Quote of the Day: Painting Sunlight

 

“All I wanted to do is paint sunlight on the side of a house.” — Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper would rather paint than talk. Throughout his life, he remained stoic and introverted, allowing his work to speak more than he was willing. Hopper’s paintings show quiet moments of solitude, usually revealing melancholy somewhere between the oil and canvas.

His most famous work is “Nighthawks,” a diner scene that has been reproduced and parodied countless times. It’s hard not to look at each painting and try to figure out what the subjects are thinking. Small subjects lost in thought amid the largeness of nature and the city.

A friend of mine, and fellow fan of Hopper’s, was asked for one of those interminable artist’s statements to post at the entrance of his first gallery exhibition. Instead of 2,500 words discussing “the juxtaposition of the timeless and majestic elegance of nature’s sensory-surpassing miracles with the entangled and growing tensions of our time in culturally reconnecting with the shift away from the human condition of love,” he got straight to the point:

“I don’t write. I paint.”

Hopper would have smiled.

A few more examples of Hopper’s work:

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 36 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    The way he worked with shapes and light was amazing. I don’t know much about him, but any time I’ve come across his work I’ve had to stop, and look, and study. It pulls you in, makes you wonder. Thanks, Jon.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 6:21 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. The Reticulator Member

    This is about light, but I like the way the guy in the 2nd row lets others provide him some shade so he can read. 

    • #2
    • May 25, 2019, at 6:39 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher

    • #3
    • May 25, 2019, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. DaddyO Listener

    Thank you! I always meant to look deeper into this man’s work–needed the reminder.

    • #4
    • May 25, 2019, at 8:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Steven Seward Member

    What a great point about “Arteests,” Jon! To many folks nowadays, a modern painting is not worth fifty cents unless it has a long blabbering spiel about how the artist felt, or how this affects social norms, or how the work stands up to the establishment blah, blah, blah….. BORING!

    A painting should be able to stand on its own merits. With a lot of the old master paintings handed-down to us today, very little is known about the artists or their thoughts, outside of what they demonstrated on canvas. Almost nothing is known about the life or thoughts of Johannes Vermeer, the painter of the “Girl with the Pearl Earring,” but they made a whole movie about the guy and the painting. He managed to express more meaning with paint than the best artsy-fartsy blather could ever convey with words.

     

    • #5
    • May 25, 2019, at 10:50 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  6. namlliT noD Member

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Almost nothing is known about the life or thoughts of Johannes Vermeer, the painter of the “Girl with the Pearl Earring,” but they made a whole movie about the guy and the painting. He managed to express more meaning with paint than the best artsy-fartsy blather could ever convey with words.

     

    Spoiler alert: It’s @rightangles !

    • #6
    • May 25, 2019, at 10:54 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Steven Seward Member

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Spoiler alert: It’s @rightangles !

    You might be right about that!

    • #7
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:15 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. namlliT noD Member

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    Spoiler alert: It’s @rightangles !

    You might be right about that!

    ‘Never seen them together.

    • #8
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:47 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    If you want to see Nighthawks in person, go to the Chicago Art Institute, where you’ll also find all the other paintings from this boardgame:

    • #9
    • May 26, 2019, at 2:56 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Stad Thatcher

    In one issue of Model Railroader magazine, an article covered the layout one gentleman build. On the layout, he incorporated some of Hopper’s pictures, including Nighthawks. The other scenes were from paintings of different areas in a city.

    • #10
    • May 26, 2019, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. EJHill Podcaster

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    • #11
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Steven Seward Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    • #12
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Someone else who captures a moment in the painting. There is clearly stuff just before, just after.

    • #13
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    • #14
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Steven Seward Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    • #15
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  16. EJHill Podcaster

    Steven Seward: I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    That’s just showing off. 

    That’s just the jealous streak in me showing. In comparison I sucked as a painter. (I could paint man-made objects fairly, things like flying machines and other artifacts of war, but painting living, breathing men? That was another story.) As a cartoonist I was downright adequate. It’s a skill level that drove me into television. 

    • #16
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Percival Thatcher

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    Woah. Very impressive.

    • #17
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. EJHill Podcaster

    Steven Seward: …and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    When asked about his professional boxing career Bob Hope quipped, “I spent more time on the canvas than Leonardo da Vinci!”

    • #18
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Steven Seward Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Steven Seward: I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    That’s just showing off.

    That’s just the jealous streak in me showing. In comparison I sucked as a painter. (I could paint man-made objects fairly, things like flying machines and other artifacts of war, but painting living, breathing men? That was another story.) As a cartoonist I was downright adequate. It’s a skill level that drove me into television.

