“Maine Boats” 5″ x 7″ oil on canvas panel
Small paintings are fun to create and re-visiting this part of my process has been inspiring. Early on I almost exclusively worked on a 5″x 7″ canvas; they were helpful in terms of learning how to “edit” reality and scale down to the basic elements although sometimes I didn’t do that so well. Figuring out what details to leave out often perplexed me.
This oil painting stemmed from a desire to practice, once again, working within the limits of a small space and seeing how I can pare down to “essentials” as I see them. The painting became more of an abstract landscape which I like.
My affinity with Maine has a history. My last visit there was about 5 years ago. Up to that point, Maine had been a regular spot for me each summer and it’s a place I have loved since childhood. Five years ago I decided to make a trip by myself realizing I hadn’t ever really been on a vacation without others going along. I chose to participate in a painting workshop out of Bernard, Me. It was a location I had not visited before and was smack in the middle of Acadia.
The scene captured here is on the Algerian Coast Seal Cove, Maine. This collection of boats were stacked up on the side and I was drawn to the random arrangement. It was a switch from solely focusing on capturing images for seascape paintings. There were many opportunities to gather images on the trip without really knowing what I would do with them down the road. I suppose I figured at some point I might paint from them.
In reconnecting with my time there and as I culled out a few photos for consideration as subjects, I realized that my resistance to painting from photographs stems from training I had that pretty much poo-poo’d this as a practice. It’s been a bit of a hurdle to “let that go”. At the same time, there’s a part of me that see’s a lot of value in painting from life in real time. That’s a practice that I prefer and one that helps me in many ways. However, there are moments when that’s just not possible.
Funny, this past week I came across a painting by Monet in a local museum and learned that he would work from photos at times which I found very affirming.