Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Like Frosting a Cake

I frosted two canvases last Saturday at a MCA workshop, "Seeing the Forest for the Trees", http://www.paintingpersonalandpowerful.com/2010/08/blog-post.html
held at the Arnold Arboretum http://arboretum.harvard.edu/visit/ .  Wielding a palette knife, similar to a trowel used in masonry, I thickly layered my canvases.  In the eight years of plein air painting, I have never applied so much paint to a single 12X16 panel.  At times after squeezing another long tootsie roll of paint to recharge my palette, I would calculate the cost per paint tube. For example, a 200ml tube of Cobalt Blue cost around $58.00.

But heck, I was there for a new painting experience...so I smeared 4 colors (phthalo green, Alizarin Crimson, cobalt blue and cadmium yellow) into slippery striations, swirling mark making, palette knife daubs here and there; buttery, at times unbeaten.  Soon, I began to smell the essence of color: mossy forest floor green, Sunkist orange, melty dark chocolate.

For the other canvas, I scraped up two complementary pigments, cadmium orange and French-ultramarine blue and mixed them together with dollops of titanium white yielding the color of mushrooms: cremini, oyster, porchini, shiitaki, Chanterelles.

Ooo la, la- a juicy sensuality and physicality spread across the surface.

This freshly applied paint was my new seducer.

Bon Painting!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cedar Point Trail

Inhale the weather
Buckets of salted fishy cold
Silver beach blankets grind
While tidal waves roll the fluid edges.

I enjoyed the solitude of my painting at the Crane's Estate in Essex http://www.thetrustees.org/crane-estate/  this past Thursday.

My walk from the parking lot along Cedar Point Trail was a hardy, heart pounding journey exacerbated by my over-loaded painting cart pulling from behind.  I trudged; first down a winding stony road, then along a flat dirt path which divided the expansive marsh grasses undulating on either side, then onward through the valley of brightly lit sand dunes.  At last, I could hear the ocean waves.  I leaned into my last steps with my cart cutting a deep granular path of two, parallel deep troughs.

*One hiker of the day wondered at such pecular scars carved into the sandy path as she walked along... she thought perhaps two bicycles?  "No! Now I understand,"she said aloud to me as she glanced upon my painting set-up after descending her last dune to the beach.  "Enjoy this good day!" we said to each other.

Standing at the end of the trail, I observed first how cold the wind was, the deep blue of the waters, then the brightness of the sand beach and the brilliant whiteness of the cottages tucked in the dark greeness of foliage; how bright the autumnal sun was reflected.  There I painted; in four hours the tidal waters found my planted soles and painting easel.

My walk back to my car was a reflective activity rather than a physical one.  I carried my back pack where it belonged... on my back, making a lighter load of my rolling cart.  I recorded my return journey's observation through the lens of my camera. 

Please go to
to see the marsh flora and fauna of that particular day.
Bon Painting!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Great Paint Out

Dan Shaw, Bud Smith, Marjet Lesk, Betsy Lewis and I joined the Plein Air Painters of Maine for the 8th Annual "Great Paint Out" sponsored by the Oil Painters of America. http://www.oilpaintersofamerica.com/index.cfm   Painters from all across the United States will be plein air painting at their own venues throughout the month.  There were 15 participants who painted at Grimes Cove which is located along the scenic Ocean Point Road in East Boothbay Maine.  The weather was glorious and Grimes Cove is such a beautiful place to paint!

Dan (left) and Bud at Grimes Cove 

We had our group portrait taken by the photographer from the Boothbay Register newspaper.  Many new artist friends were made including Carlton Plummer (of the rocks) http://www.plummergallery.com/carlton.html and Bobbi Heath of Westford. MA http://www.bobbiheath.com/  and who I enjoyed meeting and talking to. My friends and I visited area galleries including Corrine McIntyre's Ocean Point Gallery, who was the organizer for this year's paint out.  http://www.oceanpointstudio.com/  

Donning ocean creature hats before dinner
We lodged at Sprucewold Lodge http://www.sprucewoldlodge.com/ where we ate delicious family-styled breakfasts and dinners.  Each evening we relaxed in front of the stone fireplace while enjoying a glass of wine and chatted about art matters, circulated art books and critiqued each other's daily work.

To the right are a few of the plein air paintings I completed during my two day stay in Boothbay.

Also, it is well worth the time and effort to sketch a little drawing to deconstruct the scene and compose the painting's layout before beginning the painting  Below are two of my quick sketches used in the paintings. I tore them out of my book and taped them to my easel support for easy reference.  There's not much details but the quickly drawn shapes and lines help me to contain and simplify the complex scene.