(1920 - 2009)
Noteworthy among today’s landscapists was Bernard Wynne. With a strong academic background in the fine arts, he studied with such recognized artists/instructors as James Chapin, Ejnar Hansen of the Pasadena Art Institute, S. Macdonald Wright, a noted abstract painter and Norman Rockwell at the Los Angeles County Art Institute. Recognized for his superior talent since the age of fourteen, Wynne was listed in the Who’s Who in American Art by the age of thirty.
The demanding technique Wynne used allowed him to create only a handful of paintings each year. His beautifully executed works display painstaking detail, a square inch revealing countless dots of color and tiny brushstrokes. Each point of color appears to have importance, giving radiance and life to a breathtaking desert scene at sunset, or a richly forested hillside. Common to his paintings are the various points of interest in a single work of art. A majestic scene of Yosemite may show Half Dome in the distance, jagged cut walls cut by a snow fed stream in the foreground, green pines and golden aspen trees on the riverbank and hillside, with breezy clouds casting their odd shadows over the valley below. In gentle harmony the shapes blend together, distinctive enough to warrant attention but without an overabundance of visual isolation. He was well known for accentuating such landmarks as forgotten homesteads, rugged mesas and buttes, twisted cacti and gnarled scrub brush, meandering trails and dry riverbeds, or pastureland dotted with live oak and summer grass.
Wynne was no stranger to the vast terrain of Western America. Having spent many years painting and photographing the many faces of its beauty, he had a remarkable ability to capture on canvas, the likeness of the land and the sea. Wynne stated, " I am convinced that an artist must paint from life before he begins painting from a photograph. Without experiencing the visual beauty, along with the other senses of smell, sound and touch, the ‘soul’ of the painting will be empty. Professionally too, one can usually tell when an artist has never painted from life."
Wynne approached each painting with a scientific attitude. Working inch by inch, his brushwork defines hillsides, rivers, trees, and bushes. He rarely changed or reworked a painting. The crispness of the foreground is offset by the paleness of distant forms. Total contrasts of lights and darks, sunshine and shadow are illuminated by virtually pure color, allowing parts of the composition to dominate the overall scene. Landscape features and plant life are carefully laid into each painting, some more subtle and intricate than others. Pine groves and oaks almost black in shadow; reveal enough light to delineate their forms. In areas where the landscape no longer receives the sun’s rays, one can barely see melting tones of purple or dusty red-browns surrendering to the night.
Commenting on his philosophy of art, Wynne stated, "Art is beauty personified . It feeds the soul and soothes the mind. I do not look upon art as a means to making a statement; rather I paint to elevate the senses. While I can appreciate the many styles and techniques artists have invented over the past century, my heart lies within realism. Though I include impressionism in my style of art, I like to experience the purity of art when nature appears on canvas as it does in the wild."
Wynne was considered a premier landscapist with his paintings in many private and business collections (one admirer through the years has collected thirteen of his paintings!) Rich in color, detail and design, Wynne's works convert bare walls into soul satisfying images of nature. Bernard Wynne is assured a place in American art history.