Friday, January 16, 2009

The Winter Cold and Andrew Wyeth

Distant Barn by Lori Levin "Distant Barn"
acrylic on panel

The cold of the winter has finally set in. It will be only 8 degrees tonight. Perhaps that is a heat wave if you live in Minnesota but not here in New Jersey. I'm not a big fan of winter. One or two good snows I find beautiful and cozy. After that I'm left feeling rather bleak and ready for spring or a good vacation. This painting was done from the sketch in my last post. It speaks of my general feelings about this season.

As I painted, I was thinking about my last trip to the Brandywine River Museum. That is one of my favorite haunts. During my college years I was very influenced by the works of N.C. Wyeth. As I get older I am more influenced by Andrew and Jamie. Andrew Wyeth passed away today at the age of 91.

I feel it appropriate to mention his work in this post because often his art represented the starkness of winter. As often as I can, I read up on the Wyeth family because I learn so much from them. Andrew painted to sort things out in his own life. He had much to deal with if you read about his upbringing and family betrayals. It seems so many artists draw from difficult times in their lives to fuel their art. I relate to the desire to distill one's work down to its essence. More and more I want to take the less is more approach. Andrew Wyeth certainly had that well worked out.

What I find interesting is that the art community hasn't always been kind to the Wyeth family. Many critics have commented that his work was not fine art but mere illustration. I'm not sure if I've ever understood the difference and take offense to the statement as I was an illustration major in college. I've come to peace with criticisms like that by telling myself that the people that do all the talking don't do the painting. Critics don't create value they create words.

The passing of Andrew Wyeth gives me much to think about. Don't get me wrong, Soulful Studios is not abandoning pet portraits. Currently I'm working with clients getting their ideas together. I'm trying to hold off on new pet portraits until the new studio is finshed so my flow isn't interrupted as I find that so frustrating. Lately I have been focusing on narrowing my vision and getting to the bones of my subjects. Take time to read up on the Wyeths. Have a glass of wine as you do because their lives read like a major movie drama.


Jenifer Horsley said...

Oooh, I like it! Limited palette, very Wyeth-y. I'm sad to hear of Andrew Wyeth's passing...91...that's a long life and the world is a better place for having him in it for so many years. At least MY world is better.

PhotoJoe said...

I hate to say it but I thought Andrew Wyeth was already dead. Shame on me.

Toni said...

Yuur paiting is beautiful, Lori.