The Beeches


“The Beeches” 1845, by Asher B. Durand (American, 1796–1886)

Oil on canvas; 60 3/8 x 48 3/8 in. (153.4 x 122.2 cm),
Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup,
from the collection of her husband,
Morris K. Jesup, 1914 (15.30.59)

Isn’t God’s creation amazing? Look at the way this artist painted the light in this scene! Since this month is our study of light month, we are taking a look at the art of Asher Durand, who was a student of the Hudson River Painters the mid 1800s in America. The Hudson River Painters were a group of painters believed that painting nature was a way to study and share the character of God and should be painted as realistically as possible. Many of their paintings show the light coming from behind, illuminating their paintings in a way that speaks not only distinguishes their landscapes, but has spiritual symbolism.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Where do you see light in this painting? A. It is mostly in the background, shining on the path from the lake through the trees. This is called a backlit painting.
  2. Why do you think the artist, Asher Durand, painted the light coming from behind the trees instead of in front of the trees like we see in most modern paintings? What is different about how he painted the light? A. He wanted to catch the light in a distinct way that contrasts darkness.
  3. What do you see besides light and trees? A. A shepherd with red fabric hanging from a stick or staff on his shoulder along with his sheep on a path.
  4. Which story or stories in the Bible do you think this painting might refer to? A. Possibly that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, and he who follows him will not walk in darkness. John 8:12.
  5. Why do you think the man and the sheep are so small compared to the trees? A. This makes the man and the sheep appear farther away.
  6. How do you feel when you look at this painting? A. Peaceful? Still? Quiet?

Join us for a deeper look at the use of “light” as it relates to art next week on
October 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. and a make-up session on October 29 at 1:00pm,
as Fireflies Blog presents two opportunities for literature, art and legacy moments at:

Coffee and Canvas art studio
Springs Plaza Shopping Center

2401 W. State Road 434, Suite 163
Longwood, FL 32779


We will be reading “On a Beam of Light,” carving beautiful clay pumpkins, then painting them will colorful glazes. This project you and your family will be able to use for years to come as a fall tea light! Call for more information and to register for this fun fall project! This is a great way to make time to share the Fireflies opportunities we blog about with your children!


Laura Bird Miller

Owner, Coffee and Canvas