Archive for April 7th, 2009

Near Sundown Grant WoodIn an earlier post I spoke briefly of my admiration of Grant Wood, primarily for the rhythm of his landscapes.  The piece shown to the right, Near Sundown, was a huge influence on my earliest landscapes for this rhythm.  The way the hills rolled and the treeline rode them fit perfectly with the way I saw things.Spring Plowing 1929

I failed to mention how much I loved his use of color, the way his shapes had a darkness that gave their color a richness that really appealed to my eye.  This color coupled with the way his landscapes moved in such a organic, human manner made me see that one could interpret the landscape in new ways.  He took what might be considered a mundane Iowa landscape and made it seem alive and moving.  It gave me hope and something to aspire for in my own landscapes.

American GothicMost people, of course, know Wood primarily for American Gothic, shown here.  It is perhaps the most recognizable American painting of the 20th century, widely referenced, and often parodied, in popular culture.  I really admire the way the piece is put together, the way the figures come together with the house to form a classic triangular composition.  I also like the color blocking with the darkness of the clothing making a base that holds up the lighter colors.

A lot of people see this as being a humorous piece, somewhat ironic.  I don’t know but given Wood’s use of humor in other pieces, this may be true.  A good example of his humor is Parson Weems’ Fable, below, which illustrates the famous tale of a youthful George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.  The Mini-Me Washington always makes me laugh.

For all of this, thanks, Mr. Wood…Parson Weems' Fable

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