Tim Solliday: Physics and Poetry

For someone who feels the world was more aesthetically pleasing 100 years ago, painter Tim Solliday has uncanny luck with finding the perfect studio. For a number of years he painted in the Arts and Crafts studio in Alhambra, California, that had belonged to renowned Western painter Frank Tenney Johnson (1874 —1939), celebrated for his moonlight technique. Now Solliday occupies another Arts and Crafts bungalow on a cul de sac in the foothills north of Pasadena, where, he points out proudly, Impressionist William Merritt Chase (1849— 1916) worked for a year.

In the airy, wood-paneled studio warmed by a crackling Batchelder tile fireplace, it’s easy to feel transported to the days of the early California plein air movement. That’s how Solliday first gained recognition, painting in the style of landscape artists influenced by Impressionism and active from roughly 1890 to 1940. Now he’s gone figurative, producing romantic, narrative paintings of Indians, cowboys, settlers and their interactions. The plein air style and the color and bold brushwork for which he’s noted have simply been absorbed into the Western art.

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tim solliday physics and poetry