Sunday, May 9, 2010

April and May around Washington

These are plein-air pieces from this spring, all of watery subjects: Rock Creek, The Severn River, and the Tidal Basin.

Rock Creek below Montrose (16" X 20").

This is a great spot for kids, dogs, and ducks to splash around. Shad used to run the creek when I was a kid, and I am told that eels from the ocean still do make appearances. I felt the spirit of August Lundberg peering over my shoulder as I put the finishing strokes on this one. I was not conscious of his influence on the piece until it was basically done.

Boats at Rest (16" X 20")

I drove over to Sherwood Forest on the Severn River (by Annapolis, MD) to paint with Michael Gaudreau, a painter friend with whom I showed last summer at the Corscaden Barn. This rack of resting boats included two canoes, a kayak, and a sunfish. The forms are very universal and could easily pass for insects, seeds, or metaphors for our own bodies, souls, plans, or memories.

Cherry Blossom Rundown (18" X 24")

Rundown indeed! Maribel and I thoroughly enjoyed basking in the blossoms and people-watching on the Friday of the National Cherryblossom Festival here in the Disrict. I decided to get there early on Saturday and crank out a study of a monument in the morning light peaking through the lissome trees' veils. The tidal basin was swarming with people as I set up my easel and just focused on the tree forms, the Washington Monument, the curve of the water, and the petals all around. I thought I had finished when a passerby remarked that it was strange I hadn't included any of the thousands of people in the scene. I realized she was right. I had unconsciously ignored the humans in favor of the trees. But it seemed that almost everyone else was also doing their best to look past the passing swarms of gawkers. The characters I distributed into my little scene have that same "ships passing in the night" feel to them as they float blithely through the pink netherworld.

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