Monday, May 9, 2011

More beaks and some beaks avoided

© The Estate of Edward Seago, courtesy of Portland Gallery
Here are a few more celebrity beaks. The one above is by Edward Seago. I don't think it is one of his better pictures, in fact when I see a fine historic painter do a beak I think they often are defeated. I love the color, you can keep the beak. He has used the bright notes to pull us away from the point of the beak, which he has made the same color and value as his water to minimize it.
Her has plugged in some clouds that somewhat distract us from the beak, but it is still a beak. There are lots of really great Seagos, and I have shown some on my blog, but I don't feel this is one of them. Below is a Sanford Gifford with a beak, a rather blunt beak.

I feel the same way about this effort too. Gifford has put in the beach and the incoming waves and they help distract us from the beak, but again I don't feel it is a particularly good Gifford. He has broken it up with rocks, grass and other variations, and blunted its tip.

The next two paintings are by Frederick Waugh. Waugh dealt with this beak problem all of the time being a seascape painter. In the painting above he has distracted us from the beak with the big puffball of spray grabbing our attention, rather than the beak at the upper right. Waugh has also lit the beak away from its pointy end, and that helps too. Those cliffs to the right of the beak's point pull our eye back and away from the point.

Here is a better solution. Being a seascape painter, Waugh can design his water and rocks almost any way he likes. Here he has several small rocks, interwoven with surf, decorating and obfuscating the beaks jagged point. The wave out to sea there also spreads our attention out over a wider area.


Philip Koch said...

I think Stape hates "beaks" as much as I hate Andy Warhol. Unfortunately years of therapy have helped neither Stape nor myself deal with our trauma.

Unknown said...

At least I think the Gifford is a more interesting painting than the Kinsett, but the two Waugh's are the best of this bunch.
I notice too, there isn't an awful lot of "blue" in that water.

Mary Byrom said...

Now that I'm looking at so many paintings of beaks. I want to paint a lot of beak paintings. And...the Waugh looks like a painting of a wave with a beak in the back ground. Stape... is your "beak trauma" showing? I see all of these as abstract shapes first. There is a radicaI difference in form with the seascape beaks and mountain range beaks( Lake George, Echo Lake, AT Bricher). Mountains sometimes offer overlapping, intersecting beaks....if they are pointing at each other the design is dynamic but grounded in a different way than the beak slicing a flat plane of water or two rectangles of sky and water. AT Bricher does a really nice job with some of his beak paintings. I think the Kensett painting is gorgeous, with its powerful beak line puncturing the horizontal bands of water & sky. Your discomfort with this painting makes sense. It is not a comfortable painting. I like the combo of things going on in it beyond subject matter and the mood.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... Stape, is there any way to paint peninsulas in a good way? Since I paint up in Maine often, they're definitely in the land/seascape there. Should I avoid them altogether or is there something I can do to void "wicked beaky"?

Sergio Lopez said...

I really don't mind "beaks"

My3Starz said...

Well, the first one I may not have placed as a beak outside of this series...the second one is more of a snout. The third one is sort of an alligator lying up high and I'm not buying the spray too much...but the last one is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps from a neurological point of view the beaks might be too “specific”. They don’t leave enough for the mind to do. The brain gets caught at the beak, and everything is resolved and becomes about the beak. They remove too much
ambiguity, there’s too much resolution.
I do like the Gifford most for the beak paintings because it has more detail in the beak, and gives the brain more to do there... in a sense like a portrait of the land mass framed by the rest. I also see in it a dying beaver lying on it’s side and frothing at the mouth.

Caroline Peña Bray said...

Love the Seago! And now I'm going to go and Google him to find some of his 'better' works...if this is a bad one I expect to be very impressed! :o) Thanks for sharing Stape.

Libby Fife said...

A beak too far?

Seeing so many of them together is instructive. The last one seems a whole lot better to me.

clarkola said...

Waugh sure knows his way around a beak. SO interesting.
(yesterday in Arkansas a hawk was seen flying with a snake in its beak)

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

These guys have dealt with their beaks pretty well when compared with less skilled beak painters. So, what's an artist to do with a beak if you're not Waugh?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hate so many things, beaks are just a small portion of my numerous dislikes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Waugh dealt with beaks every day and got very good at dealing with them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is no where near my favorite Kensett.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There are many ways to do it, camouflage is the usual manner.,

Stapleton Kearns said...

They are OK in small doses, those of us who paint on the water a lot though have to beware of them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I like the last one best too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think the spiky aspect of them is the problem mostly.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Caroline Savva Art;
There are many Seago paintings on this blog. He is a big hero of mine.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Watch out for them, they are everywhere on the water.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Waugh was is so underrated.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Get skilled, look at the old guys and figure out how they thought!

kev ferrara said...

Great stuff, Stape!

You're really hitting a high-water mark in this series of posts. Completely loving it!

whinebelt said...

Great series so far, entertaining and bringing a point with every example (especially the beaky ones haha!).