The First Painter

Highway Overpass, Oil on Canvas, 8 x 12 inches

The first painter I ever met was in New Haven, Connecticut.  Actually, I didn’t meet him.  I should say the first painter I ever saw was when as a child I was riding in the backseat of my father’s car.  We were driving under the overpass to route 91 on Humphrey Street.  There under the overpass was a man with a portable easel set up and painting on canvas.  I knew what that was because I had seen painters on television.   Was he painting the streets?  I didn’t think so.  Was he painting the cars?  No.  Was he painting some Grand Vista?  Definitely not.  Then what was he painting?  His easel was set up so that he was facing the concrete highway abutment.  It had rained the night before and he was painting, as far as I could tell, the water stains running down the concrete face of the abutment.

Brooklyn Backyard II, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 inches


I only saw that man a few times after that, and only after a rainstorm.   Never learned his name, but I did learn one thing that day.  He was SEEING something that I had not seen.  Something that I was unaware of before I saw him and his painting.





Rue Saint Pierre, Oil on Canvas, 12 x 16 inches


He was appreciating something that I had not previously appreciated.  He was seeing it and painting it.

That’s what I want to paint.

3 thoughts on “The First Painter”

  1. Phil,
    That is beautiful! Haven’t seen that before.
    The Brooklyn painting of your backyard is also beautiful.
    Love you…….Keep painting like that.

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