summer on cape hedge

I love Cape Hedge Beach for its small size, its layers of sand and popples (smooth rocks), granite “bookends”, houses, view of Milk Island, and a peak of the Twin Lights on Thacher Island. It’s especially nice to have it at the end of the street.

 Hedge and Thacher, 20 x 30, oil on linen

Hedge and Thacher, 20 x 30, oil on linen

On some days the lifeguard will show up, but often the chair is empty and the warning sign is out.

Some of my pieces focus on the figures, others more so on the landscape; in both cases though it's about the simplification of shapes and their colors and the interpretation of light and feeling.

As I paint I do think about those that have inspired me, like Hopper, Avery, Diebenkorn, and Kent, for example.  Note each of these artists are very much about shape and color as well as the figure.

 Rescue, 12 x 16, oil on linen

Rescue, 12 x 16, oil on linen

"Summer Circle"

"Summer Circle" is a large piece that began on my plein air easel overlooking Long Beach. This can be tricky with a 3’ wide canvas when windy, but it was a relatively calm day. I spent a few hours up there looking down on the beach and water as the sun and tide moved along. Now and then I’ll have people stop by for a look at my progress - the kids are great as they are pretty open with their comments and big smiles.

Painting “Summer Circle” at Long Beach, Rockport

With the initial image on canvas I returned to the studio for continuing work. In this case I added more figures and worked hard on rendering the water and its changing colors at various depths and reflections of the sky.

 Summer Circle, 24 x 36, oil on linen

Summer Circle, 24 x 36, oil on linen

In the Garden

This summer began with the Rockport Garden Tour, in which we were one of nine Rockport gardens open to the hundreds of curious gardeners from around the region and beyond. We also had a group of plein air painters, including myself, finding inspiration in the flora. It was fun change of mindset to come home from the beach and take on the completely different subject of the garden with all of its complexities of flowers and architecture.

 Painting in the garden

Painting in the garden

 Garden House, 12 x 16, oil on linen

Garden House, 12 x 16, oil on linen

 Garden Chair, 12 x 16, oil on linen

Garden Chair, 12 x 16, oil on linen

sand dance II

Like the first Sand Dance, I was watching the kids fall into dance as they left the land behind and touched the water. On this early spring afternoon the air is clear and the colors are bright.

 Sand Dance II, 20 x 30, oil

Sand Dance II, 20 x 30, oil

dogs in fog

The tide is ebbing, leaving room for quiet chaos under the fog's blanket. This is a pretty big one at 40 x 64; I like sitting in front of it and falling in. Off season there are often many more dogs than humans on the beach.

Dogs in Fog, 40 x 64, oil

red teens

Red Teens, 18 x 12, oil on linen
Red Teens, 18 x 12, oil on linen

A hot day is a good day for red and a hot date. Top it off with your orange bucket.

sand dance

Sand Dance, 32 x 48, oil on linen
Sand Dance, 32 x 48, oil on linen

It's enlightening to watch children on the beach spontaneously begin to dance. They spin, run, and splash, feeling the water, sand, wind and heat of the sun (ok, I could have said earth, wind, and fire.)

low tide

Low Tide, 20 x 30, oil on linen, © 2016 Rob Diebboll
Low Tide, 20 x 30, oil on linen, © 2016 Rob Diebboll

Warm air pours over the cool, spring ocean at low tide, creating fog banks rising like dreams under a sleepy hat. This is one in a series of atmospheric pieces.

bonita beach

Bonita Beach, 40  x 54, oil on linen, © 2016
Bonita Beach, 40 x 54, oil on linen, © 2016

On Bonita Beach in January the Sanderlings run at your feet while the Pelicans glide overhead and the people go every which way, but usually north and south. No, we're not on Cape Ann anymore... This is a big one at 40" x 54", and took a good month or so to make. I keep tweeking things while it settles - this isn't the 'final' image anymore.

waves

Waves, 16  x 16, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll
Waves, 16 x 16, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll

This is a small color study done plein air, standing high up on the Cape Hedge popple dune (rock pile) looking down on the incoming surf. I'm intrigued by the life and color transitions of a wave. The many influences on the color include the wave height, water depth and clarity (bubbles, sand), ground type (sand, rock, seaweed), water surface angle reflecting light from the sky and sun. Of course, water is clear with a reflective surface, so it's creating color from what's below it, in it, and above it. This is the frustration and fun of painting water. BTW, did you know that the color "blue" was never mentioned in texts like Homer's The Odyssey and The Iliad?

long beach cottages

Long Beach Cottages,  20 x 30, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll
Long Beach Cottages, 20 x 30, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll

The long row of cottages at Long Beach, Rockport, sit on sand held up by a tall, concrete wall. How long will it last?

brothers

Brothers, 28 x 42, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll
Brothers, 28 x 42, oil on linen, © 2015 Rob Diebboll

At high tide Cape Hedge Beach is pretty much under water. At low tide it widens to reveal a different landscape to rediscover every day. This is a large, complex piece developed over July and August.

cape ann coast

Cape Ann Coast, 22 x 32, oil on linen
Cape Ann Coast, 22 x 32, oil on linen

It's a hazy, summer day, standing on the popple dune at Cape Hedge, everything picking up a little gold from the afternoon sun.

Thacher and Long

Thacher and Long, 20 x 28, oil on linen, © 2015
Thacher and Long, 20 x 28, oil on linen, © 2015

Rockport's Thacher Island, home of many a wreck, keeps a view over Long Beach where visitors find solace.

Walking Long Beach

 Walking Long Beach, 20 x 30, oil on linen

Walking Long Beach, 20 x 30, oil on linen

A late spring day, the water has warmed up into the low 50's, and despite a little fog the sun is warming the sand. The new foliage of the blueberry and poison ivy on Cape Hedge's rocky point is red with patches of green and a little shiny, brushed by the passing fog.

East Breeze

 East Breeze, 28 x 42, oil on linen

East Breeze, 28 x 42, oil on linen

When the East Breeze picks up around 1:00 off the Atlantic its cooling relief can be welcome on a hot day at Good Harbor Beach. On a cool day though it can be bone-chilling, but dogs don't seem to notice the difference.

Lifeguards

 Lifeguards, 24 x 36, oil on linen

Lifeguards, 24 x 36, oil on linen

Every summer morning at Good Harbor Beach the lifeguards arrive by 9:00 and warm up with their beach run. It's also a signal to the surfers to pull out until after 5:00. The fishermen can continue to hang out though. Lifeguards has been accepted to the annual seARTS at Bass Rocks show, Gloucester. It'll be an appropriate location, looking out over Good Harbor Beach, the purview of these lifeguards.

New Year's Swim

 New Year's Swim, oil on linen, 24 x 36

New Year's Swim, oil on linen, 24 x 36

January sun on the sand does little to warm the daring youths on Good Harbor Beach. Nevertheless, they take their time enjoying their burning skin and lungs heated by fast hearts. You can see the initial sketch on my facebook page.