Winslow Homer was an American artist who excelled at oil painting, watercolor, and illustration. He’s primarily known as a landscape painter, particularly marine subjects. Homer is one of the top American painters of the 1800’s. Our painting of the week is Homer’s, Breezing Up.
YouTube video - Winslow Homer, The Complete Works (34:33 min.)
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) by Winslow Homer
Breezing Up by Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer’s famous oil painting, Breezing Up(A Fair Wind), hangs in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. In the painting, what appears to be a father and three boys are out for a spirited sail. When it was displayed in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, an art critic wrote, “There is no picture in this exhibition, nor can we remember when there has been a picture in any exhibition, that can be named alongside this.” In 1962, The U.S. Post Office released a commemorative stamp featuring Breezing Up to honor Winslow Homer.
YouTube video - Breezing Up by Homer - for young audience (2:20 min.)
A Homer sketch from the US Civil War.
Homer and the Civil War
Winslow Homer worked for over twenty years as an illustrator for magazines. Harper’s magazine sent Homer to the front lines of the Civil War, where he sketched battle scenes and camp life -- the quiet moments as well as the chaotic ones.His early sketches were of the camp, commanders, and army of the famous Union officer, Major General George McClellan. As the war dragged on, he concentrated increasingly on painting.
Prisoners from the Front by Winslow Homer
Sharpshooter by Winslow Homer
The Milk Maid by Homer
A Girl and Laurel by Homer
Although Homer’s studio was in New York, the city was rarely his theme. His paintings showed children at play in rural schools, farm girls attending to their work, and hunters and their prey. Many of Homer’s works have become classic images of nineteenth-century American life.
Boys in a Pasture by Homer
Snap the Whip by Homer
In 1883, the sea became the main subject of Homer’s work. He moved to Prouts Neck, a remote fishing village on the coast of Maine. Although he traveled a lot, he would return to his Prouts Neck studio to convert his sketches into paintings. Homer preferred being alone. Several of his paintings deal with humans facing the forces of nature. His later seascapes are especially valued for their drama, beauty, and intensity.
The Fog Warning by Homer
Gulf Stream by Homer
You Tube video: Winslow Homer: an American Artist - Prout’s Neck Art Studio by CBS News (5:24 min.)
On the Trail - watercolor by Homer
The Blue Boat - watercolor by Homer
Winslow Homer started painting with watercolors on a regular basis in 1873. From the beginning, his technique was natural, showing a talent for what can be a difficult medium. (Medium is the type of material an artist uses to make an artwork) Homer’s watercolors proved popular and he improved his financial condition by selling several.
Blackboard - watercolor by Homer
Schooner at Sunset - watercolor by Homer
They varied from highly detailed to broadly impressionistic. Some of his watercolors were done as sketches to help him prepare for an oil painting he planned. Homer did a watercolor before he painted Breezing Up. Many of Homer’s watercolors were finished works of art in themselves. Home seldom traveled without paper, brushes, and watercolor paints.