Painting No. 47 - Pennsylvania Coal Town Study II

6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas Board

This is the second of the little Pennsylvania Coal Town studies. Instead of doing it at actual size I just cropped out a little piece of the paining and tried to experiment with that as a stand-alone image.

I started this one as another sepia-type but then branched out a bit and added the red to the bottom. It felt good to get back into the color (even limited) and helped get me back on the bus for this next group.

Here is an image of the real painting if you don't know what I'm talking about:

I don't know exactly why but I have always been struck by this painting. It's everything that Hopper stood for in one warm but at the same time terrifying image. What can you say about that light? First off, it's sideways - coming right at the figure. It's also incredibly hot. As obsessed with light as Hopper was I can't think of another painting of his that used the time of day to create drama like this one does.

I've always seen this as a sunset. The color of the light and the fact that the guy is raking seem to say that. What takes it to another level is how Hopper described light. He used it as a metaphor for life. Light for Hopper was life. If you were in the light and could see the light you were still alive.

So look at this knowing that and what do you see? I see a guy whose time is running out. In about 15 minutes the light it going to be gone. And it's like the figure is minding his own business and then something triggers in him a sense of his own mortality. He's watching it go away. You're raking your yard one minute and the next it's time to go. It can be depressing but if you look at the image it does not seem all that bad. The light is most beautiful when it's about to go out I guess.

Not to get all deep with it but I really, really like that painting. I can't wait to get more into my copy of it and will post the final result when it's done. It's sort of lame to copy something but I learn SO much when I look that close at something.

I've got a slew of new ones that I'll be posting starting this weekend. Back into the fruit, landscapes and other fun stuff.


  1. This is an awesome post, bro - I loved reading your interpretation of this painting. You are a true artist! Love you, and very proud of you.


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