Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Windy Day - Saxonville Pond

12x16 in. oil on cotton canvas panel

A late summer day looking south on Saxonville Pond. It's a ponding of the Sudbury River that provided power to the Saxonville Carpet Company, which pounded out those brown, dark green, and indeterminate-but-murky-colored rugs you'll see in museum reproductions of middle-class rooms circa 1910. The mill itself is now a warren of small shops, an artist enclave, a harpsichord-maker, various engineers, and a couple of storage companies. Eerily, water still flows through the sluices to the mill's multiple water wheels, giving a watery-rumbly ambience when you're inside the mill.

That New England barn isn't really there. What's really there is an unbelievably garish bright turquoise raised-ranch house.

This was painted in an afternoon shared with Brother Eugene DiLauro, a local painter in his late 80s with (no surprise) a deep spirituality about him. Long ago, he spent more than ten years in South American poverty-ruined areas, where he alone or with another Brother supplied guidance, education, and through his religious order, goods and necessities of life.

He returned with a heart problem, having given his heart to his villages. The local Diocese reciprocated with a full scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design.

It was an honor to paint alongside of him in one of the very few classes he has offered. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lilac Point Ragdoll Cat

6x8 oil on cotton canvas panel

Something has interrupted a nap. A bit more staring and she'll drop back to sleep.

This is a lilac-point ragdoll cat, so named because they go limp when you pick them up. We are not owned by one. 

We are owned by a long-haired tortoise-shell and white cat, Precious, who will rip your arms off if you pick her up. There is a cat-psychological category, tortitude, which Precious has studied and adopted tortitude in all points: talkative, short-fused, strong-willed.

(This paintng is my first foray into Dailypaintworks's auction. I'm starting it at $20.)

From a Creative Commons-licensed photo by Mike Lawson, found on Flickr.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Astor's Beechwood, Newport, Rhode Island

8x10 oil on stretched canvas

This one, which was sold a long time ago to the mother of a daughter who was married at the venue, has what might be an interesting wrinkle.

It's a view of the New York Astor's Beechwood 'cottage' along millionaire's row in Newport, Rhode Island. But it's a view you'll never see, unless you're perched in a tree along Bellevue Avenue. 

I had to make a computer model of the mansion in a 3D program and raise the viewpoint, painting simultaneously from my computer screen and a photo we took many years ago. I wanted to include the ocean that fronted the, er, cottage. The only way to do that was to get on the level of the third floor. You can't see the, well, sea from ground level.

You're unlikely to get married in this Italianate pile any more. In 2010, it was snapped by the Oracle Corporation's Larry Ellison for a mere $10.5 million. He's fitting out the ground floor as a museum for his art collection - no, none of my work is there. You would especially have difficulty reserving it if you were connected in any way with Bill Gates and Microsoft. Ellison has no love for Bill.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pink dahlia

8x8 in. Oil on canvas panel

From our annual backyard dahlia display - amazing flower. I clipped one and took it to a festival that I knew would afford me time to paint in the booth. 

Red Mill, Jericho Vermont

8x10 inch, oil on canvas panel

Jericho, Vermont is a small town north of I-89, maybe 20 miles east of Burlington... and smack in the middle of the winter painting grounds of many a Rockport and Gloucester Massachusetts painters of the 20th C.

This was from a fall trip we took to find the motifs of these painters, introduced to us by Stapleton Kearns - and they appear regularly in Stape's incredibly interesting blog.

Local painters regularly capture the red mill in their works, though I don't see any versions among the Massachusetts group (see below). Officially the Chittenden mill, it was in its last stages a grain mill. Portions date to before 1855, but it was added to throughout the 19th Century.

The Mass painters include Aldro Hibbard, Emile Gruppe (whose daughter runs the Emile Gruppe Gallery a few miles south of downtown Jericho), and Alden Bryan (whose memorial gallery is in Jeffersonville, a few miles to the east of Jericho)... and a bunch more whose summer quarters were on Cape Ann.

Price is framed. For unframed, contact me.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rock Harbor Hill

8x12 inches on gessoed hardboard ("Masonite"), framed

Rock Harbor, a small tidal harbor not far from downtown Orleans on the Massachusetts Cape, has more than water and boats. Dunes play just to the north and west. This scene is the dune to the north.

This knife painting perhaps means more to me than to you - it mirrors the dunes around my grandfather's cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place to wander, to lose yourself in the pine and scrub. This was done during a John Clayton workshop in early fall... also a place to wander and to lose yourself under the spell of a fantastic teacher.

John, a product of the Cape School of Art, passed along to us the love of color.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Hampshire Snow

9x12 inches. Linen canvas panel. Framed

View from the back of Sunset Hill House in Sugar Hill (Franconia) New Hampshire. Begun on the second (or was it the third) day of Stapleton Kearns's Snowcamp, January, 2013.

I put this away when I got home from Snowcamp, not liking the painting much. But over the months, it's grown on me. I did tweak the background a bit.

While I painted the scene, snow was falling fairly heavily and I hadn't rigged anything to keep it off my palette. Before long, my oils were grainy with tiny ice crystals. Working became a mushy challenge and I retreated to the hotel's covered porch at the back.

There is no roadway snaking back in the actual scene. It was put in after Stape trudged past and muttered, "Wicked stripe-y," meaning that each scene element was stacking up in horizontal ribbon after ribbon. 

Then, just a few days ago, I discovered that there probably was a road heading back that way. The original railroad hotel of the mid-late-1800s, long gone, was sited somewhere back there. The current Sunset Hill House was the hotel's Annex, with a mere 28 rooms, designed for those who wanted New Hampshire but not the crowds. The original hotel had 300-some rooms.

A note on the color - my camera loves blue, because camera sensor designers always dial up the blue in landscape photos. Who doesn't love a blue sky? But the sky that day was not so blue and neither were the mountains.