We read the story of our lives in buildings, cars and boats. Not only do they give us a sense of history, they’re changed in subtle ways by the people who live in or use them.
Midsummer was done from the edge of a cliff in Port Greville, Nova Scotia over two days. The topsoil being soft, I managed to slide over the edge with my easel, landing in a patch of alders about ten feet from the rim. Had nature not put that ledge near the top of the ridge, I’d have splatted on the road below me. The second day, I was more circumspect and I set up a few feet farther back.
Nova Scotia has a vernacular building style that’s peculiar to Canada and Britain. These are steep-roofed houses with twin gables. Sometimes they have matching window bays. They may be tarted up with gingerbread, or they may be very simple. They’re always proper, like a nice old lady in her best pantsuit. It’s not a common building style in most of the United States, but there are many examples in my part of Maine.
It was thinking about them that made me spend two full days painting these buildings from above. There is, in fact, something audacious about this kind of painting: it’s based on drawing.
“You must have taken mechanical drawing or drafting in school,” an artist said after she saw my sketch for Midsummer. Rather, I learned to draw when perspective and measurement were routine.
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Midsummer is 24×36, oil on canvas.
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