Yesterday I painted at the Marshfield Fair with a few other artists. We were each assigned a fireworks-themed flower arrangement to interpret as we wished. I worked with my sketchbook, intending to create a page which represented the busyness of this area at the Fair, and the sense of fireworks. I drew the scene in ink, then began adding watercolor. When I got home, I added a little watercolor crayon to tie together some of the darks... an explosion of color. Here are a few photos showing my process. As always, thanks for looking.
The Marshfield Fair begins this week. Each year I volunteer down in the Horticulture area in the basement of the Agricultural Hall. There is a GCFM (Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts) flower show every year. Themes vary. This year's theme is "Take Me to the Fair" in honor of the Marshfield Fair's 150th anniversary. Here is the sign I painted announcing the show. It will be hung on the side of the building by the entrance. I look forward to painting a sign each year....
There was an art auction on the island today to benefit MISCA, the Monhegan Island Sustainable Community Association. Follow the link to read about this worthwhile organization which works to make island living accessible to those who want to make a year round life here.
I attended the auction last year as well. It is interesting, funny, and people are generous in their support. Both years, the auctioneer has reminded the audience that this is NOT an auction in which to look for bargains, rather an auction during which we should aim to spend as much as we can afford. Both last year and this year I bought donated ferry tickets for our round trip to the island. I did a little bit of drawing during the auction, but tried not to make any sudden moves as the auctioneer had a hair trigger and I might have been toting home something I did not intend to buy.
Happy to support MISCA and happy to have next year's ferry trips taken care of.
Halfway through our 2-week stay here on Monhegan we moved to the house next door to our usual rental house. The view is very similar, but feels very different from that to which I have become accustomed over the past sixteen years. Here is a painting of the new view looking north. When I looked north I saw the houses close and far leading my eye into the distance in a graceful s-curve.
I designed the painting with that s-curve in mind, editing the arrangement of trees, rooftops and the sea to support the idea of leading the eye from front to back, then around again into the painting. I used a new-to-me surface, a pre-gessoed board. The gesso is super-smooth and I debated finding some sandpaper to give it a little tooth, but opted against. The surface responds very differently to the brush, with paint sliding around and lifting off with pressure from the brush. I adapted by using more paint, applied with a very light touch, almost as if laying it atop itself with a palette knife. The result is a gooey, gushy paint surface which I like. Here are some photos of the painting in process. You can see how I moved some rooftops around from my original block in to support the s-curve.
Proof of plein air - a curious fly
Turn the canvas upside down sometimes for a fresh perspective.
Each year we visit Monhegan Island for the same week(s). Turns out lots of other people visit the same way. We have met some wonderful people during these weeks, see them year after year, have become friends, watched their children grow, etc. We look forward to catching up each summer. In fact, we have a standing date for the 1st Thursday in August with a friend and her daughters for dinner at our rented house. She brings the fish, we provide the rest. This particular friend stays in the Abraham Bogdanove House, affectionately known as "The Bog". Abraham Bogdanove visited Monhegan in 1918, bought a house here shortly after, and spent time painting on Monhegan every year for the rest of his life. His seascapes are powerful and energetic. Our friend, Laura, rents his house for a couple of weeks each summer. I created this card for her birthday today so she can have her own painting of the house she loves to visit each summer.
Yesterday we moved to a new house on the island, next door to last week's house. The 50 yards and maybe 15 feet of altitude provide an entire different view over Manana, and of the houses layed out below. Yesterday we were fogged in, and last night we were "treated" to a crashing thunderstorm with wind-driven rain. As often is the case, the day after is sparkling and dry... true of today, but also with forceful, gusty wind. I tried setting up my easel in a few places but it was
just too blustery for what I had in mind. So, I hung out on the new house deck, studying this new view of Manana, so beautiful. Feeling blessed.
Again, thank you for looking. I love your ideas and comments.
Today was gray, sometimes foggy. It was a great day to hang out in the village with sketchbook. I parked myself on the steps of the Black Duck, with a yummy cup of coffee, and drew across the street, where the Chadwick House was nestled behind its picket fence, a few trees and an old dory, long ago consigned to the land. I had a chance to people watch, and spent some time talking with our two neighbors from just down the hill, then with a pleasant visitor from Round Pond, ME, and then a young couple, who turn out to have some connections to my hometown in MA. I got back to the house and added a little color to the sketch, deciding to only color what was organic, leaving all man-made pieces unpainted... for now, or forever, will decide later.
