Monday, August 23, 2021

Mill Creek Marsh Paintings

Mill Creek Marsh Paintings

"SOPO Sunrise"   oil     Diana Johnson

I used to do outdoor art shows. Since we had to set-up at the crack of dawn I looked forward to a proper sunrise. My last show, six years ago, was at South Portland's Mill Creek Park. I got there extra early so that I could walk over to Mill Creek marsh and watch the sunrise and take some photos. My first painting from that experience was a small oil called "SOPO Sunrise".

"Just Before Sunrise"  pastel     Diana Johnson

A  few years later, while looking back at the photos, I decided to do another impression of that morning. This time it ended up being a pastel called "Just Before Sunrise".

This view point, from the marsh looking towards Portland, is so easy to get to. Just park at the Mill Creek Hannaford and it is right there! This is a great place to start a walk on South Portland's Greenbelt Walkway. Just follow the path and you end up at Bug Light Park. 

"Summer Marsh"  pastel  Diana Johnson

Taking that walk one afternoon, I took some more photos of the marsh. This time it was mid-day on a warm summer day. You would never know it was the same place that I got the sunrise reference photos from. Change the time of day and you get an entirely different effect. "Summer Marsh" was the mid-day painting. 

This brings to mind Monet's Haystack Series in which he painted the same scene repeatedly at different times of the day as well as in different seasons.

I also can't help thinking of the song, "What a difference a day makes...24 little hours..."

Enjoy your day!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Painting Neighborhood Scenes

 Painting Neighborhood Scenes

Photo of squash from my neighbor's garden.

One of my neighbors has a big garden. He sets up a cooler filled with free veggies once and a while during the summer. This week's bounty was squash. The cooler happens to be in the shade of a stand of birch trees. Being a fan of birches I decided to paint them.

"Dancing with the Sun"   pastel   14" x 14"    Diana Johnson

I stayed close to home this week which go me to thinking about how often I find inspiration for paintings right in my own neighborhood. I am only showing two today but, believe me, there are lots more. Across from the garden there is a home with some beautiful trees. Seeing the trees silhouetted against a stormy sky was too good to pass up. This pastel painting is in my Etsy Shop.

"Light Through the Clouds"   pastel

Last year during the pandemic shut-down I took a walk each day in my neighborhood. From March 16, 2020 to May 8, 2020 I documented each of those 54 days by taking a photo and writing a Haiku about something I noticed while walking. My goal was to calm my anxious mind by giving it something to do. Here is one example:

By the beginning of May the air was warmer and flowers were blooming and I felt a sense of calm. I didn't feel the need to continue my project. May 8th was my last Pic/Haiku. 

I will leave this post with a quote by Henry David Thoreau:

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth."

Monday, August 9, 2021

Freeport Harbor and Town Park


Freeport Harbor and Town Park

Looking across the Harraseeket River to the harbor.

One of my favorite places to paint is Freeport's Winslow Park. Along with wooded trails and coastal views there is a straight shot down Staples Point Rd to get a view of Freeport Harbor. One day I traveled light with just paper and colored pencils. Looking across the Harrraseeket River at Freeport Harbor I sketched with the colored pencils. When back in my studio I covered over the pencil sketch with acrylic paint.

Colored pencil sketch covered over with acrylics

On another day I set up my easel and painted with oils. This painting is in my Etsy shop. In this painting I wanted to include the top of Casco Castle at the tree line. 

View of Casco Castle from Winslow Park

Built in 1903, Casco Castle was a hotel, amusement park, and zoo! It burned down but the tower remains. There is some information about the castle on the Freeport Historical Society's web page. If you are looking for a nice hike after shopping in Freeport then head over to Winslow Park!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Gilsland Farm - Rain and Wind

Gilsland Farm Meadow
Gilsland Farm - Rain and Wind

The rain was predicted to start at 5:00 p.m. Figuring there was plenty of time to paint I headed over to Maine Audubon's Gilsland farm at 2:00 p.m. with my paint out buddies. Wandering through the meadows, I saw a clump of goldenrod that looked like a nice subject for a sketch. Before I had a chance to pull out my materials it started to rain. Heading back to the car we got quite wet. After waiting in the car for a while the rain turned to just showers so we decided to try again. I went back to my clump of goldenrod to do a quick sketch before the rain started again. 

Sketch 5" x 7" watercolor and pen

A few weeks ago we went to another meadow at Gilsland Farm to sketch. Rain was imminent but we finished sketching before it started.

Sketch  5" x 7"  watercolor and pen

 Quite a while ago I was in yet another meadow at Gilsland Farm and the dominant weather element was the wind. This time I had the full set-up with easel and oil paint. The painting from that day is in my Etsy Shop.

"Windy Day"    oil on canvas        8" x 10"

The charm of painting on location is the unpredictable nature of the experience. Visit the Maine Audubon website to check out  information about this beautiful place.