Sunday, July 31, 2011

Plein Air Painting Challenges #43: The Changeable Landscape

"Sugarloaf Rock, High Tide" 16x20, oil

In my plein air workshops, I talk on the first day about some of the challenges of plein air painting.  Some are obvious - shadows move and the weather can shift, both of which will change the scene considerably.   Others are obvious only to people who've painted the Bay of Fundy - the tide goes up and down, which will change the scene, too.  But there are some challenges you just wouldn't expect.   Who'd have thought someone would cut the shrubbery?

I started the painting above a couple of days ago.  It was high tide, and I knew that when I got back to the scene, the tide would be different.  Sure enough, when I went out today, the tide had almost bottomed-out.  No problem, I thought, because I'd captured the water on the first day.  But as I began to paint, I noticed that the bush in the bottom left corner, a significant compositional element, was missing!   The Roosevelt-Campobello International Park has been working on the trails lately, and I guess someone decided this bush had to go.

And that's why we take reference photographs.  It's hard to anticipate every change to the scene.

The painting is one of several larger pieces I've been working on for my show in St Andrews.  As a reminder, the show is at Sunbury Shore Arts and Nature Centre in St Andrews, New Brunswick, and it runs from August 12 through September 7.  There's a reception on Friday evening, August 12, from 5-7 pm Atlantic Time.  I'll be there with photographer David Ogilvie, who will be sharing the exhibit space.  (For more on Sunbury Shores, visit the website,


Valérie Pirlot said...

What a beautiful painting. I love the quality of the water and the cool shades on the rock. Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

daniela.. said...

Love what you say about keeping vigilant to unexpected changes, and glad they didn't move the foreground rocks, they look fantastic.

Michael Pieczonka said...

Really nice Michael. Saw this one on WC. Great sense of light. I just love that little hit of saturated turquoise in the Island's cast shadow on the water.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Michael, Valerie and Daniela!