|The Red Canoe by Winslow Homer, watercolor painting, 1889.
Some years ago, Ann and I drove to New York to deliver a vanload
of watercolor paintings to a gallery for a solo exhibition of my work. The
exhibition was going up for a month, after which we could retrieve paintings
still unsold and move them to the next venue. We decided to use the time in
between for a little East Coast driving adventure and seek out as many Winslow
Homer watercolor paintings on display as we could between Garrison, New York and Prout's
Neck, Maine, where Homer lived.
We saddled-up the Westphalia and made our first destination Glens
Falls, New York, to see the Hyde Collection pieces. These include works from
Homer's painting trips to Cullercoats and the Adirondacks, featuring A Good One, Adirondacks—a real
Pushing on into Massachusetts, we visited the Sterling and
Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and then the Worcester Art Museum.
What an education it was to see these well loved and long admired pictures up
close and in the flesh, so to speak. One can learn volumes from looking at and
analyzing originals. We paid particular attention to Homer's brushwork and the
order in which he laid down his washes.
|Playing Him (The North Woods) by Winslow Homer, watercolor painting.
The next morning we headed off for the Currier Museum of Art in
Manchester, New Hampshire, where we oohed-and-aahed over The North Woods (Playing Him). Wonderful.
On to the Portland Museum of Art collection, where we were
fascinated by the museum's practice of putting little canvas window shades over
each watercolor to protect it from even the very dimmest ambient light in the
room. Portland is a beautiful city, and we decided to stay there for a while
and enjoy its charms before decamping for Brunswick, Maine and the Bowdoin
College Museum of Art collection.
Our pilgrimage wrapped up with visits to the Farnsworth Art
Museum in Rockland, followed by the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville. We tried
to see Homer's studio on Prout's Neck, but it wasn't open to the public back
then. Disappointed, we consoled ourselves with a long stay in Acadia National
Park—a truly remarkable place to see and paint. But that's another story . . .
If you have a favorite artist on your list, we highly recommend
making an art-study excursion to take in as many works of theirs as possible.
It will be educational, fun, and sure to give you lasting memories.
Be sure to visit The Artist's Road for more
educational articles, step-by-step demonstrations and interviews with
--Ann & John