Pennsylvania artist Barry Koplowitz collects art, but not many paintings. What moves him to pick the few he has?
His wife, a hospice worker, paints and works in ceramics, and the two collect decorative tiles. The paintings in their collection mostly come from painters they know and with whom Koplowitz has participated in plein air events. “All three of these are Pennsylvania artists,” says Koplowitz, who lives and paints in historic Bucks County. “In all cases with paintings in my collection, they are artists I know. The pieces in other media, I don’t necessarily know the artists. Those are things I can’t do, so they are in a different category than painting. With paintings, it’s more personal to the artist; it’s not just the image. I could populate all my walls with paintings if I wanted to. But it’s not just about the art. Instead, it’s a little piece of that person, someone I know.”
First up is Jane Ramsey. “Jane had an open studio, and since I had done a couple of plein air events with her and knew her, I went,” Koplowitz recalls. “I wanted to buy a piece, and there was one that really jumped out at me. It was spot on. The values were perfect, the colors were perfect. Watercolor can lack enough contrast for my taste, and not enough color, but this had it all, the right degrees of saturation, and good values — and all this in a little 4”-x-7”.”
Next is a piece by Randall Graham. “He and I both participated in an event in Chadds Ford,” says Koplowitz. “Both of us ended up painting the same house, at different angles and different times. The first person to live in it was Howard Pyle. Wyeth painted it a lot. I like it because it proves the window shutters really are just that green,” he says with a laugh. “But it’s not just an image, it’s something that happened to us together.”
Finally, there’s a piece by Beth Brownlee Bathe. “She’s a very different painter than me,” Koplowitz observes. “Beth is mostly a tonalist, and her pieces almost look like washes. They are just beautiful. She handles architecture so well.”