Jon Redmond – Brandywine Valley

Jon Redmond, West Chester Trip

American Art Collector

September 2013

Edward Hopper wrote, “What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.” He did. Astonishingly. A reviewer for The New York Times remarked, “Jonathan Redmond’s compact view of sunlighted brick houses is a slightly blurred, Hopper-esque reverie…” Redmond studied Hopper’s “sunlight on the side of a house” and has moved on to his own experience, analysis and interpretation of what he sees. His paintings are identifiably Redmond-esque, more about how a place feels than how it looks.

As you travel south from Philadelphia toward the museums, gardens and mansions of the Brandywine, off to the north is the Borough of West Chester, less glamorous but with its own notable history. It is the birthplace of the composer Samuel Barber, Buffalo Bill Cody, the painter Horace Pippin, and…Redmond. Just down the road in Chester Springs, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts held its Country School from 1916 to 1952 “to afford fine-art instruction in the open air, with all the beautiful surroundings of nature itself…”

Redmond paints the familiar surroundings of Chester County not because they’re innately and overwhelmingly beautiful but because he seeks beauty in the everydayness of his life. Familiarity develops a practiced eye that sees the artistic promise of an ordinary scene. WC Laundry couldn’t be more mundane. Laundry hanging on the line strung down the length of the garden is a common sight but the practiced eye saw the contrasts and relationships of color, form and light. Redmond paints quickly on his small wood panels in an alla prima style, wet paint on wet paint and finished in one sitting. The thick rapid brushstrokes eventually dry and stabilize, but the energy of the moment is preserved.

It’s not unusual in towns like West Chester, with 19th-century row houses of continuous brick walls, roofs, and cornices, to see colors and sometimes the materials abruptly change as the owners of one chunk of the continuous block express their individual ownership. WC Borderline alludes to the phenomenon, almost lost in shadow, while drawing us to the brilliant light at the far end of the passageway.

Cezanne wrote, “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensations.” Redmond’s sensation of the beauty of the commonplace is captured and communicated through his paintings.

The Collector Says…

“Jon Redmond is a poet of light and shadow, whose paintings reflect a range from the clarity of Vermeer to the palette of an impressionist. He is a master at capturing the natural beauty and wonder of the Brandywine Valley, and he has also encompassed the essence of landmarks and scenery he has encountered in his travels to Philadelphia and Maine”

- Dr. David Nalin

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