Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wellfleet Memorial Day

This memorial Day weekend was the third in a row spent at one of the most magical locations I know, The Elephant House on Mayo Beach, Wellfleet, Massachusetts. It's a huge place, built by the son of Lorenzo Dow Baker - a pioneering banana importer (his company is now Chiquita), and a pioneer of the Wellfleet tourist industry (he built a massive hotel on a Wellfleet's Commercial Wharf called the Chequessett Inn that was demolished by wind-driven ice in the 1930s). The house is on the left:

The views of Great Island, Mayo Beach, Lieutenant Island and Wellfleet Harbor are spectacular. And The four cottages of Edward Hopper's famous watercolor "Cottages at Wellfleet" are just three houses down the beach (on the right above). These days, they are more traditional Cape Cod colors - weathered grey shingle and white.

I had a generous opportunity to paint many 6 x 10 plein air sketches.
Great Island in the Fog

Great Island at Half Tide

Great Island Sunset

Lieutenant Island in the Fog

Mayo Beach Marsh

Mayo Beach Sunset

Mayo Beach Fog

 I also got a chance to try my hand at three larger plein air paintings. These are about 16" x 22".

Great Island, Wellfleet

Hopper's Cottages, Mayo Beach

Mayo Beach and Great Island
Somehow I knew the Hopper cottages were going to defeat me. But the weekend also included a pilgrimage up to South Truro seeking Hopper's cottage studio building, still visible from the beach. Took me a while - and a long walk south along Ryder Beach - to find it. But his small cottage with a massive north-facing window is easy to spot amongst the properties approaching McMansion size.

Good times, productive painting, good cheer, and mighty fine seafood with very good friends and their wonderfully creative kids made for one heck of a weekend. Twelve dozen raw oysters, five dozen clams for linguine, a massive amount of grilled swordfish and a goodly portion of smoked bluefish made for a heckuva lot of seafood feasting in just three days!

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