Art Adventure: Salem Willows

Every other week Jane and I have an art date and at least for the summer I’m trying to think of it as an art adventure. This week we headed to a local spot, Salem Willows for some walking and painting. The Willows is a place past its prime, like so many places in the North Shore of Massachusetts, the Willows had several prime times in its existence, the first around the turn of the century and again around the 50’s and 60’s when it was a destination with loads of restaurants and games for kids. Now it’s the kind of place you go to chill, unwind and hope you don’t see a dirty old man with a hooker hidden in the far reaches of the parking lot. (You also don’t leave anything of value in your car.)

All that being said the Willows is worth the trip if only for the views alone. The park juts out in to the bay affording a grand view of Beverly, the Beverly-Salem Bridge, the waterfront, Boats, and beaches. The rocky outcroppings are just dramatic enough to offer some scenery for paintings but not so dramatic that you can’t scale them in sneakers.

We headed to Dead Horse Beach. It’s a mystery how it got its name, a Google search brought me back nothing except the quip, “A dead horse washed ashore there.” Which was something I had assumed anyway, but I was hoping to find some sort of tall tale about settlers and 1649 and witch trials.

We wandered the beach, avoiding a large group of children who were in some sort of science class and set up a base of operations. I decided to afford myself a little more time in my image this time than I had originally planned, I still worked quickly but I wanted to get some layers going in the image. I started working with one of those cheap bristle brushes applying color in large swaths. Though it was a dull day we’d get these moments of bright sun, I wanted to capture that fleeting moment, so I used bright colors and toned them down later.

The sky in my first painting was successful I’m not sure about the rest.

The second image I made I decided to focus on a grouping of rocks, 3 of them at the water’s edge, with me looking sort of down on them. In the image are the 3 rocks water and a small bit of ground.

As I waited for bits and pieces of my images to dry I wandered about and snapped some pictures of things, like the remnants of various playground things and rusty bits of metal and tiny little crabs. All in all it was a great art adventure.