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Maine Chauncey Creek

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One afternoon on Chauncey Creek the sun sank behind a haze of clouds making the sky above the trees glow  with a yellow light.
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Chauncey Creek Pines

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The tide helps break up the ice in Chauncey Creek on Kittery Point. The open water reflection of the pines creates a dynamic contrast to all the winter white.

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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 !

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Big Snow & Bright Sun on Chauncey Creek

A blizzard hit the Maine coast yesterday leaving about 10 – 15 inches of fluffy, new white stuff…
 It was gorgeous today, clear and sunny with temps in the high teens… a perfect day to get out and paint, we were in heaven!
 The choice location was along Chauncey Creek on Kittery Point, Maine.  The challenge was to find a place to park and not be in the middle of the road.
I drove half way into the drift and set up comfortably behind my car with my easel tripod on dry pavement and all my gear in the car safe and dry. What could be better?
 I proceeded to sketch a variety of views of the creek.
This is the sketch that I choose to guide my painting.
I love painting out of the back of my car.  My gear box is there with everything I need and I have my paints all laid out on glass plates in my traveling palette.
I sketched in my design with thinned burnt sienna.
Todd Bonita, my painting buddy parked just ahead of me to focus on capturing the nuances of an old boat barn in a snow filled meadow. A neighbor stopped by to tell us that Mr. Fisher, the boat builder, had moved on up to Isle au Haut and he had “built more boats in that barn than you have eaten hot meals”.

 It only took me a few minutes to notice that I the tide was going out so I started to paint faster, painting my reflections in first as they would be disappearing soon.

 Usually its the moving and changing light that keeps a plein air painter on their toes but with salt water views you have to think about tides.
I actually like this challenge and find that it keeps my painting fresh.  No time to noodle to around…

As the sun dropped I saw other subjects I’d like to paint , maybe on the next trip.

I placed a few last color notes on the panel and called it a wrap.  I can tune it up in the studio later.
8×10 oil on panel
I’m really happy with my “studio on wheels”.  After I packed my gear in the back I just drove out of the snow drift and headed over to the town dock to check out the parking situation for painting there tomorrow.
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