Showing posts from March, 2016

The Best Rainy Night Painting Ever- Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield,  Night of the Equinox, watercolor,   40 1/8 x 52 1/8", 1917-55, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. I was just looking at what has to be the wettest painting ever painted, Charles Burchfield's watercolor above. What caught my eye was the water gushing from the downspout on the side of the house and feeding a small lake where the yard used to be.  I remember pulling on my rain boots as a six year old and happily splashing my way through just such suddenly appearing streams.  I'll bet Burchfield had just such a reverie as he painted. In the detail just above he paints the puddle as a huge waterway, giving it as much personality as the mysterious shapes in the sky. Last year when the Burchfield Penney Art Center invited me to be their Artist In Residence for this year they suggested that I might travel out to Burchfield's childhood home in Salem, OH. There Burchfield came of age and there he made many of his e

Tips for Beginning Art Collectors

Last week I was asked by the Invaluable website   to share some tips for people who are starting to collect art . Always we're confronted with the thorny question: how do you tell which art is good enough to collect?  Since I'm a landscape painter I'll focus on painting, but we could easily be speaking of ceramics or historic posters. A really good painting is just as much about  how  its forms feel as it is about  what  they are. Does a painting offer you something that surprises you? And if so, do the surprises seem to fit the painting in a way that is believable and authentic. Sometimes paintings offer surprising contrast alright, but look like they were painted by two different people who weren't on speaking terms with each other. A painting that's going to be of lasting interest needs to contain surprising contrasts that are held together by an overall unified feeling.  Philip Koch, Hillside, oil on panel, 18 x 24", 2016 In one of my new

Hopper, "Psycho" and Haverstraw

This week I spent several days in Edward Hopper's hometown of Nyack, NY doing some paintings of houses that were important inspirations for Hopper's art. One that I'm still working on is of Hopper's boyhood home itself, now the Edward Hopper House Art Center.  (Well worth a visit for any fan of Hopper's work). I'll be posting that new piece shortly. The other painting I made on the trip was in the neighboring town of Haverstraw. In 1925 Hopper did an oil of a house high on a hillside there.  That painting, House by the Railroad , is now in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1960 film Psycho borrowed heavily from Hopper's oil for their movie set.  Through Hopper and then Hitchcock the house has entered the American consciousness as the very archetype of a haunted house. I worked from the Haverstraw house over two bright afternoons. My painting turns away from Hitchcock's gothic mood. Instead it celebrates

A Gallery of Earlier Oil Landscapes

Philip Koch, Edge of the Forest, oil on panel, 14 x 21",    1987 I recently started a project of looking through images of my paintings from some years ago. Have been really enjoying getting reacquainted with these old friends! At that time I was doing an enormous amout of painting out on location in oil. My trusty French easel went everywhere with me. Quite a few of these smaller directly painted outdoor oils served as the basis for my larger scale studio work. Here's a group of paintings, some done outdoors, some in the studio from the '80's and early '90's. Philip Koch, Saturday Morning, oil on panel, 12 x 29", 1987 Philip Koch, From the Bridge , oil on panel, 14 x 21", 1987 Philip Koch, Sailboats, oil on panel, 21 x 28", 1987  Philip Koch, Three Boats,  oil on panel, 22 x 33", 1987 Philip Koch, Winter Yard, oil on canvas, 42 x 63", 1984 Philip Koch, Wednesday Mo