You know there are some paintings that just get you every time you see them? Well, there’s one by Childe Hassam (17 October 1859 – 27 August 1935) that does this for me. So to celebrate his birthday, I thought we’d take a close look at his pastel painting, A New York Blizzard.
A very contemporary-looking painting with this mysterious dark shape taking up a lot of real estate and placed right in the centre, the painting is basically monochromatic.
Have a look at it really small.
Dressed in black coats, pedestrians make their way through the blizzard which you can feel howling around them. Interestingly, the centre black stays just that, mostly black rather than being peppered with the white specks of blowing snow. Yet the features of the coats and umbrellas are hidden from us by…blowing snow. You can see how Hassam added faint hatched marks over the black. Look too to see how he softened the edges of the main shape’s contour on the left side with dark lines, almost scribbles.
Done on cardboard, it’s not clear whether the warm colours coming through in areas are from the cardboard or an added first layer colour.
Certainly, a very obvious colour added to the black, grey, and white mix is a turquoise. You see it as a mid-value hatched in various places throughout. And a lighter value in the sky, adding to the feeling of cold temperatures.
Other than the lamppost, very little is clearly revealed in this painting. You can see a spattering of yellow colour to represent the gas light.
Have a look at the painting again and see what you notice.
To read more about this painting, have a look at the commentary on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website in Boston where this painting is housed.
Pastel had become popular by the time Childe Hassam painted this pastel and he became a regular user of the medium. To read more and see a collection of his pastels, check out the blog I wrote on the subject.
Current IAPS show now online!
Ohhhh, a whole pool of inspiration just arrived!! All you need to do is check out the current online IAPS show – the 41st Open Division and the 9th Master Circle Division. Get ready to be in awe! Congratulations to all who were accepted!! And commiserations to those who didn’t. I know how it feels and this may help.
To get you started on your inspiration adventure, here are the Winners from each Division.
And that’s all for now,