Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sailing at Pleasure Bay

Sailing at Castle Island - Side-by-side view
Today's paint-out was at Castle Island in South Boston, MA, where there is something for everyone - eating, walking, biking, fishing, jet watching, sightseeing - something or nothing - your choice!

I set up facing northwest which placed the tallest Boston buildings, the Prudential and John Hancock in the distant background.    Within the scene coming forward were: the tree-lined access road to the Island, Pleasure Bay (a.k.a. the lagoon) the McDonough Sailing Program docks (jam-packed with kids), the backs of people in their beach chairs and finally the grassy area right in front of me.    There were people everywhere - on the docks, in the water and in the sailboats.   Bright summer sherbet colors dotted the scene, and as a color junky, I couldn't wait to get to dig into those piles of color.  

Sailing at Pleasure Bay
This is a very busy painting, and as such, I was trying to place the most focus on the sailing lessons (ie. using the most vivid color, strong contrast, and sharp edges).  That meant de-emphasizing the other vertical planes as needed  (ie. muted colors, softer edges).    In an exceptionally busy scene, there should be an order of priority to the painting elements.  Otherwise, there may be too many items competing for attention, throwing off the balance.     Despite these observations - it's still too busy of a painting!  What do you think?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Muggy Morning Painting the Mayflower II

Muggy Morning Painting the Mayflower II
The clouds were the highlight today - changing and moving quickly as if a shower could break out at any time.  With a rising tide, and bright backlighting, the Plymouth, MA waterfront was swimming in direct and reflected light.   From this angle along Water Street the Mayflower II masts were visible over the pier and were echoed in the water.

There were dozens of onlookers and many international visitors strolling the waterfront.   Interest in art is universal even if there is a language barrier.   A smile and a nod - translation? - I see what you are doing and I like it!

Muggy Morning at Mayflower II

Two hours of high humidity and I was looking forward to my vehicle's AC.  Shortly before I finished, one very nice gentleman shot the following video of my paint-out.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sailing at Jones River

Rain was expected so instead of heading to Plymouth as I had planned, I set up at the mouth of the Jones River in Kingston where there was a nice covered picnic area overlooking the marina.     Summer sailing lessons were taking place so parents and their little sailors were coming and going.   There were also some seniors with their coffee and newspapers enjoying the pristine spot, and of course boaters.

With the many marine scenes, river views and distant bay/shoreline vistas, the question was which direction to set up.    The little sailboats tied up to the closest dock got the nod as they really represented the most activity today.  

Composition question to my readers:   Why was it okay to put the starring element exactly in the middle of the painting?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Alongside the Craigville Painters

Once again this year, I joined the Craigville Painters to kick off their paint-out season.   I met coordinators Avis and Alison a couple of years ago and they invite me each year to visit their lovely seaside community located within the town of Centerville.   It was a good turnout with about eight painters.

On this day, we painted high above the beach at the top of the "100 steps" under the gazebo. Depicted in the middle of the painting is the private bathhouse building that sits right on the beach below the 100 steps.  This was a south facing view of Nantucket Sound.  The high humidity translated into a milky pink sky, a far shoreline that was pale blue, and ocean water that had a foggy greenish look to it.  I've learned to never hestitate to paint because the weather is cloudy, misty or muggy.  In paint, capturing the dense atmosphere can yield a painting with a dreamy feel to it.

Top of the Hundred Steps

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Carson Beach in July

Carson Beach in July - Stage One
Triple H's but it was still early and bearable when I pulled into the parking lot along Day Boulevard at the Carson Beach.  The tide was dead low and either the sand has naturally built up over the years or it has been manually supplemented. Maybe I have forgotten what the beach was like at low tide!    I know that the beach grasses I saw on this day weren't there forty years ago - that's a very nice touch.   

Carson Beach in July - Stage Two
Carson Beach in July

I set up along the gray boardwalk facing Dorchester Heights and the monument.   The bathhouses were to my left, nice old brick buildings with lots of character.   More and more people arrived and settled in all around me.   I chose which people to include and of course, which of the many colorful umbrellas should be painted in.  A day at the beach...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Manomet Chapel Park

Manomet Chapel Park Stage One
During a scenic drive through South Plymouth we stumbled upon Saint Catherine’s Chapel Park in Manomet.   This green space was created through the benevolent efforts of a local resident and gifted to the Simes House Foundation; they encourage the public and their pets to enjoy the paths, green fields and wild flower gardens.  

Manomet Chapel Park
We enjoyed the open space as painters on this holiday weekend.    My husband and I painted the same house - funny - without having discussed our subjects ahead of time.   We got a visit from a local photographer who put our paint-out into the local newspaper The Manomet Current.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Revisiting PA - Cows at the Creek

Cows at the Creek
I really enjoyed my trip to Pennsylvania and remember thinking that I would try to do some paintings from my photos once I got back home.   When I reviewed the countryside photos I remembered just how radiant and unspoiled it was.    It was a novelty for me to see a stunning hillside farm beside a crystal clear stream;  the vibrancy of buttery oil color would be the way to best capture the memory of it.

I am no cow expert but did observe that once a cow decided it would make a move, others would follow and in this case the move I saw was a slow trek to the edge of the stream.   This was the same stream as was in my painting "Creek Zen" - only further on down the road.   Colorful kayaks were also passing through, somewhat contradicting the iconic farm scene but enjoyable to watch the cows and kayakers observing each other.

As for the painting, I began with an underpainting of a pasture, in other words, a previous painting done "en plein air."  This practice of using an old painting is not only economical and environmentally friendly, but often results in textural complexity and color that is interesting and unplanned.   The small patch of black and white cows were depicted with what amounted to warm white dots, shadowy white dots, and dark patches for their coats, and no one cow painted in its totality.  I would love to walk that area again!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Daylilies at Memorial Park

First Grist Mill
The Furnace Brook and Watershed flows through Marshfield, MA, eventually merging with the South River just west of Veteran's Memorial Park.   On this sunny, clear day the river was reflecting all the lush June greenery.  A historical marker indicated that this was the site of the first grist mill back in the 1650's.  (Subsequently more mills and an iron furnace were here as well.)    It's a nice local spot to visit located  at the intersection of Routes 3A and 139.   A remarkable team of veterans keep the park looking its best and obviously their commitment to country did not stop with their service years!

Daylilies at Memorial Park
Daylilies at Memorial Park
For my painting I chose a vantage that faced northwest and looked up the river.  A stone wall and rustic shed framed either side of the scene.  What caught my eye more than anything else were the warm spots of light - the rim lit stones and the fresh, new daylilies lit up against the background darks.     In addition to being reminded of the sacrifices of our wonderful veterans I enjoyed the fruits of their labor at this lovely spot.

Once I got this one back in the studio I further refined the warm sunlight spots, especially on the shed, the rocks and the grass.