Friday, June 24, 2016

"I know this tree!" - The Joy of Connecting Threads


My husband and I were grabbing a bite in a local pub last week.  I looked out the window and thought.. "I know that tree!"  I think the complete thought is "I know that tree in that context with water behind it and its relationship to the other pines around it." Then remembered that I had made this watercolor sketch of it from another angle last summer.  I find it a great joy that images can be imprinted on my brain in this way.  The memory/relationship/association comes forward and I get a chance to explore a memory, usually involving other senses besides sight.  This memory and imprint was only a year old, but I have had images/memories jump forward from decades ago because something I see bumps a dusty corner of my brain.  I wrote about a few other examples here, here, and here... the first involving a 300 year old house near the home of my youth, another involving a color palette one of my students used in her still life and a John Alexander White painting, and another involving some quiet snowy trees and a favorite childhood book.  When cognitive threads connect, I rejoice.
How about you?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Saint Sulpice, Montreal" pastel & ink 18 x 12

Back in March, we had a whirlwind weekend in Montreal to listen to our daughter speak at a linguistics conference at McGill University.  The city is lovely, and sparkling, and accessible, and we stayed at the beautiful hotel Le Saint Sulpice under the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, courtesy of a friend. The narrow cobbled streets are filled with beautiful buildings, each with interesting moldings, details, doors, windows... sumptuous.  Here is a view of the street where we stayed.  You can see it in progress in this post.  

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"Cross Street - Clarendon" watercolor & ink 9 x 12

 A few weeks ago, I was painting in Boston with a friend. We parked ourselves at the intersection of Newbury and Clarendon.  It was  a gorgeous, sunny day at the end of April, and the streets were packed.  I love drawing the city, adding pedestrians who catch my eye.  The result shows sidewalks more busy than they actually were in any given moment, but you can feel the motion, the busyness; in this case with faces turned toward the sun after a long, not necessarily harsh, but certainly gray, winter.  

You can see my sketches and the beginning of color into the painting in a former blog post (link here).  Usually, I do the drawing outside, and sometimes begin adding color, but more often, I add the color from my head.  I remember the angle of the sun, and add the colors and value that work in the scene. I'm happy with the outcome, and looking forward to my next urban painting day.  

Meanwhile, you can see this painting, and two others of mine, on Memorial Day Weekend at the North River Arts Festival in Marshfield, MA.  The juried art and sculpture show is fantastic each year, and this year will be no exception.  I coordinate the jury day, so get a preview of the accepted work.  Hoping to see you on the street, Sat or Sun.  Come say "Hi".  I'll be painting outside both days, 10 - 5pm. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Newbury and Clarendon" in progress watercolor & ink 9 x 12

During school vacation last week, I was so glad to have the time to get into Boston for a couple of days.  The first was on Patriot's Day to watch the Marathon, which I love, especially when hanging out with my daughter, a college student nearby.  The second was a day with my painting pal, Marianne.  We took the boat in, stopped and met my husband at one of the best donut shops around, Kane's, on the corner of High and Oliver streets. Just an aside, I grew up in Canton, MA where we were blessed with Charlie's Donuts.  If you bump into anyone from Canton of a certain age and mention Charlie's they will lick their lips and you will share memories of the most memorable donuts ever.  Kane's is the closest I have ever tasted, which means they are probably as good when you factor in the romanticized memory component of the Charlies' Donut 
experience. But I digress...

Back to Boston.  We meandered across Boston, down onto Newbury Street and found a place in the sun.  I like to sketch the street, concentrating on the physical structures, and dropping down into the people on the street occassionally when someone catches my eye.  The result is often a street that looks more crowded that the day actually presented, but feels right to me because it represents the coming and going and shifts and changes and the human pageant.  I began to add watercolor later, from memory of where the sun and shade were.  
Eventually, the sun motivated us to move along.  We hung out for a while on the stone benches at the Boston Public Library and watched the human drama that Boston always provides; lots of pedestrians, business people, tourists, a drug deal happening 15 feet from us, street theater, about twenty police converging around the corner from us for reasons unknown, and the Boston Opera Guy singing beautiful arias.  My daughter came to meet us for late lunch, we wandered back into the Public Garden and did a little more drawing before heading home for the boat.   Great day!  Thanks for looking!  I'll post a final when I complete the painting soon.  See below for more photos of the work in stages.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Marshfield Fair observations - watercolor

Every student in our K-12 school creates two Exhibitions of Mastery each year.  Exhibitions of Mastery are long term projects that involve research and public presentation.  The students from our school are terrific public speakers as a result.  My arts project is collaborating with the Marshfield Fair (our local Agricultural Fair) this year, its 149th.  My students are going to work in groups to research some of the Fair's offerings for visitors, including horticulture, 4-H, vegetables, artisans, quilting, etc, and make educational displays that will be moved around the Fair during its 10 days in August, the goal being to inform and entice families to see all that the Fair has to offer during their visit.  We'll begin in earnest after vacation, but the students did some research this week and painted their choice of images.  I am impressed by their sense of design.   As always, the midway rides are a big draw.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Monhegan Harbor" after Aldro Hibbard, pencil and ink

This past weekend, I spent a few hours at a fascinating conference on hunger and homeless.  Very interesting, packed with information from the Southeast Area Missions.  I bring my sketch book wherever I go, and found the time to do some sketches of lovely Monhegan Island, including the lower sketch which is my copy of Aldro Hibbard's painting of "Monhegan Harbor" of which I carry an image in my sketchbook.  It's so beautiful, and I love that I sit on the same rocks that Aldro Hibbard, Rockwell Kent, Winslow Homer and many, many others painted so well, so long ago.


Aldro Hibbard's "Monhegan Harbor"

Sunday, April 03, 2016

"Saint Sulpice, Montreal" pastel and ink 18 x 12

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a quick couple of days in Montreal to listen to our daughter speak at a linguistics conference.  We hadn't been there in years, so it was a treat to get back, albeit quickly.  The weather was gorgeous, sunny, crisp, beautiful, creating great contrast in the streets of Old Town including this view up Saint Sulpice Street to Notre Dame.
I don't work in pastel,  but decided to give it a shot.  I drew the image using a bamboo stick dipped in black ink, and am in the process of painting in pastel.. sort of an exploration.  It's a bit of a mind bender for me because I usually work with a limited palette whether in watercolor or oil and create the colors I need.  This is a different process, and I'm trying to find my way... so exciting!  The painting is in process.  I chose toned paper that matches the undertones of the old town granite buildings.  We'll see where it goes from here.  Thanks for looking.