The first landscape works will be included with other new works in an upcoming group show at the Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery:
I will likely want to complete more than one painting of Hyla Park, but I decided to start with one area in particular. Like Pea Point, I am hoping to have a lot of fun with pond reflections in this painting.
Anyone who explores Hyla Park will find themselves walking through a network of narrow trails that connect a variety of small ponds. I found that whenever I would stop at a pond, I wanted to look a little closer. That's why I felt it best for this first painting to zoom in a bit closer to some of the details. My goal for this one is to depict three key elements: the lush green vegetation, the reflective pools of water and a hint of the muddy wet ground.
Here is another watercolour pencil study I created in order to try out some of the textures and character I hope to capture in the final painting. This study is 10 x 7" on cotton watercolour paper.
When I first started to compose the oil painting, I struggled with trying to show too much. At first, the landscape orientation seemed to allow me to show more of the pond's vegetation. But in the end, as I stepped back, I really felt that the composition was stunting the vertical designs. It was really calling me to zoom in even closer and to switch to a vertical orientation (like my watercolour pencil study). So I rotated the whole canvas and started over again, painting the reflection of the sky to cover the original sketch.
I am having fun showing evidence of the surrounding landscape through reflections. The trees surrounding the pond and the type of sky are evident only as reflections in the pond.
When I visited Hyla in late August, some leaves were just beginning to turn yellow and fall. But most of the trees were still lush and green. You can see some fallen leaves floating in the water. As I continue to work towards the bottom of the picture plane, the plan is to show these leaves gradually getting larger and more detailed as everything gets closer.
If everything works out, this painting should also feature a hidden surprise when you look close enough. But I'll save that for later. More progress on this painting will appear in a later blog entry...
The next couple of blog entries will show some of the progress on the paintings themselves. For Hyla Park and Connor Brothers Preserve, I thought about trying to complete some watercolour pencil studies first. The one you see below is a scene from Pea Point at dusk on Connor Brothers Preserve. I started this as a quick sketch of just one area (center right), but I was having so much fun with the watercolour pencils that I ended up completing the page. It is 7 x 10" on cotton watercolour paper.
For the oil painting, I decided on a 36 x 60" canvas. Unlike the study, I really wanted to capture more of the rocks around the left edge of this little pond. When I start a painting, I like to map out the composition in washes of sepia acrylic paint sometimes with a little bit of blue or black.
In many of my oil paintings, I often start with the sky. In this painting, the sky is seen as a reflection in the water. I am mostly looking forward to capturing the reflections and the orange lighting from the low lying sun at dusk.
I will come back to this one in a later blog entry. Next entry will be some progress on the Hyla Park painting...
After the hike to Seven Days Work cliffs, Bridgette and I grabbed a quick lunch before visiting our last preserve on this trip to Grand Manan.
We accessed the Meredith Houseworth Preserve from a short trail off Cemetery Lane next to an old Anglican Church. This brought us to Whale Cove.
We were met by a large pond on our left as we reached the cobbled beach. It was very peaceful. If you looked way off to the left, you could see Ashburton cliffs where we had been earlier in the day.
This was a very relaxing visit. There was not a lot of ground to cover. You could basically just stop and take it all in. After all the hiking in the morning, it was nice to just sit down and enjoy the beautiful day and listen to the sounds of the beach.
Again, on a future trip, this could be the starting point of a coastal hike back towards the Whistle Lighthouse. Or, you can also leave the preserve to the right and it will lead you on a trail to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall and the Swallowtail Lighthouse.
While Bridgette continued to enjoy some beach combing, I explored behind the beach and around the edge of the large pond.
I have some ideas of what I'd like to capture in my first painting of this preserve, although I havn't landed on an exact way to do it yet. My challenge is to get a sense of both the pond and the beach. It is difficult to think of an angle that can take in both. But I think it is possible to show either lots of pond with a hint of the beach or lots of beach with a hint of the pond.
Another first impression about this site is that everything seems to be spread out along the horizontal. So unless I want to really zoom in on one part of the site, I might decide to go for a long horizontal canvas for my first painting. Maybe something in the range of 18 x 48" or larger.
This is a site that is hard to narrow down into just one painting. It is a place that I am sure to return to and could end up being the source of many paintings down the road.
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator