Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cape Cod Light

Cape Cod Light
Originally uploaded by Prof. Jas. Mundie
While we were staying on Cape Cod I spent a rainy afternoon climbing up the tower of the lighthouse that was neighbor to our cottage.

The Cape Cod Light was originally erected in 1797 on a cliff in Truro standing 160 feet above a treacherous stretch of Atlantic shoreline. It was to be the first lighthouse in the nation with a flashing light - affected by means of a clockwork eclipser revolving around a multi-wick spider lamp - to help mariners distinguish it from the fixed beacon of Boston Light.

The original wooden tower was replaced with a round brick structure in the 1830s. A new lighting system of lamps and reflectors was installed during the following decade, during which the tower was substantially remodeled.

In 1857 the tower was rebuilt again, and a first order Fresnel lens installed. In 1901, an even larger Fresnel lens array standing 12-feet high and weighing over a ton was installed. This massive lantern floated in a bed of 600 pounds of mercury. Electric power was introduced in 1934, which created a beacon with 4,000,000 candlepower visible up to 75 miles in clear weather. This lens was replaced with high-wattage aero-beacons in the 1950s. Today, the current beacon (above) uses a tiny 110-watt lamp that is nonetheless visible for up to twenty-miles through the amplification provided by its Fresnel lenses.

In 1996, the lighthouse was moved 450-feet from its previous position due to cliff erosion.  Today the lighthouse stands picturesquely in the middle of Cape Cod's oldest golf course.

Interview with Matt Greenway

Matt Greenway, Late Afternoon, 28 x 40 inches, oil on canvas, 2011

Matt Greenway and Kate Mundie at F.A.N.'s June First Friday
I just interviewed artist, Matt Greenway. He is exhibiting his paintings at F. A. N. Gallery this month.

I have admired his work for the last decade. It was fun to find out how he makes paintings and what inspires him. Matt has been influenced by the English impressionist painter, Walter Sickert, who I was not familiar with. I am going to get to know Sickert's work better. We both have been inspired by Daniel Garber.  We both had been blown away by an exhibition of Garber's works we saw at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art's Museum of American Art in 2007.

It's fun to see how another artist thinks about their craft. You can read the interview at fanfinearts blog. 

Daniel Garber, Tohickon, oil on canvas 52 1/4 x 56 1/4 in, 1922. Collection of Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design

Friday, June 10, 2011

What do I Pack for a Landscape Painting Trip?

Some of my supplies laid out on the studio floor
These are some of the things I take on a plein air painting trip.

  • Hat, sun block, bug repellent!

  • Portable easel

  • Surfaces- I prefer painting on Masonite.  Pictured above are 10 x 14 inch, 8 x 16 inch, and 6 x 8 inch boards prepared with white and buff-tinted gesso.

  • Brushes of various sizes: filberts and rounds

  • Liquin - to make the paintings dry more quickly

  • Oil paints by Williamsburg, Sennelier, Schminke and Winsor Newton

  • Palette

  • Old t-shirts for paint rags and baby wipes for cleanup, jars for solvent

  • Camera

  • Sketchbook and pens

  • Milk crate on wheels to cart it all around in 

The paints in my easel box
The colors in my paint box

I do not use all these colors when I lay out my palette.  I use two of each color, a warm and a cool. For example: while we think of blue as a cool color, there are warm and cool blues. French Ultramarine Blue is cool and Cerulean Blue is warm. I change colors depending on the subject.  If it is a darker day, with a cloudy sky I might use Delft Blue instead of Ultramarine. I like Courbet Green and Turkey Umber because they can go to blue or green or brown depending on what you mix them with. Courbet Green mixed with a tiny bit of white will look blue, like ocean water; mixed with tiny bit of Naples yellow it will look green, like fir tree; or mixed with a tiny bit of raw umber it will look black or very very dark brown, like the bark of a tree.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Kate Kern Mundie: New Paintings, June 3rd Opening Reception

Matt Greenway, F.A.N. Gallery's July 2011 artist and Kate Kern Mundie F.A.N. Gallery's June 2011 artist

The paintings installed

Kate Kern Mundie: New Paintings, June 3rd, 2011 Opening Reception.
I want to thank everyone who came out to the opening of Kate Kern Mundie: New Paintings at F.A.N Gallery, and thank you to all who could not make it but sent kind wishes.

It was a lovely June evening, not too hot - a perfect evening for walking around Old City and checking out all the First Friday events. We had a lot of people stop by the gallery. It was great to see so many friends. I wish I had more time to talk to everyone who stopped in.

A Trip to None Such Farm in Bucks County

Kate Kern Mundie, None Such Farm, oil on masonite, 8 x 6 inches, 2010

None Such Farm is a place where nearly all of my interests (family, food and painting) come together. They hold a pumpkin festival in the fall that we take the kids to. They have a farmers market and butcher shop where they sell their produce and grass-fed, humanely raised, organic meats and eggs.  And it is a picturesque farm with traditional red barn, big white farm house on rolling fields and tree-lined lanes.

