Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sleeping In

"Sleeping In"
12"x12" oil on Raymar panel

The wind on the coast of Maine comes up in the afternoon and generally dies at sunset. Early in the morning it’s usually very calm, and that’s when fisherman (lobstermen included) go out to do their work. But not always. We’ve run into some interesting situations, cruising the coast in our boat over the last 25 years. 

For example, why is no one lobstering on Sunday? I’m always taking pictures of lobster boats, and especially like to see them working. But in the summer they don’t appear on Sundays. Maine state law explains why: 

Closed Period - Title 12, Section 6440
It is against the law to raise or haul any lobster trap during closed periods.
  • It is unlawful to haul lobster gear from ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour before sunrise between June 1st and October 31st.
  • It is unlawful to haul lobster gear after 4:00 pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Saturday until ½ hour before sunrise the following Monday morning from June 1st to August 31st, both days inclusive.

Who knew? Now I know why these boats are sleeping in!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Stonington Green"

"Stonington Green"
8"x16" oil on Raymar panel

 Under painting for "Stonington Green"
Note that I widened the lobster shack and the pier and added the lobster boat.

There are a number of iconic scenes in Stonington, Maine, at the bottom of Deer Isle. Many painters have enjoyed painting them, and they hang in fortunate houses across our country. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and I feel lucky that my first few visits were by boat. That’s the way life should be.

This house, with its green paint and matching lobster shack on its wharf is one of those scenes. This particular view is from the shore side, and you can see it if you walk from Billings Marine into town as we often do. I have a lovely painting of it by Alec Richardson. He stood out on the rocks a bit to the right of this view. I started this painting over a year ago, toned the canvas and did a pencil drawing. And it sat. And I looked at the view again as I walked by last summer. And the other day it reached out to me and said “It’s my turn! Paint me.” And so I did.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Painting "My Dream of Maine"

Everyone has a dream of what Maine means to them. For some it’s the lakes, for some it’s Katahdin, for others it’s the shore. For me, it’s the boats and harbors. The first time I saw these houses in Cozy Harbor, I’d been to a paint out with the Plein Air Painters of Maine and the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast. Plein air painting, popularized by the impressionists, means painting outside in the landscape, painting the scenes around you. We’d had a great time doing just that at Hendricks Head Light on Southport Island, near Boothbay Harbor. Someone remembered Oliver’s Restaurant in Cozy Harbor, and so we headed over there for lunch. Oliver’s is great, I recommend it.

One of the great things about painters getting together is the sharing of not only ideas about painting, but also places to paint. And so we moved on to a part of Cozy Harbor I wasn’t familiar with, the road that goes to Pratt’s Island. And once over the bridge to the island, looking back we saw the red lobster shack and houses. Several paintings were done on the spot, but there wasn’t room for all of us. I came back the next week, and set up my gear. My first painting focused on the red lobster shack.

 “Cozy Harbor Inlet”
11”X14”, oil on linen panel, 2014

As I was finishing my first day’s session, the most beautiful gaff rigged catboat sailed up to the little dock. And it had a red sail! I snapped a quick photo, and I knew I was going to have to do another painting of this scene, and include the boat.

“Bright Sail, Cozy Harbor”
16”X20”, oil on linen panel, 2015

I love this scene. The houses on pilings, the reflections of the pilings, the abstract arrangement of the roofs, the little red shack, the idea of boats coming by, people getting on with their daily work, and enjoying living by the sea. So last fall, I started looking for another view, and found it while standing on the bridge. Only quick photos were available from that vantage point, and I came back several times to view it at different tide levels. Armed with the previous paintings, and my new reference photos, I painted a third version, and I’m not sure that I don’t like it best of all. I’ll probably be back there again this summer, and who knows what might happen?

“My Dream of Maine”
20”X24”, oil on canvas, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

What's in a Name?

"Promise of Adventure"
10"x10" oil on canvas panel

Value under painting

I feel like this painting turned into a saga! It was done from a photo, and a pretty over-exposed one at that. The drawing was tricky, and finally after lots of grid lines and measuring of angles, Rob Abele gave me a great suggestion. I printed the section with the kayak on paper and cut it out, including the opening, and laid it over the dry painting and then traced the outline of the kayak over the one I'd already painted. Some adjustment was definitely needed! You can see the difference between the value under painting (above) and the nearly done version (below).

Nearly done, what's wrong?

I still wasn't satisfied. I felt that the kayak looked glued on, since it was much lighter than anything else in the painting. The fix was lightening the sand to be closer to the value of the kayak. I think it works much better with the lighter sand (top image).

Finally the painting was done, but I couldn't think of a better name than "Yellow Kayak". So I reached out to my Facebook friends and asked for some help, and got over 40 responses! Many of the names were just great and  I'll probably be able to use them for future paintings. Here's the list, which one do you like best?


Arrangement in Yellow and Green

Sunshine Waiting

Low tide
The Promise of Adventure


Awaiting High Tide

Waiting on High Tide

After the Lake

Summer Respite  (2)

At the Ready

Waiting for a Friend

At Rest

New England Ready


Ready to Roll (2)

Where’d You Go?

Yellow Kayak (3)

Waiting For You

Floating Bliss

Relaxation Station

Low Tide (3)



Ready for an Outing

Whatever the name of the boat is


Homestead Mooring

Four Steps Down

Lemon Drop


Dry Dock

Sunday Nap

Lemon Wants to Go for a Ride

Still Life with Kayak



Mellow Yellow

Dry Ground

Waiting for Adventure

After a Long Day's Journey

Above the Tide Line

Waiting in the Tide

Banana Boat