Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Ice & Muted Mauves

St John's, Newfoundland in iceberg season is a place I've always wanted to visit. I love icebergs . One day in the Portland Museum I saw Rockwell Kent's paintings with all that ice and snow up close and personal... and I fell in love with them...   

There is ice up here in Maine and New Hampshire. But it is small pieces of ice... beautiful in their own right. Marcus & I  headed over to Durham Point on Great Bay to see the ice as it was breaking up into mini icebergs.  When we arrived at Adam's Point it was a study in blues, greens and mauve......the colors were soft, the air was still and it was just high tide.

The sea water was pouring into the bay on the western side of the peninsula. 

Cakes of ice were floating around the inlets.

The bright green color of the ice submerged in water is amazing.

At first sight the bright green color is startling...

We parked near the boat launch on Adam's Point Road, between two bays.There is water to the east and west.

The ice was breaking off and floating along on currents moving in two opposite directions, south along the shore and north toward the middle of the bay.

I set up and mixed my colors...The weather started to change. The heavy cloud cover started to move out over the ocean. 

In only half an hour the sun was burning through and the entire scene had changed.  The moody soft colors were gone. Poof! 

I kept blocking my colors into the scene from memory...

The difficulty was that the light kept getting brighter and it was hard to see the original colors in the scene I had chosen when it was overcast. 
The sun dropped lower in the sky, the wind picked up and flocks of Canadian geese flew in for the night.  

The sun was getting so bright I decide to stop and call it a wrap.  I could barely see the panel and reflections were bouncing all over the place.

Horse tails scattered across the sky. Then the big wind came! It came in hearty gusts, blowing my easel and everything else around. 

I set my tripod legs for windy conditions and that stabilized the easel. But it was  even hard at this point to keep my hat on. 

With 25 - 35 mph winds I' was ready to pack it in. Strong wind is the hardest thing to deal with when painting. Its so distracting!  

Green Ice, 11X14 Oil on panel

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Thaw

Winter is coming to an end! I know there are a lot of folks out there that are happy about this. As the snow drifts melt I have more space to park my car but it also is rapidly changing the landscape. 
At the Rachel Carson Cutts Island trail head on Kittery Point there is more pavement showing along the road but the woods are still thigh deep in snow.

 Chauncey Creek was almost covered in ice a week ago. The creek is tidal so the tides and saltwater move ice out faster than on fresh water lakes and ponds. 

I set up my easel with water views to my left, right and straight ahead. 

The ice has disappeared from the middle of the creek and is melting along the shore and in coves.  Large cakes of it were scattered around. 
 I did a number of sketches in ink and pencil to help me decide what I might paint.  

There was so much great material to choose from and the tide was rising.

The light was changing.

A thin haze of clouds streaked across the sky.

I decided to paint a cove in the creek with slabs of ice scattered around. 

The light started to get bright and hazy with indistinct shadows as I started my block in.

Recently, I've been approaching my plein air paintings with a direct method of paint application. I don't do any underpainting, and I premix my color groups so I can paint faster. 

As the sunlight dimmed a thin sheet of ice formed on the surface of the creek.

The sunlight was now gone but I kept to my original idea. I decided to change the foreground on my small panel(10 x12).  

I wanted to included more slabs and cakes of ice in the cove and shore area. 

This is the view of my easel looking down from the snow drift behind me. 

I really picked up speed as the light dimmed and it got colder!

Marcus kindly documented today's painting trip. He came along on this late winter jaunt to do some sketching. 

I'm going for a wrap on this one. I 'll put the finishing touches on it in the studio.

Or use it for a larger studio piece!

I'm looking forward to spring but... I'll really miss these great snow scenes. Snow makes the landscape so beautiful and interesting !

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Moody Blues

Snow, fresh arctic air and that misty blue mood of the marshes called to me on Monday.  I couldn't resist . I headed out, with the car studio packed for action.

Here on the seacoast we have a lot of snow! I couldn't find a place to park in any of my  favorite places...8 ft drifts blocked the view.

Finally on a quiet, dead end road near the harbor I parked in the road.

It was cloudy, the tide was going out and the muted blues, reds, ochers and greens were beginning to show in the late afternoon light.   

I set up behind my car.  The afternoon was warm. It was above freezing!  What a rare occurance.

I really love sketching with charcoal! Its so different from my cool gray markers.

I spent some time really looking at my subject...
Painting outside is not like work, even though it requires complete concentration it feels like fun.
I painted my sketch in a thin burnt sienna on a primed panel.

The colors of the landscape were soft and muted.

The sky was shifting to subtle shades of golden yellow. 

I started to block in the color notes.

The light began to drop and that blue tint moved in.

I like painting near my car, all my gear is there so when I need something I can just reach for it...there's my tool/paint box open next to me.

Here I'm adding more color notes and building the mood of the place. The ducks and geese honk and quack as they settle in for the night on the marsh . 

Not many people are out here on this late winter day, in the summer this place is a favorite spot for a an evening walk.  

The sun is gone.  A deep blue cast settles over the marsh.

I clean up my paints as my hazard lights light up the dusk.

Across the marsh all the little house lights begin to glow. Another perfect subject for a painting!  I'll do that on another day...