Homage to Andrew Wyeth, June 17, 2010

Wyeth pine cones

It isn’t an easy maneuver, trying to explain the depths of my feelings over this 5 x 7″ drybrush watercolor sketch.  In one sense, it took 45 minutes to create; in another, it took 56 years to create.

I still grieve over the passing of Andrew Wyeth.  His drybrush studies captured the imagination of a bored ninth-grader in 1968.  To this day, I can think of few significant Proustian moments from my own public schooling, but that day in 1968, when my Art I teacher Robie Scucchi placed his brand new coffee-table book of Andrew Wyeth on the table before me, and invited me to peruse its contents–I could never be the same since.

Wyeth’s deep-seated fascination with Kuerner’s farm in Pennsylvania seemed a mirror reflection of my own obsession with my grandparents’ farm in Southeast Missouri.  Every object strewn about the expansive property seemed to contain the “stuff” of revelation–that Proustian magic capable of transporting one back in time to early childhood memories filled with warmth and meaning.  From 1968 until now, I have spent countless hours poring over my own collection of Wyeth books, catalogues, prints and magazine articles, soaking like a thirsty sponge the visual details of his sensitive drybrush renderings of everyday objects.

Several years ago, in a Hillsboro antique shop connected to the gallery representing me, I purchased this blue pail with the white interior, and immediately filled it with pine cones.  I was determined to create some Wyeth-style drybrush studies from it.  Years passed, and the moment just did not present itself.  I’m too busy, it seems–too distracted with daily details.  But today marked the pleroma kairou–the fulness of time.   I took my wife Sandi to Lyndon Acres to ride her horse.  The temperature was nearing triple digits.  I had only 45 minutes.  So I set this pail of cones in the shade of a tree, and leaped right into the task, without taking time to think about it or change my mind.  Before I knew it, the 45 minutes had expired, I had a watercolor sketch to serve as a record of the moment, and my communion with Andrew Wyeth was too profound for words or tears.

This is the second watercolor still life I’ve attempted since 10th grade.  The prior attempts are not worth recording.  This one is.  Tomorrow I’m going back out to do “something” en plein air. Maybe Wyeth will visit me again.  But if not, today was enough for awhile.  I’m still trembling.

Thanks for reading.

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3 Responses to “Homage to Andrew Wyeth, June 17, 2010”

  1. Shelley Says:

    It does the heart good to read something like this and appreciate the moment even vicariously. I guess the best I can think of to say is, “Congratulations!”

    Like

  2. Heal Says:

    Hi, I love andrew wyeth techniques. Once my painting teacher gave one of his aintings to me, I read it and learnt so many techniques such as how to create a rainy sky, how to draw meadows and mixing colours. I am not sure, if the author was androw wyeth himself, but the book was about his techniques. I forgot the books name :(, could you please let me know if you by any chance know a similar book?

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I do not know the book you referenced. I have occasionally purchased special issues of “American Artist” magazine with Andrew Wyeth features and “how to” demonstrations over his drybrush and pencil layering techniques. But I don’t know of an actual book on Wyeth techniques. Personally, I spend hours looking at large color plates of his drybrush renderings, and anytime I can find him in a museum exhibit, I spend a lot of time looking at his actual work and taking notes from it. I would love to learn more of his technique. He is undoubtedly my favorite watercolorist.

      Like

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