Thursday, August 31, 2017

Guilty and Gruppe

The Gloucester painter Emile Gruppe once complained that students "... tend to make their ships too big.  Instead of a composition, they end up with a portrait of a boat."   I'm guilty here of trying to do both (no pun intended).  This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Here a few more words from Emile Gruppe:

“… every student paints a masterpiece sometime during his years of study; only in most cases he doesn’t know it.  There is no one around to tell him—and he keeps working till he spoils it!”

“…the single most important fact to remember when painting outdoors: in order to get a feeling of sunlight in your pictures, you have to paint in terms of warm and cool.”

“Remember when you’re outdoors, you have to be open to the character of the site.  I’m reminded of a friend of mine, a friend who painted marvelously sensitive tree studies—and who was so poor that he would scrape off masterpieces so he could reuse the canvas! I went to his studio one day and saw a large picture of some beech trees, with the light filtering down them.  The subtlety of the piece took my breath away.  I remember standing there in silence for a minute.  Then I thought to myself, “This is God!”  That’s all I said.  And that’s all I needed to say.”

“The more you paint outdoors, the more you’ll notice that you can pass a site a hundred times without its affecting you.  Then, on the hundred and first time—with the right light and atmospheric conditions—the spot comes to life.  It suddenly has to be painted!”

“Simplify the scene in front of you by squinting at it.”

“I find the more paint I have on, the better the painting.  I tell students to paint like a millionaire.”

“Painting is supposed to be fun, after all.  When it gets to be work, it shows in the picture.”

“At best you have about three hours in the early morning and three hours in the late afternoon when the light is fairly consistent.  So three hours is the maximum amount of time you can spend on your painting.  You can’t do much detail in that time.  And, besides, most people can’t draw well enough to do detail anyway.  So why bother?  There’s nothing worse than a picture full of flyspecks!”

“It takes years—maybe even a lifetime—to learn to see in a simple way.  You have to be as old as the hills, sometimes, before you really understand what art is all about.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rainy Day Composition

A quick oil sketch from a couple weeks ago of the Beacon Marine Basin building in Gloucester.  It was cloudy when I started and raining when I decided to wrap things up and get away.  I tried to arrange all the presented parts into a viable composition on my 12x16 panel.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rocky Neck

A view of Rocky Neck near the foundry at the tip of the little peninsula at Gloucester harbor: a 12x16 oil on panel.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Perky Boat

Here's a perky, little boat in Gloucester harbor that I couldn't help but notice, with its slanted windows like a cap tilted over its brow.  And the reflections in the water were so lively and colorful.   Another 12x16 oil on panel.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Capt. Joe

A 12x16 oil on panel of a large fishing boat tied up to a pier in Gloucester.  The boat is the Capt. Joe.  This view from the wharf is like looking down onto a stage from up in the rafters.  There are lights, cables, balconies.  Even a gas grill.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gloucester View

This Gloucester  view appealed to me because the two boats are pointed in opposite directions and the adjoining building on piers is showing its venerable status.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Slowly Rising

When I was working on this painting, I sensed that something was changing.  Finally it dawned on me that the boat, which appeared to remain perfectly still, was ever so slowly rising, as the dock behind it started to disappear.   This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Beacon Marine Basin

This is a different view of the crowded boats next to the Beacon Marine Basin in Gloucester on a sunny day.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

When I was painting near the North Shore Arts Association last week, several people visited me during the week to see what I was doing.  When I was working on this painting, I could see another painter below to my right working on a large canvas.  Later he came by to see what I was up to, and I recognized him from an earlier visit.  What I didn't realize then is that I didn't really recognize him until I started looking at Gloucester paintings on the Internet.  He was the painter Jeff Weaver, probably the best painter working in Gloucester today, who has done some magnificent paintings of the Beacon Marine Basin.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Jumble of Boats

On a gray day in Gloucester last week, I went down to the Beacon Marine Basin to paint boats, a jumble of boats.  If I achieved nothing else, I certainly captured the sense of complexity.  A 12x16 oil on panel.

