Editor's note: The following 1994 article was published
on August 19, 2004 in Resource Library with permission of Thomas
Daives, New Canaan, CT. If you have questions or comments regarding the
article please contact Mr. Daives by writing to the author at 58 Beacon
Hill Lane, New Canaan, CT, 06480.
Sharing Your Paintings
"It's Better Than
Selling Hot Dogs"
by Thomas Davies
Many students were attracted to the detailed approach to
19th Century painting. Two Hudson River School masters elicited some similar
- "Cropsey's painting, 'Pastoral Scene', was begun
in 1859 but not completed until 1867. This painting shows not just a nature
scene but also the existence of man in nature. Cropsey does this by including
cattle in the painting. This is meant to show how man co-exists with nature
and uses the land for his needs. There is a repetition of shadow which
breaks the composition. A strip of light makes the painting look very bright
and shows the influence of Turner. The mood of this painting is very peaceful.
I like this painting because if I look at it after a hard day, I forget
about all my troubles. This work is representative of Cropsey because it
reflects his view that the United States drew its basic strength and security
from the land."
A brilliantly luminous Sanford Gifford caused these observations.
- "This painting, is extremely detailed. At the tree
to the left, one could see each leaf, defined as can be. The mountains
in the distance fade out towards the horizon, creating immense perspective.
But most of all, the reflection of the falls in the river typifies Gifford's
astute capacity for painting. What is. fascinating about this painting
is the concentric bands of rose, pink, and white around the afternoon sun,
exemplifying its brightness. This painting makes me feel as if I am present
within the picture. In fact, this painting Is so realistic that It looks
like a doorway to Kauterskill Falls (the site of the painting). I can relate
to the painting. Just by looking at it, it gives me a sense of a tranquil,
autumn afternoon. As soon as I saw 'An October Afternoon' I fell in love
with it. Doing this report opened a new doorway for me. I now can go to
a museum and enjoy what I am seeing."
It seems that the 19th Century works which displayed highly
detailed images challenged the students' powers of observation and description,
a small William Trost Richards was described,
- "The painting I was given is called 'Appledore Island,'
a painting done in the medium of watercolor and only 8 by 13 inches. In
this painting Richards captures the gentle, misty picture of the ocean.
He captures the beautiful motion of the waves with his brush strokes and
the color he chooses to use: the beautiful blues, grays, pinks, reds, peaches,
purples, yellows, blacks, whites and greens. He captures the sky with a
mixture of colors and gently defines the lighthouse that sits in the background
on an island. The way the rocks seem to come alive when you look at this
painting, you can almost hear the crashing sound of the waves as they hit
the rocks and the beach. Because of his way of showing grandeur and atmosphere,
he gives a luminous glow to all of his paintings. 'Appledore Island' is
one of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen. I too have a love
for the sea, and when I look at this painting I can almost feel the spray
of the ocean as it comes up off the rocks, the deep smell of the salty
air, and the sound of the waves as they beat their rhythm on the rocks.
The way Richards captures the color of the sky and blends it into the horizon,
and the way he grabs the gentle yet strong power of the rocks as they hold
back the even-flowing ocean, leaves you with a sense of peace and accomplishment
deep within your soul."
Not all students were fortunate to receive a picture they
initially liked. With a little effort to understand the artist, his viewpoint,
and the time period, attitudes often changed. The simple still life by Emil
Carlsen had such an effect,
- "Have you ever looked at something and, without
any background, decided that you do not like it? Take the time to find
some information on it and then ask has your attitude changed? Carlsen
is said to be the master, especially in still lifes. In still lifes he
often liked to use objects that seemed to have a history or even a story
to tell. He chose objects that had rich color tones: copper kettles, pots
and pans were his common choices. I honestly did not like this painting
in the beginning. I also did not know how to appreciate it. As I studied
more about Emil Carlsen, I learned how he painted, and started to understand
his concepts. This painting now intrigues me and makes me wonder: what
else have I glanced at and not appreciated? I know now.that I need to look
more deeply in order to understand and to see true beauty."
After an extremely insightful description of the Milne
Ramsey Oriental still life, the student concluded he didn't like it at first,
but his viewpoint changed;
- "The different types of texture and material are
what make the painting so . . interesting. The background seems to be made
up of silk which was made into wallpaper. The light texture of the wallpaper
makes the other objects seem so much more detailed. The tablecloth, which
the objects lie on, has an aged texture that contains unique work marks.
The painting contains a great deal of symmetry. Every object is balanced
by another object. For example, the bronze vase is balanced by the smaller
porcelain vase. The balance of detail is extremely important in the background
of this painting as it complements the objects. The eight-sided octagon
fan within the painting was matched by the eight different objects scattered
throughout the piece. This painting does not make a great first impression,
but if you truly study it you will be surprised what a masterpiece this
will be. I learned a lot from this painting, especially not to judge a
painting at first glance. I truly enjoyed it and I hope you do too."
Humor sometimes made this transformation from "it's
not my favorite", to something, "that was pretty exciting,"
- "Maxfield Parrish: some of you have heard of him
and maybe some of you haven't. Well, either way it's not that important.
In this paper I intend to talk about Maxfield Parrish's life, the kinds
of paintings he designed, his travels throughout the world, and the type
of painting I was assigned to and what materials were used to make it.
I hope that this essay will give you, the reader, a better idea of who
Maxfield Parrish really is, and will help you get to appreciate him as
much as I do. Parrish possessed an innate interest in technical matters
and a compelling concern for perfection in the execution of his work. He
chose to use colored glazes as the medium in which he worked almost exclusively.
He never stopped experimenting with new techniques within this medium.
When I first saw this painting it was not the one that I had wanted, but
now I am very happy with it. I enjoy looking at the picture of the painting
very much, but what I liked even more was seeing the real thing. That was
pretty exciting for me. I'm glad I had a chance to talk to you about Maxfield
Parrish, and I hope now that you will enjoy his paintings even more than
you did before."
The exotic subject matter of expatriate painters elicited
some thoughtful descriptions and observations. A Samuel Colman North African
campsite was introduced as follows;
- "Throughout history artists and artisans of all
kinds have illustrated their ideas about the world in art of some sort.
From the earliest cave drawings to today's often loud and obnoxious modem
sculpture, people have interpreted life through their own eyes. Samuel
Colman was an American artist who will be remembered as a great expatriate
who traveled about the globe illustrating much of the world's normal yet
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