Some paintings provide a passage into insight. The idea of allowing more of the abstract underpainting to show through in the finished painting was one of my goals in A Deeper Look. I began the painting in my usual way, but if something interesting started to happen, I let it. As the painting progressed, I realized that I was sensing both the water and the woods – almost independently. The painting was starting to feel more like my experience of the place. It was a thrilling moment. Finishing the painting meant restraining myself from painting too much – only just enough to provide a clue or hint at what I saw. This way of working is more interesting, and allows the mysterious quality of the woods and pond to dominate. A celebration moment. By letting go, the reflection I was painting became more otherworldly. Like seeing through Alice’s looking glass, an alternative reality emerged – one more interesting than I could have imagined. Details below. Enjoy.
Summer is also the season when hurricanes affect the coast, turning the water into thick foam. This view is from good old Bass Rocks, of course. Enjoy.
September Days is a gentle anticipation of the coming season with its bright colors and quiet tones, all reflected in the pond I so love to paint. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: At 36×72″, this painting posed some challenges. Just seeing what I was doing during the initial stage was difficult. I usually like to start on a table, rolling the paint onto the panel and manipulating the image with (very) wet solvents and oil. However, getting far enough away to see the wet painting was nearly impossible. Next time I might try working on the floor.
Rounding the corner on summer – tonight the forecast is for a chilly night in the 50’s – hurrah! This most recent Last Days of Summer painting depicts the pond with lingering morning shadows. I suspect the next will have more yellow! Enjoy.
Number eight in the Last Days of Summer Series, and you can certainly feel fall around the corner. The colors in some trees are taking a slightly golden cast, and the sienna-hued shrub in front says it clearly. I know it’s a cliché, but I live to enjoy the seasonal changes. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: Working on this little fellow, I found myself getting too tight, trying to include too much information. To keep the broader gestures strong, and subdue the detail, I used a palette knife to restore the impression and “smear” some of the detail. When I lose the “big picture” details are meaningless.
One more summer painting from Gloucester, this one from a small quarry deep in the woods behind a friend’s house. I’ve spent time here watching fish in the water (and trying to photograph them). One frog spent nearly a whole day watching me sketch and photograph reflections in the water and the granite walls. It’s a beautiful place in the heart of of Cape Ann, full of history, blueberries, and wonderful memories.
Back to Gloucester for a study from one of the many quarries – and the 6th painting in my mini-series Last Days of Summer. The still water is a wonderful foil for the rising granite walls. Some of the quarries ae incredibly deep, others are small and intimate. The small ones were usually worked by one man or family, and can be found deep in the woods. Much of the granite from Gloucester was shipped to Boston to become elegant edifices. Some became curbstone and paving stones. I love granite – durable and humble.
The view from a different part of the pond, and part of the Last Days of Summer mini-series. These quiet and contemplative ponds are scattered across New England. Many are natural to their environment, but some were encouraged by early farmers to provide water for dairy cows. Beautiful in summer, they are also valuable for ice skating in winter. The granite outcrops are also a much-loved characteristic of home. I am reminded of one of my favorite words – topophelia – meaning a deep love of place. It sums up my work and life. Enjoy.