Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Beauties of Low Tide

,    As a coastal painter, I find that low tide offers richer possibilities for picture-making as compared to high tide-- unless, of course, other factors, such as an energetic sea, are present.

    Rocky Neck, oil on linen, 9x12

       The oil sketch above, rough and unfinished as it is, was begun at Rocky Neck, famous for its artist colony, in Gloucester.  This old boat has been painted many times by many very good painters, but I find it an ever-fresh subject, particularly at low tide when it sits in a purplish muddy shore.  The boat rests in a shadow cast by a nearby building and the waning light of early evening falls gently on the Gloucester harbor background.   The painting was a side benefit of travel to Essex to participate in the Essex Paint Out.  (Unfortunately, I do not have photos of the two paintings that went up for auction -- and are now gone to happy homes!). Here are some shots of the area:

    Photo taken from the Essex River Motel

     Another photo taken from the same bank of the River.

      The area becomes almost a tidal flat during low tide, the mud and its sky reflections becoming both a challenge and a joy to paint.  Other exciting painting areas include the surrounding salt marsh.

    Before leaving for this weekend event ( Essex Paint Out and auction), I did manage to get some local practice:

    Near Sunset (Beavertail), oil on birch panel, 8x10

    A Beavertail View, oil on wood, 8x10

Thursday, August 6, 2015

More Making Use of Summer

    Reader on the Beach, oil on linen, 12x12

       This oil sketch was done plein air just a few days ago.  I often travel to Ft. Getty in Jamestown (where I now reside) to capture an impression of this wonderful beach.  The beach itself is primarily sandy, but, on one end is this remarkable rock outcropping, complete with passageway through a small arch, through which more water and rocks may be seen.  I estimate that another hour on the easel may help in correcting some deficiencies.  For example, the foreground plant may be too green.  This may be a consequence of my employing an "upgrade" to my usual palette.  The palette for this painting and others you see on this post consists of a modified "twentieth century" palette first successfully used by Robert Gamblin.

    Waning Light (Beavertail), oil on linen, 9x12

       At the tail end of a hot summer day I often set up on the eastern side of Beavertail Light to study the effects of the last rays of the day.  There is a resigned, peaceful mood at this time, despite the mild roar of waves rolling in.  Here the support was linen glued to birch panel.

    The Coming Rain, oil on denim, 12x12

     As an experiment I used this denim canvas to sketch my picture.  The surface, though gessoed, had a coarseness somewhere between burlap and medium grade linen.  The rain cloud formed as I got busy laying in the bridge at Colt State Park in Bristol, and ,in fact, I had to rush to the car to save what paint I had on the support!  If you have ever attempted to paint under a rain cloud, look up overhead.  There in the cloud you will notice veils akin to torn and rippling silk, an awesome but ominous sight.  Take cover!

    The downpour lasted about half an hour, my Soltek easel getting drenched.  The ground was covered with puddles and the light had changed too drastically to continue.  The picture here has been  worked over on the easel for another half hour.