This passing year has been one of little ailments; I actually feel grateful they were not BIG ailments. I strained my right hamstring early last week and have been laid out ever since, meaning that I missed one of my very favorite Salem events: the Christmas in Salem house tour of this past weekend, the major fundraising event for Historic Salem, Incorporated. I was just too shaky and sore to go for it; I’m still a little shaky and sore. It was beautiful bright weather and several of the houses on the tour I had not seen before, so this was a real missed opportunity and I was downcast all weekend. I sent out my husband, and friends sent pictures, so I really have enough for a post but they’re not my pictures so they don’t feel like my story. Nevertheless, they are really spectacular, so I think I’ll feature them in a bit–along with my own decorations when I can get to them–but for right now I just don’t feel that merry and bright so I’m going to feature some stark winter white. As my world was confined to my laptop for several days, I discovered some new and new-to-me artists who conjured up images of winter house which more suited my mood. I was inspired by one of my favorite houses up in my hometown of York, Maine: it always looks a little lonely, and that’s how I felt this past weekend.
The winter houses of artist, illustrator, and photographer Deb Garlick immediately captured my mood this past weekend: the first two are acrylics, but you can order the last as a print, along with other images, on her website. I find her work both elegant and accessible: she has some adorable “mini-portraits”, and, as befitting her name, also works in food photography and illustration!
The Old Farmhouse; The Edge of the Lake; This Old House.
Then I went for a touch more color in the watercolor washes of Kate Evans: her red barn was about as much red as I could handle this past weekend! She has beautiful forests and structures, highlighted in stark relief against all that negative space/snow.
Red Barn and Woodcutter’s Cabin.
Winter landscapes can be very romantic, of course, but those views were not what I was looking for this past weekend: no horse-drawn sleighs, skating rinks, or cozy cottages. I didn’t want snow that looked even slightly fluffy. This eliminated artwork from much of the nineteenth century in my curation quest but things got bleaker in the twentieth, of course. I really enjoyed discovering the work of the Belgian landscape artist Valerius de Saedeleer (1867-1942) whose works looks inspired by both the Northern Renaissance and twentieth-century realism at the same time. The “gloaming” of de Saedeleer’s second painting below is also evident in one of Edward Munch’s winter landscapes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Whenever I indulge in Munch, I get a bit depressed, and I was already pretty dour, so I turned tail and looked at some slightly sunnier views of winter houses among the works of Swiss artist Cuno Amiet (1868-1961)—-got to get some yellow in here and I aspire to sled!
View of Tiegem in Winter, c. 1935, Christie’s; Winter Landscape, c. 1920, Mutual Art; Edward Munch, Winter Landscape, c. 1898, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cuno Amiet, Winter House.
December 9th, 2019 at 5:09 pm
So sorry to hear about your injury! Those “little” injuries can last and accumulate into a real downer! And yes, very beautiful and evocative art from Deb Garlick. Sometimes it’s good just to retreat and be “brood-y” till one feels better and is ready to be otherwise! Take care and again hope you feel better soon.
December 9th, 2019 at 5:24 pm
Thanks, Laura– you are so right. This one definitely crept up on me!
December 9th, 2019 at 6:44 pm
Do you think the viewer has to have experienced snow personally to appreciate it in art? I was visiting Austria once, experienced snow and didn’t like it at all. It doesn’t matter at all, I suppose, except I find paintings like This Old House a bit desolate and bleak.
December 9th, 2019 at 8:22 pm
Oh you live in the south? To me, rural snow can be beautiful, as can first urban snow–but it soon gets dirty. In these paintings, it just looks like highlighting negative space to me. Definitely bleak—suiting my current mood!
December 9th, 2019 at 8:51 pm
Sorry that your injury prevented you from from attending this year’s Christmas in Salem house tour. Would you reconsider sharing the pics that your husband and friends took at the event?
I did enjoy those somber winter landscapes that you featured. I like those moody, monochromatic scenes myself, particularly those of Andrew Wyeth.
December 10th, 2019 at 10:11 am
Absolutely, Helen–great houses on the tour this year!
December 10th, 2019 at 9:52 am
Sometime those moody paintings are just the ticket. Feel better soon!