Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Wondrous Life

Andrew Wyeth had been an artist that the public loved and the critics loved to hate.
I am on the "loved" side. If it wasn't for Andrew Wyeth I don't know if I would have found art.

When I was about five or six I was looking through a book my mother had about American artists. This was the only art book I can remember my family having at that time. I came upon an austere, somber painting of a cross with old white rags blowing in the wind against a barren landscape. I don't know why this painting moved me the way it did but it did . 

That painting was "The Scarecrow" by Andrew Wyeth and I have kept that book with me for decades.

I have been lucky to be only about an hour from the Brandywine River Museum that houses a wonderful collection of Andrew's, N.C's and Jamie Wyeth's (love their work too) works and I have gone to the museum often.

So today I was feeling melancholy as I drove around the countryside of Bucks county Pa. to pick up my eggs from a local farmer (I live along the Delaware River on the NJ side). The sky was sooooo grey , the forests tall and vacant and there were remnants of snow on the hills,  and I felt I was in a Wyeth painting.

He lived a long and enviable life. A  life consumed with the brush. We are so fortunate that the best part of him will be with us for lifetimes to come!


wayne said...

Hi Sandra,
Thank you for sharing these heartfelt words and reminiscences. Andrew Wyeth's work has always moved me, and like you, from a very young age. His work seems to be imbued with a kind of 'global empathy' yet distilled down to a single figure, an icon, enveloped in silent space and subdued color. There is some soft sun...

marybullock2 said...

Yes, well said. His work was so full of pathos and poingnacy. He will be sorely missed, yet his work will live on.
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the "love" side. We're all feeling this loss, but as you said, he left so much of himself behind. I envy you your proximity to that museum.

Very good post. Thank you.

David Lobenberg said...

I always remember a painting he did of a very frail and one of the last of the civil war veterans napping on his small bed. He was almost part of the bed, and you got the feeling that soon he would be gone with only that bed marking his passing.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Sandra,

I'm also with you on the "love" side.
I see the landscape you're describing now on my way to teach north of Toronto. The land has that same look.
Wyeth was the man, and you're right that his work will continue to inspire us.

Your work is quite inspiring too.

Take care,


Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

I share your grief for this great artist - one of the first to truly inspire me, too. What a gift he gave to the world. Heaven's the richer now.

Mike said...

We'll all miss him, Sandra. He set the tone for sooo many painters.

when i lived in Flemington, NJ, I was clueless about him, but wish I could go back and become as acquainted with him and his work as you have. Who knows, we might have gotten to know each other!

Rebecca J. Dunn said...

I agree with your "loved" side opinion. Like you Sandra, I don't know if I would have finally chosen to go with my passion for art, had it not been for seeing Wyeth's art and reading his books years ago. I keep his books close at hand for inspiration. I think time will show that the critics of his art were very wrong in many aspects in their critiques of Wyeth's art. There's something to be said also, as to how much one's art influences the masses and withstands the test of time. I think his work has and will prove to be true in both these areas. Thank you for your tribute to this great man and artist.

Sandy Maudlin said...

What a great tribute. He was a master for sure. Some of his work was so awesome, I could've looked at it for YEARS without tiring.

Nick said...

I've been reading A Secret Life, should have done that years ago. He was like a force of nature.

Alison Dunlop said...

Thank-you, Sandra, for such a moving tribute to Wyeth - as an expat Canadian living in the UK, I hadn't heard about his death. He was a huge influence on a generation of painters in North America, but relatively unknown here in Europe. His work was one of the first to inspire me too and his books are still favourites in my studio. What a massive legacy he's left behind - I've no doubts that it'll stand the test of time!

Martin Pate said...

Nicely written Sandra.

tata said...