Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Max Moran on the Shifting Seasons

Max Moran's art on the cover of the November 20, 2020 Dan's Papers issue
Max Moran's art on the cover of the November 20, 2020 Dan's Papers issue

Max Moran returns with another timely Dan’s Papers cover. Moran discusses how the seasons affect his painting, his shifting “perspectives” and more.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
Two empty chairs in my backyard where the lawn meets the woods, bushes and trees. This shows the struggle for survival in the wild growth behind them. There will be a lot of empty chairs this holiday season. It may be for the best that they are unoccupied this year so they can be sat in and used next season and in years to come.

How do the changing seasons affect your work?
The sun is at lower angles right now creating longer shadows. There is a more varnished look to the color spectrum. Each season emphasizes a different part of the color wheel.

Talk about your love of the Hamptons.
It doesn’t take long to understand why generations of artists have been drawn to the region. The people, fashion and trends may change but the light, sea and spirit remains the same.

A self portrait of Max Moran on a cardboard box.
A self portrait of Max Moran on a cardboard box.

How has this year changed your perspective on art, if at all?
In third grade, Mr. Gray arrived at Westgate Elementary School on Thursday afternoons to give us art lessons. He set up a still-life, which included a quiver of arrows. I was struggling with how to draw the arrows so they appeared to be receding into the arrangement of objects. When I showed him my drawing he replied, “Ah…you just discovered perspective.” I was not sure what he meant, but I remembered the lesson. Living through these last eight months has provided another lesson in perspective none of us will soon forget. Sometimes we are at our best when things appear to be the worst…although it may not feel that way at first.

The global pandemic has changed many things, but I still find reasons to celebrate while painting the East End and sharing the art with friends and patrons. How best to exhibit the art has been different this year. I have enjoyed connecting more personally with patrons through studio visits where collectors and painters can enjoy a glass of wine and a more in-depth encounter with the work. The silver lining has been an enjoyable experience for both.

Tell us about your new studio.
Despite the shutdowns and unusual rhythms of this year I managed to build a new studio on the property here in Baiting Hollow. The new space provides a unique setting for encountering the work. The smell of oil paint, rolls of unstretched canvas and various tools of the trade are always interesting to take in. The creative environment sometimes allows visitors to think of the work in a different way. Paintings are not just the photos we see on the screen of Instagram, Facebook or a website.

Visit Jedediah Hawkins Inn of Jamesport, aMano of Mattituck and Lieb Cellars Tasting Room in Cutchogue for rotating exhibitions of works by Max Moran. Work can also be viewed at maxmoran.com and by calling 631-902-7537 for studio appointments.

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