Two interpretations of Early Summer at the Quarry, from different vantage points. Sometimes people ask me why I paint the same place again and again. My answer: it’s never the same! Changes in light, season, viewpoint, and my own mood mean I’ll always see something different and challenging. If I don’t see something new, then the problem is me, and I need to find out why. Painting the landscape (nearly) daily is a record of change and a diary. Enjoy these quarries…..
The transformative power of snowfall – what had become the dark woods of late autumn is brilliantly lit by reflective snow crystals, and even the shadows glow! This view, from the trail around my favorite little pond, epitomizes why I so love to paint winter. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I start the winter paintings much as with any season, applying a dark roll-up of thinned oil paint, sometimes warm, sometimes cool in tone. In this case, I used a mixture of burnt sienna, raw sienna, and burnt umber, with a little pthalo green on the left side. I scraped into the wet paint, suggesting branches, and spattered and roughed up the paint on the right side, where the outcrop would be. When the base layer was dry, I began refining the forms, using soft brushes and thin paint to “draw” the trees. I also use a roller to apply white or tinted paint to suggest snow. The accidental way the roller landed on the ridges of dark underpainting almost painted the outcrop for me. Layers of rolling the shadows and white highlights was followed by more refinements with a brush on the rest of the image.
There’s ample opportunity to practice painting granite around these parts, including this little oil painting from Cape Ann.
Campobello Island is one of my favorite places. The geology is magnificent, with layers of iron rich granite, black basalt, and quartz intrusions that seem to stripe the ancient headlands. All this with views to Grand Manon and Maine. Homage to Tectonic Time is my “portrait” of a spot I like to visit early in the morning. It is wind-swept and primal. Except for erosion, it feels like it hasn’t changed since the end of the last ice age. So much history can be read in the rock. Ancient mountains. volcanic activity, changing sea levels, compression and rebound – a long story that you can touch and feel – it always sends shivers up my spine. Below are details. 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.
Why is this titled An Early Morning Prayer? If prayer is about hope, acceptance, love, and readying oneself for the day, then this is my prayer rock, the place I would go every morning to be in prayerful mind. Because I can’t be there, and because I am in the studio, I focus my imagination on the feel of every grain of feldspar and quartz, hear the music of tides on the shingle, and breathe the cool, salty air. Prayer in absentia. It helps. Details below.
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.