The museum recently asked Farnsworth docent Marlene Kehler which artworks in the Farnsworth’s collection she values most. A shortened version of this interview appeared in the fall 2020 Farnsworth magazine.
Maine Coast (c. 1907) by Rockwell Kent is one of my favorite paintings at the Farnsworth because I have always loved being outdoors in winter. The painting epitomizes the bone-chilling cold of Maine winter on the island of Monhegan. I can imagine how my boots would squeak on the snow if I were to cross the expansive field in the foreground. It occurs to me that painting snow must be difficult. It is not just white. The shadows are often blue, and the undulating surface gives rise to different colors in the changing light. This painting brings my senses alive as I imagine myself in this place.
The entire scene may seem bleak, lonely, and even foreboding under the blue-gray sky. The term “dead of winter” comes to mind. But beyond the band of dark green pine trees, there is a glimpse of the ocean and a wisp of sea smoke rising skyward. The ocean still teams with life in its depths. The sea smoke is an atmospheric condition which occurs when frigid air passes over relatively warmer water. The dormant buds on the evergreens wait to explode in the warmth of spring. No matter how cold and lifeless the scene appears, I sense the forces of nature are still active and present.
Marlene Kehler is a docent at the Farnsworth Art Museum« Previous Post | Artist Trivia: Maurice PrendergastCurried Sweet Potato Pancakes | Next Post »