We are fortunate to live by the North River, a scenic waterway that meanders inland for miles and miles from its turbulent intersection with the South River and the sea. Its tributaries, marsh, canals, wildlife, and shipbuilding past intersect our lives at every turn. We see the river daily, smell its various tides, conserve it, recreate in it, around it, taste its salt in our air, hear its quiet and its clamor.
I cross this river each day en route to work, and pause for a few seconds to marvel at the beauty of our world. The river provides unlimited painting subject matter. Yesterday, I learned that one lone evergreen, perched on the marsh, was a casualty of the blizzard last weekend. The tree, which I have often called the South Shore's "Motif Number 1", stood vigil on a point near the Driftway Park, providing a lovely vertical note in the world of horizontals. This painting is from one gray day on the river.
My lesson was about painting on a low key day. I instructed my students to note the lightest and darkest passages in the paintings, then to check each mixture to make sure it was between the two; always a good strategy, but essential on a low key day. We painted for while, watched the sky darken, then darken more. Eventually, it rained, and we continued painting. Hooray for oil paints. As I recall, we fled when the downpour began. I take my painting students to this park almost every spring. We will return, but the little lone tree will be missed.