A New Day (Hillside United Methodist Church)

First Citizens (House on Mill Street)

First Citizens

First Citizens

Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16”  $295.

To inquire about purchase,
contact the artist.

Woodstock’s first citizens are her historic homes and – sometimes overlooked – the trees that stand beside them. I discovered these two at 121 Mill Street, now the home of a veterinary hospital.

First Citizens sketchThe tree and the house reminded me of two old friends, or perhaps a long-married couple. For the finished painting, I showed this relationship by subtly altering the sizes of the house and the tree, pulling them closer together. The original sketch at the right shows the “real” physical proportions of the two relative to each other.

Since I finished painting First Citizens, the old tree has been cut down and taken away. Only the old house now remains, beautiful but alone.

Let Freedom Ring (Woodstock Methodist)

Let Freedom Ring

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Let Freedom Ring

watercolor on board, 24” x 36”

Large watercolors are challenging – the medium is hard to control, and it is difficult to make corrections once the paint has been laid down. I made at least a half dozen small studies of this church before I was confident enough to begin this large work.

One of the influences for this painting was the work of Western watercolorist William Matthews. This artist keeps his shapes simple, his colors intense – a fairly unusual technique for a watercolorist, and an approach I admire greatly. He draws on many of the same influences Id o, including American artist Edward Hopper and Asian art.

I was rewarded for my efforts by having this watercolor accepted into a show at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville.

Wyeth Looks South

Wyeth Looks South

Purchase a custom print on canvas through Fine Art America. Framing available.
Wyeth Looks South

Acrylic on canvas, 24” x 20”
Private collection

Born in 1917, the American artist Andrew Wyeth is often labeled a “realist,” but the elements of emotion and imagination play a part in his work just as large as his painstaking technique and monotone color. Wyeth Looks South is the fourth in a series of Depot paintings honoring the work of four master artists.

Andrew Wyeth’s paintings often include objects or empty landscapes which suggest the presence of someone not seen in the work. A coat hanging on a hook becomes a portrait of its owner. An empty room, with lace curtains and a sea shell perfectly placed on a dresser, suggests his wife. In this painting, the landscape surrounding the Depot is a stage for the artist himself. It is through Wyeth’s eyes that we view the distant horizon.

The title of the painting has a double meaning. The vantage of the viewer does indeed face south, but the title also alludes to the geographical location of the artist, for Wyeth paints exclusively in the North, around his two homes in Pennsylvania and Maine. In this painting I have portrayed the Depot as I imagine Wyeth might, if he were to turn his vision “South.”

Lastly, much of Wyeth’s art alludes to mortality and the final journey of death. In doing this, Wyeth sometimes paints a door leading into the darkness, or a window opening into the distant sky beyond. I have echoed Wyeth’s “journey” paintings in the lines of this work: the roofline recedes into the wide open sky, and the train tracks disappear into the horizon. The grass in the foreground is trodden, suggesting the path taken by the artist himself.

The adventure into the unknown is the final sojourn made in the artist’s imagination.

Hopper’s Passing

Hopper's Passing

Purchase a print online through Fine Art America. Framing available.
 
For custom size and artist-brushed texture, contact the artist.
In stock at the studio, 20″ x 16″  signed print, framed:
$325.

 

Hopper’s Passing

Oil over acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16”
Private collection

Third in a series of Depot paintings, Hopper’s Passing pays homage to the work of American artist Edward Hopper, who lived from 1882 to 1967.

Early in his career Edward Hopper had the same preoccupation as many of his American artist peers: he wanted to break with the tradition of European art. He wanted to create art that was truly American.

He painted lighthouses, cityscapes, highways and railroad crossings, and houses standing alone in the landscape. Sometimes he peopled his scenes with an isolated figure or two, but never more than that. His empty roads and wide skies speak of the freedom and mobility of American life.

Throughout his career, Hopper returned to the same themes again and again – landscapes and cityscapes, and in painting these commonplace subjects, he fully materialized his earliest wish. He became not just an American artist, but indeed the American artist.

