Wednesday, August 10, 2022

JB's Bench/Bird Park

 Plein Air painting at Bird Park usually means being watched while I work. Passerby often stop to chat,  comment or just watch.  Today was one of those days

“JB’s bench”is a  5x7 oil done Plein air painting at Bird Park this morning. I went with Lisa to grab a bit of the first sort of cool morning in a while after weeks of oppressive heat. As we were painting, a gentleman stopped by, excited to see us painting. It turns out he grew up in Walpole and that the bench I was about to paint is his father’s bench. I went over after finishing and took a photo of the plaque. It felt like serendipity that we picked that spot today. Love to make people smile.

Having spent years visiting the park when I was a child in the1950's & 60's, it is like a magnet for me when it comes to subject matter. I have painted the bridges, gates, pathways and music court. I have painted the old cement benches that were there when I was a child. The trustees have been replacing them with these more modern benches and this is my first  attempt at the new benches. The landscape design with it's meandering paths,  sloping  hills and contrasting mowed and wild areas creates many compositional possibilities. Mature trees, ponds and wild life offer a plethora of choices. Scenes that are primarily greens I find challenging to paint. The red tree on the upper left and the reddish sidewalks helped create a nice color harmony and influenced me when choosing this spot. The water level in the pond was quite low as it  had dried up from the drought. I chose to paint it as I remembered it with the water level up and duckweed floating on the surface picking up the light values in the birch branches further down the path.

I hope you like it!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

A Peaceful Oasis

                                                       "A Peaceful Oasis". 16x20 Oil-2022

Summer on Cape Cod can be hectic. There are a lot of tourists and a hum of activity most places. I often go out to catch a good sunset or sunrise and there are many others doing the same thing, cameras in hand and children and dogs in tow. 

There is a little park along Bass River that we walk to where peaceful contemplation is a break from the frenzied tourist scene. In this painting, I wanted to convey a sense of calm and peacefulness that I experience there.  Benches are located at the top of the steps from this little beach. Here one can sit, relax and watch the boats coming in and out from a day on the ocean. Once in a while children come and dig in the sand looking for treasures in the sand. A 1700's Windmill is adjacent to  the benches. If you are so inclined, you can make an appointment to tour the Windmill. This scene is from late August. Orange seed pods have replaced the once aromatic pink beach roses. The horizontal bands in the overcast sky create a sense of calm. The little boats are lined up as though resting and awaiting another day and another outing.

The dinghies are resting. I used subdued colors to enhance the restful feeling. A single boat in the middle ground contrasts with the usual summer congestion. The rocks, boats, waterline and seaweed are used to move the viewer's eye in to the scene.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Salem's Abby Road! First Day of school 2021.

              Salem's Abby Road - First Day of School 2021
              oil painting -24x36

Remote learning was hard and unprecedented in my lifetime. It was especially hard for the students.. As a former teacher myself, I am so amazed at the teachers that persevered through covid, with the daunting task of remote learning and constantly facing the unknown of-“WHAT’S NEXT?” I was in awe of Miss Powers as she provided daily inspiration and love to her students  through it all. I was happy to be retired and able to be there for Elouise. She missed her friends. She missed Salem. 

After 18 months of remote learning and being away from friends and classmates, Elo and her friends finally returned to school in Salem. They were together again-at last!  Elouise and her friends met to walk to school together. The exuberance they displayed and the joy at being together once more was a feeling I wanted to capture. Hopefully, the situation that caused remote schooling,(covid), is in the rearview mirror. Hopefully they will always feel excited to return to school in the fall. The excitement on this day  I felt needed preserving: So I painted it.

An added bonus is Webb Street’s resemblance to Abby Road. Thanks to Don Seiffert for taking his life in his hands to capture the moment with his camera and for sharing his photos of the girls from that morning. Thanks Don for allowing me to take liberties with your photo.  (Sorry to the young man I eliminated. ) The resemblance to the Beatles  Abby Road  album cover was too good to pass up. I changed the colors of the houses for a more harmonious painting. I used  reds to help move the viewer's eye though the scene. To establish a sense of the times, one girl is wearing her mask, one has hers dangling from her wrist and the others have theirs in their backpacks. Little did I know the controversy that would result from the masks! 

I hope to preserve a bit of history for the girls. Each girl (as well as Elo's teachers) received a print of the painting.

I hope this painting brings you a smile. We all need one.

Magical moments in Rockport.

When Frozen was my grand daughter's favorite movie, she insisted on wearing either her Elsa or Anna outfit no matter where  we went. So when hiking around Rockport and Halibut Point one day, she dressed like a princess. When she walked out to the end of the path, she became captivated by the ocean and the beautiful view. I loved the composition, the juxtaposition of the blues, and the wonder she experienced  as a young impressionable girl. I hope she continues to love nature and remain in awe of it as she grows.

I blocked in the underpainting using transparent oxide red. Once values were established, I began blocking in large masses. I used the rocks to lead the viewer to the focal point. The warmth of the rocks complimented the sun illuminating the figure. I reserved the most detail for the focal point-the dress and figure, a little looser in the vegetation and rocks and let the water and sky remain fairly loose as the backdrop to the scene. 
I love to  preserve special moments in a painting as I feel it conveys much more of a feeling of time and place than a photo can.


It's an annual event!

Merry Christmas!

Each year spurs another little holiday burst of energy. I especially like painting the Christmas balls with their reflective surfaces and cheerful colors. The snowman provides a happy greeting for people as they walk into my gallery of paintings. These little paintings each represent a different year and are fun to use on Christmas cards.

Hull Lifesaving Museum Juried Show

9x12 gallery wrap oil Evening Solitude
11x14 oil-Dynamic Trio

I was encouraged to submit paintings for a show "Sea and Sky" to be held at the Hull Lifesaving Museum in Hull, MA. My painting buddy, J.T. Harding, said he would drive them down and submit some also, so I said "great!". What the Hull Museum website didn't say was that it was a juried show. I probably would have chosen different paintings had I known. I liked that these were opposite; one very calm and evoking a feeling of solitude and the other loud and wild and portraying the crashing surf. I found out yesterday, however, that these 2 paintings were juried in, so I guess it's sometimes best not to know. A gentleman who purchased a painting from me last month said he was in love with my purples. Maybe that was what this judge liked too. When I am in love with a place or an experience, I hope that it comes through in my painting; Maybe that is what the judge liked.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The lone dinghy

 While taking a scenic drive around Cape Cod one day I spotted this dinghy drifting about on it's anchor. There were several small boats similar to it and they all seemed to dance about on the water as the ripples and wind gently rolled in. The effect was very relaxing and soothing and I decided right away to try to convey the trance like feeling in my painting. I decided to eliminate all the other boats and surrounding details and focus on this one boat, the ripples, and the reflection in the unending surface of the water as it receded from view.  I used a palette knife for most of the painting, quickly applying thick layers that wrap around the edge of the canvas to give the water a continuous feeling.