The Connecticut Landscapes 1979-1980

February 28, 2021

I’ve been scanning some of my archived material from the late 1970s. Luckily my professors had always said: be sure to take slides of your work(!). Not all of them are well lit or even in pristine focus but hey, it’s better than nothing.

New Haven from Lighthouse Park II. 1980. Oil on panel. 5' x 15".

New Haven from Lighthouse Park II. 1980. Oil on panel. 5″ x 15″.

New Haven from Lighthouse Park I. 1980. Oil on panel. 5' x 15".

New Haven from Lighthouse Park I. 1980. Oil on panel. 5″ x 15″.

This series illustrates my initial attempts to paint landscape. They were done ‘en plein air’, in the sense that they were painted on site and not later in the studio. But even then, my approach was not impressionistic, which seeks to quickly render an evanescent moment. Rather, I would frequently return to the scene of the crime, building up layers (until the surface could hold no more), as I sought to describe something eternally universal about my chosen view.

I was living in New Haven Connecticut at the time, thus a number of them are harbour scenes from the city parks on the east and west side. In addition, there is an interstate 90 highway scene plus a seascape from a beach house in Old Saybrook, Connecticut where I lived one winter (the large red roof in the middle ground belonged to the family home of Katherine Hepburn, probably still does).

New Haven from Sandy Point. 1980. Oil on panel. 5' x 15".

New Haven from Sandy Point. 1980. Oil on panel. 5″ x 15″.

Westbrook, Connecticut. 1979. Oil on Panel. 5" x 15".

Westbrook, Connecticut. 1979. Oil on Panel. 5″ x 15″.

Old Saybrook. 1978. Oil on panel. 5" x 15".

Old Saybrook. 1978. Oil on panel. 5″ x 15″.

The provenance of the unusually long horizontal format is this. The father of a friend of mine used to prowl the local dump for useable building materials. One day he came home with a contraption consisting of seven 5″ x 15″ masonite panels which all hung from a bar. I detached them, stripped the panels of their paint but left the holes at the top intact – this is why you can still see the push pins I used to hold them to the wall.

At the time I created seven scenes. This is a record of five of them. I gave all of them away before I left the East Coast but I no longer know who has what. If some old friend ever pops up with an image of the other two I’ll happily update this page.

 

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