Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winslow Homer and Prout's Neck, Maine

I recently went on a roadtrip up to Portland, Maine to see the "Weatherbeaten" show of Winslow Homer's work related to his home in Prout's Neck. The museum has just finished restoring his studio building, which they now own, and had put together several shows to celebrate: one of his work, one of his circle of contemporaries and local plein air painters, and an exhibit of commissioned photographs.
Portland Museum of Art Weatherbeaten exhibit

Terrific CBS Sunday Morning segment on the studio and Prout's Neck

I had been studying a monograph of his watercolors from an earlier show at the Art Institute of Chicago (Waterolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light). It was a real treat to seethe watercolors up close (or as close as they'd let me get) and I now have a much better understanding of his mastery.
Link to details of Breaking Waves at AIC

After the museum and lunch, we made the 12 mile trip down to Prout's Neck to see what we could see in the late afternoon light.
Google map of the area

It was a magical day, though a bit gray, and I'm so glad I got to share it with my family and my mother who was in town for a visit.

So far, the experience has resulted in one painting. Though our day was calm, I tried to capture a hint of Homer's raging surf through a bit of artistic license...

Friday, November 16, 2012


So far on my watercolor painting journey I think I've learned the following:
  • You cannot achieve good painting without good drawing, but you CAN achieve bad painting with good drawing.
  • Good paper is more important than good brushes which are more important than good paint
  • Eyes make the painter, not the tools; but good tools can sure help the eyes
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Do not be afraid to fail, but learn when to stop and how to wait.
  • Gravity can be your friend. And also your enemy.
  • A "breakthrough" painting can almost shame much of your earlier work, and it can take a long while before it has worthy company.
  • Practice does not make perfect. But it sure helps.