Thursday, January 31, 2008

Maine in Winter

Here are a couple of small sketches of subjects I found wandering around my area the other day. Not all winter paintings have to deal with snow. The first one is an 8 X 10 on a linen panel. It's a scene that a lot of painters here try to capture. This one is with the tide out, so these shacks are left high and dry, so that's what I named the piece, "High and Dry." It took maybe an hour. I really love the texture and tooth of the linen. The overall tone is the yellow-rose light of the early winter morning.
The other picture is something a bit new for me. It also is an 8 X 10 on linen panel. This area, Portland, Maine, has a lot of oil tanker traffic and serves as an oil terminal for parts of northern New England and parts of Canada. The tankers are huge--maybe 1000' long and seem to fill the ship channel as they come in. The are so heavily loaded you wonder how they stay afloat being so low in the water. They usually stay for 24 hours which is what it takes to unload the oil. As they unload, the added buoyancy allows the vessel to arise out of the water like some leviathan, maybe 50-60'higher, and close up they literally fill your view. So I come upon this view and saw the little lobster boat on the lower right cowering behind its pier, like a mouse hiding from a cat. The composition is weird, but it struck me that it might make an interesting painting. Does it?


Frank Gardner said...

I like the light in that first one, you really capured the quality of a winter morning.
The second one is an unusual composition, but it works. The elements balance each other nicely. I like how you used the cat and mouse annalogy. The difference in size of those boats, and placing them together like that works for me.
Have you seen Cooper Dragonette's paintings of those same boats in Portland?

Jack Riddle said...

Thanks, Frank. I thought this violated every "rule" of composition there is. Maybe it's the exception that proves the rule. But there was a message for me here.
Yes, I've seen Cooper's wonderful work and we have communicated by email. We hope to paint together when we get some good weather. Seeing his paintings of the ships got me thinking about them as subjects. He also has painted the shacks. We travel the same routes--he lives about three miles from me, so we have probably crossed paths already.