10 March 2013


by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 10 March 2013

"There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing." Robert Burns

For today, something on the lighter side in honor of someone who, from the time I could hold a marker of any sort, made sure I was never without materials to draw and color and paint and always offered endless encouragement and still does - "Happy Birthday, Mom!"

About a month ago I received an email, from a stranger, that was short and to the point - "What's the story on 'Sunday Stop'?"

Not a week later another inquiry and then another about 'Sunday Stop'.

And a few days ago I received yet another email, from an acquaintance - the daughter of a friend named Ginny who was an artist, who commented she'd been perusing my gallery website and paused on 'Sunday Stop' - she said the painting made her think of a place she loved and being away for two years was too long. And she offered she's planning a trip and asked if I knew anything about a cottage named 'Bemeni'.

So, I figure it's time to tell the story about 'Sunday Stop'...

It was a Sunday morning - mid-morning and church bells were ringing - and I was wandering about the small settlement - with sketchbook, giant Sharpie, and a few watercolor crayons in hand - making notes of light and color and doodling value studies as quickly as I could get them down. I was looking for contrast and pattern and that of interest always overlooked by mere commoners. Simplicity appeals to me.

While walking along the street bordering the harbour and looking to port, I noticed a striking boat - a small launch - settling in between a couple of dinghies moored at the Main Public Dock sometimes called the Post Office Dock.

I made a couple of quick sketches - augmented with word and color notes.

10 x 8 sketchbook - Sharpie & watercolor crayon

And then I made a dash for my paints.

I set up and with a big brush and gobs of paint began designing the canvas - quickly and simply - breaking up space.

About halfway through the painting the owners returned - they climbed aboard, pulled anchor, untied, waved to friends, and were off. Had they been to church? Possibly. But they had no idea their boat was my model.

Uncertainty is the norm when plein air painting. Nothing is for sure. And nothing is for long. Life is movement so to capture it on canvas one must paint as if it's an emergency. It is! It always is.  

And then something Paul Gardner had said came to mind, "A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places."

So as the boat puttered east fading from sight, from memory and sketches I continued to paint and then soon decided it was time to stop - for I'd found, maybe stumbled upon, an interesting place. Nothing more need be said.

A woman who saw the painting shortly thereafter smiled and told me it reminded her of some fishing villages she's visited in Maine. I would not know about that - the last time I was in Maine was age 3 or 4 and only remember cold, deep snow, one fishing trip with my Dad, and have no recollection of any boats.

The lighthouse says it's not Maine. It's Hope Town.

And anyone who has been to Elbow Cay in the Bahamas knows it and its charm.

'Sunday Stop' - a nice little painting that says all that needs to be said - my first impression. And the complementary story is nice. The memory, for me, better still. And it's a good example of the challenges of plein air painting - of capturing fleeting moments - that are best without finish.

The boat - she's a beauty and her name? 'Triple D'.

'Sunday Stop' - 16 x 20 inches acrylic on canvas
Post Script
As Mom made sure I had materials, my Dad taught me the fundamentals of drawing and color and painting - those lessons, five decades ago, have proven the most valuable. Enduring, they are the foundation from which all else blossoms. For my parents lessons and support, I am an artist, a painter. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

A younger brother was born in Maine. When he was a teenager, he and our Dad built a boat - a row boat - and painted it blue. The life preservers were bright orange. I remember that project. Not a decade later, that brother learned to fly jets and he landed those jets on boats. Did any of those memories have anything to do with painting 'Sunday Stop'? Probably. 
For other paintings (and more) from that recent trip to the Bahamas: http://www.weddingtonartgallery.com/Bahamas2013.html

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