Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eastport, Evening, with Gulls

I've spent the last couple of weeks working on a series of larger (16x20) studio paintings of the Southwest, based on photo references. As much as I enjoyed paintings these, yesterday I was aching to get outside to paint. A warm front released us from a recent cold spell, and all of a sudden it felt like spring.

Near evening, I quickly re-assembled my oil plein air kit -- I hadn't touched it since Sedona, back at the end of October -- and went out. The wind was rising and the thick clouds we'd had all day were breaking. Warm orange tones began to creep into the leaden sky. No sooner than I sat down to paint, the clouds broke, and the evening sun cast its glow on Eastport, Maine, a mile across Friar's Bay. The timing was perfect.

I did this one quickly in no more than 15 minutes. I skipped my usual transparent underpainting, and went right in with thick, opaque paint. I felt this was the way to really capture the energy of the moment. At the end, I felt it important to add the seagulls, tossed by the wind high up in the clouds. They imparted more energy to the scene, and it's sometimes hard to do this in a painting with so many horizontal elements.

"Eastport, Evening, with Gulls" 5x7, oil, en plein air (SOLD)

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