Going to the ends of the earth – it’s a phrase we all have heard and dreamed about. But I like to think of that phrase in terms of time as well. If the earth can seem both tiny and vast, then time, with its epochs and geological eras can also be incredibly deep. I was thinking about this while working on the painting. This easily climbed granite outcrop was once part of a chain of nearly alpine-sized mountains. And the sand and gravel at its feet? thousands of years of erosion and ice ages have humbled the mountain, building deep troughs of rubble. Remembering these processes as I pant is daunting. So much time, so many changes. It puts a different perspective on current events. Details below. Enjoy
A sunrise hike to the end of the point with a thermos and a biscuit. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. This view – looking out to Grand Manon from Lubec, Maine is absolutely one of my favorites. The deeply weathered outcrops feel extraordinarily ancient. I almost want to paint a pterodactyl in the sky. Enjoy. Detail below.
There are times when one needs to get outside, really outside, Time spent on a cliff looking out to sea satisfies that need for me – the big space and open feeling dissolves so many pressing distractions, at least for a while. And if I can’t get there? Imagine, or remember, or paint it. Same effect (almost). Enjoy.
The tumble and erosion along this geologic fault exposes so many mysteries. I walked here once with a geologist, and the complications from ancient mountain building, compression, folding, and slipping, followed by ice age scraping, and rebound, leave traces and layering that are a marvel to see and paint. All manner of sparkles and exposed quartz in some areas. Nearby, a sheet of fine gray granite. Don’t even ask about the various lichens and mosses that pile up during damp weather. It is all fabulous. I start to look up what I’m seeing, then get side-tracked by the beauty and return to just plain painting. Oh joy!
New England’s ancient mountains and old fault lines yield wonderfully complex geology – and great places to learn some rock climbing. As kids, we scrambled around embracing the rough stone and glorying in the feeling of strength and power that came with conquering each new outcrop. This spot was a favorite for beginners. Such unadulterated pleasure!
I started a group of Chasm studies on tinted paper in March, just before the covid virus stopped everything. It’s time to go back and finish them! Climbing Up was painted on a soft tan prepared paper, with the hope that some of the warmth would show through the transparent oil paint colors. ENjoy.
Where to spend my summer – virtually. This is it. Especially if I can have a studio overlooking this spot. It’s all a matter of using one’s imagination. Enjoy!
Some trails become a habit. Maybe it’s because they are close-by. I tend to think it’s because they always provide a boost to the spirit and something new to appreciate. I particularly enjoy learning and recording the changes that seasons bring, then incorporating these details into my paintings. Below, you’ll find a few photos showing the development of this piece. Enjoy.
On the first day of painting, I strive to block in the major values and textures. I use a roller to apply thinned oil paint, then manipulate it with mineral spirits and paper towels. I want the feel and gesture of the forms to be established.
The second day started with blocking in the sky and defining the trees. Compositionally, I liked the stalwart tree almost dead center as a focus and contrast to all the diagonals of the granite ledge and uplifted tree boughs. On the third day, I worked on the pattern of light on the granite, and refined the detail in the stone.
On the last day, I decided to bring more light and air into the trees, and lightened the distant ridge so it would recede.
More light and saturated color were added to the overhanging foliage, and reds and violets were glazed onto the ledge in the shadows.
I also glazed more warmth into the stone granite at the bottom of the painting. Finished!