Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Beacon Hill Trifecta!"

"Beacon Hill's Trifecta"  12x16 oil

My winter Beacon Hill painting...
As I completed my most recent Beacon Hill painting, I was excited to learn that my winter version of Beacon Hill, completed recently, was just awarded first place in oil painting and Best in Show at Norwood 's Art in the Park. I spend a lot of time on "the hill" since my son and his family moved here last fall and I find it a visual feast. Being enamored of historic architecture and antiques,  this is my newest painting paradise. While I sought to impart the cold, mysterious snowy atmosphere to the winter scene, I wanted to give the view from MT Vernon Street the same warm and glowing feeling I experienced that hot spring morning. My son and I had just finished breakfast at the bakery at the bottom of the hill and were walking back to his place. The view of three steeples lining up and being illuminated by the strong light when looking down the hill was impressive. I like the constant contrast of the old flat brick facades with the rounded brick facade portions added later. I initially was planning to include an overhead branch in my foreground, but decided that the composition was even better without it. Instead I decided to include  the "no parking" sign on the lamp post that is so Beacon Hill. The pure cad red right out of the tube popped it immediately to the foreground.  I kept colors strong and warm, with many gradations in my red bricks to bring out the forms and move the viewers eyes through the painting. Having completed 3 seasons so far, I look forward picking my "summer scene".
Adding an edit as I learned that this painting also received first place in the 2015 Foxboro Art Association show.

"Beetle Rock"

Plein Air painting of "Beetle Rock" in Marshfield, MA  8x10 oil
Spending all my summers on Old Rexhame beach in Marshfield, left me a strong yearning to return as often as possible. In April, as soon as the weather turned warm, I packed up my easel and paints and headed for Rexhame beach. The tide was going out, so I knew I would be able to spend a couple of hours painting my favorite rock before the ocean claimed it once more. The wind and tidal pools helped determine my angle. This angle is the one I saw as I walked up the beach from our house as a child. My friends and I spent many hours climbing on and around Beetle Rock. We would swim out to it and sit on it waiting for the tide to go out and then climb down and go about looking for the  treasures among the rocks. Hours of collecting starfish and crabs, sea glass and shells occupied summer days. Horseshoe crabs and  lobster buoys were especially prized, but all would be returned to the sea  when we walked back to Old Rexhame . I painted mid-tide, silhouetting the rock and portraying the sense of the many large and small, wet and dry rocks surrounding my focal point. Detail in the foreground rocks was kept at a minimum to keep the focus on my main subject  Further out in the background is "Haystack rock"which was also important to the composition. We had names for all the big rocks and it is so interesting to hear they are all called by the same name by new residents so many years later.  After finishing this painting, I turned toward Old Rexhame and painted "Tank rock"-another of the named rocks from my childhood. The color harmony, salty taste,  smell, dampness and sound of the ocean are all part of the sensory experience I wanted to feel when I finished  this painting.  It was about the rock, but it was also about the sensual experience of visiting it again.

Warm and Cheery

"And the star is..."  11x14 oil

"A Colorful Spread"  11x14 oil

Using warm colors and subject matter, I wanted  to impart  a cheerful, positive feeling to the viewer. Surrounding oneself with positive energy is, I think,  important. My lifelong love affair with the ocean and beaches attracted me to the starfish as the center of attention for "And the Star is...", and I could visualize the painting in a summer home near the beach. The range of colors in "Colorful Spread" is a  little different for me, but again I was drawn to the positive feeling and warmth it imparts. Maybe it was the long snowy winter, but these little beauties made me smile.