Art That Reminds Me of Home

14 Jan 2014

During this time of year I like to reflect upon and appreciate all the blessings in my life (...also eat a lot of carbs and watch TV marathons). But lately I've been dwelling on how lucky we are to have so much amazing art created and inspired by the American landscape. I would have no problem filling hundreds--thousands!--of pages of landscape paintings from East Coast to West that remind me of "home" in the broadest sense.

I could start with landscape artist Frederic Edwin Church. He traveled throughout the Americas, creating works of art that make me want to stay outdoors forever. Twilight in the Wilderness is one of my favorite landscape paintings and captures the natural beauty of America without being a depiction of a specific place.

Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Edwin Church, oil painting, 1860.
Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Edwin Church, oil painting, 1860.

O'Keeffe's landscape art of New Mexico made such an impression on me when I first saw it that, in a way, it now defines that region for me more than the actual landscape does. The artist was inspired by nature and yet took that into a completely new place, visually speaking; making works that give a sense of the landscape but also bring to mind ideas about vastness, loneliness, and beauty.

Grey Hills Painted Red by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil painting, 1930.
Grey Hills Painted Red by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil painting, 1930.

Ruscha's roadside gas stations make me a little bit envious because they are of a time and place I never got to see--when taking to the road was an adventure and meant freedom and independence, not the rage-filled grind of today. I also love the graphic, slick, Pop qualities of Ruscha's work--how he can make a gas station feel like it is larger than life with a few diagonal lines, though he simultaneously shows the homage to be a bit absurd as well.  

Standard Station by Ed Ruscha, oil painting, 1966.
Standard Station by Ed Ruscha, oil painting, 1966.

California through David Hockney's eyes is a composite of a lovely urban jungle. His swimming pool paintings give a sense of the West Coast that isn't all glamour and glitz, although he does show off those elements through the bright colors and modern architecture that fills his landscape paintings--and yet there is an introspective quality to the paintings that sometimes goes unsung.

Portrait of Nick Wilder by David Hockney, acrylic painting, 1966.
Portrait of Nick Wilder by David Hockney, acrylic painting, 1966.
Each of these artists has become iconic in American art and their landscape paintings offer unique and one-of-a-kind views of the places they were inspired by and called home. If you are looking for artistic ways to do the same, consider AcrylicWorks. It's a great resource to use in order to discover how to get the most out of the medium and see how you can use it to create your very own rich and varied artistic landscapes and more from fellow artists, all the while learning tips and methods that can help you hone your own skills. Enjoy!

P.S. What artist or painting that is quintessentially "American" comes to mind for you? Leave a comment and let me know!


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Delmar1 wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 6:40 AM

Grant Wood....quintessential midwest landscape artist.


linrnc wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 7:24 AM

Wolf Kahn, both pastels and oils, captures the color and form of the New England landscape in a wonderful semi-abstract way.

Tundrawolf wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 8:36 AM

Wolf Kahn: is at the top of my list, his landscapes and barn paintings. His use of color is extrardinary. two barn paintings, 1st - the yellow square and 2nd - My barn on a summer night @ the Smithsonian Institution in DC. and Landscapes, two fav. are 1st - Height of Autumn and 2nd - the last glow of sunset

Ken Elliott: Another great colorist. Has the ability to create Wonderfully Tranquil, paintings.

jbqdgq wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 1:50 PM

My favorite is Edward Hopper. His work is so real,I just love it. I have a book that has pictures he painted along with photos of the places today. There is a Hopper at the Dallas Museum of Art that I always stop to see when I am there for any reason.

Marialu wrote
on 9 Nov 2011 5:08 PM

Edward Hopper.

Gihan Zohdy wrote
on 10 Nov 2011 11:07 AM

I like Thomas Moran, upon gazing at his art he allows me feel I'm right there, whether this is the Grand Canyon or some other mountainous terrain.


PlatoL wrote
on 15 Jan 2014 11:47 AM

I would like to add Winslow Homer to the list.

Pazlo wrote
on 15 Jan 2014 12:31 PM

Hi Courtney:

Your posts are all enjoyable, and this one is one of your best!

We're introduced to the concept of portraying our homeland, then introduced to a variety of artists and works which convey the message!

Reminding me of home the most would be Homer Winslow. I live in New York State just south of the Adirondack Mountains in which Winslow spent some time and did some painting.

Indeed, his work has been an inspiration to follow!

A lesser-known favorite of mine is Paul Detlefson. I know little about the artist, but always recognize his work at a glance. Literally reminding me of home, my parents had a sofa-size print of a Detlefson painting which I viewed every day of my childhood. It now hangs in my house, where my kids grew up viewing it, and it remains hanging there as my grandchildren grow!

Thanks for another good post, Courtney!

Scott R. O'Connor

Sharon Springs, new York

Notkwytafarm wrote
on 15 Jan 2014 2:07 PM

Norman Rockwell  and Tim Cox an American West and Cowboy artist and Jeffery Larsen of Maple Wisconsin, country life and still life

dockull wrote
on 15 Jan 2014 3:13 PM

Thomas Kegler does it for me.

Be sure to check out his website :