This is the last painting I did before I headed home. As the sun dropped lower it was getting cold. I was finishing painting the white pines when I looked to my right . The sun was dropping behind the ridge and the clouds were lighting up. The colors were changing every few minutes. It was amazing. I hadn’t planned on painting another one but couldn’t stop now. This was gorgeous. The bottom of the cloud deck was lighting up and changing from red to orange to pink non stop. The dark pines on the hill were providing the perfect contrast to the violet snow. It was beautiful.
This is the second painting I did. I turned and looked to the south at the edge of the marsh. There was plenty of snow on the ground above the flood tide level. My eye was caught by the stand of white pines and thick underbrush of a piece of land jutting out into the marsh. I quickly sketched the shape in. The light changes so fast out here. By the time I finished painting the white pines the sky had cleared and the sun was going down. Every where I looked there was something to paint! It was nuts. I forgot how much variety you can see from Harris Island. After painting in the Wells marsh last month this was a noticeably different landscape. I finished this painting just as a spectacular sunset was beginning. That sunset sky is what became painting #3.
It was 37 degrees. It felt like spring. I almost didn’t put my parka on. Then a breeze started to blow from the north. I was on Harris Island in York, Maine this afternoon. Fresh snow was everywhere. There was lots of parking as they plow out the town docks and the boat yard. Big reminder to self: come here when they haven’t plowed the other “places with a view”. We’ve had monster high tides in the past two days. Storms out to sea cause this. The snow was left on the marsh only where it was high enough to escape the flooding tides. At low tide I painted the snowy marsh edge and pools of water that stayed behind . This is painting #1. Then I painted two and three in rapid succession. It was that kind of day. Gorgeous.
Today my focus was to paint with gouache. I realized this 31 day challenge is ending and I didn’t get to try everything that is on my list. I wanted to use this month’s challenge to experiment with more materials and techniques. There were days when I had so many other things going on I was just squeezing in my painting time. Plus, this delivery schedule doesn’t give you much wiggle room when a painting is due at the end of the day. Marcus doesn’t want me to stop. He thinks I should do a 365 day run. Nice idea, especially since I’m in a groove right now. I think I will continue, probably at 4 or 5 paintings a week, and adjust it so I can work on a number of different paintings and show you the process. I really want to include gouache as an indoor and plein air option. I’ve been wanting to paint interiors but don’t want to use oils inside my house. Gouache is the perfect option. I’m organizing a kit that will be my basic gear for painting indoors and out. I love how I can use gouache as if they were oils and they’re dry in minutes! I will share my painting adventures and the results.
All the paintings in this 31 day series are available for purchase at special reduced prices till the end of February. I will mark them sold as they are purchased. Just drop me an email and let me know which one(s) you want and I will send you the special price. All paintings are sold unframed.
Today it was cold. I went to the marsh at 2 pm to paint ice and snow on the inlets. It was high tide and the marsh was mostly underwater. The snow and ice were nowhere to be seen. I forgot to check the tide when I headed out. I have a tide clock in my kitchen and a tide app on my phone. Did I check either of these? No. It was cold with a wind chill factor so I was going out when the sun was warmest. I thought of painting with gouache in my car but once I got there I just wanted to get outside and breathe the fresh air. I found a nice, sunny protected spot where the wind couldn’t reach me. It actually felt warm and cozy standing in the sun. I almost took off my down jacket. Then I thought, it was better to be too hot for an hour, than to have to stop painting to put on a jacket later. Halfway through the painting the wind started blowing. It was so cold my eyes were tearing up. That was the end of my cozy, warm spot. My paint started to act like glue. The temperature must have dropped below the flow zone. The sun was getting low in the sky. The dense cold was here. It was time to pack up. I jumped into the car and turned the heat on high as I drove home.
Nothing was melting today. Even when the clouds cleared and the sun came out this afternoon, it did not warm up. It was 21 with a steady wind blowing when I set up my easel. Wind chill was 10. My paint didn’t like these cold temps at all. It was so stiff I had to thin it with mineral spirits to get it to work. It stuck to the brush like chunks of stiff glue. I knew as soon as I got out of the car I didn’t have much time. It was 4 pm and the sun would be gone in 45 min. Long shadows stretched across the marsh. The sunlit snow would be gone if I didn’t move fast. It was a race. It was gorgeous. Snow and ice in the marsh channels are a fleeting phenomena. It has to be very cold for salt water to freeze. The vivid blue and green colors in the ice and snow are amazing. It looks like we are promised a couple more days of cold weather. I might be lucky enough to paint the frozen marsh again with some sunshine on it !
