Inspired by WInslow Homer's "The Whittling Boy"

Inspired by Winslow Homer’s “The Whittling Boy”

We must reserve a little back-shop, all our own, entirely free, wherein to establish our true liberty and principal retreat and solitude.”


I have borrowed (again) from a Winslow homer oil painting, “The Whittling Boy.”  I needed a fishing subject, so I took the jack knife and stick out of his hands, replacing it with a fishing pole.  This could very well be a portrait of myself, holding a cane pole, age eight, fishing one of the holes of Little Indian Creek down the slope from Aunt Bea’s house in rural Jackson, Missouri.  It was there that my father, of Cherokee descent, taught me to fish, and instilled in me the love for the solitude that accompanies it.  I still remember the first time he took me to the creek, threaded a grub worm on my hook, and showed me how to toss the line out into the current.  The bobber immediately went under, and my very first fish was a blue catfish.  I caught ten fish that day, thinking they were all giants, until I noticed all of them swimming comfortably in a single jar filled with water.  We had no stringer with us.  But that was O.K.  I had the privilege of releasing them, watching all of them scurry back to their dark refuge in that waist-deep hole.  I painted this boy in memory of my first time on the creek.

I am happier with the simultaneous contrasts in this composition.  I had struggled with them in the prior work.  I relied on my standby–Winsor Green and Alizarin Crimson for the darker areas.  In the mid-tones I tried Winsor Blue (Red Shade) with Transparent Yellow, then glazed Winsor Red over the top, once the colors underneath had dried.  The results were tints of gold and bronze.  I’m going to try this again with a different composition.

It’s been another good Spring Break day for painting.  Thank you for reading.


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2 Responses to “Solitude”

  1. Bonnie Burson Says:

    hey, David……enjoyed visiting with you earlier today. How about a little purple!!!!! You are so very good with your artworks and writings…..a pleasure to know you and keep up!!!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. Purple, huh? Great idea! I’ll start messing around with my Winsor Violet and see what Winsor Red adds to it. It was great chatting with you today.


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