Richard Lithgow


In Richard Lithgow’s paintings, the sportsman makes a quiet entrance. In an afterthought of a canoe, a canoe like a small, sly smile, an angler casts to a tiny streak of a rise. Framed by trees, mountains, sky, and their reflections, Lithgow's scenes seem like gifts, luminous benedictions of light and silence reminiscent of the Catskill and Adirondack studies of Gifford and Homer. The angler, so far away that he has no individuality, no distinction apart from his vest and hat, might be anyone, at any time.  But the colors and shapes in juxtaposition and opposition are created with layers of open, rhythmic brushstrokes over deep red grounds. Nothing is hidden. And though the paintings seem silent, there is music in them, the music of his peek-a-boo creeks and quiet ponds, moments Lithgow calls "George Inness Goes Trout Fishing.” Sporting art begins with landscape because something larger than sport calls us to wild places. Something in the sound of water; something in the feel of the wind. We imagine Lithgow’s trout, among the submerged branches and rocks, taking  well presented wet fly or nymph. When that scene plays out in our minds’ eyes, it’s time to pack.