Thursday, October 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Jamie Wyeth for my series ArtistZ - although I worship the three generations of the Wyeth painters, N.C., Andrew and Jamie equally.    Something about growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with a mom who painted - many Sunday drives through nearby Delaware County where the Wyeths lived and painted - all of that must have made an impression on me.  They made my want to be an artist.

I also chose one of my personal favorite paintings by Jamie Wyeth titled 'Pumpkinhead  (Self Portrait)'.  It has always spooked me, even when I was painting my piece.   In a past interview, Jamie told this story - 'I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself.  Well, I didn't want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins.  It's the sinisterness, the Halloween I've always loved.  It's a bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.'  Imagine anyone rejecting a Wyeth painting?

The Wyeths were known to be very fond of Halloween,  N. C. was the famed illustrator of great stories like Treasure Island and loved to round up costumes for the kids and get lost in imagination.  His studio would be decorated for family parties complete with pumpkins, Indian corn, candles and symbols of autumn and Halloween.  Taken from Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life,  Andrew,  the son of
N. C., developed the same love for Halloween.  'Wyeth has made Halloween a personal Walpurgisnacht, an annual reconnection with the unearthly, with witchcraft and hidden meanings. On that day he is electric with fun.  He picks the deformed pumpkins and carves them into jack-o'-lanterns, a long lineage of fantastic death masks summoned up from childhood by the remembered scent of candle-heated pumpkin flesh.'   I read that the family had a long tradition of wearing their costumes for dinner on Halloween night - here's a photo where you can see Jamie on the right.

I gathered up just a fraction of those wonderful paintings by the three generations, expressing their love for the images of autumn and Halloween, starting with three of my favorites....

Treasure Island illlustration by N. C. Wyeth

Automaton by Jamie Wyeth

The Witching Hour by Andrew Wyeth

 and more .....

and a Happy Halloween to you.


Christine said...

Thank you...this was a worthwhile post to spend my time reading...and I so love the painting

Carol Flatt said...

Exceptional post, Karen! Very fascinating!

Mary Pyche said...

Thanks for a totally enjoyable post and a view of your 'perfect' painting! said...

A friend recommended this post to me and I am very happy
she did. Like you I am a admirer of the Wyeth artists. What talent.
What inspiration. It may have taken you a while to put this all together,
but I thank you for it. You showed me some old favs I had neglected for a while.