Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Cottages - Multi-Sessions

"Prince Cottage" 12x24, oil

These last two days, I've been painting the Prince Cottage at the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park. I went over yesterday and worked for about three hours. With paintings of natural scenery, three hours is about an hour longer than I like to work. But for something as complex as a Victorian cottage, it does take longer. Most of what I did yesterday was simply to get the cottage. At one point, I had the cottage nearly done on an otherwise blank canvas! I wanted to make sure my drawing was accurate and that the cottage reflected all the rich luminosity of a clear spring day. Everything else - the lawns, woods and sky - I merely blocked in at the last minute. I couldn't have worked longer to finish, because the light had changed significantly.

I'd planned to finish the painting entirely on site in a second session, but when I got back to the studio, I saw that I could complete the sky easily without a reference. I had painted in enough information to work from in a convincing way. I spent an hour or so painting it and working it down into the tree shapes. I held off doing anything else, because I really wanted to do the rest from life. I could have made it up - but it possibly would have been recognized as such by the viewer.

This morning, clouds were moving in, so I hustled and got to the cottage especially early, at 7:30. The Park officially opened today, and an Elderhostel group had moved into the cottage overnight. I thought I'd get there before they finished breakfast. It turns out they'd already eaten and had left for a birding event. (This is a special birding weekend in Lubec and on Campobello.) So, I worked in solitude - double-checking my drawing, adding a few finishing touches to the cottage, and then completing the landscape around the cottage.

Above is the finished painting. Below is the intermediate stage plus a shot of the easel in the field.

Intermediate Stage:

In the field at the finish: