Civil War art exhibit to open at museum
Dan Woodward, an internationally known Missouri artist, has brought his current art project "Impressions of the Civil War in Missouri," to Nevada.
Though his show usually has about 60 pieces in it, Woodward has only brought 42 original works of art to town that will be on display in the Bushwhacker Museum from April 14 until they are displayed in Baxter Springs later this summer.
As a realist, Woodward is primarily involved with capturing the atmosphere of a scene. He believes that each latitude has its different light, as does each day of a season, and recreating that light is his life's ambition apart from his subject of choice, capturing historic scenes.
Woodward likes to use light by manipulating it in his work to show contrast. He said he uses high contrast in his paintings to highlight action scenes or active characters and he uses low contrast to impart a sense of calm to a painted scene. In some works, such as "The Ambush," he uses both.
Woodward said he also has a tendency to paint scenes "the way they probably happened."
Woodward's work for this show is a collection of oil paintings and sketches depicting scenes from the era of the Civil War. They are not all battle scenes. Some are paintings or sketches of families or children at home.
The selection is varied and includes at least one watercolor. Most of the sketches will eventually end up as paintings, Woodward said.
Woodward is going to be in and out of town during the exhibit and said he plans on working a little bit while he is here. He knows that this area is rich in Civil War history.
The Civil War started here, he said.
Museum coordinator Will Tollerton said the exhibit provides a great opportunity for residents to see the work of a wonderful artist.
Tollerton first met the artist at a Civil War re-enactment in southern Missouri. Woodward asked him if he would pose for a photo so he could use it in his work later. Tollerton is very active in the re-enactment area and said he was happy to oblige. Watch for his likeness in his Union uniform in some of the work at the museum.
Woodward began painting Missouri landscapes when he was just 8 years-old and studied painting with American impressionist Frederick Sillars and etching with master printmaker Robert Freeman. He is a Missouri native, now living in Rolla. He is a founding member of Arts Rolla and The Local Color painters' group, and previous Board of Governors member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
His traveling exhibit has been shown at the Boone County Historical Society museum in Columbia at the Missouri Institute of Science and Technology in Rolla, the U.S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis and will be at Baxter Springs, Kan., this fall after leaving Nevada at the end of July.
Woodward has been most influenced by the artist Winslow Homer, he said, and he spent a lot of his time teaching English to make a living. He is a Vietnam veteran who has traveled the world recording his view of it on canvas.
His travels have taken him from Missouri to California and Mexico 1961-80, to the Far East in 1968-69, to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Europe in 1981-84. He was given a one-man show in China in 1986, then a trip to South Africa in 2004 resulted in the inspiration for many original paintings and sketches of those mysterious and rapidly changing lands.
Wherever Woodward goes he tries to use his talent to capture what makes that place unique.
Woodward will be the featured speaker Sunday, during the Vernon County Historical Society's spring quarterly meeting and program, and will tell about how he develops his oil paintings and sketches.
The public is invited to attend and refreshments will be provided. The Nevada/ Vernon County Chamber of Commerce will get a sneak peak at the exhibit when the Bushwhacker Museum hosts the monthly chamber lunch on Friday.