Masterful paintings of Chester County scenes
● By J. Chambless
'Snowed In' by Ray Hendershot.
By John Chambless
What Ray Hendershot does, he does exceedingly well.
His paintings of barns and old homes in all seasons are technically perfect – each stone rendered meticulously, each slab of weathered wood depicted in all its faded glory. But when you've been painting masterfully for nearly 70 years, as he has, the problem is that everyone else wants to paint like you. So as you walk around Hendershot's large exhibit at the Chadds Ford Gallery, you can't help thinking, “I've seen this barn before ...”
And you have. There are at least a dozen Chester County artists who have followed in Hendershot's footsteps, and who paint exactly the same subjects. But there's certainly no faulting any of these paintings for their skill and perfection. Again and again, Hendershot proves he can paint a house and barn. But it's when he steps away from the buildings that he has a chance to branch out a bit.
His “Autumn Woods” is a stunning, photo-like depiction of trees on a misty day, with vibrant orange leaves and spindly black branches depicted in jaw-dropping detail.
His “Snow Laden” paintings – depicting drifted snow on tree trunks, under leaden skies – are just as fine, and evoke a vivid chill.
“Spring Blossoms,” a still life of a basket, a worn blue table top and a sprig of flowers, succeeds with its simplicity; as does the still life “Chust Picked,” a grouping of apples and crocks on a shelf.
Hendershot, who is in his 80s, has been doing this longer than his imitators have been alive, and it's very nice to see so many of his original paintings in one place – 35, to be exact. His esteemed place among the region's art collectors is assured, and you shouldn't miss this chance to see such a generously stocked exhibition.
Ray Hendershot's “My World – Chapter Three” solo show continues at the Chadds Ford Gallery (Route 1, Chadds Ford) through May 1. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit www.awyethgallery.com for more information.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.