Light Upon, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose
Egg tempera on panel
14 x 11 in.
Inquire at Cheryl Newby Gallery
Pawleys Island, SC
Companionship, egg tempera painting
I still can’t remember the road I was on, nor the name and even less where it was in the North Carolina mountains.
Know it was spring and after once discovering the elusive Charolais cows, I had my eyes peeled for them. I do recall rounding a curve and there being a cemetery on a shady hill. Curious to see how old it was, I turned up the rutted drive and parked under a pair of time-twisted cedar trees. My daughter and I share a trait for reading old epitaphs. When my twins were little, we used to play a game called no money fun. In one of them we made rubbings from ancient, weathered headstones. You’ve probably heard of one of my favorite inscriptions. “I told em’ I was sick.”
Coming around a large granite monument I spotted a flash of white in the pasture across the road. Cows? Could they be Charolais? They weren’t there earlier. A farmer walked along the fenced lane, bucket in hand.
Scampering down the hill I went across the road, looking both ways twice lest I end up back on that hill permanently. Sometimes I forget my surroundings when enthralled with a scene.
I made some sketches for this small egg tempera painting, Companionship. It’s 8 x 8 inches, framed in silver, and after a bit more paint, will be available at Crossnore Gallery.
“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” —Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Long Cove, Oil on Panel. Painting by Daniel Ambrose
Last Friday I delivered several paintings to friends who own True North Gallery in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fortunately they winter in Flagler Beach just up the coast from me making it a twenty minute trip instead of a two day journey.
Long Cove is one of the paintings on its way back to Maine. I say back because this painting began its life from the view point overlooking the purple loosestrife flowers.
When I look at this image of the painting, I’m transported back to the morning Mary and I first saw the scene. Always drawn to the water and the vanishing ways of making a living from it, I sought vantage points to capture this unique lifestyle.
I made a rough charcoal sketch of it to work out composition ideas and discern features that excited me. It didn’t take long and I knew I had a great painting idea. Tossing the pad in the car trunk I grabbed a new gessoed panel and eagerly went to work with oil paint.
A quiet stillness pervaded the air while I painted. Bees hovered among the flowers, sailboats moved along the distant horizon and suddenly a red fox dashed across the road disappearing in the grasses under my easel.
More details on Long Cove, Maine painting available here.
Giant Clam and Seafan, oil on gesso board
I’ve been working on some smaller, square format paintings based on coastal themes. This still life oil painting of a giant clam and seafan is 8 x 8 in. It’s still in progress, I’ve a bit more to go on it.
These natural objects from the ocean and many more fascinating ones like them belong to a collection I feel privileged to live with. I’ve been studying them for a long time. Their forms, subtle colors and textures, the way the sun glides over them throughout the day revealing new hues and intricate patterns sets my fingers twitching to draw them.
But I wasn’t sure how I could do them justice in paint. In the Museum of Arts and Sciences, here in my town, they had on display at one time, a few coral and giant clam shells. Presented on black bases, behind plexiglass cases and dramatically lighted, the museum pieces were striking and elevated my appreciation for the ones in my home even more.
I kept thinking of ways to set them up to paint. Studying them while I drank my coffee one overcast morning, in the distilled light, it struck me to paint them as they are arranged. Naturally.
So I set up my plein air easel in front of of this assortment of sea treasures and started painting.
Natural beauty in natural light.