Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop is a unique, lively and entertaining 13 half-hour high definition television series on art and painting that was broadcast nationally on PBS beginning in June, 2008. Our series provides a unique blend of art, history, travel, science, philosophy, and painting technique as David Dunlop uses his entertaining, integrative approach to make the artists and their art come alive – for the artist and the general viewer as well. This series offers entirely new and exciting television format for art and art history – the next generation of arts programming! We were thrilled that our unique, new format has received the television industry’s highest broadcast honors - an 2009 Emmy® Award and a CINE Golden Eagle Award for excellence in Film and Television Production.
Our goal was to provide a new way of presenting the contextualization of art by examining the who, where, why and how of an important artist and his art. This series explores the key moments in the artist’s life, the artistic traditions from which he emerged, the contemporaneous artistic, philosophical and scientific developments that influenced his work and important historical events of the times. By combining these disparate elements with a demonstration by David of the actual painting techniques used by the artist at the same location where he painted, we believe our series provides a unique, informative perspective for the artist as well as the general public. When you look at a painting in a museum, what was the story about the artist and what the artist was doing or trying to do with that painting that makes it interesting, exciting and even relevant to the viewer?
Our programs are not intended to be biographies of the artist’s lives, but they instead synthesize visual concepts, supporting materials and editing techniques with David’s energetic and engaging style to actively involve the viewer in the artist’s creative process. Our goal was to create a new, entertaining television format that uses the innate visual possibilities of television to explore the artistic, historical, perceptual and technical concepts discussed by David in each program. We have tried to create television that would allow David’s multidimensional and inspiring manner to provide a window into the creative process –to see how art is actually created by specific artists at a specific time with specific techniques.
Thirteen Magical Episodes - Thirteen More Episodes Coming!: In each of the thirteen episodes David travels to the actual locations in the United States and France where celebrated artists such as Turner, Van Gogh and Monet painted – exploring what they saw and how they transformed that vision into a familiar painting. The programs have three sections. First, David sets the artists in historical context – discussing who, when, where, how and why they painted. Next, David places his easel at the same beautiful place that the artists set their easels and paints the same landscape himself in the style of the artists, explaining each step of the process, including artistic, technical, optical and perceptual insights - revealing techniques and secrets of the masters. We have used different editing techniques to demonstrate the visual concepts that David discusses. David then works with one of his students at the same location using a hands-on approach that has been used for centuries to teach painting, offering tips and techniques of the selected artist to transform their paintings.
How We Chose the Artists:
The 19th century is considered the century of landscape painting – from Delacroix and Courbet at Etretat, Turner in England and France, the Impressionists in France, and the Hudson River painters in the United States. It was also a transitional period from representational art to the art of the 20th century. Since there is a magic to seeing where paintings were actually created, we wanted to explore these aspects of the artists in locations that had served as a source of inspiration: we wanted to re-enact their considerations of subject and choice of palette. Our mission was to travel inside the hand, eye, and mind of the artist.
We choose a group of artists in France who are extremely well known, Delacoix, Courbet, van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne and Renoir. These artists allowed us to explore the confluence of new ideas, new tools and new methods that changed art during this period and effected how people saw and experienced their world. These included revelations about the science of color and light; a scientific realization of vision as subjective phenomena; the dramatically changing social milieu as a result of industrialization and the emergence of a new leisure class; the commercial development of new pigments and their new remarkable portability in lead tubes which allowed painters to more easily paint outside; the role of photography in usurping the transcriptive role of painting; an appreciation of the natural world through the development of new sciences, such as geology and meteorology; and an earnest effort to find a different vocabulary in paint untethered to earlier traditions, traditions which by 1870 appeared stale, dull and constricted. Additionally, a new bourgeois public’s appetite to see themselves at play in familiar settings encouraged a new form of painting with new subjects. David and I both love Turner, who painted on the Normandy Coast, and we included an episode of his paintings in Honfleur.
We then explored the American artists who were influenced by the French Impressionists and exported many of their ideas to the east coast of the United States at the end of the 19th century. The American Impressionists were different from the French Impressionists; they did not reject the traditions and techniques of their artistic predecessors, the Hudson River Painters, considered the first indigenous group of American painters. We selected Kaaterskill Falls as the location for one of the Hudson River programs because Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River painters, painted one of the first Hudson River paintings from that majestic location. We then explored the works of Inness and Kensett, two artists who are considered part of the later group of American artists, the Luminists.
Inspiration for the Series:
The idea for the series began when producer and director Connie Simmons began taking painting classes with David at Silvermine Art Guild in Connecticut and left each class so inspired by David’s engaging, eclectic knowledge of and enthusiasm for art, art history and the creative process and his investigation into how the mind is involved with our perceptions and vision. Connie and David produced four art instructional DVDs and then produced this PBS series to reach a broader audience – both painters and non-painters alike. Connie was part of the management team that launched the Food Network in 1993, and learned that people are fascinated by watching how something is created – even if they have no intention of ever making it themselves.
