One of my favorite eccentric painters is, James Mallord William Turner. Turner was a painter at a time when England was changing from the old world leader to the new industrial revolution leader; from the slower and beautiful world of schooner ships to steam locomotives, iron ships and bridges. It was a time of rapid changes in their world. Turner painted in an unconventional way from his contemporaries possibly because he never really felt part of their club as he came from the working class. He managed to go to the best schools because of his talent but, he never felt accepted.
When talking with TCPM curator, Carla Albright about doing a paint night at the museum, I brought up Turner. She seemed surprised and said ”that’s an impressive painter to pick!” My thought was, Tillamook is a place of storms that blow through you...just as Turner's paintings show! Storms are something that people here can relate to! Even though so far this year, we haven’t seen many!
This particular painting, Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth Making Signals in Shallow Water, has a famous story attached to it. This is the painting where Turner supposedly lashed himself to the mast of the ship he was on and painted in the storm! Can you imagine doing that? I am not sure he did do that, but the way he painted made people think it was done on the spot. It has the feeling of the moment.
So, I started my painting using his kind of tools: palette knives, brushes and his very favorite tool-- old rags! It was challenging and fun! I tried to think of how to break it down into parts and slowly build up the color, the waves, and finally... added the details,making sure to keep the rag to smudge all along! Smudging can make anything look better or completely go away! The more I study the painting, the more I see how much he left so much to the viewer’s imagination...incomplete lines.
Although we can only approximate this wonderful painting, it is a fun challenge to try painting a storm at sea! I have a second attempt started, and invite you to come try your hand. Join us for Art Accelerated’s Paint Night: Storming the Museum, Saturday, March 2nd, 6 - 8pm at the Pioneer Museum on Second Street in Tillamook. For fifty dollars we will supply everything needed for your masterpiece as well as food and drink! I will be leading the Storming Paint Night, and we will have extra helpers to aid your efforts as well.
Sign up today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/storming-the-museum-tickets-55028275052
See you soon.
By Christine Harrison