Last Light

LAST LIGHT, watercolor on paper, 9×12

LAST LIGHT draft, plein air, watercolor on paper, 9×12

I BEGAN THIS watercolor while sitting on the banks of the Connecticut River with my friend Jonathan on a sunny October afternoon, still convalescing from an injury to my left hand.

As we talked and looked out over the water, I began applying washes of color with my right hand in shades of blue and red. I roughed in the mountains and established the near shoreline, then added a few streaks of orange left to right.

I asked Jonathan to reach into my bag of paints without looking and pull out three tubes. They were all darker shades, which I used to begin filling in. After a while I had him repeat the process, and even though we had set the first three tubes aside, the new shades were similarly bold and blue, creating a starkly contrasting scene with the brilliant sun and conversation.

I took the painting home, and after sitting for a couple of weeks I took it up again, this time painting with my recovering left hand. It got darker, not lighter, in a literal sense. But it evokes the glow from my plein air painting sessions near this very spot last summer, when I would stay until the last rosy rays of sunlight illuminated water, weed, and mountaintop.

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ALTHOUGH “Last Light” technically meets the size criteria for Gateway City Arts’ juried Small Works exhibition, I didn’t finish it on time. Even if I had, the simplest frame with no mat — not an ideal presentation — would have put it beyond the 12-inch limit.

But “After the Rain,” an acrylic painting, will be among the 40-plus small works featured in the exhibit, which opened yesterday at 92 Race Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts, and will continue through December. 

“After the Rain” has the same dimensions as “Last Light,” but it is ready to hang, unframed, as I always paint the sides of my oil and acrylic canvases.


The opening reception for the Small Works exhibit has been postponed for one week due to a positive Covid-19 test for a gallery staff member, “to give our fully vaccinated staff ample time to get tested to ensure that we can safely reopen our doors to the public,” says a release.

The opening reception is now scheduled for next Friday, December, 10, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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