– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –
Nearly 70 painters joined PleinAir magazine publisher Eric Rhoads to paint Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula recently during Fall Color Week, a Publisher’s Invitational event. Rhoads organizes several such trips each year. We’ve heard overviews of the experience; now here’s one painter’s tale, told in paint.
Lead Image: “Distant Light,” by Brian M. Smith, 2016, oil, 6 x 8 in.
Brian M. Smith kept busy and created quite a few nice ones during Fall Color Week. Below, he comments on his favorites.
A major construction project we did on our house kept me from painting the two months before arriving in Maine. This is the first effort from a cove just down the road from the Schoodic Institute, where we stayed. Tried to catch the sunlight flooding between the distant points. This was a popular spot for Fall Color Week artists.
The tide flows in and out of this tidal marsh area on the southwest of the Schoodic. Late day, tide in, a low sun lighting the fall foliage on the point made for simple shapes and the play of violet and yellow. This was the second time I heard the loon’s hauntingly beautiful calls.
FOG OVER BLUEBERRY HILL
Heavy fog this early morning and an ethereal scene at Blueberry Hill. Hearing waves crashing on the rocks but not able to see them. Shapes fading in and out of existence. Painted with my roomies Dennis and Tim.
The bright fall colors were dimmed by this rainy day. Sat inside my truck cab looking out through the open tailgate. Not sure what I think about this little study done the second day at Schoodic.
Another from the back-of-the-truck rainy-day series. Used just chromatic black, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and white to express the muted colors and closer values.
TIDE COMING IN
The Schoodic shoreline is all about rocks, tides, and waves. On cloudy days especially, the light and dark contrast can be stunning. The tidal surge has its own presence. The sounds of waves, birds, and wind provided a complete plein air experience.
DEEP WOODS FERNS AND LICHEN
On a very windy day I went away from the coast into the more sheltered woods. It was dark in there, and I loved the contrast presented by the lichen-covered rocks, fall ferns, and the primal fragrances. A chipmunk kept trying to get in my gear bag.
ACADIA BOULDER ROLL
These large boulders are unique along the Schoodic shore, looking as if they rolled partway downhill and just stopped. They make a nice composition, leading from the foreground rocks to the middle and distant shapes. Had to be careful painting here. Three steps backwards meant a 20-foot fall from the cliff!
COREA CROWBERRY HEATH
Simplification was the challenge here, getting the essence of this large, flat expanse and glowing red berry bushes. I left out a lot, choosing a few bush clumps with similar shapes as the treeline and distant mountain. A fun day with all 65-plus Fall Color Week artists here painting the same thing — and all came out differently.
CLOUDS OVER CADILLAC MOUNTAIN
Sometimes a small, quick painting gets it. On the way in, end of the day, I had to stop 15 minutes to paint the big sky. This is where I first heard the loons calling on the peninsula’s west side.