The Shape of Water

What beautiful September weather it was for the “Celebrate Our Waters” festival in Orleans, MA. Artists were invited to a day of plain air painting to showcase the natural resources and protect the waters of this area of Cape Cod. The Addison Gallery hosted an artists’ reception from 4 to 6 to display the fresh works created during the event.

Easel on beach

Plein Air at Rock Harbor, Orleans, MA

I set up my French easel near the marshes on the beach of Rock Harbor. The tide was low and the intersection of the shoreline and marsh grasses caught my attention. It was a challenge to capture the ever-changing scene before me as the water receded from the shore. But, what a delightful day it was with perfect temperature, a slight sea breeze, and the opportunity to capture some of the beauty of Cape Cod.

 

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A part of Celebrating Our Waters exhibit at Addison Gallery, Orleans, MA

After a day outside, it was relaxing to enjoy the company of artists, patrons, and environmentalists with a glass in hand and enjoy the ambiance of music and art on the final salute to summer on the Cape.

guitarist at Addison gallery

Artist Reception at Addison Gallery

 

Wild Thing

“Wild Thing, you make my heart sing.”

cottage garden pastel

“Helene’s Cottage Garden”, pastel, 11×14

I am attracted to the softness and vibrancy of a cottage garden where the flowers seem to compete for attention. Each flower jostles to be seen and noticed. Again this summer I had the pleasure of being a plein air artist on the Orleans Garden Tour on Cape Cod. Rather than painting one of the well – tended and more formal garden beds, I chose to paint the cottage garden of homeowner Helene.

pastels in garden

Easel in garden with pastels

Like the garden that I was painting, I discarded some of the traditional approaches of establishing a value pattern of the scene. Rather I responded to the freshness of the scene and focused my painting on the softness and mood of the wildflower garden.

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There is an urgency with painting on site during a one day garden tour ends with the piece being framed, and exhibited at the sponsoring art gallery. Why do I do this? It seems to force me to work quickly. It also brings together lovers of gardens and art in a unique setting. And at the end of the day, my pastel, “Helen’s Cottage Garden” went to a new home to be enjoyed in all seasons when the summer garden was just a memory.

What do you collect?

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“Hidden Garden”, pastel 8×10

New Englanders are collectors. We collect books, art, and sea glass. The winters can be long on Cape Cod, and when summer arrives many homeowners are quite diligent about creating beautiful gardens.

This summer I was a plein air artist in one of the gardens on the Orleans Improvement Association Garden Tour. The completed garden painting was displayed and quickly went to a new home of a collector from the Addison Art Gallery who said that the painting made her feel happy.

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“Cottage Garden”, pastel, 11×14

The homeowner of the garden then commissioned a painting of the hillside garden in the back of the home. The flowers to be included were coreopsis, phlox, scabiosa, and distant rhododendrons. This involved meeting about composition, color placement, and the vision of the finished painting.  It is always a different experience to interpret another person’s ideas in a painting. But, it is rewarding to hear the words “I am delighted!”

When the hillside flowers are dormant during winter, the pastel painting will be a reminder of the coming of summer flowers on the hillside garden on Cape Cod.  Addison Art Gallery invites us to the fun of collecting: “Original art can take one to another place, bring back memories of a cherished place or experience, foster peace, and joy.”

And thinking about collecting: What do you collect?