Seals and Boats: Day Two in the Dunes, Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I wake up at 6:22 this morning. The orange light filling the shack tells me the alarm I set didn’t go off, and I missed the sunrise again this morning.  Need to remedy this for tomorrow.

I pull some clothing on and trek down and over the hill to the ocean and walk along the beach for ¼ mile until I see the incredible sandbar Chip had alerted me to.  Hundreds, probably close to a thousand, gray seals have taken residence on a recently formed sandbar.  I spend some time watching them and take a ton of photos (see below).  The seals are a source of some controversy.  The conservation effort to protect the species has worked well, so well in fact that it their increased population may be responsible for the increased sightings of Great White Sharks in the area.  I am not overly concerned about the sharks, but I’ll only get in the water when I don’t see any seals - as everyone seems to advise.  The seals though are a welcome sight during this stay.  They provide a source of entertainment and I love seeing how varied they are in their size, age, and colorations.

This afternoon was devoted to painting on the porch studio.  I’m working on a continuation of the “beached boats” series I’ve been focusing on for the last seven months.  I tell myself I will take some time to paint the local scenery, but for now I’m using my uninterrupted time here to continue this investigation of the boats on the bay at low tide.  The boats are mostly utility and sailing dinghies - a common sight in the Provincetown Harbor.  At low tide, they mark the beach tethered in place by their anchors.  Their garish paint jobs, when lit by the famous Cape Cod light, become transcendent.

Describing one’s work is a challenge for any creative person, or any person for that matter.  My boyfriend John says that at cocktail parties or other situations it is our responsibility to figure out a way to talk about what we do in a way that is at least somewhat interesting and inclusive and that allows for the potential for more conversation and follow up questions.  Even if you don’t like your job and dread talking about it, or you consider it boring or too obscure to discuss with a layman, he says you must do this for the sake of conversation and the greater good of the party. 

So, in describing my work I can tell you that my decision to start painting boats came because I was looking for a change from painting the male figure, which I had been doing for the past three years.  I like to think that the unifying element in all of my work is a concentration on the sense of light hitting a subject.  I don’t think of it so much as a painting of a person or a boat or a house or an apple.  My focus is on painting the way the light is hitting the person, the temperature of the light hitting the boat, the quality of the light hitting the house, or the feeling of the light hitting the apple.  I fear this might be sounding a little Thomas Kinkadeian, but really what I’m trying to say is that for me the subject can at times be inconsequential to the meaning of the work, what I’m really trying to showcase, and where my interest lies, is the presence of light in our natural world and the way it illuminates the beautiful, but also, the ordinary.