Monday, April 12, 2010

Some Seago decision making

One of the things I like about writing the blog is that it has put me into communication with other artists scattered about the planet. I never really thought about that when I started it, but things grow. Either way I got an e-mail from an artist with whom I had traded mail before. He sent me a couple of very interesting images I want to show you.

As those of you who have read this blog for sometime know, I am very fond of the work of an English painter, Eward Seago (1910-1974). A number of years ago I took my Seago books on a painting trip to Paris. I figured out where he moored his boat on the Seine ( for that is often how he traveled) and worked out from there to his painting sites. I then painted his locations in Paris. I found where he had set up his easel and made my own "takes" of those places.

The artist who contacted me today was doing the same thing, although he didn't know it at the time. He set up on a location on the Norfolk coast but was unhappy with the painting he made. Upon returning home he found a picture in a book of a Seago made on the same site., It is very informative to notice the changes that Seago made. Below is the location as it really is.

Below is the Seago painting. Notice that he has changed the house into an old barn. That's a big improvement, as it is a much more pleasing shape, and dilapidated and weathered buildings often look better than well maintained structures in a painting, they are more interesting from a textural standpoint, have less mechanical lines and they are evocative. Seago has also added a line of trees to the background replacing what my English friend says is an uninteresting view of reeds. A good painter brings a surprising amount of the painting to the landscape with him in the form of experience and invention.


© The Estate of Edward Seago, courtesy of Portland Gallery

Notice all of those left leaning lines in the masts and the posts holding the embankment, even in the barn itself. They are nicely countered by the right hand sweep of the river, the foreground sand and that tree over on the left by the barn. Thank you to our friend across the pond for the photos.


Anonymous said...

Stapleton, love your blog. Really great stuff. I have thought about painting the sea out here in Cali more than once, but growing up in New England, it just does not feel the same. Your blog is making me want to at least try while I am here. Thank you for the blog, and the time you put into it.

Unknown said...

ONe of my favorite things is when you post a photo of a site, and the painting that resulted from that location. That comparison alone produces so much information that it's like a little lesson.
Thanks for all the work you put into this. Your adoring public would miss it terribly if/when you decide you've had enough! But then, we'll all buy the book!

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Yes, we will buy the book, but the action and interaction is even better. So much to think about, so much to learn. Each post a surprise and delight. I love it. Thanks, Stapleton!

Billy Guffey said...

Hey Stape. Do you happen to know the size of the Seago painting? Also, I wonder if we could find out the exact location of that shot. Do you know the spot?

Mary Bullock said...

Perhaps when Seago painted that spot, the barn was actually there and has been replaced in later years by the house that is in the photo?

billspaintingmn said...

I've always been a story teller. I try to spice it up with humor or sadness, but stay true the facts.
Isn't that what we're doing here?
It's like a joke, it's purpose is
to make you laugh.
So if a house is a barn,or a driveway is a creek, it's the punchline that's the hit,(or miss)
and timing is everything.
My art teacher would never agree
with this. "Draw only what's there"
(commercial art & advertizing)
But now...
I recognized hints of this when I saw how Rockwells book, "How I make a painting" explained this.
He would elaberate or change things to his own fasion to get the
pose, or punchline.
Stape, you are supporting this
viewpoint, and that give freedom to
the artist!
Free at last free at last. Thank God I'm ffee at last!
(more ice huh?)

Bill Cramer said...

Just found your site - glad I did! I'm with Mary on this. It's likely that the scene has changed in the years since Seago painted there, however, your point about changing a scene to suit the painting is well taken. We are the masters of our own painted universe!

barbara b. land of boz said...

We look to you for guidance in making our artistic journey a more pleasent experence. So it must be said we will learn, and learn well!
For this I am thankful. I have learned alot.

The Seago painting tells a good story. Thank you from this side of the pond.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, the great thing about Cali is that the sun sets behind the surf. That is really nice.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will try to do more of that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. The book won't happen any time soon!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't know the spot. I believe the painting must be about 18 by 24 but that is a guess I don't know that for sure either.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The house looks older than that to me, but I will contact my English friend and get his answer.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I LOVE that Rockwell book. I believe it is now out of print. The part about his preparatory charcoal drawings is amazing. Genius is the ability to take infinite pains.

I would go with more ice, yes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. Masters of the universe!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. Hope you are having spring now and not endless snow.