I cannot remember a time in my childhood when there was not the smell of linseed oil and turpentine in my nostrils, nor the sight of pictures being painted before my eyes.
My father, Guy C. Wiggins, who has been called "the last great American impressionist" in the literature, was constantly at work, whether painting in the studio or out-of-doors, supporting his family with his brush. During the summers we lived in Lyme, just up the Connecticut River from Old Lyme, one of the most important centers of American impressionism during the first decades of the 20th Century . My grandfather, Carleton Wiggins, a prominent Barbizon pastoral painter in his time, had been one of its founders. There as a child I met and still remember some of the great painters of the period, among them, John Sloan, Robert Vonnoh, George Luks, Eugene Higgins and Edward Rook.
When the Great Depression hit and my father was suddenly no longer able to sell paintings he opened the Guy Wiggins Art School in Lyme, Connecticut. This was a seminal time for me. Students came from as far away as Chicago -and there were no airlines then - to study with him. I sat in on the weekly criticism sessions of their work, carried their paint-boxes up the hill where models would pose under a great oak tree.
The Second World War, however, sent me off in a different direction. My fascinating experience in the occupation of Japan led me into the Foreign Service and my painting was limited to Sundays. Despite the many attractions of that career, I resigned in order to "follow the family trade" and satisfy my desire to paint full time, which I have been doing for the last 25 years.
My great-grandfather settled in Brooklyn and we were and are New Yorkers. New York provides me with my favorite motifs: famous buildings, busy streets, cafes and quiet parks. But I also paint country landscapes, still lifes and flowers. My works are primarily oil on canvas.
© Guy A. Wiggins 2010