If you know me, you know that I love art of all kinds. I love making it, studying it and writing about it! However, when it comes to my favorite artist or genre or period of art, I fear that I am far too fickle to narrow my love down to only one or even two or three favorites. My favorites change with the seasons, with the discovery of something new or with revisiting old favorites and then bouncing back again to the new….constantly updating my brain with the art “flavor” of the day, month, year!
My favorite art genre of this particular day is folk art. Specifically, I am passionate about American folk art paintings done in the naive or primitive tradition where traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not used or are slightly askew. My favorite paintings of the moment are works done in the style or tradition of Charles Wysocki or Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as “Grandma Moses” (because she started her prolific painting career at age 73. When she died at age 101, I believe, she had painted over 3,000 paintings.) This uniquely American style of folk art paintings portrays what appears to be a simple and uncomplicated life of tranquility, joy, community, and faith complete with rolling hills, fertile farmland, colorful quilts, livestock, a quaint little Main Street, watering holes and/or lovely old houses and always with luminous color.
These paintings evoke in me a nostalgia for a place or time that I may have experienced only in books, movies, and paintings. They elicit a familiarity with a place of which I have no distinct personal memory. They create a desire to step into the painting and become a part of the scene; to visit the quaint little toy maker’s shop on the corner, sit on the picnic blanket by the stream, talk with the blacksmith, share a bit of news at a quilting bee, ride to market in a horse-drawn carriage or stand with the town folk and watch the lighting of the community’s Christmas tree on the town square.
My passion for these paintings usually arrives along with the first chill of the autumn air. There is something in this season that calls forth a nostalgia for something like a dream. A sort of homesickness or longing for a place that I have never been but seem to know quite well. A memory, perhaps, just a bit out of my reach? Simply stated in my little rhyme:
Sometimes in the fall
When the leaves have changed their hue,
I long for times long past and
People I never knew.
It’s the kind of place where a cool breeze drifts through an open kitchen window where the heavenly aroma of a just-baked apple pie is rapidly spreading throughout the house. The woman of the house is sweeping fallen leaves from the front porch steps, as she looks up to see her neighbors riding by in their horse-drawn carriage. Their heads turn in the direction of the wonderful fragrance of the cooling pie and they call out a greeting and wave. Kids are playing in the side yard after a morning of helping to bring in the fall harvest. A long shadow from the old oak tree is stretching across the yard from the sun that now sits in the southern sky. Everything is frozen in time and that momentary glimpse into the life of a family, a street, a farm, a community is captured and all is perfect and innocent and right with the world.
This is my art passion of the moment. I hope the lovely art that follows, evokes in you, a bit of that nostalgia of which I speak. These are just a few of the amazing folk art paintings and prints available from the many talented folk artists who have shops at Etsy.com. Take time to savor the moment captured in each of these delightful paintings…let your senses take you away to each lovely and wistful moment in time….can you feel the breeze…smell the pie…?
Catherine’s beautiful work can be viewed and purchased at her Etsy shop, Catherine Holman. For more information about Catherine and her work, please visit her blog, Catherine Holman Folk Art. Be sure to check out her lovely cupcake paintings when you visit!
Autumn Fun by Wendy Presseisen (used with permission of the artist.)
Wendy’s whimsical paintings of cats, animals, landscapes and portraits are delightful. You can view, purchase and learn more about her work at her Etsy shop, Pop Art Cafe, or at her website, Wendy Presseisen.
Here are a few of the many folk artists whose work can be be viewed and purchased at the following Etsy shops:
2 thoughts on “Autumn Nostagia and American Folk Art Paintings”
Beautifully said! And I so enjoyed your Etsy treasury… those pieces did invoke a sense of time past, of yearning for a simpler, uncomplicated life! Thanks for sharing the work of these artists… and especially for sharing your thoughts here! A nice way to start my day!
Glad i stopped to have quick look .What a lovely webpage.Well done..