American Art Collector
ON THE WATERFRONT Collector’s Focus: Seascapes, Rivers & Lakes
Ten-thousand years ago the Wisconsin Glacier began receding and its meltoff ate away at the soft middle layers of the surrounding rock, creating tunnels whose roofs eventually collapsed, forming a fantastic landscape of gorges and waterfalls. The area in northern Ohio is now known as Hocking Hills State Park. Hiking along the river in the park, Erwin P. Lewandowski kept looking for subjects for his drawings. It was late summer with more rock than water, but he found the perfect confluence of water trickling through a crevice in the rock, flowing smoothly, frothing up at an obstacle and flowing smoothly off again. Crevice Stream IV is rendered in the unlikely medium of colored pencil masterfully controlled to appear photographically realistic.
Lewandowski studied art in college and spent 25 years in business development and management before returning to art in 2004. He found the transition challenging and humbling, yet took up the new medium of colored pencil rather than his previous use of graphite and pigment ink.
Trickling water often finds itself joining other trickles to form a great river. Thomas Paquette spent three years exploring the Mississippi River’s 2,300-mile length from its earliest trickles to the broad bayous at its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico. The result was the traveling exhibition America’s River Re-Explored. The largest painting in the exhibition is Alma’s Buena Vista, a scene in Alma, Wisconsin. Paquette chose the view “because it embodies the grandness that characterizes the Mississippi from head to toe; where nature certainly dominates, but humanity has a significant presence.”
Walt Whitman called the Mississippi “the most important stream on the globe.” Paquette captures its grandeur and its subtleties as it flows through cities and fields, through cloudy days and sunsets. Light and color animate his
work as the river animates the landscape complementing and resisting humanity’s “significant presence.”
Rivers eventually find their way to the sea. Chris Armstrong lived in the seafaring New England town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, getting up close and personal with it, taking his surfboard out onto the chilly Atlantic swells throughout the year. The long waves pummeling the shore are called rollers, captured by him in his nearly 5-foot-wide painting Roller 3. Although his paintings incorporate the play of light and weather, they are about the water itself, its weight, its movement and its moods. His father, the rural landscape painter David Armstrong, wrote, “I am not interested in painting the objects. I want to paint a mood, and a mood comes from a deep and honest emotion.” Chris learned well from his father. I wrote a catalog essay for David in 1978, much of which I could apply today to Chris. Both artists died too young in their early 50s but their love for nature continues to inspire in their paintings.
The drama of ocean rollers gives way to calm sensuousness in Colin Berry’s 90-inch triptych Luminance. Berry, who grew up and continues to live near the shores of New Hampshire, comments, “…water has always been part of my consciousness. Water is beauty, and life. I’ve been drawn to water as a subject for many years, probably partly as a biological imperative, but also for its therapeutic effects on one’s emotions with its harmonious rhythms and richness of color.” The colorful, abstract reflections of the water’s surface in Luminance are as mesmerizing as the continuous rolling surf on the shore.
The explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau wrote, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
This special section dedicated to seascapes, rivers and lakes shows the grandeur and intimacy of the natural world. Each artist interprets their beauty with individual viewpoints and ideas, as well as their own styles and techniques to entice collectors of all types.
A sense of tranquility is a common response to the monotypes of Portland, Oregon, artist Annie Meyer. Vibrant minimalist landscape and figurative works transport the viewer to a calmer place. Luminous colors and sparse lines capture the essence of a figure or a landscape with simple but brilliant power—matching the composition’s intriguing essence of an abstract sense of time and place. Her inspiration is the landscapes of places she travels, her Midwest roots and her Oregon home.
“Painting is, for me, a challenge to make it as realistic as possible,” says Cees Penning. “I like to create works that have high contrast between light and dark areas, and [I am] making the painting in a way that you can feel the mood in the painting and [get] the feel for the materials that are in the painting.”
Kirk Larsen strives to bring the sense of place and the feeling of the experience of being there to his artwork. “I am very passionate about being on the water especially racing classic and modern sailboats,” he says. “When I paint a seascape or a marine piece, I want to share the exhilaration or the serenity of that moment to the point where you can hear it, feel it and almost taste it. In plein air I want to bring that specific day and atmosphere to the canvas, be it
sunny and bright in the Grand Canyon or on the Atlantic battling the elements during a nor’easter to capture nature at her finest.”
Lotton Gallery in Chicago is recognized for several landscape and seascape artists, new paintings by Simon Balyon and Miguel Peidro are notably featured in the gallery.
Dutch native Balyon’s newest works are Along the Shore, depicting flat bottom boats along the shore of the North Sea, and Sunset, a serene end of day, showing a man and his dog walking to the beach, going to watch the beauty of the sun setting.