Again, thanks for looking. I enjoy your comments, each and every one.
The house we rent each year on Monhegan Island is up Horn Hill, steep walk, but well worth it with its open floor plan, view of the mainland 12 miles distant above Manana, 240 degree (math teacher estimate) vista, glorious sunsets and views of approaching weather. Half way down the hill is a flat area with a granite block bench and small memorial to Bill Cameron, a longtime resident who passed away in 2009. A small sign invites visitors and asks them to "leave no trace". I love pausing there, and painting there from above the village. Tucked in behind a graceful pine is the home of artists Arline Simon and Moe Oberman, both of whom we met when we first began visiting the island about 15 years ago. Moe and Arline are not on the island this year, and their absence is felt. Here is a blog post about Arline, me and a painting swap over 5 months, and another about a visit with them, and a last post about dinner at their house when we discovered Moe's love of Fred Astaire. The last one includes one of my favorite Astaire dance numbers, in the toy store from movie "Easter Parade". So, I spent some time sitting above their house and painting this week, remembering their joy and sass. The painting is not quite finished; I will post again when I complete it. Whatever happens to this eclectic home, I will always think of it as Simply Simon's, and thank God for the day I followed Arline's small shingle arrow pointing behind the hedge to her studio.... "A. Simon T, Th 2-4". Here is a video of Arline being interviewed a few years ago about her work here on Monhegan.
As always, thanks for looking. I love your comments.
Yesterday I posted my watercolor and ink sketch of the forklift on the Monhegan dock. Today I added some more watercolor from a different watercolor set I brought that has a little more pigment in its pans. My goal was to add some mid-range values to the forklift and to bring in the contrasting cools of Manana in the background. I may or may not add some color to the people waiting on the dock for their departing ferries.
Today was interesting, did some drawing, met a nice couple over here from Orono, ME, and visited the Lighthouse Museum. This year's show is titled "Reckoning with Nature, Andrew Winter, at Monhegan Island". Winter (1893 - 1958) arrived on Monhegan in the early 1930s. He spent a decade living full time on the island and painted its rugged topography and working families. I chose a few of his paintings here of Manana during the winter. I will visit the exhibit at least once more during my stay here on the island to drink in the rich colors and strong design in each of Winter's paintings. His darks are layer upon layer of varied, rich color shifts that convey the majesty of the rocks on this beautiful island. In fact, we renewed our family membership to the Museum to help support its important work here. Here is a link if you are interested in checking out this gem of a museum.
At 2pm, weather permitting, the Balmy Days ferry from Boothbay Harbor offers a half hour circumnavigation-of-the-island tour, then stops to exchange tour passengers for those returning to the mainland. I take the tour several times each week we are here. It's a nice mid-afternoon sojourn, visually sumptuous every single time. After the tour, I may hang around the dock area enjoying the hubbub of people returning from day's hikes to catch their ferries back to Boothbay Harbor or Port Clyde. Yesterday I parked myself on a rock behind a small forklift. I loved the way it framed the people, and beautiful Manana, the small island across the harbor. And, I like the contrast of the natural beauty here, those traveling for the day to enjoy it, and the small workhorse waiting for some heavy deliveries from the mainland. I sketched the scene and added in a touch of watercolor for the shadows. There is a nice contrast between the greens and blues (which you can't see yet) in the sky and on Manana against the industrial orange of the small Toyota forklift. I can see a large painting here and will begin to work it up.
Each of the last fifteen years or so I have spent some time on Monhegan Island, ME. Our first two days here this summer have been sparkling, clear, dry, exquisite. This is the view from our deck looking North. We are up high enough to see the sunset over the mainland, twelve miles distant.... heaven on earth.
I began this painting by blocking in the darks, and arranging the picture space with an ultramarine wash. Then I used alizarin crimson to wash in the shadow areas and cadmium orange for the lights. You can see the painting in several stages here. I concentrated on simplifying the brush strokes and cutting into the darks with the lights, then minimizing the details in the distance.
This month's theme for Girls Just Wanna Paint is "bliss". This painting is my take on the idea because Monhegan is pure bliss for me. You can see all our blissful paintings here.
As always, thank you for looking. I love your comments.