Last year I attended a wedding in Costa Rica of one of my oldest friends to one of my newest friends. During the trip I routinely dropped my jaw onto a perfect sand beach, and, after a moment collecting my mandible, I would experience a sample of wildlife etch itself into my mind forever. A few glimpses turned into painting ideas immediately, and these 5 paintings resulted:
Here's a few shots from a recent afternoon painting in the dunes at Westport, MA. This is my second trip to Westport with the extended Decker family who've spent the last 30+ summers vacationing along the estuary. In 2014 I made these four. This year I planned only one painting day, so I had to make it count. I hiked in and out of the dunes for over an hour before settling on this location, looking south onto Buzzards Bay from one of Westport's dune covered peninsulas.
Above gives you an idea of the relative remoteness of the location.
And below is a view of the scene with the painting in progress. Note the pathway up the dune which serves as the organizing center of the composition. It's an optimistic piece that shows a narrow sandy lane to the ocean through largely impassable and hostile underbrush.
And here's the final product leaning against a perfect beach house background.
See ya next year Westport.
This painting is currently available, please contact me for details.
4/29/16, Near Hudson, looking south.
Test run for my new studio.
A few experiences in Costa Rica made me immediately declare, "I must try to paint that." Up first, a Scarlet Macaw in the dry forest. There are few natural things in the world as bright as high quality paint, but the Scarlet Macaw is one of them. Seeing one fly to a perch under a thick canopy I caught an eyeful of the most vibrant colors, electric with intensity. When direct sunlight touches them, their feathers radiate the purest expressions of red, yellow, and blue I've ever seen. This work uses that aesthetic moment to practice rendering potent colors in shadow with only few touches of the pure cadmium yellow and red and ultramarine blue to highlight the elegant form of the Macaw.
This New Year's Day I rose before sunrise and commuted shivering in the darkness from Bushwick to Brooklyn Heights with Tara, who had to work that day. Upon arriving at the waterfront I set down my easel, and a gust of wind promptly tossed it over, snapping off the top arm that secures the canvas. 2016, so far so good. I chose satisfactory spot on the promenade, squinted into a gray/chilly/windy day and started taping my canvas to my box of wood with legs. I combined a few buildings and squished the Brooklyn Bridge in there for good measure. By the end of the day I'd made a new oil painting to add to my ongoing series of en plein air works, and started 2016 doing what I love, shaking in the cold acting like a tough guy while I paint.
Three watercolors from Punta Islita, Costa Rica
These are from a travel watercolor sketchbook that's now half full of adventure.
Which makes it half empty with possibility.