Andrew Wyeth Easterly

In Andrew Wyeth's 'Easterly', 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.

Lighting the way

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.

A safe haven

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 'Easterly',  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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