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January 18, 2018


One day when I was visiting the Currier Museum of Art, I was discussing the Mount Washington Exhibit with friend and mentor, Carly Glovinski. I shared my observation for this apparent formula, of landscape painters placing the majority of the small figures in red. Glovinski agreed, in the visual popularity of the red dress code among many of the landscape paintings placed on display. We continued to discover this trend in many more of our following conversations.

Before continuing to read this post please take a look at these works...

Thomas Cole, View in the White Mountians, circa 1827

Thomas Cole, Storm near Mount Washington, c. 1828

Fredrick Edwin. Church, South American Landscape, c.1856

Martin Heade, Marshfield Meadows , c. 1878

Winslow Homer, The summit of Mount Washington,c.1869 

Albert Bierstadt, Indians spear fishing 1862

Albert Bierstadt, Sioux Village near Fort Laramie 1860's

I utilized this artistic trend and formulated many of my color schemes in my early landscape work and photography. This choice, in my opinion, was a simply great use of compositional emphasis. It seemed almost too obvious, to boldly place a shot of complimentary red pigment against a lush greenish world. 

I wondered if this had any other connections to the fashion world during the 1850's. I began searching for this arrangement mimicked within my own surroundings and it took just moments to make a discovery.

The following photograph is of steeple construction at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Manchester, New Hampshire. This image seems to transform the water cooler into something more. Here a rather mundane object seems to become visually elevated, standing out from a rather busy background, and along side a place of worship!

I personally view this visual is as if this cooler transforms into a grail, possibly carrying holy water for it's builders.









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James Michael O'Brien

O'Brien Art, LLC

All images are NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT: It is ILLEGAL to copy or reproduce these images elsewhere (social media, print, etc.) without the Artist's permission. Violators of this Federal Law will be subject to its civil and criminal penalties.