Dave Higgins’ Yellow Houses

 I, like many artists, like to paint often in series.  That is, to paint a subject repeatedly in a series of paintings.   The repetition of the form makes it a natural motion for the painter and allows the mind to focus on brushwork and paint-handling.  The repetition takes away a lot of decisions that clutter the mind and slow the brush, allowing the painter to probe for and gain a greater understanding of his subject.

For me, perhaps the best example of this is Dave Higgins and his Yellow Houses.

This is a house that Dave could see from his bedroom as a child in Binghamton.  He has painted it over a hundred times and paints it  solely from memory now, although the early version at the bottom is from life.  Doing this particular painting over and over has allowed Dave to work with color and composition variance without having to struggle with trying to define the forms.  They are already engrained in his painter’s muscle memory. 

I’ve always thought of doing a painting in a series in much the same way as a musician performing one of their songs.  Each performance is the same chords, notes and lyrics.  To do this song in the same way each night would be pure repetition but for the true artist, each performance is an opportunity to experiment with nuance and subtleties in tone and texture that make each performance unique.

For those of you who have seen this series of paintings over the years, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the repetition of these pieces does not diminish the beauty and variety of each individual piece.  If anything, they are strengthened by their inclusion in this continuing examination of place.  Each is a new and different slice from Dave’s vivid memory and his unique mind.

Each stands alone as a distinct piece.  Great stuff from a great painter…

————Posted by Gary Myers


5 Responses to Dave Higgins’ Yellow Houses

  1. westendtalk says:

    I have always loved David Higgins’ work, and it does seem that he is a painter who
    benefits from working in series, and from showing lots of pieces together. Sometimes you see a body of work and only feel repetition – sometimes you see
    the work and you really feel that you are finding a person, and then you want to see more. With Mr. Higgins you get the distinct sense of a personality revealing
    itself. What an unusual treat.
    Thanks for this posting, Gary.


  2. westendtalk says:

    Since moving back to Corning and beginning to show my art David Higgins has been kind, inspirational, and very supportive, He wrote a description of my work that I treasure and value. I have the first image shown above. David told me it’s one of his favorites. In a very short time I’ve seen how much you all treasure David. And I’ve had my personal experience. I love my yellow house. I really appreciate David.


  3. GC Myers says:

    I agree with both of your comments about Dave and his work. His work is always an unusual treat, as you say, Marty.

  4. westendtalk says:


    You ‘ve got good taste– I think that’s one of my best paintings! I’m glad it has a good home. Sadly, 90% of what I do is crap (including yellow houses), but you learn to plug away to reap that other 10%.

  5. RA Friedman says:

    I’ve always felt the yellow house house paintings captured the spirit of place of Binghamton perfectly.

    I had no idea there were 100 of these! What a wall it would be seeing all of them together.


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