Remnants of Your Tears and Smiles (oil on canvas, 2017)
Before moving to Maine, I lived in Massachusetts and worked in a corporate office as a graphic designer and illustrator. I would usually try to devote my lunch hour to my art. Initially, my office was in Boston and I would often go to museums or galleries to look at paintings. When my employer moved to Foxborough, I would go outside and draw at lunchtime if the weather was nice. During the winter or inclement weather, I would visit one of several libraries in the area and read art books.
The library in the town of Sharon had a decent collection, especially given the diminutive size of both the town and its library. As a bonus, there was also a Starbucks within walking distance so I could eat my lunch on the drive there, get a coffee and then sit in the library and look at and read about art. My favorite book there was a large, full colour catalog of a 1987 exhibition of Hudson River School painters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “American Paradise: the World of the Hudson River School”. I read it cover to cover and would often return just to look at the illustrations. (When I eventually moved to Maine, I found a used copy of the book on the internet and frequently refer to it.) I was, of course, quite impressed with the work of Frederic Church, especially his “Niagara”, which covered a two-page spread in the middle of the book and the wonderful “Twilight in the Wilderness”, a view near Mount Katahdin, not far from where I live now.
But, for me, the best part of the book was a short section near the end devoted to George Inness, whose association with the Hudson River School had more to do with geographical proximity than stylistic similarity. His work was much more painterly and had an ethereal quality that I felt a strong affinity for. I tracked down a couple of monographs of him and his work and , over the ensuing months, saw several of his original paintings in various museums in New England. (The museum at Colby College here in Maine, arguably the best art museum in the state, has a brilliant George Inness painting called “The Spirit of Autumn”.)
One of my George Inness books contains a lengthly and insightful interview with the artist. Although I don’t agree with his assessment of JMW Turner’s “Slave Ship” (one of my favorite paintings ever - see post from a couple of weeks ago) which he refers to as “the most infernal piece of clap-trap ever painted”, I whole-heartedly agree with his views on art as being first and foremost a means of cultivating the artist’s own spiritual nature and that the essence of any great work of art is not found in its fidelity to representation of the outward appearance of the subject but, rather, to its fidelity to that divine inspiration that comes from within the artist. Knowledge and skill are requisite for the making of any art, for we cannot truly express ourselves without being fluent in the visual language, but I believe that the artist should use their craft to bring forth that unique essence that is inside of them and them alone and, in the process, learn something about who they truly are as well as help others to see their own true nature.
I am a full time artist, originally from Massachusetts, currently living in northern Maine. I work primarily in oils and pastel, and occasionally watercolor. I offer instruction in drawing and painting at my studio, which is in an old renovated potato barn. Please feel free to view samples of my work (You can see a larger version of each picture if you click on it.) and leave a comment if you are so inclined. Be sure to click the "Older Posts" button at the bottom to see more work. I don't always have time to respond to comments, but if you wish to correspond with me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org