‘Wishbone’ by Andrew Wyeth
A wishbone is a lucky charm, and lucky we are that Andrew Wyeth came across a tree branch resembling one, and decided to share his vision in a painting entitled ‘Wishbone’. The scene’s focus is placed on a lonely forked branch that rises like an arm struggling to stay afloat while being pulled by the river’s current. It aptly resonates Andrew Wyeth’s words, “Nature is not lyrical and nice; behind the peace is violence”.
‘Wishbone’ is a beautiful composition that discloses a powerful contrast between a narrow, restful river bank in the background and a wide ribbon of rushing water in the foreground. Although the river appears fast-moving, Andrew Wyeth introduced some calm by adding patches of dainty pastel flowers. The painting displays the vivid and lush greens that are associated with summers in Cushing, Maine, where he spent much time applying his skill to canvas.
Andrew Wyeth, also known as ‘the painter of the people’, was an American artist who enjoyed the use of watercolour, especially the dry brush method, and the aged technique of tempera. Born in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in 1917, Andrew was the youngest of three children. At an early age he became ill and had to be schooled at home. He spent many hours watching his father, N. C Wyeth, a prominent illustrator, at work in his studio, and under his guidance, the young boy learnt how to draw.
Andrew Wyeth never strayed far beyond his own ‘world’ – that of Chadds Ford and Cushing, Maine, where he enjoyed winters and summers painting. Despite the artist’s self-admitted inner struggles, which become apparent in the various emotions found in ‘Wishbone, serenity is nevertheless the overall atmosphere of the painting. Wyeth was able to establish balance in his life, much like the floating, struggling forked branch in ‘Wishbone’.