I’ve finished the drawing stage of this beach painting from Seawall, in Manset. The beach and campground are part of Acadia National Park and one of the prime sites for the Night Sky Festival in September (which you should plan to be part of if you can – the stars are spectacular here on a clear night!). This is on a 24 x 36 panel and the drawing is done in Rembrandt Ivory Black oil.
Now to let it dry for a week, and spend some quality time on a smaller image of Compass Harbor.
We finally have coverage at our house that seemed cleverly sited to hide from every cell phone tower in the area and now I have a phone! This is relevant because evidently phones have cameras now – very fine cameras indeed – and I can post documentation of works in progress without dragging the Canon down to the studio. I apologize in advance for the art-spam coming your way, have a spruce tree at the Bass Harbor Light to start:
Sometimes I just want to paint structure and there’s nothing like a glass jar buttressed stems, leathery leaves and huge, recurved thorns to work out that urge. These blackberry bushes grow uncultivated along the edge of our gravel road but the blossoms are huge, white and surprisingly delicate for living on nothing but dust and neglect.
Blackberries and Cherries, drawing in progress, vine charcoal on gessoed panel, 40 x 32
This awesome holiday drawing was done by our son, circa 1995.
There are details here that deserve commentary:
- We built this house when Boy was a toddler, so there some things have received more emphasis than they might have from a child that didn’t witness quite so much construction for instance – light switches. As in, hey – we now have electricity!
- Yes, we did store kayaks on hooks from the ceiling. In our defense, it’s a very small house with very high ceilings and it seemed like a good idea at the time?
- Snow falls off that steep metal roof like king-sized mattresses being dropped from 40′. It sounds like thunder and was obviously a big part of his childhood.
- Our neighbors were often in the front yard, spoiling for a snowball fight. I don’t remember the Darth Vader get-up but it’s possible.
- My partner is a landscape painter. That painting hanging on the wall is a pretty good reproduction of a Robert Pollien.
May your season now be merry, and may you have joyous records of the time spent before!
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.
I’ve begun to think of these drawings as maps, as a linear underlayment that details distance, emphasis, and locates key objects on the plane of what will eventually be a painting.
18 x 24, Four Seals in the Bright White Light of Morning
Working on a colored ground (a glaze of pigment over the otherwise white board) is helping me to keep my paint loose, my brushstrokes more fluid, and making it easier to concentrate on the form. I generally use a uniform gray, but after reading about the working habits of Giotto and van Eyck, I decided to try a selection of very bright primary colors. This is the first painting in this series:
18 x 24″, oil on board
The set-up is heavy on bright greens and dark red, balanced by the off-white muslin drapery and tarnished silver pieces. The yellow ground should brighten the darks and influence the lighter colors – we’ll see! Here is a detail of crabapples on the salver:
Our new studio space allows me to work on more that one piece at once. I like having drawings stacked against the wall, and the ability to switch pieces out to let the paint set up on one while mixing a whole new palette of colors for the next. It is immensely satisfying to have inventory! (I know I’m coming to this late, folks, really late.)
Right now I have a painting of a milk-glass vase with zinnias and asters in full swing, but I can also look at the previous oil sketch (same composition) and the charcoal and ink-wash drawing (slightly different viewpoint) for reference. AND, the painting is just so much easier having worked out my issues with aster construction in a previous piece. Not that the asters are smooth sailing even now – it’s rather too bad they grow so well in my garden because they are incredibly complicated.
This is the oil sketch: ivory black on tinted ground, 24 x 18 inches:
Here’s a detail. Asters are complicated!
And this is the wash drawing on Bristol paper, 20 x 17, slightly different view of the setup:
We’ve started to move in to the new space and make ourselves at home. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to see the work from more than a few feet away, and to have all my equipment close at hand. Below is the interior facing north. The big windows give an even light over the course of the day.
The harsh light in the photo above streams in through a set of sliders on the opposite wall. The drapes are light-fast and insulating, because that’s a lot of south-facing glass.
The view from behind the palette. . .
We’re still trimming windows and moving construction debris but we’re painting anyway – I’m looking forward to being able to post about new work in the the new space very soon.