Saturday, October 25, 2014

Beacon Hill is Quintessential Boston

Acorn Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA   16x20 oil on linen

When I was asked to paint a wedding present for a couple moving to CA from Boston, all sorts of ideas flooded into my head. The groom had lived in Boston and especially loved Beacon Hill. Perfect! My son and his family just moved to Beacon Hill last month. It was a part of the city that embodied all the elements of "old Boston".  The brick buildings, cobblestone streets, old fashioned lamp posts that are on day and night, the window boxes and iron work all exemplify my image of old Boston. Almost every doorway demands to be admired and photographed or painted. I was excited to have a destination in the new family neighborhood. I spent the first day photographing all the streets, crisscrossing up and down the hills and looking for possibilities for future paintings as well. I repeated my steps and process that afternoon so I could examine morning versus afternoon light. I broke out my sketchbook on Acorn Street and did some preliminary studies. I hoped this would be the setting for the painting. After contacting the couple to be sure this would be to their liking, blocking in the masses commenced. I took advantage of the lamplight to brighten the colors somewhat as the street is narrow and dark. I chose the spot where the ancient green vine grew up the building to capitalize on the red/ green harmony and echoed this harmony in the window boxes. The colonial American flag that flew above the street clinched my choice of scenes as it defined the character of the neighborhood, being  repeated on other streets around the hill. The flag provided a point of interest to move the viewer down the hill while letting other detail and color diminish in the distance. Although the street was very crowded with tourists on my weekend visits, I decided to leave the people out of it.  I wanted to portray it as I saw it on weekday visits; a quiet, well kept and serene neighborhood with a lot of history.  Next stop- Louisburg Square!