Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Time FLIES When You're Having Fun!

 "A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat'"- Stephen Wright

 "Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters."
- Howard Bloomfield

 I've been told to "never apologize for your absence" on blog posts! All I can say is ...time flies when you're having fun! Sunday afternoon I had the incredibly good fortune to be invited to go out to Whalebone Cove off of the Connecticut River.  My friend Judy is helping me on a current project of CT River paintings. She knows the river quite well, and has recommended some really great spots for me to go paint.  One of her favorite places is "Whalebone Cove" - and she suggested that I go out with her and her hubby so that I could get some sketches and photos to work from, for larger oil paintings.  I felt like Monet, out there in the water! Her hubby Tom rowed, while I got to simply ride along (keeping centered in the boat mind you) with sketchbook and camera in hand. When I'd see an interesting view, I'd make a quick, loose sketch....nothing much more than "simple notations" so that I could commit to memory the things I was seeing.  The top sketch above shows us in the cove, looking out the mouth of the cove towards the river, the tall cliffs reaching up above us on one side, trees growing out of the rocks. 

Just within the cove, was a grouping of conifers, one practically laying on its side, all of them with long swooping boughs, and pine cones dangling down. 

Further up within the cove, wild rice grows in the water in wide swaths. Judy told me that by fall, these areas will be full of wild ducks and geese that fly in for a good feed.  The banks just past this particular stretch of wild rice rose up above us. A large stand of hemlocks had been eaten away by woolly adelgids. They look like a stand of skeletons rising up above us. The sketch below shows an interesting plant growing beneath the surface of the water. There was a huge stand of these as well. It almost looked like they had been planted to grow down there at one time! It might be arrowroot (?) 

Some thoughts for sketching in a small boat; keep your supplies minimal, and be satisfied with working quickly, and without much detail. Tides will keep you moving, drifting, and your waterline views will change drastically in the period of a few hours during the afternoon.  I brought a Stillman & Birn- Zeta sketchbook. I'm not greatly fond of the hard, slick paper, but I'm determined to finish out this book none-the-less, trying different working methods with this type of paper. I took a simple fine-line gel pen, made by "The Write Dudes", 0.5mm line. No pencils, just quick intuitive lines....and some waterbrushes to get a quick wash of color down before floating away to my next view. 
Here's my friend's hubby Tom, who kindly carted me all over the cove. And by the way, he BUILT THIS BOAT!! based on an early Newport yacht-maker's design from the mid-1850s, the design is a life-boat design. But what a sturdy, steady, shallow-draft, quiet boat to take a quiet afternoon in the calm waters of a cove. I felt so lucky to be able to do that- and am so grateful to both Tom and Judy for making that happen!
 Here is Judy, scouting out interesting places in the cove, keeping watch for otters!
 and a multitude of underwater plants that were so interesting- blue green leaves with long yellow stamens (?).
And last but not least, this beauty of a little boat on the shore. I'll leave you with a funny quote..."Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat....and taking the tartar sauce with you"! 

Don't forget, if you'd like a sketchbook adventure of your own, join me in Ireland this September. There are just a couple spots left, and you'll want to reserve your space at the B&B.  To register for the trip, click here. 
To find out more about the trip, click here.... and here.



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