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Showing posts from October, 2019

The Beauty of Sagging

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Charles Burchfield, Abandoned Farmhouse, watercolor, 1932
These two paintings, though they depart in color, have a similar theme about aging and the passage of time. It's partly expressed by the contrast of shapes in each of them.

Philip Koch,  Bright Morning, oil on canvas, 36 x 54 inches, 2019
At the top is a poignant watercolor by Charles Burchfield of a long abandoned house. It was new to me when I came across it this evening. What's striking is the serious decay of the section of the house closest to the viewer. As its heavy roof sags further you can sense the movement of its eventual collapse almost as easily as the waving of the windswept grasses.
Burchfield makes that so dramatic by contrasting it with the rear section of the house that still stands upright. The passing years seem eager to pull down this front section. They'll leave the back part for later.
Just yesterday I completed my large canvas Bright Morning. It's a accurate portrait of a house a few hundred…

Edward Hopper's Studio's Art Lesson

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I ran across this photo my wife Alice took of me during one of our earlier residencies in Edward Hopper's former painting studio in Truro, MA.  In the photo it was a windy and chilly morning. I was walking slowly with my heavy easel making my way up the narrow path that Edward and Jo Hopper had made to reach the shoreline far below their studio.
Hopper had been a key figure in inspiring my direction as a painter. I badly wanted to make a painting or drawing that resonated with the importance his legacy held for me. Despite that, in several attempts over my previous stays in his studio, I wasn't able to make what I felt was a significant piece. In the photo above, even with the overcast, I was feeling good as I'd finally discovered a point of view and an approach that did justice to the historic studio and its natural setting.
Sometimes you just have to wait until the conditions, both internal and external, are right.

Two in--progress paintings in my studio. Left: Beneath the…