Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) Pumpkin Shadow, 1977, is a perfect match between Wyeth’s chosen watercolor medium and the shadow play he chooses to paint. Selecting a paper with a rough surface or “tooth,” the artist drags his brush over the barely visible peaks and valleys, leaving pigment on the tops and white paper untouched in the hollows beneath, thus simulating sunlight as it glints in and out of the rough granite rocks and deep crevasses. In contrast to the rotund, brilliant pumpkin, the shadows cast by the stem and the pumpkin itself are arresting. For the pumpkin, the shadow is not round at the left edge as one might expect from what we see perched above the rocky ledge; instead it traces a shape that suggests a human profile. The stem, casting a shadow on the rock closest to the viewer, resembles an upside-down, small winged creature or an extremely sharp pickaxe. As this the brilliant orange pumpkin signals Hallowe’en, a favorite holiday in the Wyeth family, the artist masks himself in these dark shadows, leaving his masquerade open to infinite interpretations by the viewer.
Watercolor and Mixed Media on paper 30 x 21 1/2 inches