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.
Fourth day in my painted good-by to summer, and this time I’m at my favorite pond and conservation area in Wayland, Massachusetts. The dead trees on the left are a favorite place for the great blue heron to sit and meditate. When I walk the path around the pond, the sound of plop plop precedes me as frogs jump back into the water. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I use mostly 140 pound rag watercolor paper for my little oil paintings and studies. The paper is primed with acrylic gesso or clear shellac (front and back). Most of the paintings are done in two or three stages. The first day, I block in the major shapes and darkest values using a palette knife and Liquin Impasto medium. My goal is to get vibrant textures and strong contrasts. The second day, I start refining an image from the rather abstract base, using soft brushes, knife, and occasionally a soft rubber roller. Sometimes a third day is need to finish the painting. My goal in doing these small works is to keep my response to the subject fresh and let the accidents that happen when painting with a knife inform the direction the painting takes. I also want to capture the liveliness and tranquility of the place.
The third painting in my series Last Days of Summer – or places you want visit one more time. This is a view along the lower trail at Purgatory Chasm, a local state park situated on a geological fault line in Central Massachusetts. One trail forms a loop around the top, with views down into the chasm. Or, you can take the trail that descends into the chasm – not particularly accessible once ice and snow season begins. Enjoy.
Side trips to Purgatory Chasm are a prerequisite for many summer days – the rock walls are just so wonderful to paint. This view, from across the chasm, shows the beginnings of fall color. What’s not to love?