Hello and Welcome Friends,

  July, 2004
volume 2 number 7

The muse has struck! Being on the North Atlantic coast for the summer is truly an inspiration. My work day often stretches far into the night and I usually have several paintings going on at the same time. Since the beginning of June I have done 13 paintings. My subjects, not surprisingly, have been revolving around the ocean meeting the land along with the fishing villages that dot the coast of Nova Scotia.

I am intrigued and inspired seeing the scoured coastline subjected to pounding surf and harsh climate of Nova Scotia. The forms of the weathered granite boulders and slabs create a constant challenge and provide a compositional corner stone (forgive the pun) in many of my paintings. From thundering surf to lapping waves, the ocean's surging insistence against the land provides a wealth of contrasts in form, color and light.

  "Thundering Sunset" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

This painting came about after a small sunset study (below). In part, I wanted to see if I could do the scene with the same level of skill as the Hudson River School painters that I have admired. I was thinking of Frederick Church in particular. His painting, "Sunrise, Mount Dessert Island" in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut, has sent chills up my back. "Thundering Sunset" is based on two earlier paintings and a photograph (taken in mid day).

  "Nova Scotia Sunset" Oil on Panel 12" x 18"

I've seen this type of scene several times on different beaches up here. I usually go out early in the morning when I paint on location (this is a studio painting). Mostly I see the sunrises. I placed this painting at sunset in order to work with the deeper pallete of colors.

We've spent more time in Halifax than we really wanted to for a variety of reasons. It is a lovely city on the second largest natural port in the world (And where is the largest?). There I did a little drawing of the waterfront and made it into a painting. The tugboats are something of a trademark on the waterfront in Halifax. The sketch was done on a sunny morning. The painting took on a different character and setting.

  "Point Vim and Point Vigor in Halifax" Pencil 6" x 9"

  "Two Tugs" Oil on Panel 16" x 23"

The painting started out with a pale red underpainting that ads an interesting tone to the early morning fog, especially along the reflection on the water.

One of the great pleasures along the coast is a crystal clear day with fair weather clouds marching down to the horizon. On the coast the sky becomes a dramatic backdrop for the single line of the ocean meeting the sky.

  "Summerville Beach" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

I'm proud to say that this painting now hangs in the Art Sales and Rental Gallery at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. It is one of five of my paintings that were recently accepted into this new venue. I love this painting and think that it captures completely the feeling of the day at Summerville Beach, near our home. Click here if you would like to see a detail of the painting.

I'll leave you with one last painting that was done from a day trip we made to East Berlin, not far from here. There is a small dock facility that harbors half a dozen fishing shacks and boats. The shacks are a natural for painting with their collections of floats and stacks of lobster pots.

  "Fishing Shack" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

Thanks again for taking the time to look at my work. I hope that all is well with you, and I look forward to hearing from you either in Nova Scotia or Vermont.


William H. Hays

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