ARTIST STATEMENT / BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Rural Pennsylvania, coastal New England, the high country of Vermont – regions that I know well, regions that have special meaning to me. It is in these distinct areas that I paint my life and the things that are familiar to me.
In Pennsylvania, many of my subjects can be found close to my home and studio in Hoppenville, Marlborough Township, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. An old stone mill, an abandoned farmhouse, an empty corncrib, an aging barn – each one a structure yet much more. Time and history have left their imprint. Each one evokes a special place, a special time. They are all a part of a rural community and a way of life that is quickly fading into the past. They are all a part of the Pennsylvania heritage that is rapidly disappearing. I’d like to feel, in a way, that I have preserved them in my paintings.
I love the sea and I summered on Monhegan Island, Maine, for twenty-seven years with my wife Katy (artist Katharine Krieg). In Maine, I paint the rugged shoreline of the mid-coast region and Monhegan Island where I enjoy the smell of salt air and the feeling of sea spray. I’ve always loved the sea, probably a combination of things –the boats, the energy of the surf, the rocks, the storms, and the romance of it all. I hope this comes across in my paintings of the weathered clapboard lobster shanties and the granite towers of the lighthouses. On Monhegan Island, I try to capture the remoteness and isolation of this tiny fishing village twelve miles out to sea, which has been an artist’s colony for over 150 years. Painting on Island during the summer without the normal distractions of everyday life on the mainland allows for my full devotion to my craft.
In Vermont, I enjoy painting the houses and farms nestled into the valleys below the snow-covered high peaks of the Green Mountain region. The buildings in the villages, with their distinct architecture, frame construction, and wonderful pastel colours are in direct contrast to the stone grays and browns of Pennsylvania, and the gray shingles and white clapboard of Maine. I believe that the experience of drawing and painting outdoors in the cold crisp air of the winter months brings a reality to the finished work that helps the viewer to feel the sense of place that is Vermont.
I have been drawing and painting most of his life, and I have an intense devotion and enthusiasm for what I do. I grew up painting alongside my Dad (Ray Hendershot AWS, NWS, 1931-2019), and my early inspiration and guidance came from him.
The January 2015 issue of Radius magazine states "It is clear through his work that (Brad) Hendershot is a traditional realist in the Brandywine School, a style that emphasizes attention to realism, an expression of optimism, and a faith in the goodness of America. It was developed by Howard Pyle, and taught beginning in 1900 at his Howard Pyle School of Art in Chadds Ford, PA. The Brandywine School, or Brandywine Tradition, is widely recognized as a distinctly American school of illustration and art which has continued through members of the school, including the Wyeth family of artists." Hendershot says: "I am inspired by my daily life and I paint what is familiar to me--places and things that I know well, places and things that have a special meaning to me. My painting process is very personal to me, and I paint subjects that are intimate to my life. My work involves intense feelings, and I hope that my paintings are able to evoke a strong emotional response. Often, an event in my life triggers feelings that result in the mood of a painting. My paintings tell a story, and that story is my life. There is strong emotion in each piece, and I want to share that emotion."
I tend to study my subjects down to the last detail and I learn their history and significance prior to beginning a painting. I use watercolour in a representational manner, and mood and feeling are key elements in my work. Although I paint with an intense devotion to realistic detail, artistic license is employed for the sake of composition and to evoke a certain feeling or mood in the viewer. Using this creativity in the overall planning of a work, I emphasize the features and details that best capture and produce the desired effect or emotion.
I find watercolor to be very challenging and rewarding, and I like the spontaneity and freshness of the medium. However, if I get particularly interested in the form and texture of a subject, I will take watercolour one step further. Texture is often the real subject of my paintings, and this is where I will use the painstaking process of drybrush, building on the initial fluid washes of watercolor. Using drybrush, details are built up in multiple layers using many small strokes of the brush and very little water with the pigment. The color, in spots, may be very dense and opaque, emphasizing the transparency of other areas. Most often, a combination of both wetbrush and drybrush techniques can be found in a single work. I don't stick to the traditional watercolor rules in my painting. I use a variety of techniques, doing what I feel is necessary to obtain the result I want in the finished work. I begin each new concept by doing preliminary sketches of the subject. These studies are most often done in pencil or watercolour.
I feel that each new work presents an opportunity to develop and refine my techniques. Thus, I hope to continue to grow for as long as I continue to paint.
The Hendershot & Krieg Studio at Hoppenville House in Hoppenville, Pennsylvania, which I share with Katy, is open by chance or by appointment, or during one of the advertised scheduled open houses during the year. I am also currently represented by public galleries in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.
I teach a series of watercolour texture technique courses and I conduct workshops, lectures, and demonstrations.
I have earned signature artist membership in the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA), signature professional artist status in the International Society of Marine Painters (ISMP), signature membership in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society (PWS), and signature membership in the Philadelphia Water Color Society (PWCS). I am an elected member of the Rockport Art Association & Museum and the Hudson Valley Art Association. My works appear in public and private collections nationwide and around the world, including numerous museum and corporate collections.
My paintings are currently available as limited-edition and open-edition reproductions by Stonerow Publishing, Inc. in Pennsylvania, and as open-edition reproductions by Bruce McGaw Graphics in Vermont.
web site: www.bradleyhendershot.com
Artist Facebook: www.facebook.com/BradleyHendershotStudios
Personal Facebook: www.facebook.com/bradley.hendershot.5