Following Low Tide

TM9315 Following Low Tide 36×54 oil on panel

Wide expanses of sky and a disappearing ocean provide the subject for this large painting from Lubec, Maine. The surprise of seeing what lies beneath the water always rouses my curiosity. Rivulets and pools interspersed with ribbons of sand, slippery green algae, and peat banks form complex patterns across the nearly flat plane. A distant headland is barely visible in the encroaching fog. This is a quiet place. Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to lay down a streaky layer of dark reddish brown oil paint, swished a manipulated with mineral spirits to suggest some of the textures I wanted. Later, as I worked up the details from the scene, the painting started to get too fussy, so I took out the roller again and simply re-rolled over some of the wet paint to “disturb” it. Patterns of wet paint repeated themselves as they came off the roller, creating a more interesting effect. I also rolled a semi-transparent layer of the gray/beige to suggest the sand, then let the accidents of rolling determine where the darker wet sand would be. FInal touches were highlighting the ridges of sand with more opaque paint, adding the strips of water caught between the ridges, and introducing a warm light to some of the further sand patches. Multiple grey glazes of fog pushed the horizon into the deeper distance.

Homage to the Nomen Rock

TM8200 Homage to the Nomen Rock 12×12 oil on panel

Homage to the Nomen Rock  – what is a nomen? It is the landmark, the thing which stands out in the landscape, the visible sign that tells us where we are, and the emblem or vessel that carries the spirit of that particular place.  This is the outcrop that I visit first each time I go to Quoddy Head in Lubec, Maine. It carries a little of everything – iron oxides, gorgeous quartz crystals and intrusions, thick bands of smoothly grained dark gray granite, and, at low tide, a mantle of richly colored seaweed. It is, and represents, the mother of all the fractured and tossed stones around it. And it glistens in the fog.  My nomen. Enjoy!

Technical painting notes – I’m preparing a painting demo, not of this painting, but another which also features a nomen rock and firs. Coming soon!

Morning at Quoddy Head

TM8168 Morning at Quoddy Head 36x48 oil on panel

 The fog comes in; the fog goes out. It’s as if the world were only partly present, and secrets were being withheld. Perhaps the artist in me thinks that if I keep painting, I’ll uncover something  – though I don’t know what. So it’s back to Quoddy Head again, and neighboring Campobello Island, to look for a new way to share this special place.

Of Special Interest! The town of Lubec, Maine (home of the Quoddy Head State Park) is celebrating its bicentennial this summer with festivities that include an art auction.  Artwork will be on display at the Lubec Grange July 2 – 8,  with a closing reception July 8 at 4:30 – 7pm. Last bids at 6pm, all for a fine cause! Below is a sneak preview of my contribution to the auction, Miscellaneous Punctuations #1. For additional information about the auction and events, e-mail questions to    

Miscellaneous Punctuations #1 12×12 oil on panel. This painting, indeed my whole stones series, was inspired by my first visit to Quoddy Head State Park. Walking the shingle on a misty, fog shrouded afternoon and finding (millions!) of striped and subtly shaded, ocean-tossed stones – I was entranced. They became the vocabulary for many abstract yet realistic paintings.

Where the Heart Stretches

TM8132 Where the Heart Stretches 30x31 oil on panel

The Lubec inspired paintings continue, with a new view from the Quoddy Head as it rises up from the Atlantic. The geometry of the flat, scarred granite before the eroding cliff intrigued me – especially the way it was swept clean by tides. The openness, the smell of damp woods and ocean – such are the places I want to remember, places to keep in the heart .