Paint Schoodic

Join Carol L. Douglas at beautiful Acadia National Park, August 6-11, 2017. More details here!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

This week’s meme is a particularly pernicious one

You may as well look at a photograph. No, you're better off looking at a photograph.
Constable’s The Hay Wain is accessible without being kitschy, sentimental without being mawkish. It has been voted the second most popular painting in Britain (after Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire). Last week it was assaulted by a protester from Fathers4Justice, who stuck a picture of a child to its surface. The painting is not believed to be permanently damaged but has been removed for repair.

This comes on the heels of another assault on a painting, by a member of the same group. The painting in question—Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee portrait—is by no means in the same class as The Hay Wain, but the damage it sustained is more serious. Tim Haries spray-painted it in an action characterized as a desperate plea for help for a father wrongly separated from his two daughters.

I’m in no way diminishing the anguish of fathers who lose custody of their children, but these two men seem to suffer from a lack of impulse control that is at cross-purposes with parenting.

There are works of art which for all practical purposes can no longer be seen in person: Michelangelo’s Pietà and da Vinci’s Mona Lisa are two famous examples. Both are behind bullet-proof glass in niches specially designed to keep viewers from any kind of contact.

Laszlo Toth being wrestled to the ground after attacking the Pietà. From a strategic standpoint, his subsequent history was instructive: he was confined for just two years.
Both paintings have been vandalized repeatedly. However, the art vandals of an earlier age tended more toward mental illness, not activism. For example, the Pietà was attacked by geologist Laszlo Toth, who screamed, “I am Jesus Christ!” while chipping away at the Virgin Mary with his rock hammer. (That wasn’t universally true:  in 1914, militant suffragette Mary Richardson took a meat cleaver to Velázquez's Rokeby Venus, protesting the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst. Still, the nutters significantly outnumbered the activists.)

That has changed, and so have the consequences. The Little Mermaid sat undisturbed on her perch in Copenhagen Harbor until 1964, when her head was sawed off and stolen by members of a group called Situationist International. They’ve been consigned to the dustbin of history, but their violence toward the Little Mermaid lives on—in subsequent beheadings, paintings, and one memorable explosion that blew her right off her perch. She has been assaulted so many times that city officials have broached the idea of moving her farther out into the harbor.

The first time the Little Mermaid was attacked, in 1964.
And that gets to the root of the problem. Already, gallery visitors in many countries find their access to paintings more and more restricted by alarms, glass, and security guards who intervene instantly if you get too close to the work. Of course they have no choice, because our artistic heritage is the very heart of our patrimony, and its protection is their first priority. But immeasurably important things can be learned from looking at paintings up close, things that can never be understood from photographs. I’ve never seen—nor will I ever see—the Mona Lisa or Pietà in anything resembling “real life.” I had the awesome good fortune to have closely studied The Hay Wain a few years ago, but I doubt I ever shall again.

Sometimes I think about art, and sometimes I paint, and sometimes I teach painting. There is only one slot open for my July workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME, and August and September are sold out.  Join us in July or October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A day late and a dollar short

I love job lot stores, but I confess, I would have no idea what to do with this stuff. On the other hand, the old farmer in me would sure like to learn.
 (Sorry this is late but it's harder than you think to post while driving at 74 MPH down the NYS Thruway.)

Friday morning we were scheduled to take the ferry to paint at Monhegan, but we awoke to the sound of heavy rain being driven by a stout wind. My painters were leery of the ferry in that weather, especially knowing that the other side was socked in with rain, and that rain often brings fog. (We have a roof under which to paint on Monhegan, but the views would have been seriously compromised.)

There was still a line at Red's Eats, even in the rain. People are truly wonderful. (Photo by Corinne Avery)
I’d been working them very hard and they were tired, so we switched gears and decided to poke around galleries in Rockland. We included a stop at the Island Institute’s Archipelago shop, which showcases a broad and range of art, craft and design made by Maine island residents. After this, we had a quick lunch, packed for us by Lakewatch Manor—and, no, I didn’t remember to take a photo—and took a side trip through Damariscotta, just to enjoy its loveliness.


This poor bridge on the Mohawk seems to get regularly knocked around by flood waters. (Photo by Corinne Avery)
Once again, our timing was exquisite. That volatile, capricious river—the Mohawk—had overflowed the New York State Thruway earlier in the day. By the time we were passing through, it had retreated and was merely nipping at the margins of the road. What could have been a difficult drive was, in fact, easy as blueberry pie. Nine hours later, I was happily home, reading about flooding all over our state and grateful to have arrived unscathed.

There is only one slot open for my July workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME, and August and September are sold out.  Join us in July or October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Painting at lovely Camden harbor

As it was misty and cool today, we went to Camden harbor, with its many lovely wooden boats and fine galleries.

Intrepid dockside painters.

C's color temperature study from yesterday.

Rearranging dinghies to suit.

A lovely sensitive sketch of dinghies, by C.

Dinghies, painted by S.


J, painting the scene across the harbor.

Other J, painting her first boats ever... and doing a lovely job of it.
And an ice-cream sundae for dessert--with fresh berries, chocolate, and a delish cookie.
There is only one slot open for my July workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME, and August and September are sold out.  Join us in July or October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stretching our limits

Although the weather forecast was for rain, we were able to paint until 2 PM, at which time we quit and went to the Farnsworth Art Museum to see "Every Picture Tells a Story: N.C. Wyeth Illustrations from the Brandywine River Museum." It started to rain just when we entered the museum.

