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Monday, July 15, 2013

Mostly, what’s changed are the trees...

Safe Harbor, 20X24, oil on canvasboard, almost finished.
I started this during the last year in which my painting partner Marilyn Feinberg was still in Rochester. It is as big a canvas—20X24—as I ever do en plein air. That size usually takes two or more sessions to finish, but without Marilyn around to schlep up to Irondequoit with me, I seemed to lose the thread. The painting sat on my counter for two summers before I got around to finishing it. (Of course the first time I went out to work on it this summer, I was rained out.)

The Port of Rochester is my favorite place to paint in Rochester, but I don’t do it as often as I should. It’s in the northwest corner of the city; I live in the southeast corner. It seems like I have to travel cross-lots to get there. But once I get there, I wonder why I’ve stayed away so long. (I am grateful to the folks at Genesee Yacht Club for allowing me to paint on their property; they’ve always been gracious.)

My new set-up makes larger canvases more manageable.
Buffalo is at the end of Lake Erie. Its weather blows off the lake and funnels through the city. Rochester is on the side of Lake Ontario. That occasionally produces east-west bands of different weather. This was true today: overcast at my house; raining lightly at Ridge Road; sunny and clear at the lake.

One of the reasons I love painting at the Port of Rochester is that it's never boring. It's one of two ports on Lake Ontario that accepts cement by freighter, so sometimes one sees a freighter pushing its way upriver past the recreational boat slips. And I saw two trains pass by within feet of the boat slips today; none of the summer people seemed remotely fazed by them.
Most of the boats were just as I left them (although some were reversed in their slips), and the clouds were piling up to the southwest exactly as they were the last time I was there. Surprisingly, the mature trees across the channel had grown noticeably. I texted Marilyn to tell her that. “It’s one of the things I always notice when I come home to visit,” she responded. “It’s a weird feeling.” I agree. We think of those big trees as timeless and the human structures as changeable, but that’s not exactly how it seems to work.

I have a little more work to do (the reflections, modifying light levels, painting the rigging) and it’s done.

If you're signed up for my July workshop in mid-coast Maine, you can find the supply lists here. There's one more residential slot left; I'm dying to know who is going to fill it. August and September are sold out , but there are openings in October! Check here for more information.

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