Painting in America: New York skyline pictures and laid-back boating scenes in Martha’s Vineyard

14 Aug 2013

Boat-building at Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard


This scene of boat-building is part of a body of work I have just been developing in the States. What started as a kind -inspired, even- invitation from a friend and collector of my work to visit Martha’s Vineyard, and draw inspiration from the wonderful beach, harbour and pond scenes on offer, ended as a full-blown family holiday in New York City and the Hamptons. I know it sounds very grand, and it sort of all was, but we were visiting family, and plane fares aside it was a regular, eat-drink-and-swim kind of a break. But I never seem to do anything other than a busman’s holiday, and of course there is so much to look at and paint when visiting New York. A lot of what I have started will sustain me well into the winter. I am planning on re-visiting the skyscrapers and city views I was doing two years ago, for a start.

But Martha’s vineyard was also a revelation. I had previously not really thought much about it except I considered it a preserve of the super-rich…of Presidents in fact. I was expecting the streets to be lined with Senators tucking into lobster on the roll, bragging about golf swings and talking unguardedly about affairs of state. What I found was infinitely more charming. America famously does service and friendliness so well, and in this respect above all I found the welcome on MV incredibly warm. Everyone, both islanders and tourists or visitors alike, was happy to engage in chat and offer advice as to the best places to visit and see on the island. I know it’s a bit like basing one’s perception of the UK on a brief visit to the Isle of Wight in August, but not everyone I spoke to was on holiday. It didn’t seem to matter- whoever I came across was relaxed and affable. This set the tone for my work- in fact it took me less than a minute of painting the boat builders ( aguy named Ted Box is building the boat ‘Seeker’ from scratch- and from timber) to meet Dick Iacovello, the on-site project photographer, who set up a stop-motion camera on my picture.

This is the link-

It’s a very abstract composition, but you can see the final version above here!