Saturday, April 24, 2010

Looking into the past

We drove down to Tarrytown on Thursday just for something to do.  I wanted to stand on the same spot Hudson River School artist Robert Havell stood when he painted a landscape looking down on Sleepy Hollow in 1866.  The mill pond is still there, Philipsburg Manor house is a historical site you can visit (the white building on the left right on the edge of the pond) and the Old Dutch Church is still there. Rt. 9 passes right in front of the church. The river hasn't changed, but Hook Mt. seen on the other side in Nyack isn't quite as pointy.  I think it was mined until 1900 so maybe that's why it looks different. The bluff in the foreground is now covered with houses, not new, but one after the other and no open grass like this. You can't even see the river because the trees are so tall. We went in the cemetery and saw lots of famous people's graves. Like Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden, Washington Irving, Walter Chryslter, Leona Helmsly and Robert Havell, the guy who painted this beautiful painting.  Down on the river edge, the remains of the GM auto plant that shut down in 1996 is still vacant. Now, that's sad!  The painting above I copied as closely as I could so I  could practice some of the techniques he used, specifically sfumato which is an Italian word meaning smoked.  His had people in the foreground which I left out. They looked sort of stiff and funny!  Of course, I can't sell this painting, but it is a 12x16  canvas on board.

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