It was snowing all day. It was light and fluffy, a dreamy kind of snow. It fell gently and drifted lazily from the sky hour after hour. It didn’t amount to much, only a few inches. It was a coastal weather event. It made everything look picture perfect. I went out to the marsh early, hoping to find snow frosting the marsh. No chance, it was too warm, in the low 30’s, so the salt air and water was dissolving the fresh snow as it fell in the marsh. Little drifts of snow were piling up along the edge of the marsh grass along the road. I headed over to the large grassy area near the harbor. There the snow was piling up in the paths and meadows to the edge of the tree line. It was lovely. A wind started to blow out of the north. I set up my easel inside the back of the car so my palette wouldn’t fill with blowing snow. The clouds were rolling through and breaking up. Just then the sun peeked out from behind the gray clouds . I looked up. Directly overhead I could see bits of blue sky. The gray weather was starting to break up. I finished my painting and headed home before the cold air set in.
Today I had a big “to do list” filled with lots of tasks. There was no wiggle room to drive anywhere to paint or sketch. By mid afternoon I was running out of time and my class was starting soon. I picked up my sketchbook, went to the window and started sketching the view with an ink pen. Then I pulled out my gouache & watercolor kit and painted in the scene quickly. It was a very gray day. Just bits of snow were left over from last night’s snowfall. It wasn’t dark enough for the lights to come on and the sunset hadn’t started yet. Snow started to fall in tiny fine flakes. I finished the last quick strokes of muted color. Yes, it looked like a cloudy, gray winter day. And that is what it was. The thing I love about sketchbooks is they are so mater of fact. Anything works in them. Just put it in and leave it. It’s about recording the moment, whatever that moment is, it’s just authentic, simple and matter of fact. Later, in another place and time when I look at this page I will remember this winter day.
Today started off sunny and bright with not a cloud in the sky. There was a perfect bright blue sky at 8 am. The next time I looked out the window at 2 pm, it was completely overcast with the sun glowing through a milky cloud bank. I checked the weather. Snow is coming tonight. I went over to the marsh and set up my easel at 4 pm. It was completely gray except to the north where there were still clear skies. It was absolute low tide. There were bits of snow and ice on the grass edges and on the sand in the channel. I decided to paint the view of the creek to the north. Everything was in shades of lavender and ocher with the sky glowing in shades of gold. It was quiet. Behind me to the southwest the clouds got thicker and darker. I painted fast, the colors of the marsh stayed consistent while the sky to the west turned pink for about 3 min as the sun set. A damp chill set in. I was cleaning my palette when a strong, cold wind suddenly started blowing out of the north. Wild. Why was it blowing from the north? The storm was coming in from the south west. Of course it’s probably only me and fishermen heading back into port who would even notice this wind.
It was 37 degrees when the sun set. Shortly after the sun went down it dropped to 29. The colors were lovely. The moon was over head. The lights in the houses and streets all along the edge of the marsh went on. They twinkled and glowed across the miles. There were no clouds in the sky except at the very edge of the horizon. I love the vast empty sky as it stretches up over head. The stars began to come out. Six geese flew south this evening. Not like a few days ago when there were a at least a hundred in the large V that went south after sunset. Maybe these were trying to catch up with them. I can’t figure out why they are still heading south in the middle of winter. It’s something that I need to check out. I love going out every day to paint. It’s really magical. After the chill we had over the past few days it felt noticeably colder today. The paint was acting very stubborn today, a little like concrete. It usually doesn’t act like that unless it below 20. For the first time ever I had a small brush freeze into a stiff little concrete stick. After a few dunks in mineral spirits and rubbing the paint out with a paper towel it was back to normal. I still haven’t had to wear my Iditarod tundra gear, maybe this weekend. It promises to be colder than this past one. We shall see.