Pulling Traps 8"x10" oil on canvas panel (Jonesport style boat)
Have you had any lobster lately? We had some great lobster rolls last week at a local lobster shack with plenty of outdoor seating. And the fries were excellent. I love fries with a little of the potato peel showing, so I know they are hand cut. We wore masks and so did the servers. There were lots of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs with arm rests large enough for your dinner, and so plenty of social distancing options. It was a treat to be outside having a great meal that we didn't have to cook!
The Martha Gayle water color
Lobsters and lobster fishing are an iconic part of Maine. I love to eat them, and everything about catching them fascinates me. Lobster boats are to me the prettiest of boats. They come in a range of styles, from the sleek and elegant Jonesport, to the chunky Novi, from Nova Scotia. I think I've seen lobster boat hulls in every possible color. Fun fact: in Maine, each lobster boat must have one of their buoys displayed on the boat (see top image), so that others fishing can see which pots they are pulling.
Diligence 6"x6" oil on canvas panel (fishes out of Freeport)
The last few years the lobster business has boomed, with over 100 million pounds caught in Maine every year since 2011. And prices have risen too. But this year is likely to be a different story with limited restaurant orders, fewer visitors, the supply chain disrupted by the pandemic. Some lobstermen have been selling direct to consumers, but that can't solve the overall problem.
Blue Boat on Stands 8"x10" oil on canvas panel (Novi style boat)
I did a quick survey of local places that sell live lobsters here in Yarmouth, and found prices to vary between $3.95 and $5.95 a pound for 1 - 1.5 pounders. The farther you get off Route 1, the better the price.
The Sternman 16"x20" oil on linen panel
I'm enjoying having restaurant food again, even served outside, or as take out. We focused a lot on food during the stay at home time, and did a lot of good cooking. But it sure is nice to eat out again! I hope you are enjoying it too, and that we can all support our local fishermen and women whether for lobsters or any other bounty from the sea. And local farmers too!
Rafting Up 20"x30" oil on canvas
People often ask me why I paint. Part of it is the challenge. Another part is that I like to make things, creating something out of nothing has a huge appeal. But there's another reason. I like to help people. And when I can create something for them that has a special meaning, then I feel like I've done what I'm meant to do.
How does that meaning come about for us as viewers of a painting? Usually it's because the subject of the painting brings back a special memory for you. It might be about a place that is or was special for your family. That was the case with the painting of Little Whaleboat Island, below. Maybe it's the cottage or camp where you spent every summer of your childhood. Or the campground that your family visited every year. Or the boat you used to sail with your favorite aunt and uncle.
Little Whaleboat Island oil on canvas
Or perhaps it's an activity that everyone in your family remembers fondly. That was the case with Rafting Up, at the top of this post. Though only one of the families in that painting owns the original, I created reproductions for their children, and all the other boat owners (including my own family). If I remember correctly, there are nine Rafting Up giclee prints hanging on the walls of people who have fond memories of that afternoon in Seal Bay on Vinalhaven. What an honor it was to paint that! And a pleasure to see the joy it brings daily to all those people.
House on Monhegan 8"x10" oil on canvas
Maybe a place from your travels has a special meaning for you. I know that happens to me. Scenes from Maine's coast come to mind, and especially my visits to Monhegan Island. The first was a day trip, and I later learned where to stay, explored the island, and even taught a workshop there. Any painting of Monhegan brings that all back for me.
Sparkle 10"x8" oil on canvas
Owning a boat often leads to owning subsequent boats, as the family gets bigger. I was thrilled one afternoon when visiting a new friend's home to see paintings of each of their previous sailboats proudly displayed. They had each one painted by a local artist and were proud to show them off and tell us about their adventures on each boat.
Stonington Green final 6"x12" oil on canvas board
Stonington Green drawing in paint on a toned canvas
A splash of color in the landscape grabs your attention, doesn't it? A red barn in the midst of green corn fields, a bright orange boat on blue water, or brightly colored houses by the sea, they are all eye catching. I love finding those splashes of color. And I love including them in my paintings.
But there's more to creating color in paintings than what's on the top layer. I often prime my canvas with complementary colors to those that will be predominant in the painting. For example, an orange or red color for landscapes, to complement the blue sky and green foliage. Little bits of this under layer will show through in the final painting, which makes the colors in the top layer pop. I think you can see that in the example of Stonington Green above.
Summer Marsh underpainting 8"x10" oil on linen panel
What's even more fun, is to block in the structure of the painting in bright colors as an underpainting. Once again, little bits of this underpainting will show through in the final painting. I used this process on Summer Marsh. The orange, purple and blue version above is the underpainting.
Summer Marsh final 8"x10" oil on linen panel
Can you see little bits of the underpainting showing through the final version above?
Backdoor to Seal Bay Complements 5"x7" oil on gessobord
And sometimes, what starts as an underpainting becomes so interesting, that it stands by itself and becomes the final painting. That's what happened above in this version of Backdoor to Seal Bay, painted with a knife. Crazy color, no?