Looking southeast along the Maine coast always seems to bring to view another headland or scrap of rocky coast. I’ve been thinking about this recently as I work on a series of small studies and paintings from that beloved coast. I keep asking myself why do I so love being between a rock and a hard place? It’s a hard question to answer. Maybe it’s the gestalt of our times, and I am just one among many in this spot. Then I think well, better enjoy some aspect of this! Painting and remembering these “hard places” is a source of joy for me, so I suspect I’ll keep painting them, I hope you enjoy them too..
On a hot summer day it’s refreshing to look at the cool, sea-splashed Maine coastline. This 7×7″ oil painting is based on another part of Quoddy Head, surely one of my favorite places. Some places are both ordinary and extraordinary. Enjoy.
The Poem in the Wave, a larger painting which I thought I had finished in 2017, began calling to me from the studio wall these last few weeks. I could see potential for more subtleties, perhaps a bit of semi-transparent roller work, and a chance to calm some areas in favor of accentuating the major wave action. It was worth trying. I think the newer version is more sophisticated. Details from the new painting below, along with the first version. Enjoy.
And the first version….
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.
Is it a too simple, or is it stating a fact? Every day does begin again and again, and again. Yet they are never the same. Like waves, the variations are endless and unique. I try to welcome them all. Details below. Enjoy.
There’s a time for drama and a time when quiet is most appreciated. Up on Bass Rocks seems to be a meditative, peaceful morning, with a view out to sea and a retreating fog bank. But in truth, if you love geology, the thrill of touching such an ancient mountain is fantastic. In some ways, the painting is about time – long, stretched out time. The ancient granite, bruised by glaciers and pummeled by the sea, is alive with crystals and abstracted by fractures. To paint it, one’s own sense of time has to slow down as well. The layers of paint and texture can’t be rushed; the tantalizing forms need to reveal themselves. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting was built in layers. The first layer of paint, applied with a soft roller and crumpled (re-used) plastic film, was rough, streaky and transparent. I spattered mineral solvents on the paint and re-rolled the surface repeatedly to achieve grainy textures. I also spattered paint in places, for more depth. The opaque dots of paint contrast nicely with the open spots where the mineral spirits has left deficits of paint. When the first layer was dry, I layered transparent glazes, then painted into the wet glazes with soft brushes and more transparent color. Occasionally I applied paint with the roller, to get more interesting “accidents.” Additional layers of glaze and stippling refined the color and textures.
Am I becoming redundant? Maybe, but I do love the morning hours best. Maybe it’s the softer light and the sense of a fresh start. Or it could be the quiet……only the sound of water lapping the shore. This location was suggested by one of my students, and she was right – it has that morning magic. Detail below. Enjoy.
One more vigorous day out on Bass Rocks in Gloucester. It’s fun to see what one’s imagination can do interacting with reality. This little fellow was painted on prepared rough watercolor paper, which lends its texture, and a sense of roughness, to the rocks.