Showing posts from May, 2014

Art Essex Gallery Tour, Part Three

Here are the concluding five oils in my current exhibit at Art Essex Gallery in Essex, CT (through June 7, 2014). You can read about the other pieces in this 15 painting show in my two previous blog posts here and here . Below are two of my oils in the Gallery's front window (upper right and lower left). Above is The Reach III , oil on panel, 24 x 36". It's a highly autobiographical painting. My father used to take me sailing at night on Lake Ontario when I was 10 and 11. Frankly I found it a little scary but figured if he was there it must be OK. Sometimes we'd go out when there was a full moon shining through the clouds, an image that's firmly implanted in my memory as the essence of beauty and mystery.  Sadly he died unexpectedly when I had just turned 13. Memories of those nocturnal sails are something I want to hold onto. Fortunately for a painter there's a ready way to do that at hand. I suspect this back story accounts for

Art Essex Gallery Show Tour, Part Two

Philip Koch's wife Alice at Art Essex Gallery's exhibit of Koch's paintings. Continuing my tour of my 15 painting show now up at  Art Essex Gallery  in Essex, CT through June 7, 2014. Here are five more of the displayed works. Last year I showed a major oil at George Billis Gallery in New York , Horizon, 40 x 60" based on the ideas I originally worked out in the small oil above, Northern Sky: Yellow. Modest in size, a painting like this plays a critical role in my studio practice. For the first couple of decades I was painting I always did all my experimenting and searching right on surface of my larger canvases. I saw this was a way to embrace immediacy. An artist after all feels a certain urgency as they work to bring their paintings to life. I just wanted to dive in. That method led to a lot of canvases I am very proud of to this day. But overtime I came to see that sometimes slowing down could make me see more deeply into the worlds I w

Guided Tour: Philip Koch Exhibit at Art Essex Gallery, Part One

    Philip Koch at the Art Essex Gallery opening     of the exhibit May 17. Through June 7, 2014 Art Essex Gallery in Essex, CT has a wonderful show of 15 of my oil paintings on display. One of my collectors contacted me to say they wouldn't be able to make it to Connecticut and asked if I could give a "tour" of the show on this blog. Here are the first five paintings, starting with some of the smaller oils. I'll follow up in the next couple of days with the remaining ten pieces. There's a funny story about the the smallest painting in the show above, Lupines,  oil on panel, 6 x 4 1/2". I was up in Maine on the first morning of a 5 day painting trip near Boothbay Harbor. Came upon a terrific small pine-studded island about 50 yards off shore. Excited, I immediately dove in and two hours later had a very promising 24" wide oil more than half completed. The next morning I was pumped as I returned to the spot to finish it.  But Maine

How Much Have I Been Influenced by Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield?

Philip Koch, Thicket II, oil on linen, 28 x 42", 2014 I recently had posted my oil Thicket II  as the image on a Facebook events page announcing the opening reception for my show at Art Essex Gallery in Essex, CT (this Saturday, May 17, 4-7 p.m., show runs through June 7). Lee Mamunes, an artist and a knowledgeable docent at the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY , made a very complementary but also perceptive comment about the painting. Lee wrote:  At first I thought of Charles Burchfield's trees, but his work is so jittery and the palette isn't his. Then I realized that your scene depicts calm and solitude more like Hopper. Wait! Have you synthesized both artists?      Charles Burchfield, September Wind and Rain,  watercolor, 22 x 44", 1949, Butler Institute of American Art Edward Hopper, New York, New Haven & Hartford,  oil, 32 x 50", 1931, Indianapolis Museum of Art Of course it's pretty nice to

Sailing with Edward Hopper (How I learned to Draw)

Above is one of my all time favorite paintings. It's  Sailing, an early oil by Edward Hopper that's in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.  Sailing, and Hopper, figured prominently in my boyhood and on my path to becoming an artist.  My father had owned a beaten up old sailboat just before he got married. But children and responsibilities followed shortly thereafter. My dad, a man who was if anything too determined to be a good provider, ditched all that to take his office job seriously. But he used to tell me about those earlier days when I was a boy and something about the tenor of his voice then told me sailing held special magic for him. I could tell it was something he deeply missed.  Almost out of the blue one day he declared he was buying a sailboat and promptly did. And for the next three years the two of us spent every summer weekend racing the boat on one of the New York Finger Lakes. We always lost, but in spite of that we had a ball together. He died u

Florence Griswold Museum, Edward Hopper House, Art Essex Gallery

This last weekend I traveled through New York and Connecticut delivering paintings to the Art Essex Gallery in Essex, CT for my show opening May 14. Almost next door in Old Lyme is the historic  Florence Griswold Museum , " the Home of American Impressionism." Lured by the almost comically perfect Spring weather, I spent a couple of hours strolling through the grounds and galleries on the Griswold's May 3 Free Day. They had a big turn out and everyone seemed just as dazzled by the weather as I was.  Given the American Impressionist's devotion to painting sunlight in nature, the day couldn't have been more thematically appropriate.  Above is one of the most archetypal American Impressionist paintings ever made, On the Piazza , by William Chadwick (Am. 1879-1962), a view of the porch on the guest house Florence Griswold ran for a generation of Impressionist painters. The Museum moved Chadwick's nearby studio to its own grounds and has it open to the publi