"It is, to my mind a far finer thing to endevour to paint what you feel yourself, as you feel it and see it, however unsuccessfully, than to be content to spend your life imitating other people's ideas and methods."
-W. Frank Calderon
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Painting of the Month

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Many of the Landscape paintings that I do feature Massachusetts Marshes, in particular the large salt marshes of Barnstable and Wellfleet, as well as smaller pockets of salt grasses in Osterville, Cotuit and Mashpee.  With paintings of artist Martin Johnson Heade in mind, my intent is to have the viewer step into the painting with me tracking the sun across the sky. I love the grasses, the shadows they create and the textures of the different species of Spartina.  In the Fall it's spectacular when you find yourself in a field of cranberry colored saltwort or the low raking yellow light and the purple shadows.   The way the light plays on the water, the zig-zaging creeeks and the large expanses of space. For the colorist, a salt marsh is about as perfect as it gets.     


      Every studio painting starts the same way, with on location Plein Aire sketches.  The term Plein Aire was coined in the 19th Century by the French Impressionists, meaning "Open Air" or outdoors.

The advantage of painting en plein aire is that you are creating through observation and interpretation, a working knowledge of your subject. This method allows the artist  the opportunity to test composition and color structure without thinking about it.  As, it's a race against time, painting under pressure pushes you to make decisions, forcing the brush to canvas. Ultimately, this makes you a better, more efficient painter.  To use a Football analogy, the Plein Aire study is like running the Two minute, Hurry Up offense.    
This is one of my field study systems, an oversized Open Box M

 I believe it's a 12 x 16, the larger size gives you ample room for accessories and mixing as well as more paint. I've added a mid tone gray bottom painted piece of glass, which is exactly like the one I use in my studio.   Shown here attached to a Bogen tripod.  The Bogen's are heavy, but as you can see with a large surface area to work on a heavier base is going to keep wind sheer from toppling it.
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