Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lighthouses, Revisted

I've addressed before the idea of working beyond the cliche. Cliche-prone subject matter include lighthouses. I know artists who avoid lighthouses as much as others, who shall remain nameless, embrace them. However, I have three lighthouses within five minutes of my studio, and I do embrace lighthouses - but as a challenge to cliche.

How do you avoid a cliche? One way is to consider the subject as an element of composition rather than as the thing it is. A lighthouse becomes just a tall polygon in an abstract design. Edward Hopper cropped off the top of his lighthouses without mercy. Andrew Winter, one of my favorite painters, portrayed lighthouses and their related outbuildings as interesting piles of blocks.

Here's one I did yesterday as part of Plein Air Painters of the Bay of Fundy's "Paint the Lighthouses" weekend. (In conjunction with the Maine-New Brunswick Lighthouse Challenge Weekend.) I humbly offer it as an homage to both Hopper and Winter.


"Red & White: Mulholland Light"
5x7, pastel, en plein air

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