To the end, Hopper avoided making any sweeping statements about his philosophy of American art. Fellow artist Andrew Wyeth met Hopper toward the end of Hopper’s life and reported his words as this: “Andy, I’ve decided the only thing that really interests me is the way the sun hits the wall.”

In painting Hopper’s Passing, I’ve tried to honor the spirit of the artist by stripping the Depot to its barest essentials: the building, the train tracks, and the sunlight hitting the roof.

In his own work, Hopper would have found these enough.

 

Van Gogh’s Way

Van Gogh's Way

Purchase a custom print on canvas through Fine Art America. Framing available.

Van Gogh’s Way

Oil on canvas, 40” x 30”
Public collection, The City of Woodstock

This painting of the Woodstock Depot pays homage to the work of Vincent van Gogh. It is the second in a series of Depot paintings honoring four artists: Monet, van Gogh, Hopper and Wyeth.

Van Gogh was strongly influenced by the French Impressionists, the group of artists famous for painting in short gestural brushstrokes. What they chose to paint was not so important to them as the way they painted it. Flower, sailboat, or ballerina, the subject didn’t matter. Each was broken into myriad facets of color and light, rendered equal in the eye of the artist.

Van Gogh adapted the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists, but the light and color he painted were not of the physical world. His paintings conformed to an inner vision. Colors were exaggerated, forms distorted. Roads glowed orange, skies swirled, and faces wavered like reflections in a funhouse mirror.

As I studied his work I began to think that he represented the physical world as a physicist might paint the fabric of space-time, curving and bending around the gravitational fields of stars and planets. In the same way, van Gogh’s paint curves around hills and faces, responding to some inner pull that perhaps all of us feel, but only Vincent could see.

In adopting van Gogh as a teacher, I strove to see the Depot and its surrounding through his eyes. The old road buckles, the sky swoops down, and trees lean into the horizon. Where is Vincent going with this painting? The small figure is the artist himself, bowing under the burden of madness and depression.

In his own existence, van Gogh could find neither happiness nor beauty. But he found both in the world around him, capturing them forever in his art.

 

Monet Dreams the Depot

Monet Dreams the Depot

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Monet Dreams the Depot

Oil on canvas, 24” x 18”
Private collection, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Baveri

The Woodstock Depot is an irresistible subject for an artist. The glowing red tiles, the triangles formed by the roof, the stripes of the train tracks…

I had so many visions about how the Depot could be painted that I knew I hadn’t been the only artist ever attracted to the subject. And it gave me an idea: What if some of history’s famous artists were here? How would they have painted the Depot?

I resolved to find four artists from the pages of history who would become my teachers. The work of each of them would serve as an inspiration for four entirely different paintings of the Woodstock Depot. I would imagine how this historic building might appear if it were seen through their eyes.

I searched through my library and selected four artists: French Impressionist Claude Monet, the Dutch post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh, and 20th Century American artists Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, the latter still living. To my knowledge, Monet and Hopper actually painted depots and railway buildings. Van Gogh and Wyeth I considered amenable to the subject.

This first painting is my homage to Monet. Claude Monet lived in France and was possibly the most “Impressionist” of the Impressionists. In fact, one of his paintings, Impression: Sunrise,” gave the artistic movement its name.

Design and composition in a painting were never Monet’s passion; his entire life, his attention was captivated by light and color only. His fellow painter Cezanne, much more a structuralist, had this to say about him: “Monet is nothing but an eye – but God! What an eye!”

On his painting trips, Monet was often away from his wife and children for prolonged periods of time. He continually wrote home of his struggles, his failures, his frustration with the changeability of the weather as he strove to capture light and color on canvas.

As I worked on this painting, I often felt like I was sharing in Monet’s frustration. After a month long struggle, I conceded defeat, and labeled the painting a complete failure.

But Monet was not done with me. Two days later, eyeing the Depot from my studio window, I suddenly perceived how light had permeated Monet’s vision. I saw that he had transformed its flickering energy into the foundation of his paintings, its presence like a scaffold supporting his world.

Finally understanding, I resolved my painting the next day.