The common phrase …get to the point!!!… often implies a certain frustration with too much description or detailed narration, but sometimes the journey is the point. My preparations for this painting started years ago during my first glimpse of the Con Robinson point on Campobello Island in New Brunswick. Glimpse, because it was the end of the day, high tide, and I was approaching from the wrong place. I took pictures from a distance and vowed to return. Three years of returning, finding a better route, taking photos in rain and sun, high and low tide, and studying the stone and debris led to this first depiction of this amazing textural feast leading to the (part-time) island.
Technical painting notes: I chose a clearing gray day because the subtle color of the stone glows in those conditions. A hint of fog in the distance stands in for all the fog that keeps rolling over the island, and also implies that we never know what’s really coming toward us. The stone-laden shingle was a special challenge – how to create the feel of innumerable stones and pebbles without losing the rugged quality of this wild place. The solution was loose underpainting with lots of alkyd medium and transparent colors (iron oxide, dioxazine violet, burnt umber, permanent alizarine) using a bristle brush. When the underpainting was dry, I painted the upper surfaces and planes of the stones with somewhat more opaque pigment, but tried to keep a very light touch so that the striations in the undercolor would show through. A soft, nylon, chisel-ended brush helped me to achieve the angles. A similar treatment was used on the island’s granite walls.
My new show opens officially at Arden Gallery July 1.