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

or

"It's Better Than Selling Hot Dogs"

by Thomas Davies

 

 

An art major, obviously delighted with his choice of a sunset marine by Frederick Waugh diagnosed the artist's approach,

"The painting I chose to work with is entitled 'Sunset Surf.' As an art major at KLHT, I have focused my work on marine art. This fact, combined with the artist's ability to re-create his subject matter in such a dramatic fashion, made this painting especially appealing to me. The artist uses a complicated repetition of diagonal wave patterns to convey a sense of movement in the water. These patterns are created by the various colours the artist uses to highlight the waves. The complex middle ground of this painting is balanced out by the warm colors of the strong background and the almost serene foreground. This is an incredible work of art that creates a distinct mood. One almost feels as if he/she is sitting on a rock by the sea, listening to the waves crash on the rocks and watching an incredible sunset."

In wrestling with their individual piece, students would discuss the particular style employed. The analysis of a William Lester Stevens described the basic principles of Impressionism; .

"Stevens' oil painting 'Cape Ann Landscape' is a very impressionistic study of a group of trees. He used impasto paint application in broken colors. Impasto refers to a painting done with thick paint. The colors are high key and complementary. They are applied with impressionistic brushstrokes. For example, he uses no more than three brushstrokes to create his cows in the background. Through the entire picture Stevens applies the paint loosely and he overlaps many of the colors. The painting's impressionistic style is what I find most attractive. It reminds me of a Monet painting. I love the way the tree absorbs the sunlight."

The village scene by Jonas Lie also reflects an impressionist viewpoint;

"The oil on canvas 'New England Village' by Jonas Lie is a very warm and welcoming painting. It is very easy to get a feeling of spring and freshness. The dramatic use .of color makes up for the lack of detail. The painting is almost inviting the viewer to walk down the village road. The complementary shadows on the road bring out a brightness that are perfect examples of impressionism."

The spontaneity of impressionism appears to have rubbed off on the student's perception of the artist Max Kuehne and his New York City view,

"Kuehne studied with Robert Henri and Robert Miller. In his earlier days he went on European expeditions. He loved to go to museums, especially the Prado. He was influenced by Monet and Seurat, as seen by his impressionistic techniques. He was a man who set high goals for himself; he would not be happy until he got the painting to his liking. I saw Kuehne as a spontaneous man who didn't like to live in a uniform fashion, as can be seen by his impressionistic style."
 
"Kuehne gives you the feeling that you could be looking out of a window over the Hudson River. I liked this painting because the artist uses great detail. I also liked having the feeling that you could just walk into the picture. To me, the picture says: "Welcome to my world; please come in and look at it. -- If you look long enough, you will see what I saw in this beautiful impressionistic piece."

In addition to talking styles of paintings, the different schools became a focal point. Not only is Philip Leslie Hale described in perceptive terms, but the Boston School approach as well;

"Boston School painting was growing at the turn of the century, and Hale advanced it greatly with his experimental style in neo-impressionism and symbolism. The school of painters in Boston worked extensively with the human figure. The main focus was in the depiction of elegant and leisure-class women. Hale was a key figure in advancing the development of modifying the more traditional realism, instead of the relatively free impressionism. "
 
"Hale used convergence to focus the viewer upon the face. The angles of the clothing lead to the hand, which leads to the face, as well as to the angle of her left shoulder. The strokes of the cloth also help lead the viewer to the face, with longer flowing strokes."
 
"Though the 'Female Figure' is typical of the Boston Painters and Hale as well, I think Hale caught a mood with the painting. The softness and colors of the painting only make you question the thoughts of the model. It draws the curiosity of the viewer, and nothing is answered. Only Hale and the model will ever know the truth of her thoughts and Hale's interpretation of them, but this is part of how the painting draws you in, with mystery."

In an effort to stretch the powers of observation of a few students, two pieces were included that were not "pretty" or "obvious". In fact they were chosen to be challenging in subject matter and in visual image and technique. An Aaron Gorson Pittsburgh Steel Mill piece generated a strong response, both positive and negative;

"Gorson's paintings documented the industrial growth of an era, an era of mass production. He shows how artists have moved away from natural landscapes to industrial landscapes.
 
The background of 'Pittsburgh Steel Mill' is the focus of interest in this painting. The diversity of the light of the furnaces and the dark shades of the smoke and the smokestacks create the area of interest in this work. One can capture Gorson's fascination of the crackling, burning fire and the withering and meandering clouds of smoke.
 
The mood created by the color scheme and the layout of the painting is one of fascination, fascination of industrialism. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, industrializing was a big step for America. Some hated it, some didn't think one way or another about it, and some were fascinated by it. Aaron Gorson conveys his fascination with the billowing clouds of smoke and the hot furnaces.
 
Personally, I do not particularly care for this piece of art. As I observe this piece in the late twentieth century, it disgusts me to see such widespread air pollution, where-as if I were observing it seventy years earlier, I might have a different opinion of this piece."

 

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