Watching the Tide Come In

TM9477 New England Coastline #16 7×7 oil on paper


I used to think


I used to think paintings were

Just facts and descriptions

(extraordinary descriptions)

Of passing clouds, granite,

The sea, etc

And whether to include gulls

or how many.

But now I see these worlds

Are all abstractions, bits of liquid

Color and equivalents precisely

Mixed and laid down,

Left on their own

To assemble, dissemble,

Or rearrange as needed.


Like us,

Some paintings have long

And confusing lives.



From Gloucester

TM9474 New England Coastline #13 7×7 oil on paper


Gray skies, breakers, and sienna-colored ledge – this must be Gloucester! It’s mesmerizing to watch water find it’s path along the cracks and hollows. The route is always the same and always different. Enjoy.

Scrambling Up!

TM9475 New England Coastline #14 7×7 oil on paper

TM9476 New England Coastline #15 7×7 oil on paper

I’m often asked why I paint so many (partially) obstructed views. The answer might be simple. I love the anticipation! But behind that obvious response, there is a deeper reality. Anything achieved without effort is seldom deeply appreciated. So in truth, I paint the obstructed view because it must be earned. The climb, the effort, the anticipation, and then the reward of seeing so much big space and moving air is a complete experience. In the case of these coastline paintings, it is also about my fondness for the rugged geometry, whether solid or eroding. Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: I usually do these little guys in two steps. The first day I block in the major shapes with a knife loaded with oil paint mixed with Liquin Impasto medium. I also use a fine brush and dark paint to “draw” some of the fractures. When this base layer is dry (usually the next day) I use soft brushes and a knife to define the forms.

A Long Reach

TM9335 A Long Reach 36×60 oil on panel

The waves reach us in many ways – from distance, from imagination, through time….and become part of us emotionally, psychologically, and physically. I suspect that is why so many of us respond so strongly to their pull. The salt water draws us in, recognizes that we too are mostly salt water, full of rhythms and tides, part of a larger greatness. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9335 A Long Reach – close-up of curling wave

TM9335 A Long Reach – detail of lapping water

New England Coastlines

TM9316 New England Coastline #1 7×7 oil on paper

It was inevitable. Each time I start one of these “little babies” I’m transported to a place with fresh air and (sometimes) thundering surf, and I find myself wanting to do it again, and again, and again…….so I do. I learn something new every time, whether its about paint application, paint viscosity, color, layering, and especially taking chances. More to follow! Enjoy.