Innovation in the Hopper

by Deborah Mills-Scofield

Innovation in the Hopper

Rocks and Seals, Monhegan Island 1916-1919

Edward Hopper is one of my favorite artists, so I was excited to see all his Maine works on exhibit at the Bowdoin Museum of Art.  A lot of his time in Maine was on Monhegan Island, a noted artists’ colony for over 150 years, close to us in Pemaquid.  Hopper’s experimentation and evolution of style and technique remind me a lot of how we innovate.  I’ll explain in a minute.

Hopper’s paintings became more realistic and less impressionistic over time.  His early paintings (1916-19’s) were very impressionist with deep texture and detail in the brushstrokes, such as Monhegan Rocks and Seals (1916-19).

Captain Upton's House, 1927

And yet, Hopper goes back and forth between realism as in Captain Upton’s House (1927) and a bit of impressionism in my favorite of all his works, Pemaquid Light (1929), as he experiments and integrates the various styles and techniques (you can see the influence of Manet and Degas).

Pemaquid Light, 1929

After this several year experimentation with impressionism, Hopper returns to his comfort zone: darker colors and more realistic representation – as in his very famous painting of a bar in Greenwich Village,  Nighthawks (1942).    I get lost in these paintings – I hear the men at the Pemaquid Light discussing their latest catch, where the stripers are running; I eavesdrop on the couple’s conversation at the bar.

Nighthawks, 1942

As we innovate over time, our style and technique also evolve and blend.  The ways we interact, write, design and communicate shift as we have more experiences and relationships.  The sift is rarely linear – a few steps forward, a few backward, a few sideways, a few perpendicular.  Why? Because we are experimenting, seeing what works and what doesn’t work, blending aspects of both into new forms and techniques.  Think back to how you have approached business and life as you’ve matured.  Our perceptions of the world, of others, of global events have all changed and hence, impacted our view of needs, problems and solutions.

So, how has your perspective changed over time? What have you learned through the varied experiences and relationships of your life that you can apply to when, how, where, why you innovate? How can you turn those learnings into solutions that impact lives as much as paintings impact souls?

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Deborah Mills-ScofieldDeb, founder of Mills-Scofield LLC, is an innovator, entrepreneur and non-traditional strategist with 20 years experience in industries ranging from the Internet to Manufacturing with multinationals to start ups. She is also a partner at Glengary LLC, a Venture Capital Firm.

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  1. Lovely posting!

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