Living With Art: What Was VS What Is

in Art and Writing

Several artists currently at the Hood have multiple works on display. I find the comparison of what artists used to paint vs what they are painting now to be quite interesting – and the exercise provides a useful comparison to authors.

Sometimes I think the change is an improvement. Here are two self portraits


Self Portrait by Carlos Sanchez painted at the beginning of his residence at Dartmouth – approximately 1931.



Young Man with Bird, Carlos Sanchez 1932

Young Man with Bird, Carlos Sanchez 1932


Notice the richness of the second painting, the first seems immature to me next to the second. They are both self portraits. The first, painted during a difficult time in Sanchez’s life, is stark and angry. The second, painted after he left Dartmouth, is peaceful, luminescent.  Apparently, Sanchez’s Dartmouth professors told him that his religion was invalid, that no modern thinking man held religious beliefs. Reconnected with his religious roots Sanchez glows with serenity. Obviously his technique has also changed, which we would expect as he perfected his skills over time, but it’s more than that – had he wanted to, Sanchez could have easily painted another angry man.


In the following set of paintings I find I like the earlier work better than the later.


Lake Superior, Lawren Stewart Harris, 1948

Lake Superior, Lawren Stewart Harris, 1948




Harris’s earlier work is luminescent. The newer work of the White Mountains 111_9185seems dull to me. Brown and dull, with little of Harris’s use of light. I find it disappointing, although I’m sure there are those who would argue that his technique has improved and the newer painting is more complex. (I’ll add the title and date painted when I’m next at work and can look at my notes, or barring finding my notes I can go look on the wall!)




One more set of before and after works:


Beaver Meadow, Paul Sample, 1939

These are by Paul Sample. I’ll leave you to guess which I like better. I’d also like to hear how you feel these artists compare to Authors – because that’s the part I’m leaving out. (again I’ll fill in the missing details at a later date. Poor form on my part, I know.)

“The Return” by Paul Sample

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Private June 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

Two things: “Young Man with Bird” is not a self portrait, and “The Return” is not permitted to be photographed and is very clearly posted as such.


Kate June 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

I don’t usually approve comments from people who decline to give at least a name, but as you are right on at least one point I wanted to reply. Yes, “The Return” is not to be photographed. I don’t know how I missed that and will post an official picture instead. Thanks for the heads-up – I obviously wasn’t paying attention in my excitement.

However, I attended two lectures give by Michael Taylor in which “Young Man with Bird” was included and had the distinct impression that the painting was a self-portrait in which Sanchez is depicting his relationship to the divine. Of course I could have gotten the wrong impression and I’d love to have a discussion about that painting, but without your name I cannot.


Thea February 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Re: the Harris work. Neither frame does her art justice, especially the second. I think you’d like her second better with the proper complementary frame.
I like all the works you’ve shown. Thank you!


Skye February 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

So being a “more mature” artist = barer and bleak? (Except for Carlos Sanchez, which turns for the better). Because I like a more complex, life-filled painting. Interesting comparisons. Must be fascinating being surrounded by art every day!


Kate George February 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

You know it’s different for every artist. I just had a few to choose from because we are showing 88 different artists in out upstairs gallery and there’s only so much room for duplication. I’ll watch and see how it goes as we do more single artist exhibits.


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