Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What a Difference... a Day Makes!

Despite the heavy wind and rain that we have experienced in these parts over the last couple of weeks... autumn colour has hung on and continues to bring inspiration and great pleasure to me in my recent plein air forays. Last Sunday... Paul Taylor, my painting friend from Rochester, New York joined me for a quick painting trip to Ivy Lea Park. I love this autumn bastion of quiet. Its many trails and camp sites offer numerous views of the river and nearby island clusters. A painting adventure can be readily be found around every bend. There is no need to travel far to set up one's easel. The quiet and solitude and its untrespassed sanctity of silence draw out the best in any artist. It certainly did for Paul and I during the two hours we spent painting together at Smuggler''s Cove.

The view of this cove... infamous and named  for the prominent "boot-legging" role and its hard-to-find location during the Prohibition years has a mystique and unique presence which never fails to motivate me personally... in any season. I have painted there in each of the four seasons and each presents a new view to be painted. Ironically, the island around which the cove water flows... is called Virgin Island. On the outside point facing southward there is a pale blue niche which houses none other than... "the Blessed Virgin". That statue is a well known river marker for all boaters and adds a sacrilegious historical  bit o' flavour to local river lore! Sacrimental wine.... per chance??? HA HA!!

Here in summer cottaging season... lots of noisy goings on at this time. Note the Virgin's niche on the cliff to the left.

January solitude... just "Me"... My Self... God... and  "I"... hiking about and painting... together!

Paul had to depart for home early on Sunday afternoon on his long road trip back to Rochester... so the foray was cut short... for me at least. I had selected a larger 16x20 inch canvas... because I knew that the colour was unlikely to remain "up" much  longer. The scene was perfect.

It rained lightly for about an hour... but we had purposely set up under a dense, heavy overhead cluster of mature white pines. No rain ever managed to get to us... but the wind and water played havoc with the water's surface and it kept changing every few seconds. Very distracting... when the entire foreground is entirely dominated by the current and deep green reflected shadows. We decided to call it a day after it became obvious to us that things would not be settling down... and the clock was running short for Paul to get off to a reasonable start back home. We took some reference pictures... to perhaps work from later.

After I had my breakfast on Monday morning... I couldn't resist havin' another go at the scene. The light was almost the same as Sunday's... so I headed back to the Park... primed for action. Once again... I found the zone quickly and everything seem to fall into place without any difficulties. In fact... there was a complete mirror reflection of the scene... making translation of shadows and water movement a cinch. I finished within an hour... and left the site completely pleased and satisfied with the painting. I much prefer to paint from life rather than from photos. Nature tells it... "as it is"... and all of my senses are aroused simultaneously. For me... my painting response is guided by the other stimuli... as much as the visual information lying before me.

I will close out this post by including the photo reference... along with my painted impression. You be the judge and jury. Did I hit the mark??

Your call Friends!

Here's our selected site... as I encountered it on the second go....

Here's my first go... lacking sharpness...

Completed canvas on day two

"Between Showers... Smuggler's Cove" - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

Busy at it... "in the Flow"

"He leadeth me beside still waters... it restoreth my soul..."

Good Painting ... to ALL!!!

BOOO!.... Happy Hallowe'en Friends!

I stumbled upon this artful jack-o-lantern a few days back. It speaks of someone looking beyond whatever the rest o' the "herd" does. Step up... and  be brave. Dare to Dream! "You"... and the world will be better for it!


  1. You always hit the mark, Bruce. This is just stunning.

  2. Good morning Sherry!... This place is a sacred ... special place for "Me" - a sanctuary... away from the din around "Me".

    "I feel blessed to have this cathedral... the largest and most beautiful in all of the world to worship in... unharassed.

    I feel that the painting says that!

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    Good Painting... and Happy Hallowe'en!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Dear Bruce - in my book you certainly hit the mark. A gorgeous place you certainly captured in your beautiful art. Just awesome - have a great week-end.

  4. Hi Debbie!... Thanks for checking in... and for leaving your positive remarks!

    Smuggler's Cove is one of those "special" places we discover in our lives. I know that you can well identify yourself with that statement... given your own work and photos.

    Have a great weekend... and a Happy Hallowe'en!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Great painting of the cove Bruce, it looks secluded and lovely.Nice to see the first stage and then the finished painting, the water is especially beautiful. Enjoy this fine weather while you can that snowy photo sure makes one feel that winter is just around the corner.

  6. Hi there Lass!... So nice of your to drop by and comment so encouragingly! Much appreciated!

    Winter is just around the bend... but I love this time of year with the muted colours and quiet. Enjoying the last bit of warmth... and the foliage on the trees. Both are dramatically changed in the past two days!

    Good Fall Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Hi Bruce, yes I think you can say that you hit the mark OK. You've caught the 'tucked away' feeling of the cove. Wasn't that foreground post useful for showing the flow of the river?

    Your post has made me realise how big smuggling could have been during Prohibition. I imagine that with such a long river border, there must have been quite a lot of activity!

    All the best,

  8. Hi there Keith!... The Thousand Islands is simply an unending maze and veritable labyrinth of hidden river rifts... coves and deep inlets which even today provide cover for the illegal flow of traffic and goods along this long border.

    Whiskey and spirits have been replaced by cigarettes and... human trafficking. The movement along the border is monitored by high speed coast guard boats, helicopters... hidden sensors on islands and even drones... 24-7. The 911 saga has changed sadly free movement and scrutiny along this border... forever.

    I particularly enjoyed my day at Smuggler's... and I think that the painting captures that joy nicely.

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,