Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Edward Hopper’

********************************

The only quality that endures in art is a personal vision of the world. Methods are transient: personality is enduring.

–Edward Hopper

**********************************

Felt like a little Edward Hopper this morning and realized that, in all the years of doing this blog, I had never shown his most famous painting, Nighthawks, above. Can’t say why I had failed to display it. Maybe it just felt so obvious that it overshadowed other works from his career that also moved me. Regardless, it remains a defining painting, one that never fails to be striking.

His words just below the painting above are equally striking for me.

I often write about artists trying to find their voice. By that, I am talking about painting (or working in any other medium) in a manner that matches up with and captures the artist’s point of view, their thought process, and the many facets of their personality. Not every method or style jibes with every artist, allowing them full expression of the truth of their own personality.

And method alone only goes so far. Method is transient and without endurance, as Hopper points out, without personality.

How does this happen, this insertion of personality into one’s work?

I can’t really say. I guess it starts with having a point of view, an opinion, an emotion, a thought. I tell high school and college students that technique is important but it is even more vital to have a base of other knowledge to draw from. Art is not technique or method, it is expression of the self so have a fully realized self to express.

Don’t know if that’s right for everybody but, hey, it feels right for me.

Work on that and get back to me, okay?

 

Read Full Post »

I never really knew much about the Swiss born painter Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) but I always found myself stopping whenever I came across one of his paintings, particularly those that were in the vein of the painting above, Evening on the Loire, from 1923. I loved the way he blocked in the forms in his compositions, very much in a manner that I could identify with in my own work.

But his name didn’t bring instant recognition for me, not like the big names from his contemporaries from that incredible time of change for the art world around the turn of the last century. But looking at his work, both as a painter and a printmaker, makes me wonder why this was the case. It is most distinctive work, in many ways bolder and different than that of his peers. His print series, Intimacies, from which I show a few below, is a fascinating group that I have learned was highly influential on the paintings of Edward Hopper and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. I can easily see that connection now.

Maybe his lack of of recognition came from the fact that he didn’t seek the spotlight personally or write much on his work. Doing a quick search turned up little. No outrageous quotes or wild stories.

Well, whatever the case, perhaps we will soon know a bit more about this artist as the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a large exhibit of his work, Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet, opening late in October and running through the end of January in 2020. It traces his career from his association with Les Nabis, the painting group heavily influenced by Paul Gauguin and Cezanne, through his woodblock prints and his later paintings that became more like his prints, compositionally.

I am not going to go into a bio here. I just wanted to make folks just a tiny bit more aware of his work. I had a hard time stopping when I was adding images for this post. See for yourself. I know I usually see at least a few things I want to “borrow” whenever I look at it.

Félix Vallotton- The Visit 1899

Félix Vallotton- The Red Room 1898

Félix Vallotton- Interior with Couple and Screen 1898

Félix Vallotton- Interior with Woman in Red 1903

Félix Vallotton- Intimacies V: Money

Félix Vallotton- Intimacies: The Murder

Félix Vallotton- Intimacies I: The Lie

Félix Vallotton- Nuit Effet de Lune Suisse

Félix Vallotton- The Pond 1909

Félix Vallotton- Moonlight 1895

é

Read Full Post »

+++++++++++++

I really just wanted to share one of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings but the message attached really speaks to my own thoughts on painting. The painting is his Early Sunday Morning from 1930.

I like that it seems so still, so static, yet it is filled–at least for me– with tensions and deep emotional content. That reaction is my own imagination reacting to the elements of the painting. Hopper created an armature, a framework, that gives shape to the emotional response of the viewer without filling out all of the details.

You look at it and there are guides in place that gently direct you to Hopper’s own emotional location. But it never spells it out in great detail, never tells you what you should feel. It relies on your imagination to fill in the voids, to fill it with details to which you can personally relate. You are no longer a mere viewer, you are an emotional participant.

That’s how I think a painting should work, as a sort of active terminus where the work of the artist and the imagination of the viewer meet.

Sometimes, it works that way. Sometimes, it doesn’t. I think this Hopper definitely works in this way.

Read Full Post »

Edward Hopper- Pennsylvania Coal Town

***********************

I believe that the great painters, with their intellect as master, have attempted to force the unwilling medium of paint and canvas into a record of their emotions. I find any digression from this large aim leads me to boredom.

Edward Hopper

***********************

Emotion is that intangible quality that separates art from craft. Emotion does not have to be at the extremes of rage or depression or giddy elation. It is often subtle and calm or densely introspective. Hopper’s work was imbued with quiet emotional undertones that make his paintings, even those scenes of the most seemingly mundane moments, truly memorable.

