Sunday, December 9, 2012

Time Travel

Moonlight on the Merrimac:
Looking Backwards

A friend and I have been discussing the view from his Federal-era house, looking down the hill to the Merrimac River, here in Newburyport. The original owner of the house was also the owner of a wharf along the river, at a time when the port was a thriving center for all things maritime. In fact, the Coast Guard's first revenue cutter was built and launched in Newburyport.

In any event, my friend has a window in his house that no longer looks out upon the landscape. It now peeps into a room that is a newer addition. We were musing about what the view must have been from this window when the house was built, and how it must have offered a long view of the owner's mercantile/maritime interests.

The suggestion was made that perhaps I could essay a painting to fill the now-blind window, one that would evoke the distant view of two centuries ago. 

Here's a grisaille, from today, of my initial thoughts about the scene. Now the street is entirely lined with houses and large trees, but it would have much more open in ca. 1810.

Not putting in trees, either in leaf or not, helps to make it more ambiguous as to season. Since the room is primarily used at night, sunshine might have been a bit disconcerting! 

I chose moonlight. 

This grisaille is 20" x 12", the window itself being 60" x 36". There is much refinement that might be done to this painting. We'll see if the project goes forward.

For you who always want to know the colors, the canvas was toned with a mixture of ultramarine blue and ivory black, very thinly applied. The painting, too, was made with those two colors, mixed together. The moon and its reflection are OH mixed white.

Let me know what you think!   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Landscape Fiddling 3

Thursday's Progress

Here's the progress on the second one of the two (so far) imaginings, this one being ole man Winter.

Here's where we started:

And here it is, as of today. As you'll see, we've got to plant two more trees. There are a lot of other things to do, to refine, etc., but it's beginning to feel like winter to me. Something's got to be done about the awkward hillside behind the barn.

If you have any pointers for me, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Landscape Fiddling 2

Saturday's Child

First, I've replaced the photo in yesterday's post with one that's much closer to the painting.
It also appears down below.

Today I decided to make another painting of the same imaginary scene. I wasn't terribly scrupulous in making it an exact copy, but it is the same size, and the same general design. I'm thinking of making a number of these (perhaps I love Monet's grain stacks too much!)

I expect this one will be winter. Before you see it again the snow will definitely fall.

Yesterday's has a transparent red oxide priming, whereas this one has a light tint of Blockx Capucine yellow light. Although still quite warm, the overall tonality is much cooler than yesterday's, and will change very much after it snows tonight.

Here's yesterday's. I didn't work on it today as it was still quite wet. These paintings are 25" x 20".  (For those who don't know, height always precedes width).