Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Admiring Edward Hooper's Moodiness Created Through Composition



"Lewis Barn", 1931, a watercolor by American artist Edward Hooper can be analyzed as to how he created the mood.
        Is the main subject the barn with the dark side facing left but the roof points the eye upward?  The upward movement doesn't uplift my spirit.  The dark lines and areas behind zigzag me back to the unseen back of the barn.  From the the wide dark band does your eye skip through the barn to the small window? When do you see the dark fence posts pointing  the eye toward the small square window,  plus the dark earth zigzagging toward the base of the front of the barn underlining the window? The fence posts might be seen secondarly.  The small static square window sets a mood of forlorned mystery for me.  Does your eye continue to circle in a figure eight or does it stop at the window?


Below is a later1955 painting, "South Carolina Morning." Is the main subject the woman in red or the woman grouping with the doorway? She stands out by color hue of red against white and not so much from the color values of darks and lights. The mystery is why she is standing in a doorway. The emptiness of the blue sky and light ground draws me into her.

(The pictures by Hooper are taken from the book, Silent Places, A Tribute to Edward Hooper, Fiction Collected and Introduced by Gail Levin)

What I admire is every part of his paintings is essential for creating the mood and mystery with no distracting extra information in the negative spaces. Hooper has no fear of cutting the composition with a horizontal right in the middle of the painting pointing to the main focal point. It is no wonder he is widely admired.

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