I don't know about you but paint floats my boat. Paint as in "painting" as in "art". The texture of the stuff, its thickness, its luminosity, its depth, its color. In the hands of a master painter, well, it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Love painting.

While I started off as a young artist as a painter, mine were all large spray paintings, not at all like conventional paintings. I have always envied those that made their art with a brush on canvas.

Why is Neal taking us off topic once again? Because I finally got over to Boston's MFA to see the Jamie Wyeth retrospective before it closes in January. Worth seeing? Definitely. Change your life? Probably not as it's not clear to me he's one of the truly great painters, but it is easy to relish the way he uses paint.

Last month I showed some paintings from the Contemporary Art Museum in Torino, Italy (here). Those were older and wonderful but Wyeth is a painter in present times. Some of what I saw at the MFA was painted in 2013.

Just like with photographs, I like to go in close and really examine what a painter has done to make his/her work look like that.

Such a timeless subject, looking highly classical in its form and design. But go closer and you can see evidence of a sort of  "camera vision" to the way he's painted the horses:

foreshortened and photographic.

This one stopped me in my tracks as I had made a picture quite like it in the 90's at a place called "Blackwater Dam" in NH:

This one of the sheep seemed odd and out of character to me.



I don't pretend to know what was going through Wyeth's head when he was painting these but there does seem to be some involvement in the paint itself.

Here is my favorite:

and a close up of the couch:

I wonder if it has been difficult being a painter in his father's (Andrew Wyeth) shadow.


Ah paint. Am I envious? A little. It seems as though, with much photography, we are struggling still for legitimacy, particularly in found subjects we choose to photograph. Painting right out has that in spades. Make a painting of something and it is art, you don't have to argue its case or establish its credentials for it to be valued and respected as a work of art. But it is also surface, texture and depth too that painting has and photography lacks, looking so smooth and manufactured.

Love paint.

The Jamie Wyeth show is up at the MFA until December 28.

Permalink | Posted December 4, 2014