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