Maine Farmland Trust and the Falcon Foundation are collaborating on a project called “Paint the Farm” to create paintings of farms and farm life in Maine. I chose the Peggy Rockefeller Farm, which operates as part of the College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor. This is the road to the hay barn off Norway Drive last week.
March Thaw, oil on panel, 20 x 16
I’ve set up the pastel corner of the studio and decided to try out my new idiom in that media. My new effort is centered around allowing information to accumulate: marks that describe color and volume coming together over the entire surface of the work. I’ve been working at this in oils for a few months and it makes a kind of perverse sense that it is an easier thought process in chalk.
Frenchboro, Wharf with Fishing Gear, 18 x 24, pastel on board
August in Maine is by turns bright and stormy, and always chock full of cars, camper vans, and people. We have family and friends visiting, phone calls and g-chat, and people in expensive cars from out-of-state pulling over to the side of the gravel road to ask about the garden and take pictures. All this will start to taper off after Labor Day and disappear entirely before Thanksgiving so I’ll take the crowds now as antidote to the barren landscape when it comes. Meanwhile, in the moments in between visitors, we paint.
This is the matching piece to last month’s small painting done in Frenchboro titled “Shade Trees”, 20 x 16, oil on panel. Both pieces are currently hanging at the Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, and look lovely glowing under the good lights against the white walls there.
There’s probably a label for the blogging disorder of allowing photos to lapse past their freshness date. . . I go out into the garden these days to gather visuals and am immediately distracted by ripe blueberries, carrots that should be pulled to make room for a second planting, and slugs in the zinnias. On the other hand, our new studio building is making it much easier to be disciplined about painting.
This painting of Frenchboro harbor is one of two that will be hung as a set at Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor for a show opening August 14. 20 x 16, oil on panel, finished last week – pic of its other half coming soon.
Now that I have the studio set up to work with pastels it seems only logical to start getting my hands dirty. . . this is a piece from our recent trip to Grand Manan.
6 x 18 inches, pastel on board
This site has been very, very good to me. . .something about the stacked layers of rocks and water going straight out to the horizon that is visually compelling. Right now in late June and just past the longest day it’s like a desert down there on the rocks, but I took a long hike along the shore on Mother’s Day when the snow still extended down to the water’s edge and made the start to this painting.
By popular request, here are some details. . . the far reaches are under water at high tide and are covered in rockweed and barnacles, turning them a lovely warm sepia color even in the dead of winter.
Detail of the rotten snow along the tide line:
And finally, the drawing stage from the site. This is Ivory Black oil on a tinted board.
If you live on the island, you’ve noticed that the rocks at Compass Harbor are black basalt, bleached with salt-grime and truly spectacular in the late afternoon sun. If you also said to yourself, wow, I bet that view would be very difficult to paint, you would be correct. Here’s a first attempt:
View from Compass Harbor to the Porcupine Islands, late afternoon. 24 x 18 inches, oil on panel
I have four new blog entries started and material just keeps coming; the title of this blog was never more apropos than the bees and art in spring 2014. It’s all very exciting but very little is actually being posted. To remedy that, here’s a quick look at a study for a larger painting now on the easel of Frenchboro Harbor. Done from studies and photos taken last August, this study represents a departure for me in terms of image and paint application.
Frenchboro Harbor Study; Big Trees 16″ x 20″, oil on panel
Here’s a detail of the paint: applied without medium a la Cezanne, “a short stroke representing only the brush exploring the form”.
March in Maine: wearing crampons over my boots to hike down to Four Seals Beach and wearing fleece-lined leather gloves to stand on the rocks and draw, white sky with black rocks and seals barking in the distance, the full moon and the sun glowing on different horizons. I’m happy with the work, will continue to use a Cadmium Lemon wash and different hues to make the underlying map on this set of paintings.
Four Seals, Square Rock, 18 x 24 inches, oil on board
This having-a-studio thing is the best idea ever – why did it take us 20 years to get it done? Oh right: money, property, time, planning, coalescence of ideas. . .but now that we’re moved in and working all that effort is really paying off. Just off the easel today is a view of Four Seals in Somesville in the flat white light of early morning, 18 x 24, oil on board.