I didn't feel like working today, so I swung by Chadds Ford to take in Farm Work, the Jamie Wyeth show of (mostly) his portraits of farm animals at the Brandwine River Museum. There were some marvelous pieces on display, but my favorite is still the heroic portrait of a pig which is part of the permanent collection. The pig is painted side-on, very bright, and is unquestionably charismatic. It's not just a painting of a pig but a portrait of a particular pig.
It's a great show and at ten dollars per adult admission, it's a bargain. I recommend it.
The Brandywine River Museum specializes in three generations of Wyeths -- Jamie, his father Andrew, and his grandfather N.C. I like 'em all, but every visit reminds me that I like N.C. Wyeth best. I love his big illustrative work -- the portrait of Old Pew from Treasure Island is stunning -- but it's a still life that I love best. It shows two old glass bottles on a shelf in a dark barn. The light is rendered perfectly. The glass has a wonderful solidity and the reflections are perfectly rendered. And if you stand and look at them for a while, you realize that N.C. picked the bottles up from somewhere else and placed them on the shelf for the painting -- because you can see his finger-swipes in the dust. You can tell he knew he'd created something special because in the upper right-hand corner, while the paint was still wet, he scratched the date and under that "3 HRS."
I mentioned the painting to an artist friend of mine once and he cried, "Yes! Three hours! The son of a bitch!"
Oh, and speaking of brainless summer movies . . .
I went to see Cowboys and Aliens the other day. Everybody told me it was godawful. So it was pleasant to discover that, expecting the worst, it turned out to be good, brainless fun.
I don't know how enjoyable it would be if you were expecting something decent, though.
Above: Jamie Wyeth went through a period when he was painting chickens in baskets, pots, and boxes. Sometimes they cooperated. When they didn't, he used duct tape. True story.