Weekend 3 of my remembrance and sharing of the artists who have influenced me over the decades. This week, Edward Hopper.
Edward Hopper got my attention while I was still in High School. What grabbed me was first and foremost his incredible compositional skills. If you have ever heard me talk on my own work you know that in spite of me always having some emotional or psychological content in my work, while I am actually doing it I am overwhelmingly concerned with the visual composition of the piece. Without composition, content is diminished in my eyes.
I found this while looking for images for this post. I love the idea that he made a drawn and written record of his paintings, including who he sold the piece to. I wish I could get $15,000 for one of mine! Any takers?
Check out my napkins and often times you will see people inside with simple windows showing a distant landscape. Hopper frequently did the same thing and I always loved the emotional and psychological power it had in his images. Speaking of composition, note how every single item and element in this painting has its compositional as well as its story telling purpose.
Another visual idea Hopper plays with often is the street or path disappearing into and behind the main subject of the piece. The juxtaposition of the brightly lit woman in the office, elegant and colorful, with the dark foreboding side street going who knows where is a powerful symbolic idea. Its the hint of a secret, the hint of all not being exactly as it seems, that there is something darker, scarier, going on, that I find so powerful. And once again, this idea would never have the power it does if Hopper didn’t know how to compose the image to perfection.
I will admit, my main fascination with this image, besides the incredible composition, is the woman in green. Whenever I have looked at this painting over the years I am taken to that moment in time, wondering who she is and what she is all about. By the way, note the woman with the red hat and brightly lit profile on the far left. Why do you think he included her?
Of course, with his focus on the power of composition you know he would find a way to use black and white. His etchings are as amazing as his paintings.
And finally, one usually does not see Hopper categorized as a metaphysical or spiritual artist. But I think of him that way, with his sparse lonely individuals lost in thought and his isolated buildings and homes placed in unlikely environments. This one is probably my favorite when it comes to that idea. It is not about a room by the sea, it’s about you taking a step into the unknown. I love this piece because, for me, it’s about courage – the single most important characteristic one needs to lead a creative life.
- Week #10 – Coco Larrain
- Week #9 – Nina Levy
- Week #8 – Andy Goldsworthy
- Week #7 – Wayne Thiebaud
- Week #6 – Richard Diebenkorn
- Week #5 – Roy Lichtenstein
- Week #4 – Thomas Hart Benton
- Week #3 – Edward Hopper
- Week #2 – Henri Matisse
- Week #1 – Rembrandt