Art is, at its foundation, emotion.

 

Read Full Post »

I am really busy today. I am working on a bigger piece that I started late yesterday. There are just a lot of things percolating and I really want to get at it this morning.  I’ve been at this long enough that I know this is a time of which I need to take advantage.

The Muses come in fleeting moments and rarely, if ever, stick around for you if you don’t give them the attention and the time that they demand.

So while I go back to work I thought I would share a nice video of  Edward Hopper landscapes and cityscapes set to music. The maker of the video didn’t credit the music but I was able to discover that it is a solo piano cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here from musician Steven Garreda.  It’s a really nice fit for the contemplative quiet of the Hoppers.

I’m back to work but please enjoy.

Read Full Post »

Art on Tap Class at Claremont Craft Ales

Art on Tap Class at Claremont Craft Ales

Sometimes your work physically goes to far distant places, such as those paintings that have went to embassies in Nepal, Uganda and Kuwait that  I wrote about yesterday.  But sometimes your work travels in ways that you can’t predict.

An online acquaintance forwarded the above image to me yesterday.  It was a strange sensation, seeing this mass of what looked to be 25 of my paintings looking out at me.  It took me a few seconds to figure out that I was looking at an art class that had reproduced one of my paintings.

Doing a little research, I discovered that this was an event called Art on Tap that is operated by Otterspace Arts in Claremont, California, east of Los Angeles.  Every several weeks, they hold this event at a local microbrewery, Claremont Craft Ales, where all attendees are instructed in how to paint works that have been selected by online voting.  They have recently chosen to make copies of paintings from Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.  And me.

Even though I am pretty sure most of those in attendance had never heard of me or my work  before, I was still really flattered by this.  I know that this has taken place on a more local level, at kids classes in my area and one for adults at an Arts Council in the Finger Lakes, but it was gratifying to see my work’s imagery moving outward in this way.  I recognized at an early stage in this journey that creating images that are instantly recognizable as yours is one of the most important , and most difficult, steps in establishing yourself as an artist.  And seeing this photo made me think I was almost there.

I also liked their Facebook ads for the event.  I would like to think that there is a Sasquatch somewhere enjoying my work.  At the bottom is the original image.  I hope they enjoyed painting this painting and hope that it hangs with pride in their homes.

Claremont CA Art on Tap Otterspace adClaremont Original GC Myers Image

Read Full Post »

Martin Lewis - Late Traveler 1949I saw a Martin Lewis etching years ago and was transfixed by the crisp contrast of its darks and lights and the easy moodiness it gave off.  I knew nothing of the artist but it was obvious that he was masterful in his etching and in his artistic eye.  I had largely forgotten this artist until I came across a group of his etchings that are coming up for auction.  Seeing them rekindled that same feeling I felt years ago.  Mainly images from New York in the 20’s and 30’s, they often capture a feeling of urban anonymity and isolation, mining the same vein of emotion in which  Edward Hopper worked in his paintings.  This is probably not a coincidence since Lewis and Hopper were friends, Lewis having taught Hopper the art of etching around 1915.

Martin Lewis was born in Australia in 1881 and ran away from home at age 15, working rough jobs for a few years as he travelled and sketched his way through Australia and New Zealand.  He ended up in Sydney where he studied and did illustrations for a local newspaper.  He migrated to the US around 1900, arriving in San Francisco where he painted backdrops for the presidential campaign of William McKinley before finding his way to New York City.

Martin Lewis- Relics (Speakeasy Corner) 1928Inspired by the dynamism of the city at that time, Lewis worked as an illustrator and painter.  It was a 1910 trip to England, where he was introduced to the printwork of English artists such as James MacNeil Whistler, that inspired him to take up etching.  However, it was an 18 month stay in Japan in 1920 that set the groundwork for his signature work which captures light and air and mood so well.  He was active and increasingly successful from 1925 until about 1935.  However, the Great Depression brought a downturn to his popularity and by the 1940’s his work was out of favor.  His work never really took hold after that and he died in 1961,  largely unknown.  In fact, just finding some of the details on his life for this short blog post took some doing.

I think his work is wonderful and evocative and  find it amazing that his work ever fell out of favor.  But such is the nature of art.  But the etchings of Martin Lewis will persevere through the fickle cycles because they capture something elemental and personal.  And that is what real art does.

Martin Lewis- Shadow Dance 1930 Martin Lewis-Tree  Manhattan Martin Lewis- Little Penthouse Martin Lewis- Glow of the City 1928 Martin Lewis - Which Way 1932 Martin Lewis New York Nocturne

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: