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Rob Dunlavey
Snow Day
posted:
The view outside my windows a little while ago
A much anticipated winter storm has finally arrived here in Metrowest Boston. Fine-grained flakes are driving as commuters and school buses are driving out as hastily as they can. A year ago I got caught in a similar conjunction of storm-school closings-and job closings and a 40 minute drive from downtown turned into a 6 hour sleighride.
It's only appropriate that we pause for a moment to reflect on the birthday of Edward Redfield who was born on this day (Dec. 19th) in 1869. Redfield was an Impressionist painter who settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania after studing in Paris with the likes of Robert Henri and Wm. Merritt Chase. Long story short, Redfield's identity as an Impressionist type of painter and his sympathy for Ashcan School Social Realism led him to landscape painting of the Pennsylvania countryside in all manner of weather. He became quite famous for his winter landscapes. Here are a couple of examples:
"Late Afternoon (Delaware River)" Oil on canvas; 38 1/8 x 49 7/8” Woodmere Art Museum
"River Hills" Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
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The small fact I feel I need to bring to your attention is that many of Redfield's painting were done all prima, on site and in one session. So next time you glide by a half-frozen landscape painter perched on the side of a country road in front of a four by five foot blinding white canvas rectangle, paintbrushes and knives at the ready, offer to get him a  cup of coffee or something else that will keep his spirits up as he confronts, under trying circumstances, one of the supreme challenges and traditions of American art: painting what is directly in front of you the best and most honet way that you can.
Redfield was notoriously finicky about his work. He destroyed many canvases. It's said that not long after his wife died in 1948 he produced his final paintings and then stopped because he felt he was past his prime as the specialized painter he had become. He lived on for another 15-20 years and turned his attention to traditional Pennsylvania crafts: tole painting and rug hooking.
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