Summer in My Studio

Painting by the river on Zealand Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire.Strange times. It feels like March was so very, very long ago. I can hardly remember winter ending and what spring was like this year. Summer has rolled along in an equally fuzzy manner, as the threat of Covid still lurks around every corner, stealing attention from the season at hand. Still, we've had heat waves, rainy spells and some downright decent weather, so I can't complain much about my now-normal life at home working and painting in my studio. Nonetheless, I got the feeling the other day that summer is sliding into its long, lazy day stage. The hay field down the road is being mowed and the bugs of early summer don't seem so ferocious. It's subtle, but there's a feeling of the season starting to slide along toward autumn already.

The weather being amenable, I've been out on a couple of hikes, trail runs and outdoor painting sessions. One of these was just the other day. I drove up Zealand Road to a spot where the river opens up to Zealand Mountain beyond and painted for a couple of hours, totally focused with all distractions blotted out by the sound of the river. Again, yesterday, I sat along the Saco and sketched some of its river rocks in watercolor. There's something so meditative about observing a river. The shape of each ripple and splashing cascade changes without ever changing its basic shape. It is difficult to capture until you sit and simply look for a good, long time. Even then water is a mystery and a lifelong challenge to master.

Along with being on a bit of a river rock and water kick, I'm continuing to make small paintings of high mountain places, working off photographs from the last few alpine hikes I've made. Every hike into the alpine zone provides new ideas and references for painting up those endless White Mountain views in the studio. In my mind I'm working several paintings out, with never enough time to chase every idea. It's keeping me very busy and content in my ongoing artistic practice.


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