It's been a little soggy here the last day or so, but good things come to those who wait. This afternoon I was able to get out and about, and I decided to check out the Basin Preserve, recommended to me by the good folks at the Vinalhaven Land Trust. The day had gone from soggy to foggy, and the location did not disappoint. I tried to keep this loose and dreamy, like the fog:
Paintings of France, Italy, and Beyond ©Jennifer E Young
I feel fortunate to have received an artist residency in Maine, where I have been for a little under a week. I have never been to Maine, though it has honestly been a "bucket list" goal of mine to one day visit and paint its rocky coasts. I am out on the island of Vinalhaven, which sits across the mainland town of Rockland.
If you are an art buff you may have heard of the artists' colony on Monhegan Island. I haven't had the opportunity to visit there yet, but from what I have been told it is very beautiful. Vinalhaven is also, in fact, quite magical and beautiful. It is different from Monhegan in that it has an active lobster fishing community, with about 1200 year-round residents on the island.
There is no very direct way to get here, so my options were to fly and rent a car and then ferry over from the mainland, or drive the whole way up. Given all of the art gear I would be taking with me, I opted to drive, which took me 13-14 hours from Virginia split over 2 days. I had many raised eyebrows from people when I said I was driving up, but it did save me some money, plus the hassle of shuffling and shipping all of my gear around. The down side of this option was that it will shave off a few days from my stay on the island, which I am already starting to regret, since it is so, so enchanting here. I stayed in Rockland for a day and a half, and got in a visit to the Farnsworth Museum, which was celebrating Andrew Wyeth's 100th birthday and had a great show of his masterful drawings and watercolors.
I am now in Vinalhaven, and having been here for only 2 1/2 days I am realizing that 2 weeks is a really short time for a residency. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity, and in fact, it would be hard to be away from my family for much longer than this. There is just so much to explore here; the harbors and boat yards, the nature preserves and hikes, and takes a few days just to get one's bearings.
It also takes me time to familiarize myself with new terrain, especially since the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning. Oi! But I'm getting there. The first day I had a couple of wipers, but finally painted something that started to make me feel like I was developing a better understanding of this landscape. This is not the greatest shot of the painting but since I'm on the road it will have to do. I will probably do a little clean up to this piece as well:
The above was my first view at this site, but the next morning I took a hike along the trails higher on the rocky cliffs and came upon this magnificent panorama :
It's raining today so I haven't been able to get a good photo of just the painting, and this pic is a little bit dark, but this gives you an idea of my work in situ. I will try and post again before I leave, but I have just a week left to go. Maybe on the next rainy day....
Yesterday on social media I posted the video of my long-awaited studio completion. If you weren't tuned in to that, I'm including it below. Today I'm also sharing a few more photos and some details because I'm really excited to finally have a permanent home to create my work.
Yes, the garage-to-studio is complete! Hurrah! 😄 I feel as if I have been moving for nearly two years, because, well, I have. So just the very thought of not having to shuffle my supplies and equipment from one place to the other is a most delicious concept to me.
It doesn't have the cottage charm of my former studio, but it's open and airy and has North light and storage, so I feel like I'm in luxury any way. Here are the bins we had built:
We built them "up" to keep the work off of the floor, even making use of the space over the water heater.
I'm using the same hanging system for hanging art as I did in the last studio, using picture rail and a hook and rod system from Walker Display. But my favorite feature is the shelving that runs along the perimeter of the space.
This came about because I had a strange cinder block bump-out that ran along the walls of the garage, and the carpenter suggested capping this off with some shelving where I could perch works-in-progress, wet paintings, or other unframed art. He also ran this same shelving over the doors and windows I had framed in, in place of the the old garage doors.
This space is just slightly east of due north studio lighting. But as you can see, when the sun goes down I still need supplemental lighting. For that I have installed Daylight LED tube lights and tracks. At some point I may install a couple of additional short tracks over my framing and auxiliary painting area, but I have enough to get me up and running.
In keeping with tradition, I maintain my usual impeccable timing, and have completed the studio just in time to leave for two weeks on a plein air painting trip to Maine for an artist's residency. So, as excited as I am for my new space, it will have to wait to get junked up until I return! 😉 Meanwhile, God and internet willing, I hope to blog from the road during my travels.
Too many irons in the fire makes Jen a lame blogger. However, I hope you'll still welcome this post and the news I have to share. First off, I announced some of this in my last newsletter, but if you don't subscribe to that, I'm pleased to announce that I have been invited to be the Featured Artist at Cabell Gallery in Lexington, Virginia. The gallery will hold an opening reception from 5:00 - 7:30 PM, this Friday, June 2nd. I will be in attendance, and it would be so, so great to see some friendly faces there. Here is one of the new pieces I just brought down there for the show:
If I happen to miss you at the art opening on Friday, I'll also be painting alongside other Gallery Flux artists on Sunday during the Rassawek Spring Jubilee at Rassawek Vineyards. I painted with Gallery Flux during this event last year and it was loads of fun. They'll have music, food, a variety of demonstrations from animals to art, and of course, wine! The event runs throughout the weekend, but I will be there on Sunday, June 4th, at 11 a.m. Here are a couple of pieces I did at last year's event. Come by and see them at the Gallery Flux display, plus whatever else I create at the event this year.
Lastly, the garage conversion is done and I am finally moving into my permanent studio space. It's been quite a process and I admit pretty stressful trying to get ready for a show with no real studio space to work in, but Hallelujah! It's all a thing of the past now. I did not post progress pictures as promised because I was too overwhelmed with everything that's been going on, but I'll have some images of the final space to share by next week if not before.
Today I thought I'd share the progressive steps for my newest painting of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. (My usual disclaimers and apologies about the quality of these in-progress photos apply due to lighting conditions in my temporary work space.) This view is near the little B&B where we have stayed on a couple of occasions while visiting Bedford, Virginia.
I'm starting as usual with a sepia-toned sketch thinned with Gamsol to work out the main elements of my composition. This is very loose and general, but it helps me to determine placement. At this early stage I am not overly obsessed with exactness of the forms. Unlike with watercolor, in oil painting I like to carve and refine shapes as I go along.
In the next steps I concentrate on massing in areas in the shadow family. This doesn't take too long because in contrast to my prior painting of the Blue Ridge which was predominantly in shadow, this new painting is predominantly sunlit, with a light source that is nearly overhead.
Next steps are massing in the meadow and the rest of the tree shapes, as well as the distant mountains
Followed by the sky
With the canvas nearly covered I work out the finer details of my primary focal area (the horses).
At the final stages I add some suggestions of wildflowers to the field. I also add highlights and soften edges here and there, until I achieve the illusion of depth and light I'm after.
Voila! The final: