Wyeth Autobiography, Vol. 1
Andrew Wyeth Easterly prints, we see once again
Wyeth’s mastery for painting landscapes.
Easterly is a brilliant example of Wyeth’s
uncanny ability to make his paintings come to
life and to appear as photographs. When looking
at a Wyeth landscape, one can almost feel the
soft Maine breeze and hear the sounds of nature.
Easterly really emphasizes Wyeth’s talent
for detail. Every slat in the white picket fence
is discernable, as is each ridge in the siding
of the building. These meticulous details render
the painting so very life-like that it is easy
for the viewer to imagine the lighthouse attendant
to peak his head out on the balcony at any moment.
Lighthouses are world-wide known to be beacons
for seafarers; they warn and protect from danger.
In art, lighthouses serve as powerful symbols.
They are associated with the force of the sea
as well as a lost way of life. There was a time
when lighthouses were essential; sailors had
to depend on the lighthouse attendant to light
their way and keep them safe on their voyage.
Today, as modern navigational technology has
replaced their function, most structures sit
abandoned, only to be viewed as tourist attractions
with architectural appeal. Nonetheless, they
are still emblematic in representing safety
and refuge. It is interesting to note in this
Andrew Wyeth Easterly painting, the small skiff
that sits alongside the lighthouse, dwarfed
by its massive structure. The placement of the
boat is reminiscent of a child nestled against
a parent for protection.
Many works by Andrew Wyeth possess an austere
quality in their composition; the dark ground
and bleak weather in Easterly serve to render
the painting sombre and haunting. However, there
often exists some form of dichotomy in Wyeth’s
works. In the Easterly print, we have the symbol
of the lighthouse which provides guidance and
security, but we also have the weather and dark-coloured
grass contradicting those positive connotations.
Perhaps for Andrew Wyeth, Easterly was not just
the painting of a beloved scene but, more significantly,
an illustration of how the landscapes of Maine
and Pennsylvania were his refuge during trying
times, as the lighthouse was for the sailors
of times past.
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