The occasional place to sit down and take a break is always welcome. This granite outcrop with shade is perfect. Maybe a book? Maybe lunch? Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: These two views from the trail are painted on the same type of paper but with different primers. The first painting is on acrylic gesso-primed paper. You can see the brush marks along the bottom and right corner. The acrylic gives a non-porous, slick finish, which means the oil paint slips and slides on the surface when I am painting. There is a crispness to the edges.
The second, bottom painting is on shellac-primed smooth paper, which isolates the paper fibers but also gives a softer finish to the paper – more velvety. The softer overall look of the painting is a result.
TM9518 Notes from a Winter Trail – The Clearing 36×42 oil on panel
It’s repetitious to keep saying snowfalls are magical, but there aren’t enough good synonyms. This past week I took a hike around Purgatory Chasm State Park along the Charley Loop. Snow was still clinging to the trees from a heavy snowfall, but now the sun was out and the sparkles of snow dust in the air were spectacular. Everything looked so clean and bright, I fairly danced my way into the woods (p.s. thank you to the person who compacted the snow trail!). I expect there will be more paintings from this hike, and another storm is on the way. It’s a good winter so far. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9518 Notes from a Winter Trail – The Clearing – detail from upper left and center
TM9518 Notes from a Winter Trail – The Clearing – detail from lower left
TM9518 Notes from a Winter Trail – The Clearing – detail from right of center
TM9507 Winter Morning at the Chasm 36×30 oil on panel
There are beautiful mornings and there are glorious mornings – I put this morning in the glorious column. The chasm is almost impossible to navigate in the dead of winter, but with a little imagination and a good zoom lens there is plenty to inspire. I walked the road and tromped into some of the paths. This view across a narrow part of the chasm plays with the opposites of light and shade in a high key. I am especially pleased with the lower right, where the use of semi-transparent paint and a roller worked well to describe deep snow and its luminous light. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9507 Winter Morning at the Chasm – detail with sunlight and shadows
The third painting in my series Last Days of Summer – or places you want visit one more time. This is a view along the lower trail at Purgatory Chasm, a local state park situated on a geological fault line in Central Massachusetts. One trail forms a loop around the top, with views down into the chasm. Or, you can take the trail that descends into the chasm – not particularly accessible once ice and snow season begins. Enjoy.
Side trips to Purgatory Chasm are a prerequisite for many summer days – the rock walls are just so wonderful to paint. This view, from across the chasm, shows the beginnings of fall color. What’s not to love?
The Tao, the way – I think of these words as I climb. The view from the top is not the goal. The experience of walking the trail, listening to every sound around me, smelling the damp of shadowed stone – this is the purpose of the walk. I am another creature in this world.
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!