1/23/2013

Philip Koch

Baltimore painter Philip Koch has chosen his two favorite paintings from last year:

Northern Pines, Morning oil on panel 12" x 24" 2012
Northern Pines is a favorite in part because of personal history- this is a hidden pond in Acadia National Park in Maine that my wife and I discovered 30 years ago while on our honeymoon/painting trip. The honeymoon coincided with a late spring cold snap that made painting in more exposed and windy areas difficult. 
This secluded pond in comparison offered some shelter and warmth. Every few years I go back to the pond to see how it's changed and to recall that special time in my life. The relatively smoother waters on an inland pond like this offers a painter great possibilities to playfully arrange and re-arrange the silhouetted reflections on the pond's surface. In a way, reflections on smooth water are nature's metaphor for what we painters are doing.
Edward Hopper's Bedroom Window oil on panel 13" x 8 5/8" 2012
After a show of my paintings at the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY held earlier in 2012, I was invited to return two separate times to spend several days each painting in this home where Edward Hopper lived as a boy. As Hopper was the biggest influence on me as a young painter, inspiring me to change from painting abstractions to working in a realist direction, this was a meaningful experience. 
This oil was painted in Hopper's second floor bedroom, where he was born and where he lived pretty much full time until he finally moved to Manhattan at age 30. This is one of the windows Hopper would look out of to view one of Nyack's busiest streets below and the Hudson River, one block away to the East. Working in this space I realized how much of Hopper's imagery for his entire career found its beginning in this simple room. It made me realize anew how my own childhood memories of growing up in a hilly forest on the shore of one of our Great Lakes is an experience I can treasure and use to feed my own paintings.
Philip Koch is both a painter and an art instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and has created a blog that nicely dovetails images of his own work with his thoughts on the work of other artists. It's wonderful how personal the whole thing feels; he chooses to discuss art that inspires his own work. He's especially drawn to those American and Canadian landscape painters with a feel for the power of monumental form; Lawren Harris, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, George Ault, George Bellows and even the more playful Charles Burchfield.

Koch's way of emphasizing the largest shapes in nature gives his work a dramatic starkness that is heated up considerably by his saturated complimentary color schemes. 

The Hollow 10 1/2 x 14" oil on panel 2012

 After Sunset 7x10.5"oil on panel 2012

To get an idea of the grand scale of some of Koch's landscapes, take a look at this image from his current show in the Katz Gallery at Friends School of Baltimore (thru Feb.15. 2013). The Friends School Art Department did a beautiful illustrated background to the show.


You can see more of Philip Koch's paintings at his blog and his website.

Help! There are so many good painters who blog that it'll impossible for me to get to them all this month, but here's an idea. If you are an artist who blogs, and would like to be included this month in The Art Room, please email your choice of your ONE favorite painting from 2012, along with a link to your blog. Include the title, size, medium, month and year. All of these submissions will be included in one grand and interesting post towards the end of the month.

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