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Showing posts from 2021

Behind the Scenes on Some of My Paintings in Somerville Manning Gallery Exhibit

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Wanted to share a little  background on some of the paintings in Somerville Manning Gallery's solo show of my work April 9 - May 8, 2021. First here's an interview we did about the show It's with the gallery's director Rebecca Moore. The interview was broadcast 4/28/21 on WCHE 1520 radio near Philadelphia. Somerville Manning Gallery's exhibition of Philip Koch paintings continues through May 8, 2021 Here are some individual paintings in the show. Radiance, oil on panel, 12 x 24 inches, one of the paintings Rebecca Moore talks about early in our interview. This is a view of one of the tidal marshes in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. I originally found the spot by jogging down a road whose name I liked- King Phillip Road.     The Reach IV, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches, another of the paintings discussed in the radio interview. This is one of my most autobiographical paintings, a tribute to the love I felt from my father who used to take me sailing at night on one of the Grea
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  This is my painting "Autumn Frontyard," oil on panel, 15 x 20 inches, 2021 that will be included in Somerville Manning Gallery's 's show of my work from April 9 - May 8 in Greenville, DE. This actually began in somewhat different form back in March of 1985. I painted this on location in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore. The large white house intrigued me but seemed too formal, almost like a real estate ad, when viewed from directly in front. But seen obliquely through this screen of mostly leafless trees it took on a whole different character. It was titled "Spring Front Yard." This small oil I had painted outside served as the basis for a big 45 x 60” studio oil on canvas from 1989 that’s in the Permanent Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD. In late Fall of 2020, under the spell of what was happening to the trees outside my studio window. The season’s colors inspired me to jump back into the small painti

Shifting Sands

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This is one of the major paintings that will be in Somerville Manning Gallery's show of my work April 9 - May 8, 2021, The Great Dune , oil on canvas, 28 x 42 inches, 2020. One of my best memories was being 6 and running down the steep sides of huge sand dunes on the North Carolina coast. These memories came flooding back to me when I discovered the dunes on Cape Cod. The winds off the ocean blow them into marvelously inventive aerodynamic shapes. The dunes can grow very tall and have a presence that feels permanent. Yet nature prods them to keep changing. This is a scene near the mouth of the Pamet River in Truro, MA. Years ago when I first started painting the dune in the center of this canvas it was mostly open white sand. More recently vegetation had taken hold and created an abstract patchwork. I love how it lends the dune its own distinctive personality.

My Painting of Edward Hopper's Studio in Somerville Manning Gallery's Show of My Work

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This is probably what Edward Hopper's studio looked like in Hopper's day- "Edward Hopper's Studio: Truro," oil, 28 x 56 inches, 2020. It is one of the largest paintings in Somerville Manning Gallery 's upcoming show of my work opening April 9. Hopper first visited Cape Cod in 1930 and fell in love with how the light played over the barren massive sand dunes in Truro. Remember the 19th century inhabitants of the Cape had cut down many of the trees for lumber and firewood. I painted this canvas largely from memory of the wide open vistas around Hopper's studio when I had my first residency there in 1983, when the surrounding vegetation hadn't regrown as much as it has today. Two electrical poles frame the studio- there's a funny story attached to them. Hopper is famous for painting an unvarnished view of urban America. When the Hopper's built the studio in 1934 there was no electricity along the access road. Some years later the power company i

A Truthful Lie: Why It's Always Autumn in my Paintings

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     Philip Koch, Mountains by the Sea,  oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches, 2019 Painting is about stirring our emotions. Once a museum visitor looking at one of my shows asked me if I only painted in the Fall. I was reminded of this as I gather together the paintings that will be in my solo show at Somerville Manning Gallery  next month.  I do opt for lots of oranges and reds when I'm choosing my paints. Actually I do a lot of my work outdoors when the greens of Spring and  Summer surround me.  But what I told that museum visitor was my paintings were about evoking how a scene makes me feel. There's a certain energy the intense light of the outdoors casts over a scene. Add to that a wind rustling the leaves and you feel almost like the world is softly vibrating.  Color choices in a landscape painting are about bringing the viewer closer to that  kind of experience .  I find if I push some of the color toward oranges and reds I get more of that vivid and lively feeling.  Any accura

An Early Fascination with Light

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    Philip Koch, Inland II, oil on canvas, 45 x 60 inches, 2020 Paintings are about what fascinates us.  People often remark my paintings celebrate light and shadow. This began for me in an unusual way.  When I was very young my family lived in a deep forest on the northernmost border of the US. I confessed to my father I worried about getting lost. He smiled and told me I could find my way by studying the sunlight- that we lived so far north the shadows cast by the trees pretty much always pointed north. I was charmed by the idea and found it worked.  Now years later the idea that the light keeps us from getting lost seems an apt metaphor for living.