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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Wyeth’

Wyeth/ Balance

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It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.

-Andrew Wyeth

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I read this quote from the late Andrew Wyeth then looked over a large group of his work, examining each piece with these words in mind. I could really see the importance of the placement of the elements in his work, how it was the characteristic that truly defined his work. It was this that gave his work a poetic feel.

His use of negative space is masterful, the empty areas taking on an important role in the overall feel of the work. Placing the central character, the focal point of the picture, in any in any other spot would change the whole piece, would make it feel less.

It would feel off balance, at least in the form that Wyeth defined it. That balance is his signature.

And I think that is true for many artists. This idea of balance and motion makes up the artist’s eye. Every artist has a slightly different way of seeing things which creates their own unique visual voice.

Myself, when I feel stuck or blocked or feel that I have painted myself into a creative dead end, I look back at older work. It is often the balance and motion with the composition that affect me the most. It serves as a reminder to not lose sight of this idea of balance, to not focus too  much on other parts of the painting that, while important, may not have as much effect on the overall impact of the piece.

Balance in the design creates motion. Good advice from Mr. Wyeth.

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A little busy this morning but never too busy to stop for a brief moment to consider an image or a few words from Andrew Wyeth. The words and image above are a good example. I just love this quote. It’s an idea–that a piece of art should not be judged on its craftsmanship but on how well it conveys emotion and beauty– that has always rang true for me.

Craftsmanship should not be seen as the goal but rather as a means, the handmaiden as Wyeth terms it, to get there.

Got to get to work now. Have a great day!

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I was looking for something this morning and came across the above quote from Andrew Wyeth which really rang true for me.

I am in the midst of working feverishly towards my June 1 show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. my 19th solo show there. I’ve done over 50 solo exhibitions over the years so you would think that I would be over any uneasiness that comes with showing my work. But I still get that terrible queasy feeling in my gut whenever I first see each show hanging. It really is a feeling much like Wyeth describes, like standing there with no clothes on.

The worst of these feelings came at my first show at the Principle Gallery back in 2000. It was called Red Tree, which was the real introduction of the that signature tree that populates much of my work. I had only been working as a full-time artist for two years and had only two small solo shows at regional art centers under my belt at that point, so I had no expectations for such a show. But I had developed a solid base of collectors at the Principle since I began showing there in early 1997 and they felt I might do well with a show.

I understood at the time that this was a wonderful opportunity and put a lot of pressure on myself to put everything I could into that show. The rustic studio that was my home for the first ten years that I worked as an artist was much smaller than my current studio so when the show was done every space in it was filled with new work. I couldn’t get a real idea of how the show might look together, especially since this was pre-digital for me, all my work documented in slides rather than JPEGs.

I felt good about the work but maybe I was just being delusional. It happens.

So on the day of the opening we first walked into the gallery several hours before the reception and the then burnt orange walls of the gallery were filled with these paintings. There was a dizzying vibration to it that gave Cheri and I both an overwhelming feeling of nausea. It was like the inner self that I tried to keep hidden from the world was suddenly splashed through the gallery and I was trapped there amidst it, like someone standing naked in a dream with no way to escape and nothing with which to cover up.

Thankfully, that night exceeded all my expectations. If it had not, I don’t know that I might even be writing this blog now or where I would be in my career. If it had not done well, that horrible feeling would surely have stayed with me forever. As it is, it still visits me with every show but to a lesser degree and for shorter time span.

I suppose you get used to public nudity after a time.

 

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Wyeth Winters

Andrew Wyeth – Fence Line 1967

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.

Andrew Wyeth

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Andrew Wyeth – Over the Hill 1953

Andrew Wyeth- Heavy Snow

Andrew Wyeth- Not Plowed 1985

Andrew Wyeth- Farm Pond Study

 

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I have been enjoying the films I’ve been sharing lately featuring the work of some of my favorite artists. It sometimes gives me a wider view of their body of work, giving me glimpse at lesser known pieces alongside their greatest hits while listening to music that often fits the tone of the work.

