Cooper Dragonette spent a lovely morning painting a small plein air study of the stormy coastline at Pond Cove in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The heavy rains ended, the seas calmed down, and the big waves subsided so he could finish his painting. Unfortunately, the storm got even with him when he returned home.
“The storm that sat off the coast over the weekend and brought big rain and big waves had passed, and the seas calmed enough so I could get out and paint,” remembers Cooper Dragonette. “I don’t know if I could have painted the big waves because they were just too big, but the smaller waves were a perfect subject for my small oil study. After an enjoyable morning of painting, I returned home to discover the storm had caused flooding in the basement of my home. That doused any idea I had about spending an afternoon painting in the studio — or anything else beside bailing water.”
One interesting aspect of Dragonette’s outdoor painting is that he uses an easel he “found in the dump,” meaning it is made of recycled materials. “Everything the easel is made of came from the dump — albeit, a great dump — with the carpentry taking quite a long time to complete,” he says. “The box was initially sold as an art supply box that I adjusted by cutting the top in half, gluing and screwing support brackets to the back, and adding hinges to the sides. The largest portion of the box is 12″ x 16″ and holds a store-bought disposal palette pad, which is held in place with a small slat of wood for transporting — so the pad full of good paint won’t fall inside the box. The side lids of the box hold brushes, medium, and usually an iPod or cell phone. The paper towel roll is underneath them, where the wind doesn’t affect it as much. The easel gets strapped to the side of my small backpack and the box goes inside, and at the end of the day it all folds away nicely.”
Cooper Dragonette holds a B.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine and a B.A. from Prescott College, where he spent part of his time drawing and exploring the Southwest. He moved to Maine in 1996 while working as an instructor for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School’s Sea Program. He has maintained a studio in Maine since then and has supplemented his various careers with sales of paintings. He continues to teach painting and drawing, as well as working with other artists through workshops, research, and travel to further develop his work. For more information, visit www.cooperdragonette.com.
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