Sunday, September 11, 2016

Colonial Block in Boston

Colonial Block in Boston
There have been many changes in downtown Boston from my high school days when I worked at Filene's Basement and knew the streets so well. Buildings have gotten taller and tourism has blossomed, but certain blocks remain relatively intact.  This scene depicts the corner of Union and Marshall Streets where the sidewalks are brick and the street is colonial-style cobblestone.   Several of the buildings have historic markers, and there are some well known restaurants here as the street is a half block from Fanueil Hall Market.   The Freedom Trail runs down the street and there is typically a constant stream of visitors following the sidewalk markers.

We were weaving in and out of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on our way to Haymarket when this dazzling sun and shadow scene stopped me.   Bell in Hand Tavern was on the corner on the left and the Union Oyster House Restaurant was on the right.    The five story buildings were casting interesting shadows and so were the figures.   The light was stunning and made for a good painting composition, but it's the people that make you stop and think.    Settlers walked the same paths in the eighteen hundreds and even earlier, going about their daily lives.    A few vestiges of the past are apparent, but its more different than the same.


Cloudy Claflin Landing

Beached Boats in Chatham
I was on my way to an art lecture on Cape Cod and decided to head down extra early so that I could paint.   Claflin Road is a offshoot of scenic Shore Road in Chatham, MA - quiet, beautiful, and no parking restrictions.  The harbormaster and local walkers seemed to most use the path as their beach access.     Right away I noticed some plump seals perched on their sand bar and I was tempted to quickly start a painting of them.   That temptation didn't last as the tide was rising so quickly that the seals were gone within ten minutes.   A classic - and less volatile - subject caught my attention.   These dinghies and kayaks were much closer than the seals, and made a serene picture under the cloudy skies.   I used a generous amount of quick dry white with an ever-so-small amount of naples yellow, cadmium red and cobalt blue, to create the cloudy sky.  The strokes of sky color was applied with a palette knife.   The threads of color barely show up in the photo, but they are plenty noticeable in person.
Claflin Landing - Stage One Horizon Line

Claflin Landing - Stage Two - A Few Sprinkles Starting

About an hour had gone by when I felt raindrops.   I retrieved my large patio umbrella with the broken spokes.  It worked well enough to keep the easel, painting and palette from getting too wet as I finished up and packed.  As I loaded the painting into my vehicle, relaxed and satisfied, I thought, "this painting is somewhat dull."  Back in the studio under full light, I changed my mind.   It really captures the day, and is a product of standing in a gorgeous spot doing what I love to do - the primary goal of plein air painting!