Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Brant Rock Sunrise

Brant Rock Sunrise - Stage One
One of the (few?) benefits of winter days is the relatively late dawn.  The sun had already broken over the horizon when I arrived but the colors were a memorable pink, yellow and lavender.     A winter storm over the weekend had the surf churning. The blushing sunrise and wave action inspired me to capture the scene as quickly as I could.   I've painted at this spot in the Brant Rock section of Marshfield on numerous occasions now.   It is a northeast facing shoreline which places the sunrise at the actual Brant Rock and the parallel jetty just in front of it.  

Brank Rock Sunrise - Stage Two
A bright and colorful sky influences everything in the scene with the same hues.   I mixed up plenty of the sky color so that I would have enough ready to mix into all the other lights.    The boulders in front of me were dark and blue, a sharp contrast to the blinding light shining off the wet areas and rim light.  I blurred the shine off the rocks to convey the glare - not easy since my initial attempts became contaminated with the dark paint underneath.  

(This is a good example of how inadequate photos can be.   The actual scene was colorful yet the photos are practically tonal with barely any of the pink or yellow visible.)


Friday, January 22, 2016

Boston Harbor Hotel Pavilion

The Boston Harbor Hotel's motto is "Beyond Compare," and at the risk of this post sounding like a Trip Advisor review, I agree wholeheartedly.   We have stayed at this amazing hotel a couple of times when celebrating very special occasions.    It is luxurious at every turn on the inside and its location and views of the harbor are breathtaking.  During the day the wide expanse of Boston Harbor is visible - Boston Harbor Islands, Logan Airport, Ferries, Schooners, Tall Ships, tugboats, the World Trade Center, and the Federal Courthouse.  

The idea of capturing all of this bustle in one huge epic painting is enticing.  An ambitious undertaking for certain - when and if it happens.   In the meantime I worked on this more manageable nocturne.   It depicts a lovely nighttime scene of the Boston Harbor Hotel Pavilion.   It was probably close to midnight on a warm summer evening and the earlier crowds and walkers had dwindled down to a handful of strollers and smokers.  

Pavilion - Boston Harbor Hotel
The picturesque Boston Harbor Hotel Pavilion sits atop pilings at Rowe's Wharf surrounded by water except for the wide brick path access.  Fancy luxury boats, yachts and water taxis were docked alongside the wharf, their colorful accent lights illuminating the dark water with shades of blue, green and yellow.  It is a memorable scene, especially the top-down angle which spread out the light and color enabling an elevated viewpoint down into the boats and pavillion.

This is almost done, but I am still contemplating adjusting the streetlights (because they were casting artificial light).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

View from Bear Mountain Lodge

View from Bear Mountain Lodge - Stage One
We packed up our gear for hiking and painting and headed north into New Hampshire for a mid-January getaway.   There has been relatively little snow so far this season in New England, but as we reached the White Mountains it got a little whiter.   By the time we reached our destination in Bethlehem, NH, north of the notch, it had the look of winter.

View from Bear Mountain Lodge - Stage Two
The back deck of our lodging at Bear Mountain Lodge faced northeast with a spectacular view of the White Mountains.    When the skies were clear, Mount Washington was the furthest visible peak and its snowcap was lit up brightly when the sun was on it.  

The decision of what to paint first was inevitable and I never did get to a second painting.      I had brought a 12x24" canvas board which worked out well for a wide, sweeping landscape view such as this. 

For most of the painting session it was cloudy and grey.  Since I wanted to depict a sunlit scene, I had to switch gears whenever the sun peaked out - observing and mixing in more yellow color and blue shadows.  (The variation from minute to minute is always the challenge of plein air!)    For most of the painting session, Mount Washington was not even visible, but I was determined to include it and had to act quickly when it made an appearance.  (See white peaks behind birches on the left.)

View from Bear Mountain Lodge - Final (Maybe)
 I'll be letting the super thick impasto cure for a while before I decide if any additional changes are needed.   I know the color is the way I want it, but compositionally, I may insert another rock or two in the foreground.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

First Snow of the Season

First Snow of the Season
This week an arctic blast finally pushed into New England.  The frigid temperatures, "warm" ocean water and wind whipping from the north resulted in several hours of "ocean effect" snow. Similar to summer fog, the ocean moisture blanketed the shore with swirling flakes while just a ten minute drive inland it was a bright, sunny sky.   This constituted the first measurable snow for the season - which got me thinking "snowscape."   I set up at the Daniel Webster Audubon in Green Harbor, planning to paint snow.   Most of the snow was in the shadowy areas, although the terrain sloping away from the sun was also snowy and sufficiently illuminated. Many areas had already melted or evaporated, but that was fine; just enough snow!

I painted this same scene a year ago without snow so it may look familiar.     As a wildlife refuge, it is pristine as can be, and as such there is always hope of seeing deer, fox, and hawks.   The most action I saw today was in the air, a red helicopter practicing landing and takeoffs.      


Check out the scene in the following video (4:30 sec).