Friday, March 13, 2015

The Ice is Breaking Up

The ice is breaking up on the Hudson River.

Hudson Ice, Gouache, 5 x 8 inches, 1.5 hours 
Blocks of ice the size of houses drift slowly in the current. They grind against each other or pull apart. 

Something below the surface groans and shudders. A huge slab rises from beneath and breaks the surface like the back of a whale.
Rhinecliff, New York, March 11, 2015. 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Submerged ice is a deep green color that cameras can't capture. In my painting I place the horizon above the top of the page. I want to fill the entire field of view with this alien, abstract world of elemental forces. It's as strange and new to me as a view of another planet.


Steve said...

Lovely, evocative painting. It looks like you had the same clear skies and bright sun we had in Michigan the past few days. Even though 50 degrees allows for more comfortable outdoor painting than an Aldro Hibbard outing, I still have difficulty working on such days surrounded by ice/snow because of a strong desire to wear sunglasses -- which distort the process. Does the brightness of the reflected light bother you? Do your eyes readily adjust?

Maia Sanders said...

I was up in the Sierra Nevada mountains painting last week, at 8000 feet elevation and sunny california drought weather it was punishingly bright. My kids had brought along traditional Inuit snow goggles they had built for a project from cardboard fruit cartons (like a large egg carton), string and rubber bands.

I was comfortable painting snow scenes, snowboarders in their crazy costumes and giant sequoias for three days wearing the goggles and a head scarf, while everyone else went skiing and got sore eyes and sun-and-wind-burns. I have a serious sunglasses habit, being light-eyed I am very sensitive to sun. These goggles replaced color-distorting sunglasses very well for sitting still and painting. I may have looked like a space voyager on a low budget but while painting nobody even noticed, they just wanted to see my paintings and drawings.

informational page on Inuit spring snow goggles:

You can readily find kids' project pages to make these but they are all made flat, and fail to block side glare. the fruit cartons are curved so they rest on the cheekbone and temples, and can be cut some to fit.

elgin said...

I have never seen any larger paintings that reflect these smaller ones (not saying you don't) but this seems to me to be an excellent candidate. I'm a warm weather guy so I cannot imagine sitting out doing this but I love it.

Warren JB said...

Wonderful painting, and interesting to read about; although I look at the latitude of the Hudson River, the latitude of Ireland, think "March?", and am suddenly very glad for the North Atlantic Drift.

(Heck, for a second I had Hudson *Bay* in my mind's eye.)

Unknown said...

You always brig great new perspectives. Thanks for keeping the world curious :)

Rich said...

Nice ice view:
Cameras failing to capture the deep green color of submerged ice.

James Gurney said...

Steve, I forgot to bring my sunglasses, and it was rather bright, but not blindingly so. If the glasses are neutral density, I suppose it should still be possible to mix colors accurately.

Maia, thanks for explaining the gear options. I don't have the slit-type glasses, but I do have some smoked glass goggles made by hand in the Himalayas that work great and look super-steampunk.

Elgin, thanks, I have made enlargements of some of my plein air paintings (such as "Kaaterskill Falls," and it's always fun to see where that process takes me.

Warren it's hard even here to believe it's March. February was the coldest on record.

Thanks, Abigail and Rich. The seasons always bring amazing surprises.

Steve said...

Just remembered Monet did an unusual series of paintings of the ice breaking up on the Seine. Very different from his gardens and haystacks.