Wednesday, July 28, 2010



These guys were hanging out at Great Brook Farm this morning, waiting for their breakfast. Boy do they make a lot of noise when they are hungry, and they don't even come close to standing still. It was fun to try to sketch them quickly, and capture a little of their personalities.

Here's a link to all the paintings in my 10 part Great Brook Farm series, and a map to show the location of each scene.

Great Brook Farm series locations

I am enjoying painting the Great Brook Farm 10 part series so much, that I wanted to share with you the locations of the paintings done so far. I'll update this as I add the final paintings. For those of you who aren't nearby, I hope this map will give you some sense of the broad range of territory included in the farm: woods, open fields, cornfields, marshes, ponds, barns, animal pens, hiking, bike and horse trails, and last but not least, the ice cream stand. Do visit if you can.

I've marked the painting locations in red. This link will take you to the paintings in the series.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#6 of 10 Plein Air Paintings of Great Brook Farm

"Beyond the Marsh"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

These treetops are beyond the marsh, just down the trail from the previous two paintings in the series. I painted it tonight, just as the light was fading. To my left is the open edge of the marsh, and I could hear a couple of dogs splashing away as their masters encouraged them, though I couldn't see them through the trees.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#5 of 10 Plein Air Paintings of Great Brook Farm

"Edge of the Meadow"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I painted this one yesterday morning, just a few feet away from "The Meadows", looking a bit more to the east. The pond is just to the left. All at Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, MA. This has rapidly become a favorite spot for me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wipers - the ones that got away

Lobstah version 1

Successful "Lobstah"

The Meadows version 1

Successful "The Meadows"

Last week was brutal. I did six paintings and wiped off 4 of them! A record of wipers in one week for me. And by wipers I mean I basically painted the whole thing, decided it wasn't good enough and then wiped it off.

I thought I would show the starts for two of those that got wiped, and you can compare them with the subsequent versions that were successful. For me it's important to go back and attack the scene of the wipe again, so it doesn't become a subject that I shy away from. And guess what? It is easier the second time, so I did learn something on the pass that got wiped.

What went wrong? The same thing both times, the focal point of the painting (the lobster and the tree to the right of the path) turned into shapeless muddy blobs. It's just easier to start over at that point, so I wipe off the canvas with a bit of gamsol, tone it with burnt sienna, and let it live another day as the base for a different painting. It is much nicer to wipe than to let the failures dry and have them staring at you later.

Note that the successful "The Meadows" was painted on a toned canvas, which probably did help.

Monday, July 19, 2010

#4 of 10 Plein Air Paintings of Great Brook Farm

"The Meadows"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I painted this one at Great Brook Farm in Acton, Mass, this morning. The scene is on the unpaved road going south from the farmhouse towards Meadow Pond (the other end of the pond than #3). I tried it one morning last week, but ended up wiping it off. This time I was able to get what I wanted, all the different greens and the pink of the loosestrife. I was literally alone for more than an hour, just me and the scenery. Bliss!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Lobstah" - NFS

8"x8" oil on canvas panel

I had so much fun with the lobster in "Din-nah" last month, that after a frustrating week of wipers, I bought one and had it cooked at the grocery store, just so I could paint it. Here's lobster #2 with a shucked ear of corn and another nice brown egg. I did wipe the first pass, but it came together better the second time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Summer Heat"

"Summer Heat"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

It has been so hot and humid since the 4th that I haven't been able to paint outside, and inside it's even worse! This morning I decided to go for it anyway, went to Great Brook Farm, and stood under one of the pavilions while painting. Good move since it started to rain before I was done. I had been eyeing this tree for a while, such a nice shape above the other trees. I like the abstractness of this piece. What do you think?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Painting the Painter

6"x6" oil on canvas panel

On Sunday, my friend Suzanne and I were painting together, each painting a scene that was next to where the other person was standing. Mine wasn't going too well, and I looked up and there was Suzanne, intent on her work. I have been enjoying the wonderful posts from Kathryn Townsend about the class she took with Peggi Kroll-Roberts. I have known about this workshop for some time, and look forward to taking it myself. I thoroughly enjoyed taking it vicariously through Kathryn's posts*, which were what sent my mind immediately to "How about I paint Suzanne?". This was the result.

* The link goes to one post, but take a look at those before and after for Kathryn's tour of Peggi's workshop. And my painting of Suzanne is not an attempt to do one of Peggi's exercises, but I will try that soon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Fishin' on the 4th"

"Fishin' on the 4th"
8"x10" oil on gessobord

I started this one a couple of weeks ago when I got to the Yarmouth town landing early and found the Adam and Joshua at the dock. Some liberties were taken with her location in this scene, and I did have to finish it with the aid of a photo, since this Sunday she had already gone out by the time I arrived to finish it. Next time I'll put the name on. This is my first free hand lobster boat (those done earlier this year were carefully gridded out from a photo). My goal at the Colin Page class was to get to this, so I am happy.

This painting will be available framed from the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery in September for $325.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

10 Plein Air Paintings of Great Brook Farm #3

"From Meadow Pond Bridge"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I picked out this scene early on in my visits to Great Brook Farm, and spent a couple of sessions here last week, but wiped off my efforts in the end. This week it went better. It was really pleasant standing on the bridge with the brook running below and the occasional hiker, dog walker, and horseback rider going by. The dogs and horses always had to check out my stuff to make sure I didn't have any treats hidden in my gear!