Andrew Wyeth is the middle of a father-son-grandson generations of painters. his own father, N.C. Wyeth, was one of the kings of the “Golden Age of Illustrators”. Andrew, whose health was fragile as a boy, was homeschooled by his parents, and his father, quickly realizing Andrew’s skillful adaptation to drawing, soon made painting the core of the boy’s education. Before he was grown, Andrew Wyeth was assisting his father with illustrations, and by the time he was only 20, he was holding solo exhibits of his own work in New York City.
Wyeth’s work is starkly beautiful and technically brilliant. Many of his landscapes look slightly photographic in their intricate details. That being said, living during the Modern, and Postmodern, Period of the Arts, Wyeth was an odd duck, and his works are today considered some of the most overrated, and underrated, of the 20th century. (Occasionally, even the same critics will say he is both over and under-rated!)
Wyeth loved this time of year, preferring to paint fall and winter scenes when you could “feel the bone structure of the landscape.” So it’s a great time to study him!
If you are here as part of Classical Conversations, this tutorial focuses on one particular watercolor technique: resist. Therefore, I used the snowfall studies and paintings of Wyeth as an example. However, Wyeth has a broad body of work which is more than just snowfall resists.
One word of warning if you have young children: Wyeth, like many artists, also did a number of nude paintings, most famously, his “Helga” works. Helga was Wyeth’s neighbor, and she often sat for him over 15 years, both clothed and not. If you simply google “Andrew Wyeth Paintings” or something like that, these works will come up if you scroll down long enough, even on Safe Search.
Timeline of the life of Andrew Wyeth