Low Tide Morning

TM9459 Low Tide Morning 20×30 oil on panel

A low backrest of granite from which to enjoy the cool morning – I can barely see Quoddy Head enveloped in the early fog off in the distance. Out here, it seems like nothing has changed. Details below.

TM9459 Low Tide Morning – detail from left side

TM9459Low Tide Morning – detail with shingle, shards, and seaweed

 

Where to put down roots?

TM9461 Odd Place to Call Home 7×7 oil on paper

TM9463 Study from Bass Rocks 7×7 oil on paper

No soil that I can see, but these shrubs have found a way get by in hard circumstances. The first is from Quoddy Head, the second from Bass Rocks, but both offer little but a crack in the stone for the roots to dig in – more than some people have.

Morning on Quoddy Head #1

TM9460 Morning on Quoddy Head #1 7×7 oil on paper

Another part of the rugged coastline at Quoddy Head is this jumble of darkly volcanic rock, as seen on an overcast morning. I haven’t hiked this far very often, but oh what an incredible place! The surf pounds at the eroding cliffs and the thunderous vibrations can be felt in one’s legs. It is both primal and timeless. Enjoy!

From a Morning Hike

TM9450 From a Morning Hike 9×9 oil on paper

It’s a roughed-up piece of geology, battered by winter and tides, but that’s part of what makes Quoddy Head State Park in Maine so special. The other thing that intrigues me is the color banding of red, maroon, and black, all folded and layered. In this little painting, the iron-rich reddish layer is exposed, while the broken bits of the black, volcanic layer show near the bottom. Painted on a slightly larger piece of watercolor paper, the 9×9″ painting is big enough to allow for quite a bit of detail. Enjoy.

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.

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.

 

Watching the Tide Go Out

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out 40x50 oil on panel

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out 40×50 oil on panel

Everything is in transition. That is the theme behind Watching the Tide Go Out. Weather is changing; the sea has all but disappeared. Now it is possible to see what lies beneath – the sorted gravels, mud, salty vegetation, the soggy ground of clams, even the patterns left by clammers and an occasional vehicle. But along with the theme of transition, there’s also the reassurance of seeing far into the distance – wide open space and early mist lifting. A sense of anticipation. Landscape art is place. For me, it also is a way to portray an emotional attachment to the land, and to home. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out - close-up of distant headland retreating sea with cloud reflections, shadows

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out – close-up of distant headland retreating sea with cloud reflections, shadows

Technical painting notes: The sky is straightforward oil painting, but the lower two fifths of the painting employ every technique I know to suggest the varied conditions of a retreating sea. The base layer of dark umbers and blues was rolled on with a soft rubber brayer. Before the paint could dry, I swished mineral spirits (mixed with a bit of stand oil) across was the surface, then spritzed it with more mineral spirits, then dragged a plastic bag across the surface. I wanted a crisply streaky, dark surface with highlights. Some areas were rolled again with out paint on the roller, to distribute the layer and soften textures. The whole process was repeated several times to build up a dense and interesting layer. Finally, just before the paint set up, I used a silicone scraper to create crisp light lines in the foreground – both to evoke the vegetation and to change the size of the marks so that the foreground would feel close.

TM8695 Watcing the Tide Go Out - detail showing methods used to suggest retreating water and sorted sediments

TM8695 Watcing the Tide Go Out – detail showing methods used to suggest retreating water and sorted sediments

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out - detail showing textures, scraping, and brushwork in foreground

TM8695 Watching the Tide Go Out – detail showing textures, scraping, and brushwork in foreground

 

 

Leaning into the Fog

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog 36x36 oil on panel

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog 36×36 oil on panel

The prominent, gloriously rough-hewn cliffs overlooking the Atlantic in Lubec, Maine are a feast for the senses. On my first visit, I thought I’d gone to heaven. Everything felt to so clear and clean – the air smelled of the sea, the gray rocks and wet, black stones seemed stripped of their color, and the sky too, filled with rolling fog banks, was a pearly gray. Only the seaweed screamed out in color, made all the more dramatic by the brief carpets of green by the salt pools. The wildly patterned intrusions of quartz running through the ledge took on a Jackson Pollock aspect. I visit this spot every chance I get, hoping to capture its soul-satisfying presence in a painting. My first visit was over a decade ago, and that’s when I started this painting. I thought it was finished several times, but with new knowledge and experience  painting other work, I found ways to intensify my view.

Working on a painting over several years provides ample time to think about the subject, and what it means to me. In the beginning, it was the sheer, stark, ruggedness and complexity of the geography that appealed, but now I think it’s more about the way the demeanor of the ledge. It is old and worn, but still beautiful as it faces the Atlantic’s fierce storms and the unknown. There is a nobility about it. I want to be like that granite.

Details below. Enjoy.

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog - close-up from center showing near outcrop with quartz veins and distant boulders intermixed with seaweed

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog – close-up from center showing near outcrop with quartz veins and distant boulders intermixed with seaweed

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog - close-up with salt water pool

TM8018 Leaning into the Fog – close-up with salt water pool