Bucks County has been a haven for artist since the days of Edward Hicks. In the late nineteenth century, Tonalist painter William Lathrop settled in the area. Teas given by his wife Anne brought a number of artists to the area, and many decided to stay, including legends such as Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber.
Other artists were born and raised in the area, and have become as much as part of the landscape as the Delaware River, Mt. Haycock, and Ringing Rocks. Ranulph Bye is such a Bucks County landmark. The artist can trace his connection to the area back to his ancestors who received their land grant directly from William Penn.
Over the years, Bye with sensitivity and skill, has painted the rich heritage of Bucks Countys landscape, train depots, and firehouses in a series of watercolors, oils, and drawings. Bye has written and/or illustrated five award-winning books that capture the sadly vanishing heart and soul of the region: The Vanishing Depot, Victorian Sketchbook, Ranulph Byes Bucks County, and Ranulph Byes Collection of Fire Houses. Students and other artists have studied with Bye for years for to learn his signature approach to painting. He has authored a book on the subject and taught for thirty years at Moore College of Art, but now devotes his time exclusively to his painting.
In the 1960s, Bye was among the invited group of artist to Harry Rands studio in Holicong. "His was the only studio around which could accommodate a small group comfortably," says Bye. We would get models from the local community; sometimes a life model. It was not meant to be a teaching class, just a place for artists to get together and work. Bill Nye of New Hope joined the group and posed from time to time." Ben Solowey was also among the artists included, and the Studio has a number of drawings from these sessions.
"Since Ben was the master," says Bye, "we let him be the monitor." The group would often time restrictions on their work ten minute sketches, etc. and according to participants, occasionally the group would simply congregate around Bens easel to marvel at the strong drawings he could produce quickly.
There is a terrific exhibition of Byes work on view at the Bianco Gallery, his exclusive representative. For more information call 215-348-4235 or visit www.biancogallery.com.
Studio of Ben Solowey Home Page
Sketches © Ranulph Bye. Text © 2001 The Ben Solowey Collection. All Rights Reserved.