Monday, January 12, 2015

At the Walter Anderson Museum

Waiting - 6x8 oil sold
Ten days ago, while on the way to Austin, we stopped for a couple of hours at the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs Mississippi. Walter Anderson and two of his brothers were artists during the mid 1900's. Click here for a short bio about him from the museum's website.
When you step into the museum, the first thing you see is a 20 minute film clip about Anderson's life. Time was too short to watch more than a few minutes of it. We chose to look around the museum instead. I knew of Anderson but hadn't studied his work. The one or two pieces I'd seen looked like folk art and primitive styles have never appealed to me. But the more I looked, the more I wanted to look. Some works were just pencil sketches, Some were watercolor and many were lino-cut prints. Most were of shore animals and coastal landscapes.
The expressiveness of Anderson's line surprised me. Rather than the naive portrayals that I expected, each work had exactly the kind of line or shape that perfectly described the character of what he drew. His cats were fluid, slinky and intent. Each type of bird was drawn with long delicate line or chunky marks of pigment according to it's character or way of moving. Plants with thick tropical stalks were drawn with strong unbending marks and petals of flowers with soft curving lines. His landscapes of coastal shoreline and live oak trees looked unlike any I've seen yet they accurately expressed the humid, moss draped environment of the Gulf Coast.
Here are a few examples for you to enjoy.

Here's one I especially like. The different densities of black and the fierce rectangular eyes and thick beaks amid a flurry of wings, is foreboding and beautiful at the same time.

He used a lot of red and purple in his paintings.

Look how this frog is alive with motion!

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