Re-Visiting the Edward Hopper Legacy

412 W. Martin St. Waxahachie, Texas

I just finished an enjoyable conversation with a watercolorist friend who recently returned from a visit with his Boston family.  Though I have never visited the city and only hit Concord with a glancing blow over a decade ago, I just love learning all I can of Boston, Cambridge, Provincetown, Truro and all those surrounding areas.  He brought me a recent article from the Boston Globe concerning an order to demolish a new $10 million mansion erected in Truro right in the middle of “Edward Hopper” territory, in fact next door to his 1930’s home and studio. Apparently, this 8,333 square-foot contemporary mansion overpowers one of the 18th-century houses nearby.  It’s been described as a “Malibu-type” mansion sitting in the midst of this quaint New England community.

Anyway, talk of Edward Hopper (whom my friend also loves) took my imagination back to some of my earlier plein air watercolor sketches, such as the one posted above,  inspired by the early watercolors of Hopper.  This particular Victorian home is situated in Waxahachie (ironically next door to a Walgreen’s) where many of these 19th-century structures still survive.

As I look at the intricate details and craftsmanship that adorn this home, I think of the beautiful and exacting structure of a Mozart composition, so ably described in the Amadeus motion picture:

“Displace one note and there would be diminishment; displace one phrase and the whole structure would fall.”

This is how I feel when I observe the beauty and dignity of a Victorian home.  And this is how I would like to feel about one of my watercolors that “works.”  How wonderful to regard a composition in those terms.  An arrangement that has the necessary pieces to stand on its own, not overstated, or incomplete.  I always shake my head in wonder when I get to that stage of a work of art, and wonder if it is time to stop.  How does an artist know when to quit?  To borrow from a comedic line from Amadeus, how often has a  composer been criticized for using “too many notes”?  In like manner, how many times has a painter seen his/her composition collapse because one element too many was added?

I wish I had more studio time this week.  My personal schedule is too demanding at present, and I see no immediate light at the end of the tunnel.  But I will pick up the brush as soon as humanly possible.  Meanwhile, I hope you will forgive me for posting older works while my mind continues to kick up new ideas in the midst of this current maelstrom of job-related activity and responsibilities.

Thanks for reading.



2 Responses to “Re-Visiting the Edward Hopper Legacy”

  1. Linda Halcomb Says:

    Has the feel of Americana. You are very good at the detail which always gives me trouble.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you. I think I’m probably more into drawing than painting when I do watercolor–at least I’ve been told that. My watercolors, for the most part, are colored drawings. I used to rely heavily on colored pencils, archival pens, and watercolor pencils, and still use them some. But in the past 2-3 years, I’ve come across some excellent pointed brushes that seem to do better than sharpened pencils, and I find myself using them more. All the same, I am drawing more than painting.


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