Thursday, August 29, 2013


Oil on Stretched Linen

I have been reading a big hefty book this summer entitled "A History of Tonalism: 1880-1920".  It isn't the kind of book that I would read cover to cover.  It is the kind where I read some and then ponder on the morsels.  In it are beautiful examples of the great American Tonalist works by artists such as George Inness, Homer Dodge Martin, John Henry Twatchtman and James McNeill Whistler.  

All of these visual delights are interspersed with the philosophies of the day by Emerson, Thoreau and Darwin.  American Tonalism came about after the Civil War.  At that time, the nation was grieving and was trying to come to grips with the horrors of loss.  As a result, there came the philosophy that Spirit is in the landscape.  And that Spirit was most apparent and visible during the Magic Hours, such as dawn, sunset, twilight and night.  

It was a time of renewal and hope.      


Caroline Simmill said...

Hi Janelle, good to hear about you reading the tonalist book it sounds a brilliant read.I recently read a book about the end of the civil war recently and didn't realise that tonalist paintings started then. The spirit is in the landscape especially the magic hours, how lovely and so is your painting.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Caroline, yes this book is a good one and must weigh about 5 pounds at least. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

neetzy said...

Wow that book sounds wonderful! I would definitely like to read it. I have ventured into classical realism for a bit. I'm taking a class which I did not like at first until I used the technique to paint flowers! I'm kind of like a teenager in love at the moment! Visit my blog and have a look. I do value your opinions!

Janelle Goodwin said...

I visited your blog and must say that you did an amazing job. I have a special weakness for botanicals, sigh.