Monday, August 21, 2017

At the End of Pirates Lane

Last week I did this painting on site at the end of Pirates Lane in East Gloucester.  There's a parking lot there for the North Shore Arts Association and a couple of boat docks.  It's a convenient place to paint.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Large Fishing Boat

It's apparent when looking at old paintings of Gloucester harbor that the appearance of where the land meets the water has changed dramatically over the years.  Buildings, wharves, and ships have all disappeared.  Nevertheless, what is there today is still quite exciting to view.  This large fishing boat I found behind a lobster warehouse across the street from where I was staying.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Beacon Marine Basin at Gloucester

This past week I was able to paint in Gloucester, MA, the site where many prominent artists have lived and painted for a long time.  This painting shows an old building, known as the Beacon Marine Basin, which houses people and boats in East Gloucester.  When I did this painting last Sunday morning, I was on the grounds of the North Shore Arts Association.  This is a 9x12 oil on multimedia board.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dark Pond on the Mountain

When I drove up Mount Greylock yesterday, the sun was shining, but it faded away by the time I reached the top.  So, instead of painting a long view, I went to the dark pond on the mountain and painted this 12x16 oil on panel.  The only sky appears as a couple spots at the bottom, which I think are important to the composition.  This time I was in a place where I could hear hikers, but most of them never saw me.  The frogs, however, were aware of my presence.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Looking North into the Haze on the AT

The haze never quite burned off after I reached the top of Greylock yesterday morning.  The spot where I set up is on the Appalachian Trail next to the road.  The view is looking north towards North Adams, MA.  I met several hikers, both women and men, all walking by themselves.  I asked them where they were going.  "Maine."  I asked them where they started from.  "Georgia."  This is the time when they should be going through this spot if they hope to make it to the end.  Some didn't linger, and some spoke for quite a while.  All were interesting people.  This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.  I hope to revisit this spot on a clear day since I want to paint those humpy mountains again.

A passerby in a car asked if she could take my picture.  I asked her to send it to me.  You can see the guard rail separating me from the cars.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A High Point

One could say that I've reached a high point in my painting: this 9x12 oil on linen I did yesterday at the top of Mount Greylock.  The painting looks southeast towards Adams, MA.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Lobster Boat in the Sun

An oil painting of a lobster boat in the sun in Perkins Cove at Ogunquit, Maine, on a 9x12 piece of linen.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Surface of the Pond

As I worked on this painting, coincidentally I read an essay by David M. Robinson on Thoreau's Walden.  He writes, "...the description recreates the pond surface as a medium of cognition, an ideal analogue for the completely perceptive mind.  The line of demarcation between two different realms, water and sky, the surface is also the place at which these realms meet and merge, recording and thus comprehending each such event.  Perception, as represented by Thoreau through the perfectly impressionable pond surface, is thus a process of merger or unification."

The painting is an 18x24 oil on canvas of the small pond located on Mount Greylock.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Splendid Prospect

Mount Prospect offers a splendid prospect of Williamstown and the Taconic Mountains in the distance.  I reached the clearing, which is on the Appalachian Trail, using the short hike accessible from Notch Road.   It took twenty minutes even though I carried up my painting gear.  Being so high up, I thought I would be an interesting sight for through hikers, but I only met one, who was in a hurry.  This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

One More Pond

Yesterday I went back to the pond.  I painted this 9x12 oil on linen while the sun gradually disappeared, and the clouds increased.  I could hear thunder getting closer.  I was off the mountain when the rains finally came.  Even though I used bug spray, my legs have been eaten alive in the last few days on the mountain.  Next time at the pond, I will wear long pants.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Painting From The Mountain

When going to the pond on Mount Greylock, I pass by this view going up and down.  If one is going to paint on a mountain, shouldn't one try a long view?  This is a 12x16 oil on panel that I did yesterday from the "Fitch" view on Notch Road below Mount Fitch.  The view looks west toward the Taconics in New York state.  Fascinating how that tree can only expand on one side.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Faster Pond

This is the second pond painting that I did yesterday from my spot next to the old pump house on Mount Greylock.  It's a 12x9 on linen.  I worked a little faster on this one going after a more abstract design.