New England Coastline #6

TM9326 New England Coastline #6 7×7 oil on paper

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.

The Minutes Masquerade As Hours

TM9324 The Minutes masquerade as Hours 36×60 oil on panel

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.

TM9324 The Minutes Masquerade as Hours – detail with breaking wave

TM9324 The Minutes Masquerade as Hours – detail

Homage to Tectonic Time

TM9323 Homage to Tectonic Time 24×44 oil on panel

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.

TM9323 Homage to Tectonic Time – detail from right side with morning view to far headland

TM9323 Homage to Tectonic Time – close-up

TM9323 Homage to Tectonic Time – detail from left side showing quartz intrusions in ancient basaltic headland


Up on Bass Rocks

TM9322 Up on Bass ROcks 36×48 oil on panel

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.

TM9322 Up on Bass Rocks – close-up of granite with bands of quartz crystals and yellow lichens

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.



An Early Morning Prayer

TM9321 An Early Morning Prayer 30×36 oil on panel

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.

TM9321 An Early Morning Prayer – close-up of old stone battered by waves

TM9321 An Early Morning Prayer – detail showing traces of spatter, knife, and roller application of paint

TM9321 An Early Morning Prayer – close-up from left side with eroded granite hosting ocher lichens