Monday, December 8, 2008

E A Payne

Edgar Alwin Payne

By
Armand Cabrera

Edgar Payne was born in Missouri in 1883. His parents were farmers. Edgar’s early life was spent helping out on the family farm. At the age of twenty he left home and spent a few years doing odd jobs to survive. In 1905 he moved to Houston with two of his sisters and earned his living house painting. His interest in art led him to open a scene painting studio in Dallas. By 1907 he had moved to Chicago briefly taking classes at the art institute. He continued to make his living from scene painting and began selling his paintings at the palette and chisel club.
Edgar Payne’s first trip to California was in 1909. It was here he met his future wife Elsie Palmer. They married in 1912

By 1912 Edgar was receiving much more attention for his easel work and he had a show of 65 paintings at the palette and Chisel club in May of 1913. All of the paintings were sold.
The Payne’s moved to Laguna Beach California in 1917. It was from Laguna Beach that Payne began his many painting trips to the Sierras and the Southwest. In 1922 he traveled to Europe for two years with his family. Edgar painted many pictures of fishing life and mountain scenes while overseas.
It was Payne’s practice to make many sketches on location and make larger finished pictures back in his studio from those smaller works. It was because of this his paintings tend to have a repetitive look compositionally. This is especially true of his Sierra scenes.

His book on painting ‘Composition of Outdoor Painting’ is still in print today because of its no nonsense approach to the craft of painting.
Edgar Payne died in 1947 after a long fight with cancer.




Bibliography

The Composition of Outdoor Painting
Payne Studios
Edgar Payne

The Payne’s, Edgar and Elsie
Payne Studios
Rena Neumann Coen

Edgar Payne 1882-1947
Goldfield Galleries Exhibition Catalog
Nancy Moure


Quote

Learning the art of painting is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of intelligence, keen analysis, study and practice. ~ Edgar Payne

1 comment:

Bill Cone said...

Quoting from your post: It was Payne’s practice to make many sketches on location and make larger finished pictures back in his studio from those smaller works. It was because of this his paintings tend to have a repetitive look compositionally. This is especially true of his Sierra scenes."

I'm thinking there might be other factors at play here besides mere process.
I agree he repeated the same compositions and images often in the body of his Sierra work, as well as his boat paintings. Think Maxfield Parrish, or Granville Redmond's fields of poppies.
Seems to me there might a definite economic incentive to repeat something that was popular, and selling well, in order to maintain a steady income. He wasn't the first one to do that, and he certainly isn't the last! Any artist endeavoring to support a family is likely to employ such a strategy from time to time. Redmond tried other ideas in his work, but none sold as well as his poppy paintings. Might have been the same for Mr. Payne, eh? I also think at a certain point in his Sierra work, construction overcame observation to the point where he was creating 'generic Payne' mountainscapes in the studio, and the stimulus of nature was largely ignored in favor of a few lighting schemes he'd worked out. Again, no different than many other artists dead and living. There's nothing right or wrong about that, but for the viewer it can get stale.