Monday, April 21, 2014

Finding Mr. Hopper

Meeting Mr Hopper - Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil on Acid Free Paper 9 X 12

April 21, 2014

I went to the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and did some sketching. I was hoping Mr Hopper would speak to me.

I went seeking Mr. Hopper's wisdom on the subjects of drawing and painting, however Mr. Hopper it turns out is quite dead. So instead I just drew from life and realized the one immutable, irrefutable and possibly redeeming quality I may possess that he does not, I can still get better.

Edward Hopper was an artistic genius. There really isn't any point at all in thinking one might achieve his artistic greatness. That kind of thinking is best left to dreamers and idiots, both of which I've been in my time.

Understanding Mr Hopper's work could actually be a full time job. Each one of his paintings and drawings contain mysteries and layer upon layer of experience and skill, buried in the colors and lines. I stared at his paintings and drawings for a many hours trying to identify the clues, piecing together the mysteries, connecting the dots between one drawing and its corresponding painting.

I stood wondering if Mr. Hopper observed other artists work the way I was observing his. What great painter spoke to Hopper? What were the mysteries he was trying to unravel? Maybe he didn't even bother, maybe it was his preference to look inward. Maybe the mystery and mood in his work sprung from his own unique desire to express who he was.
Observing Hopper 9 X 12 Faber-Castell Polychromos on Acid Free Paper

Hopper Study - 9 X 12 Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil on Acid Free Paper
I suppose sooner or later we all wonder if we can ever really measure up to others. We look at the work of someone else and we question our own. We are drawn to comparisons, personal, professional, intellectual and even artistic, sometimes when we have absolutely no business doing so.

Regardless of my own thoughts of inadequacy, I found myself appreciating the moments I was able to spend in the presence of his work,most of which I had only seen in books before this weekend.

Edward Hopper is and always will be a genius whose work speaks to people. His work informs many subjects that I choose to draw or paint. I would like to imagine he is silently guiding me, but a part of me also hopes that I'm not that arrogant. Still, it's a comfort to know he existed and that he was able to become a better artist.

I imagine if he were here today, he'd tell artists to be themselves first and foremost. He might say that we all have greatness within us if only we'd practice more and believe in ourselves. I'd like to imagine Hopper was that kind of man.

Now as I look back on the many years I've spent drawing, I am thankful for the inspiration that Mr. Hopper has given me, and that is finally enough.
Graphite Wash on Sketchbook Paper 6 X 9


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