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Showing posts from May, 2019

Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper: Artists Learning from Each Other

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Winslow Homer, Weatherbeaten, oil on canvas, 1894 Portland Museum of Art, Maine
I was traveling in the last month. First to Portland, Maine where I attended Greenhut Galleries opening for their exhibition Maine: The Painted State that included one of my paintings. Also visited the Portland Museum of Art and soaked up one of their hallmark Winslow Homer oils, Weatherbeaten. It was painted just south of the Museum in Prouts Neck. Nobody painted surf crashing on rocks with the power and authority Homer achieved.


Notice the deliberate way Homer painted his rocks. Ignoring details he paid special attention to their color. In the detail above we see how he marches our eye back into space with alternative bands of warm and cool. His closest rocks are reddish, a cooler gray on the next rocks farther back, followed by a warm dark colored finger of rock. Finally we reach the silvery cool green-grays of the surf.




And Homer was something of a disciplinarian with his waves. In the detail above he ma…

Cleveland Museum of Art's Charles Burchfield Exhibition Part II

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Charles Burchfield, Chestnut Trees, ink wash drawing, 1920 Cleveland Museum of Art

Sharing a few more highlights from Cleveland Museum of Art's just concluded exhibition Charles Burchfield: The Ohio Landscapes 1915-1920 (Part 1 of my appreciation of the show is available here ).
Two of my personal favorites were these two ink wash drawings (above and below). One of the things that excites me about Burchfield's work is how he can suggest the feeling of full color when he in reality he often limited himself to just yellows and grays. In these monochrome wash drawings we see the expressiveness of just resonant tones of dark and light.

Charles Burchfield, Apple Orchard,  ink wash drawing, 1920 Cleveland Museum of Art


Artists have the job of noticing things of importance others have overlooked and calling people back to take a second look. We've all seen dandelion seeds blown by the wind. Yet I don't think any other artist ever attempted to make a painting about such an ephem…

Cleveland Museum of Art's Burchfield Exhibition, Part 1

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It was Charles Burchfield's small Ohio hometown of Salem that first propelled his leap into his vivid fantasy world we know from his paintings.
I've long felt a kinship with Burchfield. I made the decision to become a painter while studying at Oberlin College, only a few miles from Burchfield's Salem. Like him I (briefly) attended the Cleveland Institute of Art (Cleveland School of Art in his day) and frequently visited the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art that he knew well.
I flew to Cleveland to catch the exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) Charles Burchfield: The Ohio Landscapes 1915-1920 shortly before it closed in early May. Organized by Britany Salsbury, one of the new curators at the Museum, the show draws both on the CMA's collection and loaned works from the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo. 


Charles Burchfield, Church Bells Ringing,  Rainy Winter Night, watercolor, 1917, Cleveland Museum of Art
Undoubtedly the "star" of CMA&…

Allen Memorial Art Museum Purchases Work by Philip Koch

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Philip Koch, Coke Ovens, Leetonia, vine charcoal, 12 x 9 inches, 2017
Last week the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio purchased one of my works for their permanent collection. The Allen is widely regarded as one of the best college art museums in the country. Museum Director Andria Derstine made the selection of the above drawing from a number of my works on paper. The Allen was the biggest influence in my decision my Freshman year to drop my intended Sociology major and become a painter. It is deeply satisfying to see my art career come full circle and have my work enter the Museum. 

It's an odd subject for a drawing- two gaping dark openings on an otherwise sun drenched hillside. These mysterious caves are long abandoned underground coke ovens. The subject seemed ripe with potential. The irregular black mouths of these caves suggest all sorts of possible meanings- some perhaps a bit eerie but mysteriously attractive at the same time. They're a ready symbol …