Out on the Clam Flats

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats 36x54 oil on panel

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats 36×54 oil on panel

It’s astounding what you see when the tide goes out – especially around the Bay of Fundy. This view of the clam flats in Lubec, Maine is from low tide. I’ve often seen clammers working out there, and I’ve wandered the flats myself, looking at the vegetation, peat, myriad complexly patterned stones, sea cucumbers shells, and rich mud. There are so many micro-environments between Grand Manon (distant isle), Campobello Island (darker headland), and Quoddy Head beyond the picture to the right. In a few hours, only the headland will be above water. The distant fog bank will steal Grand Manon. The fog is present almost every day, sometimes enveloping, sometimes retreating, always mysterious. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats - foreground detail

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats – foreground detail

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats - detail from left side with distant headland, retreating water, and foreground scrub

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats – detail from left side with distant headland, retreating water, and foreground scrub

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats - detail from foreground showing textures and brushwork

TM8691 Out on the Clam Flats – detail from foreground showing textures and brushwork

Technical painting notes: My greatest difficulty with this painting was finding a way to describe such a subtle middle and foreground, while having enough nuance to keep it interesting. I used monoprint techniques of spattering, blotting, wiping, and layering paint with a roller to create the base layer. When it was dry, I glazed and glazed, then used a crumpled plastic bag to apply paint mixed with Liquin Impasto medium for some highlights. I used thin oil paint to suggest the water, applying it like a watercolorist with soft wash brushes.

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One thought on “Out on the Clam Flats

  1. Wonderful painting! I love that purplish color, so rich! I appreciate reading about your process, I am always amazed how as artists we have so many styles and techniques, I learn so much by observing these differences.

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