Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bar Harbor Misty Point

At Bar Harbor the rocks that tumble into the ocean are so dramatic and powerful for me.  Every few steps there seems to be another opportunity for a painting.  This painting shows one of my favorite views in part because even today, the place is so strong with its sense of active nature and ancient power that it still feels almost primordial to me.

As a painting, the depth created by the simplification of using atmosphere to blend and simplify distant shapes, gives the place that slightly muffled quality that you find at northern Maine seashores often broken only by the squabbling cry of the gulls.

For me, this painting really wraps together the beauty of the small hard edged shapes with the color palette, composition and tone of the early 20th century landscape painters.  I have used this painting as the background for my blog because it feels like it can represent this body of work.

The birds were interestingly the key to bringing the composition to life.  I painted and painted and repainted them to get a flock that felt natural and that had the flow I was looking for.

Bar Harbor Misty Point

Coggeshell farm stone shed

Near where we live here in Rhode Island there is a historical farm (Coggeshell Farm) still run as if it was pre-industrial with all of it's out buildings that are hundreds of years old still in use.  This stone storage building lies right at the edge of a saltwater marsh and was so rich with overgrowth, moss and nature's hand I had to make it a subject of this painting.  Old doors always fascinate me as it is magical to imagine the passage of so much life and work through those doors over hundreds of years.  This building almost seems to have been built just as a home for this modest ancient door.

I painted the mortar mostly simple light colors to pull out the rich watercolor-like tones of the old slate and shale used in the construction.

The overgrowth of the brambles create russet whips that look like they are weaving this old building back into the land itself.  It's late fall and the leaves have dropped giving the scene that quiet and expectant pause that you get here in New England.  I wanted to capture the thin blue sense of  late afternoon light near the shore and to be able to smell the salt marsh and brisk breeze that carries the hint of dry leaves and hay bundles.

Here again I find the hard edges shapes this painting process brings out to be simply thrilling and so full of discovery.

Coggeshell Farm Stone Shed