Just off the easel - After the Rain – 36x36 acrylic on canvas, using images from two canvasses painted in Gloucester Mass. around 1990 – a collection of memories of painting on Cape Ann with treasured artist friends.
According to Wikipedia, Gloucester, founded in 1623, is the oldest sea port in the United States. The filming for the movie The Perfect Storm took place there some years ago. The City of Gloucester and its companion town of Rockport are located on Cape Ann, north of Boston. The Cape has been a haven for artists for many years. Painters such as Winslow Homer, Emile Gruppe, John Sloan, Paul Strisik, Charles Movalli, Don Stone and many, many more either made the Cape their home and/or were attracted to and inspired by the area. Both Gloucester and Rockport are renowned for their art associations. The North Shore Art Association (Gloucester) and the Rockport Art Association and Museum (Rockport) each have permanent spacious galleries. The Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester is deemed to be the oldest art colony in America with numerous artist-owned galleries in the area where one can visit and purchase the artist’s work.
Sometime around 1985 I was introduced to Gloucester by my friend and mentor, Grant Tigner who knew the area and some of its artists. A few years later I returned with Grant, Bruce Heggtveit and Poul Thrane - wonderful painters who shared their knowledge with me. The last trip was with artist friends, Andrew Lyall and Pierrette Dulude-Bohay (my co-founders of Plein Air Ensemble) when we studied with Nationally recognized watercolourist and teacher, Betty-lou Schlem from Rockport.
While the magnificent age of commerce under sail has long passed, the community remains a major seafood industry center. I remember painting the ship repair facilities and boats in dry dock along Rocky Neck; the schooners, sail boats and fishing trawlers docked along the Gloucester and Rockport wharves; I recall rising before dawn to paint the sunrise over Bass Rocks; visiting artist’s studio galleries, and the art arguments and discussions going on into the night over a beer and freshly caught seafood. After painting on location all day (oils at first, then watercolours and acrylics) and evenings shared with good friends, it felt wonderful to fall asleep with the surf pounding in my ears.
Such great memories.
The Art of Charles Spratt