"From the Banks of the Ohio" watercolor by Robert Yonke

Robert Yonke masterfully models  great gobs of negative space in his paintings–and so he achieves dramatic settings for his delicate riverboat shapes.

His art tells of  the frailty of the small human structures in a huge maelstrom of water, sky, and steam. Creating negative space means defining an object by emphasizing the surrounding areas, often by strong contrast. In his case Yonke typically dwarfs the riverboat with the great size, simplicity, and strength of his “background”.

Moving between his two home studios, one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the other in Garrett County, Maryland, this artist (also bluegrass musician) delivers these popular watercolor paintings. His specialty seems to be aggressively abstracting his subject for the pure delight of the human eye.

"Margaret at Pittsburgh" watercolor by Robert Yonke

To me the boat itself often seems lost in his David vs. Goliath contest. But I won’t argue with his achievement of a freshness amongst the heavy-handed descriptiveness of much of maritime realism.

"Steaming Up" by Robert Yonke

Let us honor Yonke, then, as perhaps the supreme maritime artist of  the Fourth Coast of the USA! (The “Fourth Coast” means  the greater Mississippi river system that cleaves the middle of the continent. After the Atlantic and Pacific, I would count the Great Lakes as a “third coast”.)

"Low Country" watercolor by Robert Yonke

Watercolorists have noted–and longed to have–his powerful use of watercolor’s strengths for their very own. Not surprising then that he offers frequent watercolor instruction in the northeast and southeast regions of the USA.  See his LINKS below for current events.

"Mississippi Sawyer," 12x16" watercolor by Robert Yonke

Much admired and honored, Yonke’s work is seen in various galleries in the Alleghany mountain region.  He belongs to the Garrett County Arts Council, the Participating Artists of the Turkeyfoot Highlands, and the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society.

LINKS.

Robert Yonke Art Website

'Jammin' Robert Yonke, musician and 'Fourth Coast' painter

Another Robert Yonke Art Gallery

Yonke’s Painting Blog

 

POLL. Let me know YOUR  favorite Yonke painting of all those shown here: just click on it once. I will announce  the results in about a week. CLH

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