Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Ah, Spring in Maine... mud, mud, and some more mud.  Wherever the snow melts, it leaves mud.  I also never realized that snow has such a high sand content, but every place that the snow was piled high now lies a pile of sand.  Who knew snow was so sandy?  Anyway, even though we have forwarded our clocks, it's still not quite Spring here in Maine.  March is like Connecticut.


I'll quickly explain.  You see, when I was a kid, we would take family vacations to visit some relatives in Philadelphia.  The trip down takes about eight or nine laborious hours driving through New England, through New York and New Jersey to get to our destination.  We would zip through every state except Connecticut.  One has to drive the entire diagonal distance through it to get to New York from Massachusetts.  When you entered that state you were closer to home, but when you finally crossed its border you were closer to the end of the trip.  It's like when you enter March, you're still in Winter, and when March is over, it's Spring.  It's just seems like it takes forever to get there.  And that's what I think when the calendar turns to March: our road trip to Philly.  And when I drive through Connecticut to get to Pennsylvania, I think of March.

The Beautiful Colors Of March

Another thing that is fun to think of is what was the inspiration behind some paintings?  Have you ever given much thought as to why something was painted?  I mean, we can look at some of our favorite paintings and try to glean the subtle psychological undertones that lies beneath the image, and say that was the artists reason for painting it.  (A pastime wildly popular with those who like to stare at incoherent abstract images).  But what I'm thinking is something a little more pragmatic.  I know that when I get an idea for a picture, it isn't the grand scheme that excites me, but some little nuance that I really wanted to paint.  But to put that little touch in it's proper context, I have to paint everything around it.

So, not because I think the following paintings of mine are masterpieces, but because I know what I was thinking, I'll give you some examples.

This first one is called Charlie's Boat.  What fired me up with this wasn't the boat, or the reflection and color in the water, but Charlie standing on the bow, back-lit by the morning sun.  To get that effect, I had to paint the whole scene.

Little did I realize it when I was painting that picture, but two years later I would be working for Charlie as a sternman on that very boat.  Funny how fate turns out, huh?  (Hmmm...maybe I should paint a picture of Scarlet Johansson...)

A couple of years ago I was in Kansas City, Missouri enjoying lunch in a diner at the railroad station in the center of town when I noticed this young lady.  The lighting of the diner was a warm yellow, and it cast a halo-like glow over her head.  She reminded me of someone Norman Rockwell would paint.  So, never mind the chrome, or the old guy beside her, or even the doo-dads on the counter.  All I wanted to paint was her hair!

Cundy's Harbor is a cool place.  It's one of the few working waterfronts in the state, it's harbor is choked full of lobster boats, trawlers and pleasure crafts.  Huddled on the rocky shore between the one road down the center of town and the water are quaint old homes that have stood the test of time.  I saw this home when my beautiful partner Ellen and I were taking a walk one Fourth of July.  The owners had a gorgeous silk flag flying from their porch.  I was taken by the wrinkles of the flag reflecting color and light.  But I needed to put the new flag in context with the old home-- just so I could paint the wrinkles.

So there's a small sampling of the thoughts behind these paintings.  Deep psychological emotions?  Nah.  What do I look like to you?  A thinker?



Kay said...

terrific post and paintings. I do the same. years ago I saw a fence with tree shadows on it and bright bright light. That image has stayed with me for years. I haven't painted it..the fence and house are will have to be from memory.

Susan Roux said...

Well 66% think you look like a Rockwell look-a-like. 38% don't know what to think because they don't know jack about art and the final 24% find that your "thinks" are funny.

I'm planning of seeing you Friday at your opening!

Stephanie Berry said...

Haha! I love your take on spring being like driving across CT. I so get that! The small details that prompt us to paint something too. So good...I thought of Rockwell when I saw the diner painting before reading your comments. Nice work.

Patty Meglio said...

I always thought that driving across CT was pretty short compared to driving up the coast of Maine, just not as scenic. But, the traffic is much worse in CT.

Inspiration seems to be a bright focal point, usually how light hits something, for me as well.