New Painting: Painting for Inness

Painting for Inness, Oil on Panel, 14 x 18 inches, 2017

Most of the second half of 2017 was devoted to drawing but I did create a few smaller oil paintings. Above is Painting For Inness. This picture is a tribute to the 19th century American landscape painter George Inness. The composition is based on his Sunset on the River from 1867. I often look at landscape painters I admire and wonder as to why they would make certain decisions. With Sunset on the River I was curious why Inness chose to divide the foreground and background with a thicket of trees in the near center. There is much you can learn from emulation versus just looking at the work of others. After completing the painting the obstruction choice makes sense to me; the mountain appears more distant and the sense of depth increases. It is, however, a choice I would never have made on my own. Copying paintings is a tradition as old as painting itself, a way for painters to learn from, and pay homage, to those they admire.

Milwaukeeans are lucky when it comes to seeing the works of George Inness. The Milwaukee Art Museum has several large examples in their gallery of early American landscape painters (third floor, American Collections). But the best examples are at the Charles Allis Art Museum on the east side near Brady Street. I've see paintings by Inness from Arkansas to Madrid and I can say with confidence that the Inness' at Charles Allis are exceptional. They glow with a strange inner luminosity that other paintings seem to lack. They're hanging in the library along with works by Thomas Moran and Ralph Albert Blakelock.

Little Tempest, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2017

Oil painting equipment is expensive so whenever I need to do a demo for a class I plan something that can be transformed into a finished work. Thats where this little 8 x 10 came from. Its an inverted composition to my larger picture The Tempest. Nothing heady or philosophical on this one, just something that will look nice on the wall.

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