Development of Study Guides for School Systems:
We are currently developing study guides for the thirteen original programs so that we can make them available to school systems as part of their curriculum. In addition, we are developing the next thirteen episodes of the series Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop, which will be available in 2010.
Development of the Second Season of Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop:
We are developing the next thirteen episodes of the series Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop.
Host, Writer and Artist David Dunlop:
David Dunlop is a superb artist and art historian who is classically trained, receiving his Masters of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute in New York City. David Dunlop is also a popular teacher and raconteur with an inspiring and informative teaching style, who shares his wide knowledge of and passion for painting, philosphy, art history and painting techniques in a warm and engaging manner.
David is represented in many galleries and national and international art collections. He is also a popular and thoughtful lecturer, giving talks and workshops around the country and in many museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
David has an enthusiastic, inspiring and informative teaching style, sharing his wide knowledge and passion for painting theory, history and methods with the audience in a warm and engaging manner. David is the host of a four-DVD series entitled Painting Landscapes with David Dunlop (Program 1 - Oil, Program 2 - Acrylic, Program 3 – Watercolor, and Program 4 - Painting in Tuscany - Oil). David creates the feeling in a television audience that they are actually with him in one of his workshops. David lives in Connecticut with his wife Rebecca Hoefer.
Producer, Director and Editor Connie Simmons:
Connie Simmons is the President of SimmonsArt Inc. and produced and directed the Series. She began her career as an entertainment lawyer in private practice, working with film companies such as New Line Cinema and Miramax. Connie moved in-house to serve as a vice president at business affairs at Columbia Tri Star in 1990 and then served as Executive Vice President of the Food Network in 1993.
is the President of SimmonsArt Inc. and is producing and directing the Series. She was also awarded a 2009 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in the Special Class Category for the PBS series Landscapes through Time with David Dunlop and was nominated for Outstanding Directing. She is a painter who has studied with David Dunlop. She produced and directed the series of DVDs with him that served as the inspiration for this PBS series. She began her career as an entertainment lawyer in private practice, working with film companies such as New Line Cinema and Miramax. Connie moved in-house to serve as a vice president at business affairs at Columbia Tri Star in 1990. She then was part of the management team that launched the Food Network in 1993 and she served as its Executive Vice President. She currently serves on the board of the Cape Cod Theatre Project.
Connie spent her first years in Dallas, Texas and learned to paint with her grandmother Altha Simmons, a Dallas art teacher. She received her BA in History at the University of Texas at Austin. She then moved to New York City and received her JD from Columbia Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband Jim Krugman and Bucky, Gracie and Tad.
CONNECTICUT PUBLIC TELEVISION:
CONNECTICUT PUBLIC TELEVISION will serve as co-producer of the Series and will act as the PBS liaison with the nationwide network of PBS stations. CPTV is one of the top producing stations of public television programming in the United States, with more than a decade of experience providing popular, high-quality, entertaining, and educational content. Under the leadership of Larry Rifkin, vice president and senior programming executive, CPTV has produced or presented programs spanning a number of genres, including children’s programming, how-to/lifestyle series, documentaries and concert specials. CPTV’s national public television presentations and collaborations include Barney & Friends, Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers, Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful!, Blue Man Group: Inside the Tube, Seasoned with Spirit and Road to a Better Life.
CPTV has been awarded over 40 Emmy awards and nearly 200 Emmy nominations. Additional honors include CINE Golden Eagle Awards, American Film Institute awards, and accolades from The New York and Chicago Film Festivals, Associated Press, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among others. CPTV has an industry-wide reputation for fiscal and creative responsibility, with a consistent record of delivering projects within established budgets and projected timelines. In 2004, CPTV moved into a new, state-of-the-art production facility in Hartford, Connecticut, equipped with the latest digital technology.
Purchase Individual Episodes
Each of the 13 Programs - $19.95
Reviews of the Series
Individual Programs of First Season
Program 101 - van Gogh's Assylum at St. Remy, France
Program 102 - Monet's Waterlily Garend in Giverny, France
Program 103 - Cezanne at Mont St. Victoire, France
Program 104 - Renoir’s Olive Groves - Cagnes Sur Mer, France
Program 105 - American Impressionists in Giverny, France
Program 106 - J. M.W. Turner at the Harbor of Honfleur
Program 107 - Etretat, France – A Landscape of Inspiration
Program 108 - American Impressionism in Old Lyme, CT
Program 109 - The Transcendent Landscapes of George Inness in Montclair, NJ
Program 110 - The Luminous Landscapes of J. F. Kensett at Contentment Island, CT
Program 111 - Hudson River Painters – Kaaterskill Falls, NY
Program 112 - American Impressionism – Lieutenant River, CT
Program 113 - Hudson River Painters at F. Church’s Olana in the Hudson Valley, NY
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