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At the Dock

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Docks are located all along York River on its way to the harbor. Some of the lobstermen sell their freshly caught lobsters right off their docks. The lobster is so fresh and the price is great ! 

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Two Boats

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Most of the docks are empty in early spring at York Harbor. A working lobster boat and a covered sail boat are the only boats at the dock.

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York Harbor Maine

Before the weather warms up only a few lobster boats are moored in York Harbor. The harbor fills up with pleasure boats as soon as the warm sunny days are here to stay.
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Water, Color & Town Dock #1

I am painting every day in the late afternoon.  I’ve been doing this for a few weeks. 
I can’t resist the subtle colors of twilight. The winter solstice is almost here with its beautiful velvety mood and twinkling night time lights.
8X6 Sketch pen, watercolor

After many nights out I was bound to run out of steam at some point… it happened the other day at the town dock in York Harbor. 

This was a day time painting excursion…
4×4 Study, pen, watercolor

I arrived, looked around for a subject to grab me and… all I wanted to do was sit somewhere and sketch what was in front of me. 

I find sketching a very relaxing, zen-like experience.  The pen or pencil slides and floats smoothly on the surface of the paper. 
4×6 Sketch, pen, watercolor

I slow down to capture what is in front of me…… which is often a subject arriving or departing for somewhere else.

I found that if I am sitting down I can just look at something and imprint it in my memory. 

I haven’t got a clue as to why sitting down makes such a difference.
4×6 Sketch, pen, watercolor

When I paint I always stand up. I can’t paint sitting down…I like to keep moving, walking around, looking at what I’m doing from different perspectives. 

On a day like today it was perfect to sit and observe from a quiet spot.  

It was also very warm and comfortable for a mid November day. 

I sketched in black ink and added color with watercolor pencils.

Did I forget to mention that it also started raining every now and then?

I was sitting under a pine tree.

It didn’t seem to be raining on me so I just ignored it, sat there and continued sketching.

Sure enough after a few minutes the rain stopped.

My sketchbook pages were dry with just a raindrop here and there.
8×6 Sketches, pen

The boats started coming in, the lobstermen were pulling up to the dock with the day’s  catch.

This harbor isn’t very crowded now. In the summer it has a lot of pleasure boats.
4×6 Sketch, pen, watercolor pencil

Now you can see the working boats easily, they are the only ones left on the moorings. 

Its peaceful and there is plenty of parking all along the two town docks.
6×8 Sketch pen

The bustle of summer is over. The big summer cottages along the river are mostly empty now.

I actually like it more than in summer. September, October and November are my favorite months on the coast.
4×6 Sketch, pen, watercolor pencil

When the snow and cold arrive I paint really beautiful pictures but its usually too cold to hang out like today.

The season is changing really fast, almost daily I notice variations in the landscape.  It’s really so nice to take a day and slow it way down. 
4×6 Sketch, pen, watercolor


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Twilight on the River

There are three kinds of twilight.  Who would have known?  Civil, Nautical and Astronomical are their names…I discovered this when I wanted to know the exact time of the sunset.

With my twilight chart in my back pocket I headed out to York Harbor, Maine, to paint some sunset pictures on the York River… 

I’ve discovered that if I set up early when there is enough light to see the lay of the land, I’m well prepared when it gets dark… 

   I wanted the twilight and tide to work together so I would have some nice light reflections.
Steadman Woods Study, 8×10 oil

 When I arrived in early afternoon the tide was going out, the sky was clouding up and things were looking gray.

I spent some time walking around looking for a spot that would offer me a view with water, land and sky and be interesting enough to paint several times as the light changed.

The tide was going out fast. Sand started appearing where there was once water and nice reflections.

I started painting, focusing on completing my studies at timed intervals, so I would capture the different moods…
Sand & reflections study, 11×14 oil

The sun hadn’t even set and the moon was already up in the sky peeking over the tops of the trees ! 
As the clouds arranged themselves in attractive clusters I gathered up a variety of additional panels to paint on.  
It was now “civil” twilight and the view was expansive.
Lobster boats were returning from a long days work.
The light was shifting fast and “nautical” twilight was approaching. 
Twilight I study, 8×16 oil
I set up to paint facing southwest because the light would last the longest in that direction.
The banks of trees and wet sand on the edge of the river steadily changed colors as the clouds and sky deepened in tone. 

The lights came on in houses on the marsh edge and on the docks along the river front.
It was that time of the day when the sky and river surface were glowing.  

Sometimes the water looks like it is lit from within, the color is so rich and beautiful.
Twilight sky study, 8×16 oil

The last boat came up the river from the harbor’s mouth.

As the moon rose, the sky got darker and the moored boats on the river floated like blue ghosts on the surface of the water.
Twilight II study, 8×16 oil

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Winter Painting on the Water

Sometimes when storms are coming there is a relative calm and the wind dies down. Its fairly unusual to not have wind either off shore or on shore along the coast.  Its warmer and easier to paint with out the wind. This day was one of these rare quiet days . I grabbed my paints and headed out in the late afternoon to see what I could find.

The first place I stopped was at the mouth of a small river in Cape Neddick where it opens into a bay . You can see how cold it is, the salt water has ice on it.  But there were too many big snow banks to find a place to park.

I decided to go to York Harbor which is often very windy .   It was peaceful and calm – so rare.  

As you can see I was minutes after new snow. Fresh snow was on everything forming nice patterns and forms. A row of empty docks looked like a little train. 

Way out over the ocean was a band of yellow light where the sky was clear, the heavy bank of clouds hadn’t reached it yet. 

I did a quick sketch of that warm light and the river bank before it got too dark. By the time I took this picture the clouds had moved in. It was starting to snow. Have to grab these moments when you have them.