top of page

Artists to Inspire, February: Horace Pippin

"Pictures just come to my mind and I tell my heart to go ahead." -Horace Pippin

February is Black History Month and we are honoring American painter Horace Pippin (1888-1946) in celebration. Pippin survived a childhood of poverty and an absent father, quit school by eighth grade, worked myriad jobs to support his family, was a veteran of WWI and despite having no money, training, or even the use of his right arm after sustaining injury in the war, Horace persevered and never gave up on himself, his family, his community, or his passion. He served his community by leading a Boy Scout troop, caring for his neighbors, and providing help to others in any way he could with limited resources. For these reasons (as well as his amazing body of paintings) Horace Pippin is our Artist to Inspire for the month of February.

The preferential media of choice for Pippin for most of his life was whatever he could get his hands on...leftover house paints recovered from alleys or donated from friends, a hot poker to burn and char wood, charcoal salvaged from the wood burning stove. He painted on repurposed cloth and wood or whatever he could get his hands on, resourcefulness was key.

Pippin's subject matter was vast and varied. Inspired by his war experiences (he maintained an illustrated journal throughout the war and recalled scenes from memory when he returned), his grandmother's slave days, Bible stories, still lifes, pastoral scenes, and every day moments of home and community life in West Chester, NY, where he lived with his wife. He painted scenes and portraits of famous Americans such as President Lincoln and the abolitionist John Brown, as well as portraits of friends and family.

Key concepts we'll be discussing with Pippin's work include:

+Observational drawing and memory recall

+Perseverance in art making

+Limited color palette

+Using a frame to make your art stand out

+Resourcefulness and upcycling in art

Ways we'll MAKE:

+Adding SCULPTURAL ELEMENTS to our paintings

+DRAWING from memory

+PAINTING with a limited color palette

bottom of page