikes me as an odd combination of a more naturalistic foreground and a sky much more invented and surreal. In fact I almost wonder if it…

Winslow Homer's Painting Class

Here's a watercolor by Winslow Homer (Homosassa River, 1904 from the Brooklyn Museum) that caught my eye the other day. Realize it's done with an extremely restricted palette (except for a tiny red jacket on one of the fishermen, it's got hardly any intense color in it). Homer's bringing this one home with his remarkable ability to improvise and to "lie" about what he was looking at. How did he learn how to do this so well?
It got me to wondering what sort of painting class Winslow Homer would run if he were to come back to life and hire a model. 

Here is part of my figure painting workshop Dec. 10 at the Saginaw Art Museum. Kara Harris Brown, the Museum's Curator of Education did a great job of organizing the event (including bringing lots of donuts). I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I did.
Watching my students work, it struck me the more accomplished painters had learned not just about color and composition. but also how to have a good time. Beg…