Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salem Willows

After work mon. and tues. it was too hot to drive home (my car has no air conditioning) so I painted for a few hours in Salem Willows to wait out the heat and traffic. I worked on the same painting both days and ended only liking the right side. I am the crop queen! It can take me forever to discover what aspect of a scene that I am really interested in so I usually have several false starts and I still end up cropping.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peabody Essex Museum

Yesterday I was working in Salem again. My friends Jim and Karen joined me for a wander around the city. We had coffee, listened to the street musicians (I did some pen & inks of a cello player. Jim suggested that I throw them into the musician's case with some cash. They weren't very good, but I did it anyway just for fun). Afterwards, we went into the Peabody Essex Museum. It's only a 10 min. walk from work, but I have only been there once. The Golden Age of Dutch Seascapes exhibit was wonderful.
The paintings (most of them on panel) are powerful, but very delicate and fine. My favorites were by Simon de Vleiger: Ships becalmed on a rocky coast and A Dutch ferry boat before a breeze. By Willem van de Velde, I also enjoyed A Kaag coming ashore.

I only had an ink pen with me so I just did one quick sketch during our visit. Usually only pencils are allowed and I didn't want to get reprimanded.

A conservator was there working and answering questions. She gave me advice not to use Damar varnish when mixing a painting medium and cautioned against mixing mediums at all with oils. She suggested that I take a card so that I can give her a call when I have questions. I have many more.
Another exhibit at the museum is Trash Menagerie. There was a huge butterfly made of wire, piano keys, metal, broken china, small plastic toys, etc. It was stunning! In two weeks I will be teaching a week of nature art camp for MassAudubon, and this exhibit provided me with many ideas. I had better start collecting some trash.
One of the things that I love best about living in Massachusetts is the museums. There are at least two more exhibits that I want to make sure I see this summer, one at the MFA in Boston, and the other in Williamstown.
Visiting an art museum always give me mixed emotions- on one hand, they make me feel as if I should throw away my brushes and give up. On the other hand, they are certainly very inspiring and I usually recover a few days later with higher goals.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


After working in Salem on monday, I decided to drive over to Marblehead neck to take some photos of the lighthouse, since I am working on an etching of it and need further details. This was painted near the lighthouse, in Chandler Hovey Park. The large building is called Abbot Hall, and is the town hall. Everytime a boat went by, it left a trail of light reflections, which looked like liquid gold. I would love to be able to achieve this effect in my paintings.