I've taken two more two more plein air trips down to the James River of late, and this piece, done near Belle Isle is the result of the first. This is a study done alongside a painting buddy of mine, from the vantage point of the Civil War museum park, looking up at the CSX railway tracks.
Â "Bathers on the James" (study) Oil on Panel, 9x12"
With angle of the light and the architecture of the bridge, I didn't get much further than a study. But I feel that this scene is destined to become a larger, more developed piece at some point soon. Initially I was attracted to light of early evening as it slanted across the track footings and bounced in the water's reflections. But as we were setting up, groups of bathers descended on the scene. What luck. I knew there were lots of swimmers in the evenings nearby on Belle Isle, but I didn't realize how many people have come to use this part of the park (right across from the Civil War Museum) after work. Even though in this painting I merely suggest just a few of the figures (and they are barely there- only about an inch and a half high) in life they had a much greater presence and gave a very dreamlike quality to the scene before me. Everything happened so fast, so I just did what I could to try and catch the light and overall structure of scene, not getting caught up in the details but committing them to my memory. It seemed like just as soon as the bathers appeared, they disappeared into the ethers (right along with the fading light.) I've already returned to the same spot at the same time in order to take photos in hopes that I can do these bathers justice in a larger work.