By Darla McCammon
This week we are going to learn about a Scottish artist who painted many subjects, including snowy winter scenes. He was able to brilliantly portray the effects of light during winter. This time of year causes me to feel optimistic because I know the short, gloomy days of the winter solstice are soon to be replaced by ever longer days signaling the approaching spring. The artist who captured this time of year so remarkably was Joseph Farquharson. He became exceptional in both oils and watercolor work. He came from a wealthy family and was himself a “laird,” the son of his doctor father, who was Laird of Finzean. Multiple homes and holdings were places he lived as a child. The family estate was in the highlands.
The young lad was well-educated but restricted to pursue his love of painting only on Saturdays and only with his father’s paint supplies at hand. Within one year of the gift from his father of a set of his own paints, Farquharson the younger showed an early painting at the prestigious Royal Scottish academy.
Our artist soon won the nickname of “The Painting Laird” as his expertise improved under good tutelage and studies in Edinburgh. A mentor, Peter Graham, became a friend for life and his influence can be noted in the work of Farquharson. By 1873 he held a solo exhibit at the Royal Academy as he spread his talent to the buyers of quality art in London. He became noted for his snow scenes in rural settings. These works often held sheep, shepherds, and the locals in rural settings. A good example is his painting titled “Beneath the Snow-Encumbered Branches.”
Many of his paintings had similar long titles or included words from famous Scots such as Robert Burns. Other subjects he favored were fly fishing, the occasional trip to Africa, and a few portraits. He continued to receive acclaim and was favored by critics as he obtained more credentials form his exhibits at the Tate and other famous museums and galleries. Unique to his work was a painting hut he had built on wheels that allowed him to work outdoors in cruel weather. It even included a large window and a stove for keeping his painting fingers warm.
Can you tell if this painting portrays “real” sheep or if they were some of his imitation flock he often used to position within his landscapes? He used both. You will find his story interesting if you have time to explore and do a bit of research.
Upcoming and Current Events:
Please contact Darla McCammon at (574) 527-4044 or at [email protected] if you have an event to mention.
- The Mary Alice Estep exhibit will be on display through March 4 at the Warsaw City Hall art gallery. Be sure to wander through both areas containing the art work. This is a fantastic display showing her development as an artist throughout her life. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. A few of the paintings are for sale by the owners.
- The Honeywell 92 County Art Show is on display at the Clark Gallery in Wabash through Feb. 18.
- There will be an exhibit on Brenda Ramsier’s work at Lakeland Art Association from Feb. 6 to March 3. There will be a reception for the exhibit from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at the LAA gallery.