August 21, 2012

More From Maine

 While I was in Maine, I had a rental car -- I didn't drive my own paint-spattered car up there -- so I was very worried about driving around to paint.  The rental car was expensive enough without having to contend with charges for paint damage.

I ended up painting only what I could see from the house.  You can see why I feel like it's endlessly wonderful to be there from these paintings -- the harbor is the view from the East side of the house; the back barn is on the West side; the rock beach is to the south; the ferry and lobster boats are past the harbor; the rose hips are from the front lawn and set up on the porch in the still life of rose hip tea.  Usually I also paint the house itself, a beautiful 1880s Victorian Maine classic, and I also like to paint the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn before the beach.  No time this year.

You can see how varied the weather is -- and the light in fog is a completely different and diffuse glow compared to the crisp light under a blue sky.  And how, without leaving the house, you can experience the rocky coast, the busy working harbor, and relax on rocking chairs on the porch or on the lawn.

August 18, 2012

Maine Lobsters

I love to paint in Maine and there's no subject for a painting that interests me more than lobsters.   The painting of a live lobster has to be a quick one -- both because the lobster needs to either be cooled off or cooked and because they like to move.   As models go, they are a steal at $3.50/pound and they hold that "cooked" pose until hunger strikes.  This year, I painted lobsters with painter friends who are used to taking a bit more time and exercising a bit more control in painting -- and their paintings were fantastic.  Here's mine.

August 4, 2012

Painting from a Study

In the background, there's a smaller, 16 x 20, view of early morning sun streaming through the trees at Great Falls that I painted a few years ago.  It's a painting that embodies a lot of what I love -- a combination of abstraction and a view of reality, a lot of color and a feeling of intense sunlight.  I've been meaning to use it as a study for a larger painting, but haven't had the time.  This morning, I found that time (let's just say that there's only one short downstroke of type between A and P. .. I missed that my intended 10 AM departure is actually at 10 PM, a 12 hour "find" of studio painting time).

I've spent time l looking at how other artists have used studies painted plein air to create larger studio works (and I did that for my Washington monument painting I did in late winter).  Already, I can see how the color is cleaner since I'm in the studio and have more time to mix paint, I have more clean brushes on hand and I have a much bigger range of paints than I usually bring on when I'm out.  The larger painting is 30 x 40.  I think it's going to end up in my September show.

One thing you might be wondering about -- what's the thing resting on the easel tray below the painting?  It's a level and I'm finding that I'm looking to it a lot to make sure that my paintings are being painted squarely.

August 1, 2012

Studio Cleaning

Today I took a large number (a painfully large number!) of canvases to the transfer station.  That is the local euphemism for dump.  I loaded them in the car along with some beat up furniture, a badly mangled snow shovel and other junk and they are now gone.  Some of the work was unfinished, others not successful and some, well, I just didn't feel like they represented the vision I see for myself now.  My hope is that a cleaner studio will lead the way to some great painting this fall.

I rescued the above painting, which was at the back of a closet.  This painting was done at Riley's lock where the canal meets the Potomac River, probably in 2010.    Here's what I like about it:  the depth of the space; the way that you can see both arches yet you are drawn to look through the arch on the right; the warm abstraction of the intercutting of stone, tree branches and light on the far right and the cool light on the far left.