Paint Schoodic

We had another successful painting workshop at the Schoodic Institute in beautiful Acadia National Park. Join us in 2018!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Seven days of wood smoke and crackling leaves—Arkhip Kuindzhi

A Birch Grove, Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1880
I’m in Maine for my last 2013 painting workshop! The frost isn’t quite on the pumpkin (at least not in Rockland or Rochester) but autumn is in the air. I’m leaving some wonderful fall landscapes for you.

I never give enough attention to the great Russian painters, an oversight I can’t correct here since they deserve a full week of their own. But today I’ll content myself with giving you a rather unusual birch grove by Arkhip Kuindzhi.

Kuindzhi frequently painted the play of light through trees. He painted birches countless times, although this is the only nocturne I'm familiar with (although this being Russia, it could just be late afternoon in late October). His paintings are often simplified, stylized, and monumental, which gives an unreal eeriness to his work.

Kuindzhi was orphaned young and grew up terrifically poor. He was forced to find his own art instruction. As an outsider, he was a natural to join the Peredvizhniki—“wanderers” or “itinerants”—a group of Russian realists who, locked out of the formal Academy, formed an artist’s cooperative.  Like the Canadian Group of Seven, these painters used landscape painting to make a case for the beauty and power of their native land.

Autumn Impassibility of Roads, Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1872
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in Maine in 2014. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!

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