Saturday, August 1, 2009

Painting under Overcast and in Fog

Last weekend, I drove down to Southwest Harbor, Maine, to participate in a fund-raising garden tour to benefit the public library. Eleven artists were invited to set up in one of six gardens and paint away. Trina and I drove down in fog that was the proverbial "pea soup."

My garden was just outside of town in West Tremont by the ocean, and flowers filled the landscape. The visitors were real horticultural enthusiasts and seemed to know a lot. As I painted, I kept hearing remarks like, "I've never seen bee balm like that before!" and "Their potentilla is much bigger than mine!"

Several also commented on the fog, which began to thin around lunchtime, and the overcast. "Too bad you don't have any sun today to paint in," they'd say. "Oh, no," I would reply, "the colors are much more intense this way." And it's true. Sunlight tends to wash out a garden's colors; overcast and fog lets them really shine. Even a little drizzle isn't bad - especially if you're painting in oils, as I was. (And it did rain, but it held out until the end of the day.)

Here are two pieces I did. To get the intense richness of the flowers, I pulled out my secret weapons again - Thalo Red Rose, Dioxazine Purple and Cadmium Barium Orange.

"There Will Come Soft Rain"
11x14, oil/panel

"Be My Love in the Rain"
8x10, oil/panel

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