Paula Blasius McHugh has created a series of paintings inspired by the titles of American fiddle tunes executed in egg tempera and oils. McHughs horizon lines and landscapes are mostly rounded and undulating to engender the spontanaity of the music portrayed. Her compositions portray the dynamic force of memory, of people and places that have blazed a trail before us. McHugh is inspired from the American Regionalist Movement of painters, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Woods, plus the early black and white photography of the 20th century. When she looks back in time into the faces of individuals, long deceased, it reminds her of the power of inviting the ancestors to enter our times so we can again feel the “long story” often missing in our fractured modern lives.
Old-time is a term given to traditional American music played on the fiddle, banjo, guitar, and dulcimer. It is a lively and informal music that is learned by ear and that has been passed down faithfully through the generations from the earliest days of the Republic to our own time. It weaves together the musical legacy of immigrants from Europe and slaves from Africa. Paula and her husband Joe McHugh are both old-time musicians and late one evening at a festival they were sitting in a circle in the middle of a field playing the old tunes with friends. They played Red-Haired Boy and the Arkansas Traveler; Elzic’s Farewell and the Forked Deer, the notes like bright sparks from a fire swirling upward into the dark sky to set the stars dancing. The artist's mind was filled with vivid images from an earlier time that touched her soul. These are the paintings drawn from that inspiration.
Paula Blasius McHugh joined Fine Art America on September 19th, 2011.