Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Hudson Interlude

Along the Hudson

When I first began to paint, I was much in thrall to the Hudson River School painters, a loose group of American painters active from about 1840-1875.

In 1982, I cajoled some of my artist friends to attend a meeting I'd called for the purpose of organizing a camping trip to the Adirondacks. Here's my invitation to the meeting, complete with a couple of DJ pen scratchings.

Off we went, enjoying a great, four-day break. We camped at Huntley pond, the site of the cooking watercolor from the other day.

Here's a Winslow Homer watercolor from the Blue Ledge.

And mine from upriver a bit.

And a couple of others of mine from the Adirondacks.

Here's a rather brooding, early oil of Huntley Pond.

Rather a somber concoction, isn't it?  I expect it was 24x30" (60x74cm). I don't remember it being so full of Sturm-und-Drang

This photo finds me perched on a rock, next to the Hudson River where it's narrow enough to throw a stone across it.

Here's a painting from about the same time. It's a view of the Hudson much closer to New York. 

At the same time, I was exploring different ways to apply the paint. Here's a Hudson painting (it's way in the distance) in which I've done extensive charcoal drawing and then left a good bit of it exposed.

Here's another, of Buttermilk Falls in the Adirondacks, in which I really let the charcoal drawing be a part of the final painting.

There are some other Hudson paintings for which I haven't found the photos (if, indeed, they exist). I was exploring not only ways of applying paint but also spending much time thinking about what I might want to say about the places I painted.

Here's a quite large painting of a view much-painted by the Hudson River School painters. Far in the distance is the river itself. Unfortunately the photo is quite blurry, but here it is.

All of this was more than a quarter of a century ago. My ideas, and my paint handling, have changed a lot. Still, as I look at these images, I can almost recall the fellow who made them.



  1. A trip down memory lane! I have loved your last 2 posts Donald. What an amazing time you have had. The Hudson River School has a place in my heart too - Olana was an eye opener. Girl scout camp is as much as I experienced of the outdoors in the Adirondacks. Lake George island camping too - but my focus then was learning to water ski. Not Water colors. :)
    More than a quarter of a century ago as well.
    Your posts make me feel I need to go on a road trip.
    Thanks for sharing - I love the great personal invites and watercolor sketches. Keep them coming please.

  2. Your posts of late give us a view of where you have gone and how far you have come. It gives me the courage to grow as a painter and to not take myself too seriously along the way. I am so fortunate to have met you and taken your workshops in the past. Thank you, Donald!

  3. What a great post Donald! Oh how I would have loved to have been invited to that gathering! I spent five years in the late seventies in upstate New York, much of it trapsing through the Adirondacks, in all seasons. It was the time when I began to understand what I loved in Nature and in art.