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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Hopper’

Edward Hopper- Pennsylvania Coal Town

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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

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John Sloan Dust Storm Fifth AvenueI was going through a book of painting that focused on New York City and came across an image of the fabled Flatiron Building, its three sided structure which gives it the look of a ship’s prow making it one of the more iconic building in the city.  It has been photographed  and painted numerous times, enough so that there is probably a book of just Flatiron images floating around somewhere.  It’s a striking building and one that I always am intrigued by in images and in person.

But I hadn’t seen this painting by John Sloan, the American artist who was part of the Ashcan School that painted the reality of the urban experience in the early decades of the 20th century.  I am a fan of this loose-knit group of  painters that includes George Bellows, Edward Hopper and Robert Henri, among others.

The painting was titled Dust Storm, Fifth Avenue and was painted in 1906.  It was an image looking down Fifth Avenue to where the Flatiron’s prow stood proudly as a black cloud hovered above.  On the ground below, the people scurried about  in a panic as the wind blew up huge clouds of dust as it funneled down the canyons of the city.  There’s a tremendous amount of movement in the painting that gives it great impact.

It made me wonder how accurate the image was.  Were these dust storms a normal occurrence in old New York?  It turns out that the Flatiron was notorious for the winds that gathered around its base and buffeted the pedestrians who happened that way, taking hats and lifting women’s skirts, exposing their legs to leering young men who would gather on the corner of 23rd Street for just such a purpose. The police would regularly have to disperse the gawkers which is supposedly where  the term 23 Skidoo originated, it being the phrase they would shout to get the crowd moving.

It’s always interesting to see the story behind an interesting image like the one Sloan captured, to see the real history being portrayed.  It makes me appreciate this painting even more. Here’s a short film from 1903 that shows  the mischief that the wind played on the passing crowd.

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Yesterday, there was a guest blog on the Huffington Post from Paul D’Ambrosio, who heads the New York State Historical Association which contains the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown.

It’s a really interesting insight into what it takes for a museum in a fairly remote area to thrive, to be a vibrant presence that attracts a wide audience.  As I’ve noted  here, I have an exhibit, Internal Landscapes: The Paintings of GC Myers, opening at the Fenimore in August so I read with interest as D’Ambrosio recounted how the museum has grown in the past few years with heady choices for its exhibits including recent shows featuring the work of John Singer Sargent,  Edward Hopper and an American Impressionists show featuring works from Mary Cassatt (and one from Monet) which is now there.  These shows have drawn wide coverage from the  press and have helped attract museum-goers from distant locales to the museum to take in these shows there as well as its formidable permanent collections of Native American Art,  Amercian Folk Art and Hudson River paintings.  This mixture of a great permanent collection and intriguing new exhibits make the Fenimore a very attractive destination, one that the USA Today called one of the 10 Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities.

Check out the article and, if you can, the museum and Cooperstown’s other charms as well.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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Sunday Morning Edward HopperEarly Sunday morning.

A week or so ago I showed a painting, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper and talked a bit about how this painting, and many of his other works, always reflected to me a sense of aloneness and alienation.  On this Sunday morning I am reminded once again of this by another of his paintings, fittingly titled Early Sunday Morning.

While it is bright and colorful, there is a quality in the emptiness of the street that speaks of  loneliness, an aloof sense of existence in the midst of a city.  The warmth of the red in the building and in the sunlight is a strong counterpoint to the coolness of feeling depicted. I’ve always found this a powerful painting.

In the spirit of Hopper’s painting, I’m also showing a video of Johnny Cash and Kris Kristoffferson singing Kristofferson’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, a longtime favorite of mine whose main character has certainly walked down this Sunday morning sidewalk…

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