Watching these old cliffs take a battering from the angry sea, I can’t help being astounded that they have survived for so long. They do endure…..
It’s like a warm-up exercise, but more fun. Working on the small paintings prepares me for a full day of painting, and helps me to keep the big picture in mind. Doing dozens of studies of a favorite place also commits it to memory, and gives me more freedom to invent when necessary – always a good thing. Enjoy.
There’s ample opportunity to practice painting granite around these parts, including this little oil painting from Cape Ann.
On first look, The Minutes Masquerade As Hours seems to be about observations – distant rain or a storm clearing off, the way swells roll in, the spreading patterns of salty lace on the beach. But is that all? As I worked on it, I sensed that it was more about the way we experience time. The moments as contrasted with hours, or even now as opposed to all that went before and might yet happen. Being able to deeply focus on work, in this case painting, offers a taste of non-time, of being outside time, even if it’s an illusion. It is delicious. Details below.
Campobello Island is one of my favorite places. The geology is magnificent, with layers of iron rich granite, black basalt, and quartz intrusions that seem to stripe the ancient headlands. All this with views to Grand Manon and Maine. Homage to Tectonic Time is my “portrait” of a spot I like to visit early in the morning. It is wind-swept and primal. Except for erosion, it feels like it hasn’t changed since the end of the last ice age. So much history can be read in the rock. Ancient mountains. volcanic activity, changing sea levels, compression and rebound – a long story that you can touch and feel – it always sends shivers up my spine. Below are details. Enjoy.
There’s a time for drama and a time when quiet is most appreciated. Up on Bass Rocks seems to be a meditative, peaceful morning, with a view out to sea and a retreating fog bank. But in truth, if you love geology, the thrill of touching such an ancient mountain is fantastic. In some ways, the painting is about time – long, stretched out time. The ancient granite, bruised by glaciers and pummeled by the sea, is alive with crystals and abstracted by fractures. To paint it, one’s own sense of time has to slow down as well. The layers of paint and texture can’t be rushed; the tantalizing forms need to reveal themselves. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting was built in layers. The first layer of paint, applied with a soft roller and crumpled (re-used) plastic film, was rough, streaky and transparent. I spattered mineral solvents on the paint and re-rolled the surface repeatedly to achieve grainy textures. I also spattered paint in places, for more depth. The opaque dots of paint contrast nicely with the open spots where the mineral spirits has left deficits of paint. When the first layer was dry, I layered transparent glazes, then painted into the wet glazes with soft brushes and more transparent color. Occasionally I applied paint with the roller, to get more interesting “accidents.” Additional layers of glaze and stippling refined the color and textures.
Why is this titled An Early Morning Prayer? If prayer is about hope, acceptance, love, and readying oneself for the day, then this is my prayer rock, the place I would go every morning to be in prayerful mind. Because I can’t be there, and because I am in the studio, I focus my imagination on the feel of every grain of feldspar and quartz, hear the music of tides on the shingle, and breathe the cool, salty air. Prayer in absentia. It helps. Details below.