Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Old growth pine trees.

There have been lots of warm, sunny days in September and October for outdoor painting except on Thursdays when our group is scheduled to paint. On these particular days of the week, the weather could be very windy or rainy or both as one when a Nor'easter blew in.

At last, a few beautiful autumn days opened up for us painters.

Below is a painting of scrub pines growing in the grass covered undulating dunes of Salisbury Beach State Reservation. The multiple grouping of individuals although stunted in growth had pendulous-like arms reaching about in the sunny spaces. These boughs were tatted with hundreds of pine cones.  I did not paint the cones (how tedious would that be) only admired the decorative nature of the growths and the potential of another generation within the familial setting.

After the Nor'easter blew through for a few days, a bunch of us headed to Newburyport's Maudsley State Park to paint what was left of the area's autumn color.   After wandering about, I located a group of young fir trees back lit on a white-washed outbuilding.   Evergreen was the color I selected to paint on this fall day.

A few minutes after starting to paint, a park ranger came along to divert my attention to the mature stand of  Douglas firs to my left. Yes I said, I did notice the broken boughs littering the ground around me and one of the 100 plus foot elders leaning onto the others with its roots uplifted from the ground. Dangerous area, perhaps but I really like the Christmas tree lot for my painting subject matter, I said. The park ranger explained the small specimens were not for future holiday culling but to replace the old growth stand which have been toppling over one by one every year.

Monday, October 28, 2019

My Heart will be forever broken

My son, Jeremy, was an adamant fisherman who loved the water and all the finny fins which swam in its fluidity. 

When he was seven years old, he explained to a scuba diver who had re-surfaced from a dive on the Gloucester shoreline, about the eye migration of the flounder the diver had in his catch bag. During its life cycle the newly hatched fish  had one eye on each side of his head like all other fish and then as an adult  2 eyes on one side of his head eye traveled to the other side.  "That is amazing", said the diver. 

Jeremy was a talented photographer too. Below is a grouping of fish he had caught one evening, arranged in a circle at the beach.  Virginia Beach is where he lived. He was a Navy guy, honorably discharged after 9 years of service. He would send me numerous pictures like these and I would delight in seeing the wide variety of creatures he caught.  Shockingly I realized from these photos what a bounty of creatures swam along side me when I took a dip in the ocean: Puffer Fish, skates, sharks, dog fish, croakers, spots, etc.

Yes he went to the beach to fish. It is what he loved to do.  But this year the oceans edge became his solemn retreat.  A place where he found great comfort in the rhythms of the tides, the beauty of a sunset and the abundance of life while enduring oral surgeries and chemotherapy sessions to treat his Stage 4 tongue cancer.

Jeremy Josef passed away from the disease on May 8th at the age of 38. He admirably fought like a voracious fish at the end of his hook, line and sinker.

I love you and miss you so very, very much.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A winter's reprieve

A thirty pound backpack filled with painting gear, ice cleats strapped to my boots, I am outside.  The latest polar vortex of minus 20 degrees has finally been diminished by a warm front. No longer hunkered down in my tiny house, but in Nature's open air arena at Maudslay State Park.  It was 48 degrees outside. Warm.  I inhaled deeply, my lungs open freely and began my painter's walk from the parking lot.

I made my way down the sledding hill, rounding at the base to a partially melted pond. A brilliant sun cast elongated shadows on icy patches of left over snow on the wooded hillside: A plank was positioned over a burbling snow melt stream to an icy path that divided the pond into two parts.  There I stood, eyeing both sides of the pond. 

I painted the left side where I spied animal prints dimpling the snow bank. 

Is that a woodpecker's rat-a-tat I hear in the distance?