Today’s pick was an easy one for me.  It’s a lovely compilation of the work of Andrew Wyeth set to the gorgeous guitar of John Williams‘ version of British composer Stanley Myers’ Cavatina. You might recognize the song from its prominent place in the film The Deer Hunter.

Andrew Wyeth would have been 100 years old in 2017 and to mark the occasion, the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown has an exhibit opening in May that celebrates the life and work of Wyeth. It is curated by his granddaughter, Victoria Wyeth, and includes many items from his personal collection. It is on my to do list.

Anyway, enjoy this beautiful group of paintings and the music that accompanies it. I am off to work, happier for having watched this short film this morning.

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Andrew Wyeth- Night Sleeper 1979

Andrew Wyeth- Night Sleeper 1979

I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.

Andrew Wyeth

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Andrew Wyeth- Trodden Weed

I love this short quote from the great Andrew Wyeth.  That second sentence speaks to how I view my own  relationship with what I do– I do more painting when I’m not painting.  The mind is always clicked on, seemingly always seeking that something, that one inside thing that is crying out to be expressed.

It’s a built-in thing, one that can hardly ever be turned off.  You would think it would be a maddening quality but it has become a normal way of functioning and I would probably panic if I found my mind not churning in some way.

Sometimes it is in the form of day-dreaming, just letting the imagination run free.  Other times it takes place in the words or sounds or images of others. Like pulling a new thread from an existing fabric.

Inspiration comes in many different forms and the mind is always looking for them.

Here’s a neat short film from artist/filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman that shows Wyeth describing how he sometimes find inspiration.

Andrew Wyeth from Andrew Zuckerman Studio on Vimeo.

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GC Myers-Peerless sm

“Peerless” – Included in the “Traveler ” Show

I am back in the studio this morning  after returning from Friday night’s opening of Traveler at the Principle Gallery.  There is  a sense of relief in the aftermath, a deep exhalation at having mostly completed my obligations for the show.  But there is often a letdown as well,  a combination of having passed the endpoint  you’ve been working towards for months and  natural self-doubts about things you might have done differently in this show.  Fortunately, this show left me with only the mildest of letdowns.  I am already focused on my next projects and as far as doubts, while there may be just a few minor ones, I am sure that I have done all that was in my power for this show and the work in it.

We had a lovely few days in Alexandria, blessed with the best weather we’ve seen in all the years that we have been visiting in early June.  In the past, we have often endured 100° temperatures, torrential rains and excruciating humidity on this weekend.  But this year it was as perfect as the weather could possibly offer with temps in the high 70’s, blue cloudless skies and low humidity .   I am available for other  regional  weather reports, as well!  In short, perfect conditions to wander around the area a bit before the show.

We attended the ceremony  at the World War II Memorial honoring the living veterans on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.  It was a beautiful setting there on the Mall, often moving,  and I felt very honored to be able to spend a short time in the near presence of those vets who survived that day of days.  We also were able to see the Andrew Wyeth show at the National Gallery that I wrote of earlier in the week.  It was wonderful to see so much of his work together, to be able to see the constancy and consistency of his personal vision as well as his ability to capture deep emotion within his scenes.

All in all, it was a great stay.  But the highlight was being to see many of the folks that I have met over the years who opted to spend some time at the gallery instead of out in that perfect weather.  I know that if I were in their shoes, it would have taken a lot to get  me there.  But for the many who did turn out and to Michele and her great staff– Clint, Jessica, Pamela and Chris along with guest bartender, Fernando Ascencio– I  extend a simple and grateful Thank You.  I wouldn’t be here right now writing this if not for you all.  And that I will always remember.

Okay, it is Sunday morning and we need to music.  I was thinking something calming while I decompress.  Here’s a classic Vince Guaraldi composition, Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  It has some of those same elements that you might recognize from his iconic work with the Peanuts gang.

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