    I’ll have to add you to my list – E. J. Hill, painter of the artifacts of war!

    • #19
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Steven Seward Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Steven Seward: …and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    When asked about his professional boxing career Bob Hope quipped, “I spent more time on the canvas than Leonardo da Vinci!”

    DaVinci didn’t actually spend much time on the canvas. He left behind only a dozen paintings or so. He was too busy cutting up dead bodies.

    • #20
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. The Reticulator Member

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    Very good to look at those! Thanks. (Pretty sue I’ve seen one of those elsewhere.)

    • #21
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. MarciN Member

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    Beautiful portraits.

    • #22
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. EJHill Podcaster

    Steven SewardI’ll have to add you to my list – E. J. Hill, painter of the artifacts of war!

    It has 35 years since I last picked up an artist’s brush. I don’t even deserve to be conversing with the likes of you. There’s talent and there’s enthusiasm.

    • #23
    • May 26, 2019, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Caryn Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    Very good to look at those! Thanks. (Pretty sure I’ve seen one of those elsewhere.)

    Hey, I resemble that remark! He is awfully good, eh? I’ve been watching him work for nearly 21 years and it still takes my breath away to see what takes shape from blank canvas to finished painting. He’s being modest, too. Here’s his website.

    Back to the OT. There’s something haunting about Hopper’s work that I’ve always liked. Simple, stark, but full of words. Lots of potential in that caught moment in time. Just what are those people thinking…?

    • #24
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:11 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. Stad Thatcher

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    And I like to paint the town red . . .

    • #25
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:33 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. The Reticulator Member

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Hey, I resemble that remark! He is awfully good, eh? I’ve been watching him work for nearly 21 years and it still takes my breath away to see what takes shape from blank canvas to finished painting. He’s being modest, too. Here’s his website.

     

    That web site answers some questions I wanted to ask but didn’t for fear of annoying the artist. (Yes, sometimes even I try to refrain from annoying people.)

    And it goes beyond my questions, too. I am trying to imagine the circumstances under which law enforcement authorities would need a print. 

    • #26
    • May 26, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Does one really paint the light or does one just paint the shadows?

    Thomas Kinkade was the painter of light, Hieronymus Bosch was the painter of darkness, Caravaggio was the painter of shadows, Lee Marvin painted his wagon, and I prefer to paint the canvas.

    Stephen, give people your website. Your work is stunning!

    I wouldn’t want to “stun” anybody, but try this.

    Remarkable work, Steven!!!

    • #27
    • May 26, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    That web site answers some questions I wanted to ask but didn’t for fear of annoying the artist. (Yes, sometimes even I try to refrain from annoying people.)

    I’ve met Steven and his wife, Caryn, and they are both lovely people. Steven might tease you but he is a kind spirit.

    • #28
    • May 26, 2019, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  29. The Reticulator Member

    Caryn (View Comment):
    Back to the OT. There’s something haunting about Hopper’s work that I’ve always liked. Simple, stark, but full of words. Lots of potential in that caught moment in time. Just what are those people thinking…?

    I’ve always liked that, too. It’s one of the things I like about Marlen Khutsiev’s best films from the 60s – the people scenes in the background that seem to capture a moment in a larger story at which we wonder. Your comment reminded me that it has been a couple years or so since I’ve watched those films, and that led me to learning that Khutsiev died two months ago, at age 93. We’ve lost another connection to the great years of Russian film. 

    • #29
    • May 26, 2019, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Caryn Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Hey, I resemble that remark! He is awfully good, eh? I’ve been watching him work for nearly 21 years and it still takes my breath away to see what takes shape from blank canvas to finished painting. He’s being modest, too. Here’s his website.

     

    That web site answers some questions I wanted to ask but didn’t for fear of annoying the artist. (Yes, sometimes even I try to refrain from annoying people.)

    And it goes beyond my questions, too. I am trying to imagine the circumstances under which law enforcement authorities would need a print.

    Steven is as good a teacher as he is a painter and is always open to answering questions. Please, don’t hesitate to ask. Send him a private message through Ricochet or his website and he’ll surely reply–probably in more detail than you might have wanted! Of course, now I’m curious about what your questions were…

    The law enforcement one set me back a bit and I actually had to go to the website to see where it came up. Joke, I’m assuming, though the likenesses are good enough to use for a missing person poster. Perhaps that’s what he meant (though I still think it was a joke).

    • #30
    • May 26, 2019, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2