Spanish native Peidro lives in a small town surrounded by mountains, an avid hiker, he often trails along rivers and lakes of the southern Pyrenees. Natural Beauty shows a still lake reflecting autumn’s colorful trees and the hills of the Pyrenees in the background.
Lucy KH Kalian’s series Swells & Soundings explores tidal forces where land and water meet. Her careful and intentional work shows the ebb and flow of nature, the dichotomy of the ocean’s calm, cleansing and thought-provoking tendencies balanced by the strong sentiments of power, feature and exhilaration. Collectors should note how the artist plays the thoughtful observer, finding solace in the ocean’s humbling presence.
Artist Marsha Hamby Savage says, “Collecting artwork is a very personal thing for most people. When asked I always tell prospective clients to only buy what they love. I give myself that advice when painting! I only paint what I love and for no other reason. I am an outdoor person so you will see mainly artwork that relates in most ways to nature. I see a flowing section of water like a waterfall or cascade moving over rocks and I am instantly hooked and want to paint it. Give me water, rocks and movement, trees and woodlands, flowers or pasture, and my mind is off and running. If I am not at my easel, I am composing and
painting in my mind. It brings a smile to my face and I hope to those viewing the art.
Pamela B. Padgett’s Flash of Light, was painted from an image she photographed in Nuremberg, Germany. “The late afternoon light was warm and at its apex as it struck this beautiful old building. The simplicity of shapes and the color harmony struck me...along with the reflective quality in the water,” says Padgett of the painting that will be on view in the American Impressionist Society’s Small Works Art Showcase at RS Hannah Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas, through April 4. “This was a demo I did while teaching my Monday Paint Club class at OnTrack Studios in Franklin, Tennessee. Sometimes you get lucky!”
Owned by contemporary impressionist
Rick Reinert and his wife, Ann, Reinert Fine Art showcases more than 60 regional and nationally acclaimed classical painters, as well as figurative and abstract sculptors. The gallery’s two locations in Charleston, South Carolina, include works by a number of artists focusing on seascapes, rivers and lakes, including Billy Solitario and Roger Dale Brown.
Reinert’s summer studio on Ocean Point Road in the beautiful town of East Boothbay, Maine, will be open through the end of September. Enjoy watching Reinert paint the many diverse and interesting landscapes the region offers.
Available through Artist-Authorized Fine Art LLC are the works of Spanish artist Vicente Romero. A pastel artist, his work is “appreciated because it represents a respite from modern life. He captures the very heart of calmness. His peacefulness is all-encompassing,” explains Robert Bane, the company’s publisher. “Adding a Vicente work to a home or office creates an oasis that wholly separates the viewer from the rat race of normal life.”
On April 11, Vanessa Rothe Fine Art in Laguna Beach, California, will open Realism Without Border, an international exhibition that will focus on seascapes. The show “aims to connect two centuries and two continents via the commitment to realist painting traditions.” This year’s exhibition, highlighting
the beauty of the sea as well as rivers and lakes, shows the same fine art techniques and styles of both past and current masters.
Included in the exhibition are Tom Balderas, John Cosby, Stanislav Ilyachenko, Irina Kaluzhaya, Peggi KrollRoberts, Nicolas Martin, Dimitri Motov, Derek Penix, Jesse Powell, Craig Pursley, Leon Okun, Rodolfo Rivadelmar, Ray
Roberts, Sam Robinson, Vanessa Rothe, Valery Schmatko, Aaron Schuerr, Daniil Volkov and Jim Wodark.
Wells Gallery in South Carolina features the works of a number of artists who turn to the world’s waterways for inspiration. Among them are Karen Larson Turner, Rick McClure and Michael Reibel. “We are fortunate to be located on Kiawah Island, surrounded by water,” says Emily Wagner, director of the gallery. “The ocean, estuaries, rivers and salt marshes fuel the wildlife, economy and inspiration of our artists. Whether you are watching an egret hunt for its dinner at the river’s edge, sea kayaking just off shore or painting plein air as the tide rises in the estuary, water remains the focus and passion for us all.”
“My interest in ‘paint,’ and quite often my subject matter, is simply light, which is most dramatically seen surrounded by darkness,” says artist William Jameson. “When I hike and climb in the dark creeks and streams of upstate South Carolina, North Georgia, North Carolina and in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, wherever I turn is a painting. I’m intrigued by the light filtering through the trees, striking the rocks and the rushing water over the rocks. The shadowed areas of the paintings become places for silhouetted shapes, half lights and half darks; distant light around the turn of the creek or a ridge barely seen through the foliage. When painting from nature, I am surrounded by sounds of water which never relinquishes its dominance. Even when the sun goes down the sounds are still there. Painting in the studio where most of my work is done, I can still hear the sounds of the water obeying the laws of gravity. Like the water, we are and will be forever at the mercy of and under the influence of nature.”