Monday, April 18, 2011

William McGregor Paxton

Let the surfaces flow into one another in a supple envelope of light & paint
Find a new motive
Make the picture look as if it were painted in one sitting
Paint as large a piece as possible at once
Never paint on one piece too long at a time
Do something somewhere else to rest your eyes
Paint neither too thickly nor thinly
The quickest way is the best
Compose by masses of light & dark or dark & light
Chiaroscuro is what makes pictures rich
Seek a noble and ample design
Make the objects swim in the air
Paint all things in relation to the focus.”
- William Paxton, 1901

William McGregor Paxton  (1869 – 1941) was a Boston-based painter who, along with the artists Tarbell, Benson and DeCamp, painted portraits as well as interiors and exteriors using a generally impressionist palette. He painted a world of beautiful women sipping tea from china cups as sunlight streamed through windows.
The book I own on Paxton was published by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1979,  William McGregor Paxton, 1869 – 1941 . It’s hard to find, which is a huge shame, as there’s a lot of useful information for artists as well as having wonderful reproductions. The maxims quoted above are from the frontspiece of the book and I think of them from time to time as I paint, particularly the “Make the objects swim in the air” advice. 

Here’s a Paxton painting courtesy of :