Friday, April 1, 2016


6 x 8"
oil on panel

The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington houses a few paintings by one of it's native sons, Howard Pyle.  Pyle is referred to as 'the father of illustration'.   He was why, as a little budding artist, I wanted to be an illustrator.  He founded the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art in the early 1900's, later named the Brandywine School.  If Brandywine sounds familiar, it is where the artists of the Wyeth family lived and painted.  N.C. Wyeth was a student of Pyle's - becoming one of the most extraordinary book illustrators of his time.

If you were a student of Howard Pyle, you and other fellow students and painters would set off to historical sites - often taking along costumes and playing out the scenes - reaching into their imaginations of maybe what the life of a pirate was or how the Pilgrims dealt with their new land in Plymouth.  It had to be a wonderful, unique experience for those artists.

The painting I feature is one of my personal favorites titled Marooned.  The painting is quite simple in composition but it really tells the story.  Marooning was a punishment for a member of the crew who violated the pirate's code.  It was first mentioned in Treasure Island and it was a real practice where they would banish the poor guy to a deserted, bleak island with a little water, food and a pistol to commit suicide.  Historically, a few survived their punishments and lived to tell.

I learn something new every day.