Quiet Morning at the Quarry

TM9345 Quiet Morning at the Quarry 36×36 oil on panel

Maybe it’s because I went to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams and saw work by an artist, Clifford Ross, who was as impressed as me by the heroic paintings of the Hudson River School painters. Along with the early Dutch landscapists, the Hudson River painters were my go-to artists to study and emulate as I learned to¬† paint. I think their veneration of nature struck a chord, while their fascination with detail felt natural to the etcher in me.

Quiet Morning at the Quarry is my response to what I saw at the museum, Sometimes, going back in time can also push one forward. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9345 Quiet Morning at the Quarry – detail from far wall of quarry

TM9345 Quiet Morning at the Quarry – close-up with water and reflections

TM9345 Quiet Morning at the Quarry – detail from right side

Watersides

TM9341 Gloucester Quarry 7×7 oil on paper

TM9342 Stopping by the Pond 7×7 oil on paper

These two mirrored compositions with still water and reflections are a delight to paint. The “other” world, upside down and mysterious, needs to be convincing but not fussy. I used a palette knife plus a little brushwork to find the forms. The colors are less saturated – by September the greens start to look a bit tired, as if they really can’t wait to get the dressed up again in gold and yellow. Enjoy.

New England Coastline #12

TM9331 New England Coastline #12 7×7 oil on paper

The scarred fingers of ledge reaching into the water at Bass Rocks are such a gorgeous color – all ocher and red oxide, not like the grey granite found toward the middle of the state, or like the maroon, black, and deep mars violet cliffs you can find up north between Lubec, Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. So much color and geometry, so little time! Enjoy.

New England Coastline #10

TM9331 New England Coastline #10 7×7 oil on paper

It’s important to remember that something as apparently soft as water can take down a mountain. New England’s geological past included mountains that could vie with the Alps. All it takes is a few Ice Ages and a lot of weather and time to render that mountain into fractured headlands or shifting sand dunes. Isn’t it amazing?

New Engalnd Coastline #9

TM9330 New England Coastline #9 7×7 oil on paper

The summer studies continue with this small painting from Bass Rocks, so easy to recognize with that honey-colored glow. This one is on a rougher watercolor paper, which lends its coarse texture to the stone. I used a shellac primer so the texture wouldn’t be compromised by a heavy pigment coating.

New England Coastline #8

TM9328 New England Coastline #8 7×7 oil onpaper

The dark stone, wet and slippery with salt splash, is hardly a place for plein air painting, but it provides a wonderful subject to tackle and with a zoom lens on a small field camera. I shoot from a variety of positions, and try different settings, usually on different days. This provides enough information to start a painting. To finish a painting is another matter entirely. That depends on happy accidents, simplification, a basic knowledge of geology, and optimism – at least. Enjoy.