Newton Point Plein Air Painting, 9″ x 12“, Oil on Canvas Board
Painted August 4, 2017 off Newton Avenue, Narragansett, RI
by Charles C. Clear III
Newton Avenue in Narragansett is a small side-street off of Ocean Road, just south of The Sea Wall. At the very end of Newton Avenue there are majestic mansions hidden behind tall hedges and large walls. There are also a handful of parking spaces where the public is allowed to park and access the shoreline through a nearly hidden overgrown path. The rocky coast here lies just north of Black Point, and looks very similar in many ways. There are rough waves and massive slabs of granite, and hills topped by green brush and trees. It’s always beautiful.
On August 4th, 2017, I went to Newton Avenue in the morning to paint. When I arrived I was surprised to find a thick blanket of fog settled over Narragansett Bay. The horizon was almost invisible, and everything else was covered in a smoky gray shroud. This was not the scene that I had in mind for my painting! Should I stay and paint anyway? It would be the only opportunity that I would have to paint that day, so the answer was yes. I set up my easel on the edge of a large slab. My view was looking north towards the rocky outcropping at the end of Hazard Avenue. I started by brushing in the sky and the barely noticeable ghost of Jamestown, then Hazard Rock, and the green upon the hill. Soon, though, I realized that the quality of light was changing ever so slightly. The fog was lifting! If you have lived by the water you’ll know that a fog can lift as quickly as it can settle. The sun was breaking through the clouds and the entire scene was changing before my eyes! I started working faster and faster to capture the remnants of the fog before all was lost. The rocks and the water were all painted quickly with a palette knife. You can see the scratches and the impasto and the texture of the canvas. It’s raw, and it’s primitive, and yet…I like it. It looks exactly like what I saw at that moment in time.
Charles C. Clear III