Poussin and Nature: Fall 2008

After summer of relative artistic freedom, September 2008 marks my second year as a New York Studio School MFA candidate. Immediately, I encounter internal and external pressures to create a cohesive body of work. The MFA Thesis Exhibition is over six months away yet anxiety clouds my vision, making it harder to choose a subject that sustains my interest. I don't operate linearly: I create simultaneous bodies of work that relate on a grand scale. The big lesson of the MFA second year is self trust: find the courage to pursue what feels right, even if it means taking a different path than expected. Here is a sampling of works created during the first half of the year.

Transcriptions for the Fall 2008 Benefit: The Four Elements
Every year the New York Studio School has a benefit auction and dinner which raises scholarship money. Graham Nickson, the dean, selects a theme for the year and students make transcriptions (personalized versions) of art works related to this theme, which this year is the four elements. I select paintings recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: two Nicolas Poussin's, a French painter who studied in Italy, one Eugene Delacroix and one El Greco. To my great surprise, the first Poussin transcription is given to Sean Scully as a gift from the school. The second disappeared from the benefit. I'd like to know who took this wonderful piece. Please contact me and have a check in hand!

Transcription of Nicolas Poussin's
Summer: Ruth and Boaz (1660-1664)
9" x 12" oil on wood
October 2008

Transcription of Nicolas Poussin's
Landscape with a Calm (1650-51)
9" x 12" oil on wood
October 2008

Transcription of Eugene Delacroix's
Abduction of Rebecca (1846)
9" x 12" oil on wood
October 2008


Transcription of El Greco's View of Toledo (1597)
14" x 9" oil on wood
October 2008

Kilgore and Poussin: The hurdle in front of most MFA 2 students to find a unique subject matter for the MFA Thesis Exhibition. In an absence ideas, I turn to other artists for inspiration. In our living room hangs our grandmother Katherine Kilgore's tapestry of my brothers and I dancing under a tree to the music of a lute player. I wear stag antlers, Joel a wolf mask and Ian a baby jester's cap. As I am practiced transcriber of Nicholas Poussin's landscapes, I place Katherine's characters this weaving into his world: I am the stag, Joel the wolf and Ian the bundled baby. The set characters and scenery give leave for experimentation with canvas size and shape.


Stag, Wolf and Child
apx. 30" x 20" acrylic on wood
November 2008
Stag and Wolf Octagon
apx. 40" x 40" acrylic on wood
November 2008





Octagon Study
20" x 30" charcoal on paper
October 2008




Based on Poussin
20" x 30" charcoal on paper
October 2008


 Stag, Wolf and Child Mural

acrylic on paper, apx 72" x 90"
October 2008

Horse Watercolors: While painting the transcriptions, I made little watercolors from drawings of my mother's horses. My teacher suggested that I transfer them to large oil paintings. When I did, I found myself painting with oil as if it were watercolor. What is the point? I preferred the smaller watercolors. Bigger isn't always better! Here are the different versions along with other portraits and paintings on wood.

Two Horses
10" x 14" watercolor on cardboard
October 2008


One Horse
10" x 14" watercolor on cardboard
October 2008


Diamond Eating
10" x 14" watercolor on cardboard
October 2008


Visit from the Vet
10" x 14" oil on wood
October 2008



 Large Horse
72" x 60" oil on canvas
October 2008



 Large Horses
72" x 60" oil on canvas
October 2008




Ian with Rose
14" x 10" oil on board
October 2008



Self Portrait
14" x 10" oil on board
October 2008



Three Figures (Memamma, Mom, Myself)
10" x 14" oil on board
October 2008


Studio Shots:


Collection of wood paintings



 Christmas card from my grandmother Katherine Kilgore ("Memamma")



My shrine




Memamma's weavings








Philip Guston's Kitchen (my studio 2008-2009)
2 comments

Popular Posts