Morning at Minot Beach

TM9320 Morning at Minot Beach 36×44 oil on panel

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.

TM9320 Morning at Minot Beach – close-up of ancient headland

 

At Bass Rocks

TM9042 A Day at Bass Rocks #44 7×7 oil on paper

So many artists have loved and painted Bass Rocks in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It might be the rugged and colorful fingers of granite clawing out to the sea, or the elevation – just high enough to raise the horizon line and provide a different perspective from the nearby beaches. As an artist, I know it could also be the difficulty of anyone climbing out to watch over your shoulder as you paint or sketch. It is public and private at the same time.I was out there recently, and, as usual, found much inspiration for more coastal paintings. The first study, at the top, is looking directly out to sea, while the rest of the gallery concentrates on the rocks. Enjoy.

For the Love of Snow

TM8862 White Mountain WInter #1 6x6 oil on paper

TM8862 White Mountain WInter #1 6×6 oil on paper

TM8864 White Mountain WInter #3 6x6 oil on paper

TM8864 White Mountain Winter #3 6×6 oil on paper

TM8863 White Mountain WInter #2 6x6 oil on paper

TM8863 White Mountain WInter #2 6×6 oil on paper

TM8852 Snowfall at Purgatory Chasm 6x6 oil on paper

TM8852 Snowfall at Purgatory Chasm 6×6 oil on paper

TM8851 Roadside Snow 6x6 oil on paper

TM8851 Roadside Snow 6×6 oil on paper

I understand it’s early November, and I’m glad it’s raining outside, but I love painting snow. All those white patterns abstracting the landscape beg to become a composition. This week I visited my imaginary winter and played with scenes from a few favorite locations. A private vacation, if you please, achieved in the studio. Enjoy.

A group of eight new 6×6 oil on paper paintings were delivered to Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts this week. If you are in the area, stop by, or preview Greylock Gallery’s website with the link to the right.

Up at the Lake

TM8698 Up at the Lake 30x24 oil on panel

TM8698 Up at the Lake 30×24 oil on panel

Yes, I’ve been spending lots of imaginative time in Lubec recently, but there are other subjects. This week I finally finished a smaller landscape that has been in the works for quite some time. The painting, begun last fall, was progressing well. In fact, it was almost done when I ran into a design problem – how to integrate the water (and its strong horizontals) with the cliff (equally strong verticals). I mulled it over for a few months, and nearly sanded the panel clean. Working on the foggy Lubec paintings gave me the idea of incorporating morning fog as a compositional device to integrate the two parts of the painting. Besides, I just love foggy mornings with all their sense of mystery. I think it worked. Now, the sunlight cutting across the tops  of the trees as matched by the light of the fog rising. The ineffable quality of the fog also balances the tough strength of the granite. Enjoy.

TM8698 Up at the Lake - close-up, top of rise

TM8698 Up at the Lake – close-up, top of rise

Patterns

TM8685 Patterns 36x36 oil on panel

TM8685 Patterns 36×36 oil on panel

I like the idea of a painting devoted to variations on one color or value – like the modernist’s black on black or white paintings. However, I need more than the concept, I need a lot of concrete content too – something to anchor the idea to the real world. Hence, my stone paintings. I think of them as conceptual abstractions with a realist’s vocabulary.

Patterns is a play on dark values and little color, but not quite black on black. The array of tumbled stones came mostly from Bass Rocks in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I developed the arrangement in the studio, with an eye toward creating rhythms and patterns within the overall composition. The stones with intrusions of quartz (white lines) are what one of my friends calls “lucky stones.” Jane, I put them there for you. The tiny red seeds and leaves come from the driveway near my studio. They look a lot like detritus I saw at Bass Rocks. I felt they wanted to jump into the painting, so I let them. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8685 Patterns - close-up from center left with concentration of red stones and detritus

TM8685 Patterns – close-up from center left with concentration of red stones and detritus

TM8685 Patterns - close-up from right side with array of lighter stones juxtaposed with black stones

TM8685 Patterns – close-up from right side with array of lighter stones juxtaposed with black stones

Technical painting notes: I used Liquin Impasto on the first layer to build up some textures, then painted the stones using Liquin original medium. I defined the stones first, then dabbed dozens of layers of glaze onto them to simulate color and some texture.

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