I believe in a God who loves me and wants me to be happy. I do appreciate how obliging He has been with His weather.

My class has done such good work this week. Today, I gave each person an assignment designed to stretch their own particular skill set, and each one rose to the challenge.

A student practiced measurement and angles, using the rock formations and trees as his subject matter. A tough place to have to sit and draw, wasn't it? (Tomorrow, I promise you, will be just as spectacular.)
Another student did a value sketch using monochrome pastel. She then followed this up with a color temperature study.
After giving a little drawing lesson, I set my sketchbook on a fence while doing my rounds. Came back to find it covered in sawdust. Apparently, some carpenter aunts were busy deconstructing the fence. 
This student did a greyscale marker value study before starting a painting of the birches. It helped her composition tremendously.


August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Painting on the St. George Peninsula


I had time to do a rock study today, at Marshall's Point.
Painting on gorgeous Marshall's Point. The beautiful weather held out until we were done painting; now a lovely thunderstorm is cooling everything down.
Had my trusty assistant demonstrate a grey scale drawing while I explained. 

J's painting from Marshall's Point

C's painting from Marshall's Point

S's painting from Marshall's Point.
 And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Our first day painting, part 2

Relaxing before dinner.
Lobster bisque, fresh rolls, grilled cauliflower. Whoo hoo!
Flourless chocolate torte. This is where I inadvertently blurted out "unbelievable!"

And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Our first day painting--at beautiful Owl's Head Light House

Does it get any better than this?
Our first full day of painting, in a quiet cove near Owl’s Head, and it was hot—rather unusual for mid-coast Maine… but what beautiful clouds, and what beautiful light!

I heard “unbelievable” so many times I was laughing about it with my students—until I took a bite of the flourless chocolate and raspberry torte we had for dessert. “Unbelievable!” I exclaimed.

Windjammer coming around the Owl's Head light.
Luncheon al fresco.

Do not fall off the cliff, I cautioned.

Two dedicated and serious painters.
Great job, C!

That's the back of the late 19th century Owl's Head Lighthouse behind us.
And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We've arrived in beautiful, historic Rockland!


Stopped for lobster rolls at Red's Eats in Wiscasset, it being on the way and all...

Dinner and conversation at the Inn.



Dinner and conversation with our guests.

Dinner and conversation with our guests.

Dinner and conversation with our guests.

Salad, curried rice with peanut butter sauce, and chicken and shrimp kabobs for dinner at Lakewatch Manor. Yum!

And rhubarb pie for dessert. Oh, yeah!
And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yes, I remembered the paint!



Four easels, three painting kits, one pastel kit, three chairs, three umbrellas, luggage for three people for eight days, a solo art show, three computers, and three passengers comfortably seated. Take that, you critics of my Prius!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Now, if I can just remember my paint

View from Owl's Nest.
Anyone who thinks the life of an artist is all glamour ought to try doing the framing, wrapping and pricing before a show. It’s done, and my painting tools are packed, and I’m ready to leave for Maine in the morning.
Painting tools for three people, plus my teaching supplies (in the pink bag). My trusty Prius is going to be stuffed full.
I store my paint in my freezer.  That occasionally results in my forgetting it. (I’m thinking of tying a bandanna to my backpack as a mental cue.) Usually, my forgetfulness results in nothing more annoying than an afternoon sketching rather than painting, but it would simply not do to take off to Maine for a week of teaching without paint.

So it’s off to Maine tomorrow, by easy stages. Sadly, that means I will be too late to attend Rockland's Summer Solstice Street Fair, but if you get there before me, be sure to go.


And the paintings, wrapped and ready to move.
And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Surf's up!

A Happy Harbor, oil on canvasboard, by little ol' me.
In two days I’ll be on my way to Maine to teach the first of this summer’s workshops. Today’s task was to finalize selections for my season-long show at Lakewatch Manor.

Although I would dearly love to bring my painting of the HalveMaen Passing Hudson Highlands, the inn itself is more than 250 years old, and my sense is that smaller paintings will be in scale with its rooms.

Surf at Rockport, oil on canvasboard, by little ol' me.
Often I go back several years and am shocked at how differently I respond to individual pieces. However, the small painting of surf at Rockport, above, was my favorite the instant it was finished. It has waited several years to be shown in its proper place, and I’m thrilled.

However, A Happy Harbor (at top) is a painting that snuck up on me and surprised me. I considered it incomplete when I did it, but I absolutely love its spontaneity now.

Surf at Port Clyde, oil on canvasboard, also by little ol' me.
I painted the surf at Port Clyde, above, last November. It's amazing to me how similar the two paintings are, painted many years apart.

Boatyard, oil on canvasboard, also by little ol' me.
August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast. The June session starts this weekend, but there are still day-student slots open.  Join us in July or October, but please hurry! Check here for more information. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Teaching at Schoen Place on a Wednesday Evening

(An experiment in mobile blogging...)

It was a cool clear sparkling evening at Pittsford's Schoen Place.

Discussion commences.

This is Stacey's first time painting ever.

Brad VanAuken and Lyn Parsons

Lyn and Sophia,
Bikers

Lyn, Sophia and Brad hard at work.
August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in June, July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.