I began this painting three summers ago, working from a black and white photo that kind of haunted me. It was from my family collection (circa 1920-1960), one of a number of images of people on their days off relaxing on shimmering waters in northern Wisconsin. Working from a small b&w photo, reinterpreting its content and ephemeral qualities onto a 5′ x 4′ canvas– using natural but subjective color, was a larger challenge than I had expected. There was trial and error until it felt right, I got measurably better as I went along.
I like to work in the season of my subject, in this painting it’s lazy, high summer, so at summer’s end the painting would be put to bed for that year. Progress on a large painting can go on and on, kind of like an endless summer day that keeps changing with the light… I thought for awhile that it might never be done, but it finally kind of finished itself.
Now on to the second in this series, “The Gentlemen on the River.”