Monday, February 8, 2010

Stone Beach- Monhegan

I was going through some old sketchbooks and I found this little sketch that I realize now was the catalyst for my interest in painting rocks and cairns. One Summer in the late '90's my wife and I took the ferry over to Monhegan I. off the coast of Maine. I wanted to walk and paint in the footsteps of Kent,Bellows, Hopper, Wyeth and others in painting this beautiful Island.
We hiked all over the island and I was completely overwhelmed. The scenery was magnificent but nothing I did worked. I was still new to plein air .There was just too much to take in. The shapes just fell apart and whatever I did just seemed like bad calendar art. The temp was in the 90's and I had had it. We found ourselves on the west side of the island at the end of the day on a rock beach. I had put away my materials and just sat and admired the view.
After awhile I began to notice how the rocks fit together and I thought"what if I begin a drawing with ONE rock, not by taking in the whole scene." A drawing teacher I once had used to describe his drawings as "knitting", one stitch at a time. What would happen if I proceeded one rock at a time?
I began with the one small stone at the very bottom of the paper. I then drew the next one touching it, then the next and the next with no thought of outcome and composition and I actually started to feel pleasure in the act of drawing. The day went away. The scenery went away and I was totally into the moment. 9.5x7in. ink and watercolor


hdkline said...

Yet another Monhegan Island/Keene Valley connection. It is amazing how many influential artists of all types have ventured forth to these two beautiful locations.

I love your rock beach painting, immediately recognizable as Monhegan. Lovely.
Harriet Kline

Dabney Starr said...

I too have walked these rocks! Your perception of the magnitude of visual stimulation is spot on! What to draw or paint on Monhegan? And to think of the big name painters that have taken it is better to put these thoughts away,be you, and draw one wonderful thing!