Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me and Hopper: A Certain Slant of Light

Edward Hopper "Sunday Morning" 1926
One of the things that I really love about making art is looking at art and seeing what serves as a catalyst for the creation of art.  So, three ingredients:
1) Edward Hopper
2) Emily Dickinson
3) My students


When I was at Lehman College taking a humanities core class my favorite professor Herbert Broderick had us read Emily Dickinson's poem and relate it to Edward Hopper's painting "Sunday Morning" 1926


"A Certain Slant of Light" 1924 Emily Dickinson


There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.


Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.


None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.


When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.




That comparison haunted me and so I decided that I would do a painting based on this by combining the feeling of the poem with Hopper's background.  I was going for the emotional content that I thought Dickinson was expressing and I tried to make it have a kind of gendered feeling to it.


Here's one of the reference photos I used.

Here's the finished painting:


Kenney Mencher "A Certain Slant of Light" oil on canvas 30"x40"

With my apologies to Edward Hopper! 
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Similar blog posts about technique and the use and misuse of art history:


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