Friday, January 30, 2015

Old-Time Plein Air Painting Adventures


Santa Fe
Worthington Whittredge
8 1/8 x 23 1/8, oil on paper on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery

Hudson River School painter Worthington Whittredge, probably most known for his woodland scenes and panoramas of the Catskills and Shawangunks back east, made several trips out west.    In 1866, he made his first trip with the army expedition of General John Pope.  One of the stops was Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Whittredge typically went out on short sketching trips after making camp, taking his revolver and campstool.  According to American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013):
When Whittredge had nearly finished painting Santa Fe, he was confronted by a rough-looking fellow, brandishing a pistol, who demanded to buy the picture. Whittredge, maintaining his calm, pacified his would-be customer by explaining that he was merely doing a 'sketch to make a large picture from,' which would be sold in New York.
I don't carry a gun when painting, so I probably would have sold it to the fellow on the spot.

By the way, I have a family connection to Worthington Whittredge, by marriage.  Not that it does me any good, of course, except to serve as inspiration.

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