Two interpretations of Early Summer at the Quarry, from different vantage points. Sometimes people ask me why I paint the same place again and again. My answer: it’s never the same! Changes in light, season, viewpoint, and my own mood mean I’ll always see something different and challenging. If I don’t see something new, then the problem is me, and I need to find out why. Painting the landscape (nearly) daily is a record of change and a diary. Enjoy these quarries…..
The transformative power of snowfall – what had become the dark woods of late autumn is brilliantly lit by reflective snow crystals, and even the shadows glow! This view, from the trail around my favorite little pond, epitomizes why I so love to paint winter. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I start the winter paintings much as with any season, applying a dark roll-up of thinned oil paint, sometimes warm, sometimes cool in tone. In this case, I used a mixture of burnt sienna, raw sienna, and burnt umber, with a little pthalo green on the left side. I scraped into the wet paint, suggesting branches, and spattered and roughed up the paint on the right side, where the outcrop would be. When the base layer was dry, I began refining the forms, using soft brushes and thin paint to “draw” the trees. I also use a roller to apply white or tinted paint to suggest snow. The accidental way the roller landed on the ridges of dark underpainting almost painted the outcrop for me. Layers of rolling the shadows and white highlights was followed by more refinements with a brush on the rest of the image.
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.
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.
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.
Layers and intrusions, it looks so different near high tide! I especially love the purple/green seaweed on some of the lower surfaces. On it goes!
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?