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Step Into Hopper’s World: Walk, Sketch, Paint on July 13 & 14

Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center

Four amazing events, sponsored by the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center on July 13 and 14, celebrate Hopper’s artistic boyhood in Nyack. On Saturday, Bill Batson will bring his patented sketch flash mob to key locations from Hopper’s boyhood. On Sunday, artists will gather for plein air painting in Memorial Park, and in the afternoon, families will participate in a Hopper neighborhood mini-tour and sketch event near the museum. Throughout the weekend, the Edward Hopper House will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the marriage of the lifelong artistic partnership of Edward Hopper and Jo Nivison.

Hopper’s Boyhood Nyack Sketches

Early works of Edward Hopper show his range of Nyack subject choice.

Edward Hopper began recording his impressions of Nyack’s people and places at the precocious age of five. Around this time, he decorated his paint box with the words “would-be artist.” At age ten, he started signing and dating his drawings. Hundreds of these drawings are now part of the Whitney Museum of American Art Collection.

Hopper’s sketch of Callahan Brothers grocery and Hoffman’s clothing store at age 10, and the same location today.

Hopper sketched numerous Nyack scenes in Nyack, including a sophisticated sketch of Callahan Brothers grocery store and delivery truck on North Broadway (#10 formerly the location of the Village Market) and Hoffman’s clothing store next door (now the site of My Father’s Home restaurant). This drawing, made at age 10, presages his famous work, Early Sunday Morning, created thirty-eight years later. Hopper drew scenes of bicycle shops and cyclists, diners in a restaurant, firefighters heading to a fire, and boats of all sorts. His ability to capture a single moment using selective realistic details informed his later work.

The Nyack building seen in Hopper’s early drawing is not considered to be a model for Hopper’s famous Early Sunday Morning painted 38 years later, yet, the resemblance is remarkable. Early Sunday Morning courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Painting in the Open Air: Jo Nivison and Edward Hopper

Elizabeth Thompson Colleary will kick off the weekend’s events with a fascinating talk on plein air painting at 11a at the Edward Hopper House Museum Garden. Colleary’s groundbreaking study focuses on the numerous occasions when the couple painted together outside. Colleary’s talk presents stunning side-by-side paintings that the couple created together showing Nivison’s palette influenced her husband’s later work.

Two paintings of Corn Hill in Truro, MA from 1930. Jo Nivison’s watercolor is on the left and Hopper’s is on the right. Notice the difference in their palette.

What is a Flash Sketch Mob?

The idea of artists working at different locations to create an en masse Nyack art assemblage is the brainchild of Bill Batson. Famous for his Nyack Sketch Log column on Nyack News and Views, Batson held village Flash Sketch Mobs in 2012 and 2015. According to Batson, the driving premise behind a Flash Sketch Mob is that an unexamined place is not worth inhabiting.

In the inaugural Flash Sketch Mob of 2012, nearly hundred artists gathered along both sides of Broadway to create a collaborative, composite landscape portrait of the village. Upon completion, the artwork was scanned and projected on the side of a building. Equally successful, a second Flash Sketch Mob was coordinated with the 2015 Nyack Art Walk. Again, a digital art “map” of Nyack was projected, this time at the corner of Main and Park Streets.

Flash Sketch Mob 2012

Hopper’s Nyack Flash Sketch Mob

This newly conceived Flash Sketch Mob kicks off at 12:30 PM on July 13, rain or shine. Every registered artist receives an individual location taken from the recently published Edward Hopper Walking Tour map. Like the young Edward Hopper, who sketched throughout the village, the subject of each artwork is entirely the artist’s choice. Bill Batson encourages artists of all abilities and ages to interpret their village location anew. Artists will gather again at 3 PM at the museum to share their work. Each artwork will be photographed and later assembled to create a collaborative 2024 artists’ view of Hopper’s Nyack.

Hopper’s Plein Air Pop-up Weekend

Not only is Sunday, July 14, a Nyack Street Fair date, but the Edward Hopper House Museum is also sponsoring a plein air pop-up day. En plein air is a French term for painting outside with the artist’s subject in full view. This free, day-long artistic adventure gives artists of all levels the chance to paint plein air at Nyack’s Memorial Park, Edward Hopper House Gardens, or any location of their choosing. Not only can artists explore Nyack’s charm in paint, but the community at large can observe artists painting plein air.

Families can encourage their budding Edward Hoppers by dropping by for a plein air painting pop-up at Memorial Park from 11 AM to 4 PM. The Edward Hopper House will supply instructors and acrylic painting supplies for a fun family afternoon of landscape painting.

“Would Be Artist” Family Walking Tours

To close this amazing weekend, families with younger children may go on an artist/educator-led mini-tour of Nyack using a borrowed or purchased Edward Hopper “Would Be Artist” kit. The kit includes drawing tools, a sketchbook, and a walking tour map tucked in a canvas backpack. The tours, lasting 30-45 minutes, begin at 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM. This is a chance for young budding artists to explore the joy of sketching outdoors.

Children enjoying their “Would Be Artist” kits.

Register in Advance

For more information and to register, click here. Walk-ins welcome. Event occurs rain or shine.

This Edward Hopper House Museum program is made possible with funds from Arts Alive, a regrant program of ArtsWestchester and the Office of the Governor, the New York State Legislature, and the New York Council on the Arts, with additional marketing support from the Village of Nyack Tourism Grant.

Mike Hays is a 38-year resident of the Nyacks. He worked for McGraw-Hill Education in New York City for many years. Hays serves as President of the Historical Society of the Nyacks, and Vice-President of the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. Married to Bernie Richey, he enjoys cycling and winters in Florida. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

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