For Thursday's painting date, I traveled along Jeffrey's Neck Road (JNR) in Ipswich. The morning was sunny with temps in the high forties when I reached the appointed spot; a small beachy cove on the left hand side just before JNR splits into Northbridge and Little Neck Road. I donned my hunter's orange knitted cap... not as a fashion statement but as a pre-cautionary alert. So no one would think me a dear deer standing there... it's hunting season.
There was a smokiness quality to the light that morning. Most likely the light frost and the warming sunshine had an impact on the morning atmosphere. On the beach, I found the changing of the tides to my satisfaction. For the tide was waning and would return to the same height around 4PM giving me the opportunity to re-visit the same high tide and beach exposure of my first painting of the morning.
I painted on tinted gessoed printing paper (Rives BFK) approximately 8X10 inches. I find this type of prepared surface to be very receptive to quick painterly sketches. I have a selection of warm and cool grounds to paint on. Gessoed watercolor paper works well too.
I was joined by my painter friend, Marjet Lesk, www.bridgegallerynewburyport.com/gallery/lesk
We both enjoyed painting the cluster of homes built on the bluff over-looking this part of Great Marsh called Great Neck. The beach we painted on is just one small area of the 25,000 acre Great Marsh here on the North Shore. For more inofmation regarding the area see www.associationofgreatneck.org/HistoryGreatNeck.pdf
So quiet was this part of the beach at this particular time of year. Gone were the frenzy of beach goers, tourists, cars, motorboats! There's the old saying, "So quiet you could hear a pin drop"... well on this day it was so quiet you could hear the sounds of hard, crusty shelled oysters hitting the low tide, exposed beach rocks...Click!Clack! Pop! Oysters dropped by high flying sea gulls that then swooped down and pecked out the sweet flesh exposed.
Oddly I observed, there were only oyster shells strewned about. No clam shells were to be found. Do these two mullusks not live and flourish in the same area?
Another sound had permeated the beach area. It echoed the same repetitious, staccato sound I was making as I stippled small rock textures onto my canvas with my brush; the sound of a nearby woodpecker. Tap, tap, tap, we both worked in unison.