“Even on a clear fall day in Connecticut there is still a beautiful soft haze in the air that seems to go with lush grass and old walls.”
Is it just us, or are we all in need of some sunshine and color as the days get shorter? This 1969 painting is an autumnal dream set in bucolic Washington, Connecticut; this was two years before the Hulings family moved to nearby Bridgewater. The state was a hotbed of artists at the time, including Robert Lougheed, John Clymer, Eric Sloane, and Tom Lovell. The Hudson River School tradition of romantic landscape painting started in the mid-19th Century and spread through New England; this early 70s cohort of artists brought their own styles to the region’s classic themes of nature and animals.
Hulings said: “Even on a clear fall day in Connecticut there is still a beautiful soft haze in the air that seems to go with lush grass and old walls.”
Pieces of Sky
Backlighting is beautiful natural drama; the yellow, orange and red leaves of the trees fan cross the setting sun. As with last week’s Parisian painting, we see Hulings creating a high-contrast palette so we can enjoy the “pop” of the bright leaves against the dark trunks and the earth. There’s a dynamic, waving line in the ground cover plants which makes the whole painting flow, bringing in the feeling of wind. The points of clear sky peeking through the leaves are precisely and playfully placed, and if you look closely, you’ll see that they are structured almost like a lattice or honeycomb. The unexpected color accent in this painting isn’t the usual Hulings red, as that’s a featured player here, it’s the series of tiny electric blue leaves on the ground near the tree on the left. Even fairly early in his easel-painting years he’s making artistic decisions that go beyond illustration or photo-realism. He places us right into that meadow—a wonderful spot to relax and unwind from the hectic, chilly end of 2018.
Take a Leaf from His Book
A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings features plates of two similarly-tranquil Northwestern Connecticut works, sure to provide a few moments of reflection on a busy day.