Sunrise, Little Harbor, New Castle, NH
oil on canvas, 12" x 30", 1999 -2011
Landscape painting is not as easy as it might seem. Rarely does nature just line up perfectly to give you a great "picture". Most of the time things are manipulated by the artist, mountains moved may be referred to artistic license.
I wanted to paint the sun rising over the Isles of Shoals, eight miles east of the New Hampshire coast. I was attracted by Little Harbor, enclosed by a pair of jetties. However, due to the Shoreline Protections Act, trees within seventy five feet of the shore cannot be cut down.
I had originally painted this scene with trees ringing the harbor, but just like anyone that builds a house next to the ocean, I wanted a clear "view". So, I returned and painted most of the trees out.
TIDE'S IN - TIDE'S OUT
Fitz Henry Lane
oil on canvas, 10" x 15", 1864
With the trees now gone, I needed visual drama. For inspiration I went to one of my favorite seascape painters, Fitz Henry Lane of Gloucester, Massachusetts fame. I have mentioned him before when I was painting in Blue Hill, Maine ( week #17). He painted a number of versions of Brace's Rock, off Cape Ann (Massachusetts), always with the wreck of some ship. I was interested in the dark rocks silhouetted against the calm harbor. For my painting I waited until low tide so that the rocks would be exposed and the shore line defined by seaweed. To add a human element I added a sailboat catching the first light and breeze of the morning.
copyright 2011 James Aponovich