Hello and Welcome Friends,

  July, 2005
volume 3 number 6

Oh, the muse has struck again! I've been busily painting away the days and nights in Nova Scotia with little pause. Unfortunately, it has been at the expense of traveling about and seeing in person many of the things I am imagining and composing.

I've been changing one aspect of my approach lately. I started one painting (below) with a three color palette. To explain, I mixed a red, a yellow and a blue. To these I added only white and mixed the colors with each other. This is a pretty basic approach to a painting that is taught in most painting classes. I allows you to address almost anything in the canvas plane with a consistency in color relationships. At least, it is a good start to creating a more unified canvas. Limiting the palette is something that I have been doing more and more within the past couple of years.

With this particular painting, I finished with quite a bit of paint left over. I was reluctant to throw it out, so I decided to do another with the same three colors. I wanted to see if I could push it. Here's the first:

"July Coast" Oil on Canvas 24" x 16"

For those of you who paint, or are interested, here are the colors. Mixes are given in order of the amount of paint- more to less:
Red = Permanent Madder (Rembrandt), Terra Rosa, Terra Vert (just a touch)
Yellow = Yellow Ochre and Permanent Yellow (Rembrandt)
Blue = Ultramarine Blue with a touch of Cadmium Red Medium

In the next painting I wanted to change the mood of the day from the first:

"July Coast II" Oil on Canvas 24" x 16"

Next I decided to change the scale of the painting as well as the mood, once again. This time I wanted to put more light into the day. There is nothing quite like a bright, sunny day on the white sand beaches of the South Shore in Nova Scotia. The fair weather clouds against the deep, blue sky create a marvelous ceiling that marches down to the horizon.

There are several beaches nearby our home. But the largest and most popular is Summerville Beach. I have done a couple of paintings based on Summerville Beach that are a bit more literal than this one. In one painting from last summer, I used the running figure with another flying a kite. In this newer painting, I changed the running figure a little bit, added a ball and left out the kite flyer. But I must admit that the second figure was in this painting originally. I changed my mind later and painted him out.

"South Shore Day" Oil on Canvas 46" x 46"

Here is a detail:

"South Shore Day" (detail) Oil on Canvas 46" x 46"

In the middle of these three paintings, a friend of ours came by for a beer one evening and I cajoled him into letting me do a quick sketch of him. I used the same three colors as the three landscapes. The painting was done very quickly, in about an hour. I haven't reworked it at all yet. I like the fast, sketchy feeling of the painting. Beside that, it looks very much like Robert and there is not much need to change anything!

"Robert W. G. Smith" Oil on Panel 16" x 23"

Over the winter months, we often think of our friends in Nova Scotia while we are in Vermont. This past winter, I kept thinking of doing a painting of another friend of ours. Borden Dorey is a lobsterman who lives in Moose Harbor, just down the road. Borden's features are very strong and pronounced. He has a French/Canadian look to him. His chest and arms are powerful from his years pulling traps out of the water, one after another. My vision was to portray his physical strength as well as his likeness.

Borden came over to the studio where I posed him in oil skins for about an hour in the heat of my studio. He was very patient about the whole thing, but found posing to be a bit more rigorous than he expected. After an hour we took a break. I was not very happy with the way the painting was going and thinking about wiping it off the canvas and starting all over again.

About that time, Borden's wife, Barbara came by to see the progress. She asked how it was going to which I responded, "I'm giving some serious consideration to wiping away what I've done and starting again." We all went into the studio and they watched as I dipped a rag in turpentine and did just that. I then changed the pose, removed the oil skin gear and started again from scratch.

Borden posed for another two hours or so. He and his wife left about 11 PM and I continued to work until 2 o'clock in the morning. The next day I picked it up again early and painted for the whole day, until about 10 PM when I called it quits. I hope you agree with my wife who says, "It's a damn good portrait!"

"Lobsterman (Borden Dorey)" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"


Lastly, let me leave you with one more painting that comes from a morning walk on Beach Meadows beach.

"Red Sky In The Morning" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

I hope this finds you all well. Thanks for taking a look at the latest work and I look forward to hearing from you.


William H. Hays

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The Artist's Loft Bed & Breakfast and Gallery, Vermont
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