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Friday, June 30, 2006

Living and Painting in a Fog

The rain and fog just ain't going away this summer. I went out to Con Robinson's Point where the fog was ebbing (somewhat), set up my tripod on a rock outcrop in the low tide zone, and painted the fog.
"Con Robinson's Point in the Fog"
9x12, oil/panel, en plein air

I used a heck of a lot of white in this painting, but I managed to keep the grays full of color. How'd I do this? I use a good amount of my palette scrapings from the previous painting. Every time I finish a painting, I take all the "used" paint on my palette, scrape it into a pile and mix it thoroughly. This "soup" is inevitably gray, but it is harmonized with my limited palette the because it contains a little bit of everything I use. This soup becomes a significant portion of my next painting -- I will use it everywhere. I can push this gray to be warmer or cooler or into a different color family by adding tiny bits of pure color. I can get some really nice grays with this method. (Grays should never be blah and truly neutral; they should always belong to some color family.)

By the time I finished, all my brushes were literally dripping with water from the fog. A weird experience, seeing the water running down into my brush holder.

(PS - Due to popular demand, I am turning "on" comments for my blogs. New entries will allow comments, so be nice!)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Spanning the Channel

Sometimes, you encounter a day where the light is so pure and the colors so clean that you just can't wait to paint! This was a day like that, and you don't get many of them in the Canadian Maritimes this time of year.

This was a fun painting to do. I could have focussed on the bridge or the many old wharf buildings, but I chose to do a big view -- sky, clouds and water -- with the bridge and buildings only suggested. Even though there was a certain amount of gray in the clouds, I kept my paint colors pure and and clean.

This is the Lubec Channel, with the tide going out and some weather moving in. (Click on the picture for a bigger version.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Liberty Point, Fog

The rain had come and gone, the fog had risen up, and now the sun was burning the fog away. The intense yellow light on the fog made for an amazing moment I just had to capture! The tide was out, too, so the green rockweed, dark against the illuminated water and fog, made for an interesting study.

This was done on Campobello Island in the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park at Liberty Point. Liberty Point juts out into the Grand Manan Channel where there is often fog and a chill wind blowing. We have big tides here -- 20-foot-plus -- and that's why you can see so much rockweed on these rugged outcrops.

"Liberty Point Fog," 8x10, oil/panel, en plein air

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cadillac Mountain - Late May

My cross-country trip included a week at Bar Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island and in Acadia National Park. Although we had rain, we had some sunny days, too -- some quite spectacular, especially since spring was just getting started. One day was unusually calm, and I headed up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac is famous for being the first place in the continental US that sees sunrise. (Although Lubec, Maine, will contest this, and certainly did when the new century kicked in!) It's also notorious for being windy. However, even my little umbrella was happy this day.

Here I am on the top. You can see the Porcupine Islands in the distance.
And here is the painting from that session.
"The Porcupines," oil/panel, 8x10.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Marshes & Dunes

We've been a month on the road, traveling from New Mexico to New Brunswick, Canada. Now that we have reached our home on Campobello Island and somewhat unpacked, I've had time to scan in some of the plein air pieces I painted while traveling. Every painting has a story behind it. One of my favorite stories concerns "Cape Cod: Marsh & Dunes". I just plain forgot to take turps with me, so this one was painted -- with great reluctance -- with paint right out of the tube and no thinner. But the painting turned out all right, as you can see. Lack of turps forced me to work with a brush loaded with thick paint. A real learning experience!

"Marshes & Dunes", 8x10, oil/panel
I will post other paintings as I have time. Gosh, it's good to get settled again!