NC-Wyeth-Buttonwood-Farm“Buttonwood Farm,” N.C. Wyeth (Newel Convers Wyeth). We hear much of Newel’s son, Andrew Wyeth, and grandson, Jamie… Much deserved recognition to them. But Newel was the original master of the family. He’s sometimes considered by art historians to have been a mere “illustrator,” as if that’s some demotion from being a true artist. Being a painter and an illustrator myself, I understand the demands of both disciplines. I’ll tell you right now, many illustrators are far better fine artists than those who’ve not been subjected to the required discipline of illustration. Maybe not me, but the best of us surely are. And Newel was among the best. What strikes me about this pastoral landscape is first the triangular composition… tilted about 15° clockwise to find the right edge of the frame. Let your eyes trace a path from top right corner down, then up the slope of the pasture, then cut back right along the bright tree limbs, an arcing curve back to your origin. Next, notice the distinct contrast in hues and saturation. Greens are very green, blues are hyper-blue. Only the lightest values and most earthly hues surrender chroma. I’ve made similar statements before in my commentaries… Newel didn’t OBSERVE these colors, he selected them. Painting isn’t reporting, it’s poetry.