The Hidden Quay
30x40 oil 2014
This morning the overcast sky and chilly wind appeared to usher in yet another dreary day. But around noon the sun made an appearance. Quickly, (all things need to be quick with plain air painting) I threw my palette and easel in the car and drove a short distance to Vold, an area I often drive past, but rarely dally at. I figured it might have something that strikes me, and so I wandered around, finding a hidden spot with a little beach and quay.
Among marshy reeds I settled, choosing to stand with the easel erected higher (I am often tempted by a rock or log to turn into a bench, but this spot had no such temptations.) The sun and clouds fluctuated a lot, but I managed to finish the painting in one sitting of about three hours.
As I painted I mused a little about Impressionism. I feel that we associate Impressionism with photography, inasmuch as impressionist painters are thought to seize a moment. This is ironic; it could well be, as David Hockney proposes, that the painters centuries earlier (Caravaggio, Dutch still-life painters, etc.) employed photography far more as a tool than did the later impressionists. When one paints directly on site, one is seizing a moment--but a long moment, lasting hours, compressing much together.