So far, I have only completed this small painting of the duck pond at the farm. This location deserves many more visits and paintings of the house, barn, fields and orchards.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Driving through the Glengesh Pass

Kate Kern Mundie, Glengesh Pass No. 1, oil on masonite, 10 x 14 inches, 2011

Kate Kern Mundie, Glengesh Pass No. 1, detail
Glengesh Pass is a glacial cut between the Mulmosog and Glengesh mountains near Ardara in Donegal, Ireland. There is a scenic lookout at the southwestern end (the top) of the pass. From there the road steeply zigzags down to the valley below.

Glengesh Pass No. 1 is a late afternoon view down in the valley, when the farmers drive their sheep back home. Glengesh Pass No. 2 was completed from several watercolors painted from the scenic lookout at the top of the pass in late morning. The note on my watercolor said “more yellow”. At the time I could not get the watercolor pigment to be as bright or as yellow as I wanted, but with the opaque oils I have more control over the intensity of the pigment.  

My favorite times to draw and paint at the pass were in the morning or evening when the sun kissed the hillsides and cast deep shadows in the valley. The heather and gorse growing on the rocky slopes turns the hills to lavender and gold.  The crumbling stone walls that criss-cross the steep slopes become more visible because of the shadows they cast. On rainy days the mountains are lost in the mist and the valley floor seems cut off from the world.

Kate Kern Mundie, Glengesh Pass No. 2, oil on masonite, 16 x 24 inches, 2011

The Glengesh pass also hold a very special memory of a perfect moment for Jim 
and I.

It was late at night under a huge full summer moon. We were driving from Ardara to our accommodations on the other side of the pass. The radio reception on the car stereo was going in and out as we drove through the mountains.  Our little blue car, powered by a engine more suited to a lawnmower, could barely manage the steep pass. The pass’s narrow road zig-zags up the mountain with shear drop-offs into the valley below. The car kept stalling and rolling back. We could not get enough power to make it up the hill. We would get about 20 feet up the incline, stall out and begin rolling back, with Jim trying to steer and brake so we would not plunge backwards off road to the valley floor 500 feet below. Jim finally got the car moving and floored it so we could get enough power to get up the mountain. We were shouting words of encouragement to the car as it sputtered and chugged slowly upwards. As we finally cleared the steepest part of the climb, the radio suddenly buzzed back into clarity with 1920’s hot jazz music. As we crested the mountain we wondered at that perfect moment, when we realized we were not going to die in a horrible wreck at the bottom of the pass and how gorgeous the moon and stars were as we looked up the steep sides of the pass into the night sky above the mountain top -- all choreographed to King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. We wound our way along the lane out of the mountains and through the bog as the music ended and the announcer gave the day’s hurling scores in Irish (Gaelic).

Croughan Hill

Kate Kern Mundie, Croughan Hill, oil on massonite, 8 x 16 inches

I think the hill depicted in this painting is Croughan Hill, part of the Ox Mountains, but as we were lost I cannot be sure.

From our travel journal written in Ireland in July 1999 
(Jim and I were traveling by bicycle up the west coast)

We were in Sligo by about 2:30, so we headed west towards Lough Gill to find a B&B for the night. Since it was so early in the day we thought we might head out along the route toward Lough Gill and Parke's Castle. We had only done twenty miles that morning and were optimistic that we could do more. Our guide book said there was a circular "scenic drive" that would give spectacular high views of the lough so that was our first goal. This is W. B. Yeats country, so we followed the brown signs indicated touring points of interest for Yeats aficionados (just like the book suggested) but we became hopelessly lost. If the scenic drive was the high road above the lough that we found according to the directions, there weren't many views to be seen as the trees and hedges blocked all of that out.

But here we were, panting and hot, out of water and just hoping to find a place to sit down for a minute or two. We thought we should turn back, but our little detour was not on our Michelin map, street signs are something of a luxury item in Ireland seldom to be seen, and the roads were all so twisty through the mountains here that it was anyone's guess which way we should go. While we were puzzling over this, a carload of German tourists pulled up to ask us directions. I found that sort of amusing, but pointed them in the most likely direction. We set out in a direction we thought would take us where we wanted to go and found ourselves having to push our bikes up little narrow roads leading straight up at 45 degree angles. Who would have thought a bicycle could be so damn heavy? By some sort of miracle and the homing beacon attached to Kate's bladder, we stumbled onto the right road back to the B&B. Time for more water! We went down to the little corner shop we had passed on our way in and stocked up, then sat down for a hearty dinner at a very trendy pub up the road. A nice meal and several pints eased our tired frames, so we walked back to our B&B in much improved spirits looking forward to a nice hot shower and some time spent giggling over Irish television.