Last year I started painting people on location. I really like doing it . They remind me of lobster boats as I never know when they are going to just get up and leave. I have a strategy I use, the same one that I use for painting boats and animals. When subjects keep moving I sketch a lot. I do a pile of sketches with all the different movements the model makes. This cements the image in my brain. When I find one that I like, that is the one I paint. So even if they move around or get up and leave I have a master plan to work with. Plus I work small, so I can be sure to finish in 20 -30 minutes or less.
Wild water lilies floated across the surface of the beaver pond. I set up my easel on the top edge of the beaver dam with a perfect view of the mountains with the reflections of the dead snags and ridge behind them. So much to paint! It was almost overwhelming. The biggest problems I had were my panels were all too small for the grand vista and the sun was setting fast. I grabbed a 16×20 panel and started painting the pond surface.
You loose your light and shadows early here as there is always a mountain in the way. Its not like painting on the coast where sunsets linger forever. The mountains loom large and the shadows are deep.
In my Adirondack wanderings I found a small beaver pond up at the base of Whiteface Mountain. It was a perfect spot. There were 20 paintings in the scene. It was nuts, so many options and so little time! I did my best to try and focus on the clouds rolling over the mountain tops. It was spectacular. It was a perfect cloud day and reflection day. Who could ask for more? While I painted artist Patricia Bellerose painted me! Great day!
I now know why people come back to the little lakes in the Adirondacks every summer. They are pristine and peaceful. Years ago when I lived in Vermont I’d look across the lake at the Adirondacks and think of how beautiful they looked at sunset. I rarely ventured across Lake Champlain as favorite my places were in the hills and valleys of the Green Mountains. This summer George Van Hook encouraged me to paint in the Adirondacks. I am glad he did!
Moody pine forests trimmed the edge of Osgood Lake in the Adirondacks. I can’t remember the last time I was in a place like this. Everything is dark and moody under the pine canopy. Sound is hushed. The ground is carpeted with pine needles and moss. Its bouncy and very soft. Everything is scented with the smell of pines. There are sparkling clear lakes around every bend. Its very clean and pure here.
Painting in the vineyards brought back wonderful memories. You know how a smell can take you back to a specific place in time?
When I was in high school, every morning I would walk past my grandfathers grapevines on my way to school. In late summer and early fall the fragrance of the ripening grapes would linger in the early morning air. I loved that scent! When I was painting at LaBelle Winery I immediately recalled those grapes and their scent in those early mornings.
I painted big clouds for five days in the Adirondacks a few weeks ago. It is a big cloud kind of place. It is so different from the seacoast. It is a land of hills and valleys. The skies are very dramatic. Big clouds scrape across the tops of the mountains. This is one of my favorite kinds of scenes to paint- fast moving with dramatic lighting.
Sometimes the best things happen. I was invited to paint Dogs Head, an Ogunquit landmark and I had a blast doing it. At first I thought everyone has painted this! Why should I do it again? Then I took a look at the old paintings and noticed that the dogs head had changed alot! Yikes. The ocean is wearing it away. So I trucked my gear over and got to work. And since Cindy and John were having a party for the Marginal Way Preservation Fund that same day I was served the most delicious gourmet food while I painted. What a blast!
One of my favorite places to paint is in North Parsonsfield, ME. It is a hilly small town near the New Hampshire border. When you drive there from the coast is all up hill. Its rural New England with big old houses that once were farms. It takes you back to when the world was a quieter, peaceful place.
Awesome late summer evening in Saranac Lake. I painted on the shore of Lake Flower. Beautiful spot. The mountains up here are gorgeous. The lakes are sublime!