Stan Masters (1922-2005)
Signed lower right
Watercolor on paper
12" x 18"
Much of Stan Masters' work offers a nostalgic look at rural America. "Family Confectionery" depicts a small country store situated in a clean white building. The faded signs evoke a bygone era, intended to recall happy memories of perhaps a cold Pepsi in a glass bottle or a favorite flavor of Chapman's Ice Cream. In his artist's statement, Masters writes,
"I want my pictures to do more than simply report facts or portray the likeness of the scene. I prefer to use the subject as a means of expressing feelings, emotion, an idea or a mood. .... At the same time, I am striving to provide you with pleasurable escape, perhaps remind you of something forgotten......"
The sunny path leads to the little store where we discover countless details, each intended not only as pictorial elements, but also to evoke memories of our own past. Indeed, Masters further explains in his artist's statement, "And while you may not be particularly interested in, say, the old building I've selected to paint, I believe that if I've done my work well, as to shapes, color, composition, etc., you'll probably be little concerned with the actual subject the picture was "built" around."
Thus, Masters leads the eye from the round Esso sign to the round Pepsi sign, to the hanging scale and Bell Telephone sign beneath, and finally to the produce below. The red tomatoes and Nehi sign answer the similarly colored Pepsi and Chapman Ice Cream signs, over to the chimney and down to the Esso pump. Each of these elements builds the composition and invites us to insert our own narrative, all quietly taking place in the lengthening midafternoon shadows.
In 1978 a critic wrote, "A Stan Masters watercolor is realism at its best... What he sees is so direct and the way he sees it is so logical that his intent and his achievement are timeless and universal. We find in his paintings unsuspected technical brilliance, always purposely hidden so as not to intrude on the overall effect he wants to create."
Timeless, universal, and technically brilliant- "Family Confectionery" is indeed, realism at its best.