By Tom Denenberg
Deputy Director and Chief Curator
Once the paintings went up on the gallery walls, it became obvious that Jay Connaway was a painter’s painter. From looking at individual works for the last several months, I was ready for his dramatic compositions of Atlantic waves dashing onto the rocky coast as well as a dynamic sense of color, but Connaway’s technique I found to be a revelation. This is a man who clearly liked paint. Look closely when you visit and pay attention to the way he layers wet pigments and employs a number of “tricks”—like combining a number of colors together to depict sheets of rain falling off Monhegan, or how he uses the back of his brush to incise a series of parallel lines mimicking the wind whipping through tall grass. All in all, the 38 paintings in the exhibition demonstrate that Connaway was a first class painter who placed his prodigious talents in the service of the landscape of New England.
Moods of Nature: Jay Connaway and the Landscape of New England - on view through December 6.
Image credit: Jay Hall Connaway (United States, 1893–1970), October Sea, 1939, oil on artist’s board, 29 1/8 x 39 1/8 inches. From the collection of Mrs. Marjorie B. Osborne (Mrs. Gordon Osborne).