Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Plein-air painting in the nude

OK, by popular request, here's the story of James Perry Wilson painting in the nude:
"Wilson was irrepressible. There are several accounts of his penchant for nudity. This was not a lewd or sexual activity for Wilson, he grew up in the 'Fresh Air' generation where getting outdoors and sunbathing was associated with health. He may have been encouraged by his mother to get outdoors and soak up sunshine given the amount of life-threatening and mortal sickness experienced directly in his family. His interpretation of how to soak up sunshine may not have been the same as his mother's, but the pairing of plein air painting and healthful sunbathing was probably shared and encouraged."

James Perry Wilson painting in Yellowstone, courtesy AMNH and Michael Anderson
"Fred Scherer recounts that they were painting together in a secluded area when he looked over and found Wilson to be totally naked. At some point later that day, Fred noticed two women on horseback coming up over the hill. He whistled to alert Wilson, who reached down, whipped his pants up, and continued painting as if nothing had happened."
James Perry Wilson "The Restless Sea," 1933, 24X30, o/c

The quote comes from Michael Anderson's extraordinary online biography of Wilson, called "Painting Actuality: Chapter 2. See also Chapter 4 with more examples of Wilson's plein-air work."


Eugene Arenhaus said...

Who cares about nudity - that's some beautiful landscape painting! :)

James Gurney said...

Eugene, I agree. For those who want to see more of his work, follow the links. JPW's landscapes are always freshly observed and free from conventionalism.

SE said...

Sounds like Wilson has a great body... of work.

Bil Hardenberger said...

I find it interesting that his plein-air paintings look like they were done, or at least finished in a studio... they are very finely detailed. Any idea how long he spent on average on one of these?

I highly recommend Windows on Nature if you haven't seen it.

Michael Damboldt said...

Wow. Talk about being one with nature.

Unknown said...

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