Thursday, April 23, 2015

"Cut River" - two takes, work in progress


 "The Cut River was dug in the early 1600s and again in the first decade of the 1800s after the mouth of the river closed up. It provided an inland waterway from Green Harbor to Duxbury Bay and on to Plymouth Harbor and was safer than being on the open sea during storms. " from history of Green Harbor.  

There are lovely old homes on pilings along this tidal river that runs parallel to the ocean.  Several years ago I painted the oil study above with the backlit houses facing me, away from the ocean.  I positioned myself and easel behind a couple of businesses in a sandy parking area and began painting.  I looked down half hour later and noticed the water creeping up so I moved back, then back again 15 minutes later, then again, and packed up within about 35 minutes of first noticing the tide encroaching.   A gentleman in a local business said we were experiencing the highest non-storm tides seen there, occurring twice a year.  Fascinating, but not so conducive to a long painting session.  
Yesterday, I headed down that direction with my sketchbook, and settled in for a quick sketch and wash in.  I have to say, I first looked at a rock on the river's edge to see which way the tide was moving.. again incoming, though not quite so fast.  I laid in a pale wash to indicate where the light and shadow line is, and will complete the sketch here at home.  Interestingly, there is a whole new, and grandiose, home behind the closest homes.  Did I leave it out a couple of years ago, using artistic license?  I think not; more likely it was a tear down and rebuild.  Changing skyline. 
Will be fun to lay in the darks.  I love the bones of these homes.  

Thanks for looking.

 
    

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"At the Lobster Dock" watercolor & ink 6 x 9


I added some color into my recent sketch of lunch up in East Boothbay Harbor at The Lobster Dock as I continue to explore this painting idea.  Though our trips there were over a decade ago, I can remember exactly what the day felt like, the temperature, the still, humid air, the mixed scents of salt water and lobster boiling, and the shimmer over the harbor as we waited for lunch.  I'm enjoying exploring the past, and have learned a few things for when I make this into an oil painting.  I would make a few shifts so that the umbrella seems to be casting more of a shadow below it... to convey more of the need for the shelter it created.

I'll keep you posted as I continue to explore.  Thanks for looking.

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Overlooking Eiffel" watercolor and ink 6 x 9


Spring break... love this time of year and reminiscing about some trips we took during our April breaks a few years ago.  Paris was wonderful, lovely, exciting, the air, the architecture, the art, the views.  I loved exploring and seeing the city through the eyes of my then pre-teen.  Everything was sparkling to me, including the marble on this terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  Getting the travel bug.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, April 17, 2015

"The Violin Maker" William Bicknell at the MFA


I have been visiting Boston's Museum of Fine Arts every few weeks, on Friday nights.  The museum is always lovely, but it is magical at night, quiet, personal, with the windows blocking out the world as they reflect in.  This wonderful painting is a new favorite of mine, and epitomizes something I love about the MFA.  The painting is beautifully designed and rendered... and hanging in the hall outside the coat room, almost like an afterthought.  It grabs my eye every time I see it.  So, I looked it up and began studying it a bit. The light is so subtle, and well-designed.  




       






I love the sliver of light in the upper left corner sneaking in behind the curtain or blanket strung over the windows.  I was showing it to one of my rambunctious 7th graders who is in my art project at school.  We talked about why that little area of light is effective, and is it necessary.  Removing it wouldn't change the focal point of the painting but my eye moves around so much more of the picture space with the sliver back there, and the command of values is astounding.  

Thanks for looking, and if you're at the MFA, check out this beauty, right across from the coat check.    

Friday, April 10, 2015

Childe Hassam silhouette - Nocturne, Railway Crossing




















My classroom has no windows, although I can see light from across the hall through my doorway.... small consolation some days.  I have filled my classroom with visual interest, posters the students have made, art posters, a word wall, etc, etc... and my Smartboard which arrived this year.  Everyday, I choose an image or two to grace the Smartboard when I am not using it for academics.  It has great resolution.  I have displayed Calder wire faces, Eric Carle's joy, Homer, Sargent, Sorolla, today a Paul Rand, illustration... vivid, powerful, deceptively simple genius.   

Seems this winter, now spring, we have seldom seen the sun, and in fact, this mid-week of April, it was dreary and cold and drizzly, and enough is enough.  So, I called on Childe Hassam for a "wow the rain is beautiful" image, and here's what I got.  "Nocturne, Railway Crossing Chicago" from 1892.  Suddenly, the gray day that merges into a gray night, is not so dreary...  I am mesmerized by the silhouettes and tonalism in this quiet watercolor, and spent a little bit of time studying its gracious lines... what a masterpiece.   And, hey, the sun is coming out tomorrow!!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

"Breakfast on Boylston" watercolor and ink 9 x 10

I added some color to "Breakfast on Boylston", from my memory of the day sitting in the coffee shop window.  I make make another adjustment or two.  Spring is beginning to emerge from this long, gray, snowy winter.  We were in the city the other night with friends for dinner, and the air is perfect, that New England air, where light jacket will do.  Gone is the hunched and bent posture of the of winter, looking at the ground for safe footing, clutching hat to head and hand to neck against the piercing wind.  We are beginning to look up, as the woman on the left above... her pace is slower, smiling in conversation.   Looking forward to more city days...

Thanks for looking. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

"High Game" oil 12 x 24 work in progress

The Girls Just Wanna Paint theme for March is "favorite things".  Difficult topic to pin down, so many choices, inside, outside, family, places, etc.  Eventually, I decided on my studio, which is a place I love.  It's a small room in our home, but has its own entrance, and great afternoon light.  We live in an old home, lots of windows, few closets.  I have learned over the years to add nooks, crannies, shelves into many unused small spaces in our home, same for the studio.  My studio is packed with many of my favorite things, including these props up on a high shelf.  The painting isn't complete, but I like the design.  Left to right... my Charles Reid painting flowers book, a small ceramic planter with a cherub pulling a cart (no need to ask why, it's so tchotchke and so lovely), one of a vintage pair of mache reading babies as bookends (see comment above), a great green vase, small red chair, Chinese replica mud figure, Dad's FBI bowling trophy from the 1950s, big blue vase, two small ceramic angels, and an ironstone cream pitcher... I have some work yet to do... but these are some of my favorite things.  

See the rest of the Girl's work here, and as always, thanks for looking.