Hello and Welcome Friends,

  August, 2005
volume 3 number 7

August has whizzed by with the usual blur of days. Altogether too fast for us. We were just getting used to having the days be nice and warm and now the trees are beginning to drop some leaves! But it is a universal experience to have the days become weeks and the weeks become months before you know it. Let's not get into the years....

For me, the passage of time is, in part, measured by the completion of paintings. As the walls in my gallery begin to fill up again and the paintings start leaning against the walls (no room to hang any more on walls), I see it is time to re supply the galleries that carry my work in Connecticut, Vermont and Nova Scotia. But before doing that, let me share some of the latest paintings with you.

"Back Bay Blues" Oil on Canvas 72" x 36"

This painting is based on a much smaller version of the same composition that I did after a trip to the coast of Maine. If you compare the two, you will see that almost every element in the painting is similar but different from the first version. The most significant change is the raking light coming in from the right hand side of the painting.

Since it is such a large piece, here's a detail for you:

"Back Bay Blues" detail

I seem to be in the mood for larger paintings at the moment. The 6 x 3 foot painting above is the third of four in three months. I've done two 4 x 4 foot paintings as well. When painting on larger canvases like this, there is the wonderful feeling of using your whole body to paint. It is almost like dancing. Smaller brushes go to the side and house paint brushes come to the fore. I'm also going through tubes of paint like crazy.

This next painting is also related to a piece I did last year. I reworked the composition in a sketch and simply started painting. In case you are wondering what it means for me to rework a composition, here's the sketch:

"Sketch for South Shore Sunset" Pencil 7" x 7"

As you can see, I don't dwell on details in the sketches. I figure they will find their own way during the course of the painting. Like the initial parts of a painting, I concentrate on large shapes and the elements that direct the eye from one part of a painting to another. You can see that I changed the position of the horizon line twice and the position of the sun once. I follow these broad directions when I start the painting and then stand back to see how they are working in the real thing. There are inevitably many changes that take place during the process. Here's the final result:

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

Although we have only been to the beach once so far this summer (yes, once), it figures prominently in my paintings. This is not something that I would have predicted when moving here. I would not have thought that the long, flat horizon and the relatively featureless sand of a beach would be subjects I would be drawn to. I have always loved the coastal rocks. But I found beaches suitable for walking on and for soaking up sun, not for paintings. After the sound drumming of art school conventions, I would never have even thought about doing a painting of kids playing on the beach.

But that is exactly what I have done.

As I grow older (I'm 49), I become more firm in my exploration of beauty itself as a subject for art. Achieved in a painting, beauty transcends time and culture. Works of art that have transcendent beauty are rare. Clichés result from beautiful subjects being addressed badly and too often. But all clichés start out as widespread popular response within societies' tastes. For me to explore popularized imagery, I have to be convinced that I can do it in a manner that will transcend the cliché. Going in this direction, I am treading on thin ice. And what could be thinner ice than kids playing on a beach?!

It is a beautiful thing to see. It is a difficult experience to convey in painting without being saccharine.

But the composition and the subject worked for me. So off I went. I finished the painting last night. I will leave it to you as to whether I succeeded or not.

The title came from my wife, Patricia. She came into the studio and said, "It's every boy's memory of the beach." Along with other aspects of the piece, I enjoy the sense of great distance to the horizon in the painting.

"Every Boy's Day" Oil on Canvas 72" x 40"

"Every Boy's Day" detail

Finally, I just wanted to tell you that my work has been featured in the September edition of The Artist's Magazine. Steve Smith is the editor of the magazine and author of the article. He contacted me last April about my essay on using computers as a tool for traditional artists. He was writing an article on the subject and liked what I had to say. The article features my work along with descriptions of methods I use and the work of another artist, Scott Maggart. I was very happy to be a part of the article and hope that you will have a chance to pick up a copy of the magazine for yourself.

I will leave you with this painting that recently found a new home in Ontario.

"July Coast III" 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
103 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301-4308  USA
802-257-5181  www.TheArtistsLoft.com

The Artist's Loft Fine Art Gallery, Nova Scotia
120 Main Street
Liverpool, NS B0T 1K0  Canada