Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring at Maudslay

Spring is here and the time is right for painting in the streets, or at least amid the faded glory of former East India Trading Company estates in coastal Massachusetts.

I and two fellows of the fraternity of painters convened at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport yesterday to essay our impressions of nature. My small painting bears very little resemblance to the crystal-blue qualities of the day, but that is in keeping with my current practice of taking the subject as a starting point for however strong a painting the thing deigns to become.

Early Spring at Maudslay, Newburyport, MA 6x8
The grounds of this place are just full of beautiful views and endless motifs. The Merrimack River winds by it. In addition to the maintained grounds, one encounters old stone bridges and sealed wells, disused formal gardens and boarded-up outbuildings that attest to a formerly magnificent Old World empire, all beautiful with the earth still dormant in the tremulous light of spring.

Landscape painter Donald Jurney is offering a workshop at Maudslay in May. I highly recommend it.

I catch myself mentally saying "Maudslay" to myself over and over (like "Manderlay" I guess) and pronouncing it "MAW-dslee" in a ridiculously pompous British accent. I just can't help imagining it populated (sparsely, of course) with figures from an Edward Gorey drawing.


  1. I never thought I'd defend the old world empire but if not for them there would be a subdivision of McMansions there and you'd be painting from the boardwalk at Hampton beach :)

    love edward gorey

  2. Chris, Your painting has turned out beautifully. As far as encouraging the painting to develop without mandatory adherence to what's in front of you, Hear! Hear! I heard an interesting comment on the radio this morning, given in a very different context, that could be applied to the risk-taking in picture making: "When confronted with a slippery slope, there are two choices: crampons or skis." Thanks for mentioning the upcoming workshop. There are a couple of places left.

  3. I agree. You captured such a beautiful essence of Spring light! It's that pause before Spring bloom.

  4. Love your work.
    Best regards,
    Richard Gray