Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Art Review - "Railroad" by Bernie Fuchs

During a visit to the Booth Western Art Museum earlier this month, I was surprised to find a piece by Bernie Fuchs. Arguably the greatest mid-century illustrator, Fuchs influenced an entire generation of artists. He was constantly reinventing his work, pioneering new techniques and staying well ahead of an army of imitators.

While the piece below is undated, my guess is that it was painted some time around 1980, as the technique is very similar to the artist's work at that time. The museum lists the medium as acrylic, but I believe that it may actually be oil. Fuchs specialized in a technique known as "oil wash lift out." This method of working started with a drawing in charcoal or pencil that was then washed over with thinned oil color. The lights were then wiped away with a cloth, brush or even an eraser. The sky and the faces of the figures in the piece have the clear characteristics of oil paint when using this method of working, and it would have been difficult to achieve this look with acrylic paint. I learned this technique in art school while studying with Mark English. Thanks to Mark, Kimberly and I were lucky enough to be introduced to Fuchs while living in New York.

"Railroad" • Acrylic on Canvas • Undated

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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