Friday, July 06, 2012

Retreat Waters

These quiet waters are on the property of Brattleboro Retreat, a 620 acre mental health and addictions treatment hospital. It is the shallows just where the West River joins the Connecticut River. The public uses these vast and picturesque waters year-round; canoeing, kayaking, ice fishing, cross country skiing. And it has been the subject of many a painting and photograph, which did not stop me from joining a small group of plein air painters on a recent Wednesday morning. We were invited to set up our easels on the lawn of a private residence high above the water. In good spirits at such a fine day we each made a very different painting of the same place.

I am an intense plein air painter. I spent two hours working on this from 9:30 until 11:30. By that time it was a very different scene than it had been when I began. That is my signal to pack up. After hundreds of paintings done out of doors, I am not leisurely about getting my subject painted as quickly as possible. I have trained myself to work fast and search for the essence of the scene. I work the whole picture at once. No dawdling; just enough detail to convey what I think is essential about the light and place. After two hours you might just as well go home or start another painting. This day I was happy to save my remaining energy for an afternoon of gardening.

This painting is for sale. Contact me if you are interested.

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