This is an area I should explore more because I have barely delved into it. I like to go to art museums, and I am attracted to paintings more than any other kind of visual art. I like paintings than tell or at least suggest a story. So abstract art or conceptual art don’t usually inspire me.
I like a painting by George Bellows called Summer Night, Riverside Drive because it establishes a mysterious or sinister mood. I also like Back of the Storm by April Gornik. I saw this at a museum and the painting is so huge that I felt like I could walk right into an experience the back of the storm.
If you can’t go to art museums, see if your local library has oversized art books. It’s best to look at paintings in a large format, rather than a tiny picture on a screen. I once got out an oversize book on the paintings of Edward Hopper. I like a lot of his work because I’m a big fan of film noir, which are crime movies from the ’40’s and ’50’s, and some of his paintings look like snapshots taken from film noir, if film noir had been shot in color. His painting make you wonder who are the people in them, who did they get to this scene, and where are they going. Some of my favorites are Nighthawks, Night Shadows, and Conference at Night.
Norman Rockwell is also a painter who tells stories. And not all his paintings are cute or nostalgic. He painted Southern Justice based on the murders of Civil Rights Workers in Mississippi.
I’m pleased to say I’m friends with a real artist. Pat Getha is an artist and photographer, specializing in animals. Two of her works are below, and you can visit her website.
Edward Hoppers paintings really do remind you of the old film noir movies.