Received news today that my 2011 studio painting ‘Poseidon’s Temple at Sounio’ has been acquired by the New Britain Museum of American Art for their permanent collection. The New Britain is one of the only museums today in the states that supports and exhibits living ‘traditional’ painters. They were kind enough to include a painting of mine from a private collection in their 2013 exhibition ‘A Joint Venture’ and speaking from that, I can say it is a very humbling experience seeing your painting hanging next to your heroes. I’ll be happy to visit this older picture of mine in their collection sometime, it will be in good company. Painting is, in essence, trying to connect yourself and place yourself within not only the context of ‘today’ but the historical lineages through which you feel grounded- so a painting being placed next to artists that you consider masters make that concept crystal-clear.
Poseidon’s Temple at Sounion, Morning 35×47″
Painting the monuments is an ongoing project for me- perhaps because I have 2 architects in the family, I’ve always been attracted to painting architecture. It is surprisingly difficult to obtain permission to paint the monuments in Greece- Ruins in Italy and Spain can be a bit difficult to gain access to with an easel, but the Greek historical commission has passed some law specifically banning any tripods, probably because of professional photographers coming and using the ruins as subject. Thankfully, now my Greek is much better and I can hold my own, arguing my way in at times. Still, if you bump into the right guard they are just so happy to have an artist come and work.
Below is the color sketch that I painted on site- I also did drawings, took photos and just spent hours looking at the thing. My wife’s grandparents live just down the street from Sounio so I’m able to spend time there when I’m in Greece. Though it looks a bit rough, I spent three mornings trying to paint this little color sketch, sitting down, with my easel weighted. I still nearly lost the painting over the cliff at one point. It was incredibly windy.
Poseidon’s Temple at Sounion, Morning 12×16″
Cape Sounio 11×14″
I was able to make it back to Sounio to paint again this past winter, the above sketch was the result. It was in my show at Sloane Merrill earlier this year, perhaps it will become a studio picture as well at some point.
Though this will be the first public collection in America to have one of my paintings, though the Museum of Landscape in Plyos, Ivanovo, Russia has one of my pictures in exchange for my trip there back in 2013. No idea if it has since been exhibited in the museum there, though I would love to find out.