Friday, October 17, 2008
I painted "Blow-Me-Down Brook" last winter in Cornish, New Hampshire. This is a location where one of my heroes, Willard Metcalf, painted many of his famous winter scenes about a hundred years ago. I enjoy tracking down locations where historic artists have worked. New England has lots of them!
It was about five degrees below zero when I set my easel up that morning. Most people think cold is a problem for a winter painter, but really the opposite is true. In winter the light is best when it's cold; when it's warm the sky is often overcast. I've got polar gear, and my boots with their five-inch-thick soles are rated to fifty below, I also have a foolish orange stocking cap like hunters wear, that I got a deal on at Wal-Mart. This hat is made out of a mysterious plastic material that is extremely warm. So I am not much bothered by the frigid temperatures. I do however need to keep my face out of the wind.
I often work along frozen streams and in the woods. I love this sort of subject. Streams lead the viewer nicely into a painting, and trees are the actors on a landscape painter's stage. Much of the time, it seems, a landscape painter is a tree painter.
This painting is 26 by 29 inches. That's a nice shape--it's a landscape shape, not quite square, just a little longer than it is high.
This painting won a couple of prizes this year. It won the R.H.Ives Gammell award at the Guild of Boston Artists on Newbury Street in Boston. I also put it into the 3rd summer show at the Rockport Art Association, where it won the Fay Rotenberg prize, the top prize in that show which also came with a $1000 dollar check (thank you to the Rotenburg family for funding the competition).