Archive for September 18th, 2009

Peaceable Kingdom

edward_hicks_-_peaceable_kingdomI was walking back up my driveway the other day after picking up my newspaper when I rounded a corner and there, about 60 feet away, was a really good-sized bobcat between the studio and me.  I had never seen one in the wild ( or even my yard) before and had been under the impression that they were only slightly larger than a large housecat.  This was much larger than that , perhaps the size of a 7 or 8 month old golden retriever.  He saw me but didn’t panic, instead altering his course and loping  impressively in that big cat way across the yard and into the pine thicket.

Edward HicksOver the course of the day, as I reflected on all the many animals we’ve observed over our years here, I was reminded of the most famous work of the 19th century Quaker folk painter Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom.  It’s a painting that most of us are familiar with, one that has been reproduced numerous times in it’s many different incarnations, as Hicks painted 61 different versions of the piece.  In it he allegorically paints many creatures of the forest and jungle together in harmony, along with early American settlers standing side by side with Native Americans.  Children often are among the wild animals.

edward -hicksHicks’ repetitive use of his composition allowed him to examine different aspects and elements of each subsequent version, making each piece unique.  It’s something I have done often and something over which I’ve felt a kinship with Hicks for some time.  I also found similarities in the calmness we both try to portray as well in the way he fashions his landscapes, with very flowing, organic lines.  I’ve often thought that if I had painted in the time of Edward Hicks my work might very well resemble his.

But I paint in the 21st century, not the 19th.  And I have been influenced by everything, artistic, cultural and otherwise, that has occurred over those two hundred years.  I can only hope that two hundred years in the future someone takes a moment in their busy lives to consider my work, as I do now with Hicks.

For me, I’ll go back to my own little peaceable kingdom.  Who knows what I might see next?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: