Thursday, March 19, 2015

Boston's Swanboats

"Reflections of Youth" 16X20 oil 2015

 After an especially tough winter, Bostonians look forward to spring. One sign of spring in Boston is the launching of the Swanboats in the Boston Public Gardens. Each day they are lined up awaiting the tourists and residents who flock to ride around the lagoon. At night they return to their dock and bask in the late afternoon sun awaiting the next day's riders. Swanboats were a major fascination for me when my mother took me as a child. I enjoyed outings there with my own children and many students over the years. Now I look forward to taking my granddaughter for her first ride this spring. The sight of the boats brings a smile as old memories surface. It's a happy place. I wanted to create a happy painting. I used greens punctuated by red to create a smooth diagonal path in the painting. My focus was on the variations in the whites as the light bounced off the whites of the swans.  The warm and cool whites presented many variations in tints of color which when put together appear to be white. The ripples in the water formed wonderful reflections as the boats quietly bobbed in place. The horizontal linear patterns and horizontal painting format were employed to bring a sense of peacefulness to the viewer.

Beacon Hill Beauty

"Embracing Winter "of 2015 12X16 oil 

Boston had record snowfall this winter and neighborhoods were coated every few days with a  fresh white blanket. The snow piled up, cars were buried and paths became narrower and narrower as navigating the streets became more and more difficult. While frustrating for many, for me the freshly fallen snow presented an opportunity to see the beauty of the city in a different light. This scene of Beacon Hill is from the first storm, Juno, in January. It continued snowing for another 6 weeks giving me plenty of time to work on my painting. The late night view afforded the scene an ephemeral  untouched, untrodden freshness. The old fashioned lamp posts illuminated the scene in a unifying manner and created wonderful patterns as light and shadow alternated on the banks and buildings. The color harmony was strong and allowed me to focus on creating a mysterious glow bringing the viewer deep into the nocturnal space. I used rags instead of brushes in the first phase of painting. When I switched to brushes later, I kept edges soft and minimized details to give the viewer enough information to fill in the scene on their own.