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Art and the City

Tranquility. A summer daydream. A look at the way things should be. An invitation to relax and smile. The paintings of Alden Schofield are all of this. What you may not be aware of when you let out that sigh and sink into a state of bliss is just how good they are.

His compositions create well-balanced, almost flawless structures through which he crafts focal points and patterns using repeating motifs—lines and shapes—and classic light and dark contrasts. His colors are generally subdued, not fighting for attention, so that the effects of sunlight on the water can brighten the whole picture without looking forced or unnatural.

Alden grew up in Boston making and loving art, and the outdoors, but he chose a career as a computer technical engineer and software business director after graduating from Northeastern University. After retirement five years ago, he moved to the DC area to be near children and grandchildren. He discovered the three-year Masters of Art program of Compass Atelier, and now he is able to devote himself to what he loves most. His work is already in private collections and has been selected for juried shows throughout the area.

Alden has a love of the Hudson River School’s panoramic grand-scale painting with their mostly idyllic depictions of the great American landscape. They are not just places and spaces, but ideas and feelings, and that is what Alden is after—his paintings are somewhat smaller but just as idyllic and similarly detailed.

So, now it is time for Alden Schofield to try something different. He is starting to “get into” urban night scenes in such places as “The Point” in Boston, and Venice…maybe DC?www.aldenschofieldart.com

Sunrise Martha’s Vineyard. Oil on canvas, 30×40, by Alden Schofield. Photo: Vineyardcolors.com.

Jim Magner’s Thoughts On Art
The Hudson River School was not a campus. It was not even a close-knit collection of artists who got together and talked about their ideas of beauty and art. They were the painters in the early 1800s that were branded as notorious practitioners of depicting an idealized American landscape, whether it was in the Hudson River Valley or the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. They were dissed by the somewhat later Barbizon School of “plein-air” painters who advocated more gritty realism: the real thing—real people in real places doing ordinary tasks, rather than a grand idealized dreamscape drawn from a series of isolated sketches.

But you can’t help but love the Hudson River gang: such men and women as Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, Susie Barstow, Julie Hart Beers and Albert Bierstadt. Their subjects were not landscapes, but majesty. The glorious light of creation illuminates the mountains, the lakes and rivers, and even icebergs and Niagara Falls. What is also startling is the level of minute detail—you can almost count every leaf on a tree and every drop in the river. Some of these works are huge—seven to ten feet wide and three to six feet high, or more. I always feel like I could just step into them and search around for the little details and curiosities tucked into shadows and odd places… maybe spend the night in one of the little country cottages, or nap in a meadow.

Monet’s Bateau. Oil on Canvas, 18 x 24, by Alden Schofield.

Alden Schofield (see Artist Profile) came to painting on a fulltime basis late in life and finds much to admire in those works so perfectly composed and painted. He identifies with the “School’s” depiction of feelings—a romanticized reaching for the ideal of natural beauty in America, and the world.

Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SW
March 7-April 28, 2019
Opening Reception: Wed, March 13, 6:30-8:30
Trees are beautiful. On that we can agree. And we can all agree that this is a beautiful show. Over 90 artists have been selected by the juror, Carole Ottesen, to display the inexhaustible ways to express the beauty, joy and mystery of trees of every variety. The paintings, photos, drawings and prints all come together to sing a hymn, with one voice, to those lovely creatures and the elements that sustain them. The great news is that they are all for sale. The show is co-sponsored by the Capitol Hill Art League.

Showing concurrently: “Collaborators: Dana Ellyn & Matt Sesow”
I have been writing for years about the exploration of the meaning of art and politics, animals and life by Matt and Dana in their own individual approaches and techniques. Here, they are also on a joyride together—on the same canvas—through the outer-reaches of emotional perception. That’s the only way I can describe it—you have to stand there and feel it. Together and individually they have reached audiences around the country and around the world in such places as the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and, currently, at the St. Petersburg Museum of Art in Russia.


The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW)
545 7th St., SE
Mar. 2- 30
Reception: Sat., March 2, 5 -7
This is an all-media exhibit with “Home” as the theme. The juror for the show is Anke Van WagenbergChief Curator at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland. CHAW has fun receptions with goodies and terrific art—don’t miss it.


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