Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cut River View from Pearl Street

Cut River View from Pearl Street
I met my neighbor around the corner at the recent art sale and she extended a kind invitation to paint from her property anytime.    Well I didn't wait very long and on this warm September morning I packed up my gear on wheels and strolled over.    The property is barely visible from the main road, but once I got to the end of the street, I saw the view my neighbor gets to enjoy every day.    It is a vast expanse of salt marsh with the Cut River winding through it.    I set up facing north-northeast and in doing so, I could position the dark patch of cedars to the right (my house is directly behind them, by the way ;)), and I could include the extensive span of marsh that stretches to the Beach St Bridge on the far side.  This time of year the marsh grasses become almost irridescent, the breeze making waves of green to gold to yellow.    I worked mostly with the palette knife for fast and thick coverage.  I still would like to better define the houses on the far side, pump up the gold and refine that overlapping grasses in the foreground.

Harbor Park Along Green Harbor River


Harbor Park - Stage One
Harbor Park is a new open space near the town pier in Marshfield, MA.  It boasts a beautiful 300 degree vista of marsh, river, marinas and docks. The picnic tables have a nice, solid overhead shelter, which came in handy the last hot day I painted there. On this day I wanted to capture the Dribeck Road bridge that passes over the marsh.   This time instead of painting from Harbor Park, I set up in the town pier parking lot and faced north so that I could paint Harbor Park itself along with the bridge.



Harbor Park - Stage Two
There was quite a bit of activity by maintenance crews, cleaning and mowing, and I later discovered from a Harbormaster staff member that these were preparations for the local television station, Fox 25's "Zip Trip."     The marsh grasses were just beginning to turn gold and even though it was a mostly cloudy day, this spot was simply gorgeous.    No wonder it was to be showcased on television.


Harbor Park from Pier
My tip to the television crew would be to not set up where I was, as toward the end of my paint out, the wind shifted to the west, thereby enveloping me in the odor of the "tuna head" barrel.    I was almost done at that point and here is the progress so far. I plan to tone down the blue on the bridge before it gets framed.



Duxbury Beach Day for 100th Anniversary DAA

Duxbury Beach Day

The Duxbury Art Association is celebrating their 100th birthday this year.  The organization has a number of commemorative activities in motion, one of which is a travelling exhibit of donated 10x10" works of art.   The painting in this post is my donation to the event, so it may appear in a local venue sometime soon.     The scene is a long view of Duxbury Beach Reservation from the end of the beachhouses.   On this day there were dozens of people along the shoreline, their colorful beach attire and umbrellas illuminated in the bright July sunshine.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Peacefield in Full Bloom

Peacefield
My first paintout at Peacefield, the homestead of President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams, was exactly three years ago, in August of 2014.  The National Park Service oversees the property and does a nice job interpreting the Adams Legacy as well as maintaining/preserving the house and property.  The Rangers welcomed me, and since not all organizations are accomodating of a painter who plans to place themselves in the middle of a tourist area, I was very grateful for their hospitality

My favorite feature of Peacefield is the 18th-century style formal garden. Thousands of plantings, colorful perennials and annuals to enjoy line the gardens.  As I mentioned in the previous Peacefield blog, a rose bush planted by First Lady Abigail Adams in 1788 continues to stand guard; it leans on a large trellis to the south of the larger garden.  To think that I was walking upon the same soil enriched by the hands of such historical icons was truly inspiring.

Peacefield in Full Bloom
Inspiring also was the graceful old house and presidential library.  Similar to the last paint out, I set up on the far west end of the garden to maximize the split of light and shadow, a wide view so as to include foreground light.    I began by establishing the darks and lights in muted greens and grays and rusts.  I labored a bit over the mansion and library since accuracy is important for famous structures.

Finally, I was ready for the best part, the colorful blooms.  The sun illuminated the bright and vibrant petals - "oil-paint-right-out-of-the-tube" bright.  I liked how the rows of flowers and hedges led into the library and residence. This is not a great photo because of the wet paint glare.   I'll make some studio fixes and put on the website soon because this painting is my entry to the "Best of Quincy" Arts Fest next weekend.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebrating July 4th on July 3rd

Sparklers
Each year as we celebrate our great nation's birthday, Green Harbor really comes alive.   Summer holiday revelers pour into Marshfield, MA, especially the areas where land meets ocean.    It is a local tradition to have the fireworks extravaganza on July 3rd rather than July 4, a nice warm up for the Fourth. Words simply cannot describe this spectacle, nor can a simple 6x6 inch painting.   This annual party has to be experienced live and in person to digest the full, old-fashion experience.   This painting is merely a sliver of the scene, but one that I liked because of the greenish white glow of the handheld sparklers.   The figures are in a semi circle mezmerized by their sparklers.  Others are sitting on the seawall watching the non-stop fireworks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summer Bouquet

Summer Bouquet
One thing I love about summer is the abundance of flowers.   It's not just the cultivated blossoms that are peaking right now, but the many unplanned wild flowers growing here, there and everywhere.   Arranged in a simple clear glass vase, the wild weeds(?) compliment the garden blooms nicely.    I hoped that the rustic bunching of multiple kinds of blooms would translate to loosely painted blooms as well. This bouquet has common tansy buttons, cilantro flowers, pink petunias, magenta lantana and white cosmos.

The shadows were first and the most important shadow color of the whole painting, I think, was the "dark white" of the shaded cosmos petals (radiant violet, permanent green, and pink).   Achieving the shadow color of the starring flower - the primary center of interest - would give the painting credibility, even if the rest of the painting was executed with wild abandon.  I always hope for wild abandon, but seldom can resist bringing it back under control.  :))

The shadow mass on the dark table was roughed in next with a darker indigo color.  The "non-shadow" background was a light value made from the same pinks, greens, blues and yellows embedded in the flowers.  Finally, the reward...applying the bright clear petal colors.   Wherever possible, I tried to paint a single petal with a single brushstroke that fully overlapped its background.  It's funny how applying a single effective stroke is more difficult than fussing over an area with many strokes.   It really is a mindset.  Plan, then one and done!  In other words, t
he more spontaneous it looks, the more calculated it was - for me anyway.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Green Harbor Yacht Club

Green Harbor Yacht Club - Stage One
Green Harbor Yacht Club - Stage Two
This modest building is home to the Green Harbor Yacht Club.   It started out as a gray day, which is fine for paintings with architectural elements.   While working on the building rendering, the lines and angles of the roof lines and windows are more easily captured.   Once the sun broke out, I was ready to apply the sunny lights with my palette knife.